If you're anything like me, you're a huge fan of survival horror. It's a genre that, quite frankly, offers scares and thrills that can't be recreated anywhere else. There's something about the feeling of vulnerability, of immersion that can turn a yawn inducing jump scare into something that makes you fall out of your seat
Of course, that doesn't mean there aren't amazing horror films out there too. It also doesn't mean that the two mediums don't inspire one another, borrow imagery and ideas, or occasionally just straight up copy one another. I've gathered together one of the best collections of #Horror movies that inspired our favorite #VideoGames, from big hits or obscure classics.
1. 'Sweet Home' (1989) and 'Resident Evil' (1996)
Of course, George Romero's #NightOfTheLivingDead is a huge influence on the #ResidentEvil series, but you might not know that there's a much more bizarre and obscure little piece of cinematic inspiration (unless you read my column).
Sweet Home is a 1989 movie from Japan, directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa (not that Kurosawa). In this brilliant little horror story, following a film crew as they investigate an abandoned mansion formerly owned by a reclusive artist and his wife. The crew's goal is to find the rumored lost artworks hidden deep within the mansion.
Ghostly presences appear, the house itself becomes a deadly puzzle, and the crew start to get picked off one by one.
So far, there's only a few similarities right? Well this is where things get interesting you see, because Sweet Home actually has a video game adaptation of the same name, a weird hybrid JRPG / adventure game that some people consider the father of survival horror. A few years later, the head designer of the game was hired by Capcom to produce a fully 3D remake for the new generation of consoles, this remake was what would eventually become Resident Evil.
As development went on Tojiko Fujiwara became increasingly interested in the work of George Romero, and began to make changes to the game's formula. First off, the civilian film crew was changed to a more combat ready police force, to better enable action scenes in the game. Soon after, Fujiwara decided to replace the more supernatural ghostly threats of the original sweet home with a 'scientifically based' zombie plague, and Resident Evil as we know it was born.
2. 'Phenomena' (1985) and 'Clock Tower' (1995)
Clock Tower is one of the more obscure survival horror games on this list, but also an incredibly terrifying and influential title that you should check out if you get a chance. Called Clock Tower: The First Fear in the West, the game follows a young girl named Jennifer Simpson, who is adopted, along with several of her orphanage sisters, by a wealthy recluse named Simon Barrow. Things quickly start to go awry as Jennifer stumbles upon her sister's corpses and finds herself pursued by a deformed, scissor-wielding madman.
Director Hifumi Kono was a massive fan of the cult Italian director Dario Argento, particularly a film of his called Phenomena, which follows a remarkably similar plot to that of Clock Tower (although true to Italian genre insanity, the main character Jennifer can control insects in the film). There's even an iconic scissor stabbing scene.
Hifumi Kono also must have taken a shine to Jennifer Corvino, played by a young Jennifer Connely, because Jennifer Simpson doesn't just share a name, she shares almost everything with the protagonist of Phenomena. In fact, her face, which appears in the bottom left of the screen, is a straight up trace of Connely's features.
3. 'Jacob's Ladder' (1990) and 'Silent Hill 2' (2001)
There's a lot of amazing horror that has influenced the creation of everyone's favorite entry into the Silent Hill series, but by far one of the biggest and most interesting influences is Jacob's Ladder. This film follows the hellish hallucinatory journey of a Vietnam veteran after a near death experience.
While the plots may not be immediately obvious, there's a lot of parallels between Jacob's Ladder and #SilentHill2. Both use similar nightmarish, allegorical human figures as metaphors for their protagonist's secrets. Several locations and effects, particularly the film's use of different shoot speeds to create unnaturally moving figures, were borrowed for Silent Hill 2, and James even shares initials and a jacket with the protagonist of Jacob's Ladder.
4. 'Event Horizon' (1997) and 'Dead Space' (2008)
#DeadSpace has a lot of influences, the Alien films being a clear favorite, what with their ventilation crawling nightmares and industrial space station setting. The Thing is a clear influence on the design of the necromorphs as well. But the biggest plot influence in my opinion on the game is Paul WS Anderson's #SciFi horror movie Event Horizon.
Both films involve a crew investigating the distress signal of a larger ship and discovering that something terrible has driven the crew mad. In both films, the characters are plagued by maddening hallucinations that prey on their fears and hopes. Both involve man meddling in things beyond our known universe and being horribly punished for it. They even both end with a last minute scare that may or may not be real.
5. 'Grave Encounters' (2011) and 'Outlast' (2013)
If there's one film that can be said to be a massive influence on the aesthetics and atmosphere of Outlast, it's got to be the Canadian found-footage horror film Grave Encounters. While the plots may diverge, with #Outlast going for a more action-packed, mad science plot and Grave Encounters opting for supernatural ghostly terror, the two are near identical in appearance.
The decrepit Asylum which follows no sane rules of architecture, the demonic looking patients who haunt the halls, the history of medical malpractice as the basis for the story's horror and, of course, the ever-present grainy night-vision camera, which adds a grimy, skin-crawling effect to everything we see.
6. 'Texas Chainsaw Massacre' (1974) and 'Resident Evil 7' (2017)
While earlier games took inspiration from Romero's zombie films and Sweet Home (with an unfortunate bit of Cannibal Holocaust thrown in for Resident Evil 5), #ResidentEvil7 took things in a terrifying new direction.
The parallels between RE7's terrifying Baker family and the cannibal clan of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre are clear as day, to the point where they even parodied that infamous dinner scene from the first movie. But when it comes to mood, Resident Evil 7 is closer to the second film than the first. It's a bit crazier, a bit more raucous and contains a lot more chainsaw action (ironically, the first film only contains one chainsaw killing). If you haven't checked out these legendary films, I highly recommend them.
7. 'Dawn of the Dead' (1978) and 'Dead Rising' (2006)
Dead Rising is essentially what would happen if you took George Romero's Dawn of the Dead, thought 'that actually looks pretty fun!' and turned everything up to 11. Romero's original film was a shoestring budget zombie romp that satirized American consumer culture. The film was often full of tonal contrasts, gory horror mixed with absurd slapstick in a unique way that #DeadRising attempts to recreate in its own special way.
Where Dawn of the Dead pointed its fingers at American mall culture, Dead Rising looks at our obsession with documentation. Frank's desperate need to photograph every significant moment, and the way the game rewards you for putting yourself and others at risk to get that perfect shot, is a fantastic satire of a culture where people stop and film tragedies on their phones as a first reflex. The newest game in the series even continues the trend—now you can take selfies! You monster.