From Horror Movie To Horror Comic: Phantasm

You Write A Good Blog, Boy…But Now You Die! Those words are something I would like to think The Tall Man would scream at me if he was here at my apartment while I write this update.  The Phantasm film series is a horror franchise that breaks the mold of what one thinks of when comparing it to other horror films that came before.  The film was not made up of vampires, zombies, a slasher killer, ghosts or even animals running wild; oh no, this film was something more with a killer who was beyond the realms of normal horror bad guys as The Tall Man is so much more than your normal villain of cinema. When choosing Horror Comics for this year’s countdown to Halloween many titles were considered, but one I knew for sure had to be in this year’s roundup was this Xmachina comic based on Phantasm as the movie series as well as this comic deserved to be talked about here on Rotten Ink. This marks not only our second update in our countdown to Halloween but also the first in our “From Horror Movie To Horror Comic” updates that join our returning update themes like “Horror Host Icon”, “Alien Invasion”, “Undead Files”, “NES Challenge” and “Marvel At The Movies” among others. What I am trying to showcase in these updates are horror movie themed comics that lasted for 1-4 issues (some cases could be more issues) and can be from any comic company from Marvel all the way to Blackthrone and can be an adaptation or its own story or a prequel based on the characters of the film it’s named after. This also can apply to promo comics that used to be given away at video rental stores and now come inside DVDs and Blu-Rays, plus still sometimes at the movie theaters! Many great horror movie themed comics have been released and sadly many have been forgotten, so I feel it’s my duty here on Rotten Ink to dig them up from the comic long box graveyard and give them life once more and share them with you, my friends and readers, who might have interest in tracking them down to read or collect. So with that, let’s move into the graveyard and dodge those evil metal flying spheres and get one step closer to the world of The Tall Man!

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The Phantasm movie series is the brain child of director and writer Don Coscarelli who grew up a fan of horror and wanted to make his own in the booming market. Inspired by the book “Something Wicked This Way Comes” by Ray Bradbury as well as from elements from films like “Suspiria” and “Invaders From Mars,” he made a film that became a hit at the box office as well sparked a cult-like following that is still going strong to this day. So before we dive too deep into this update, I want to talk about the films. The write ups will once more come from our friends at IMDB with some info and my brief thoughts and memories of the films…so let’s dodge the spheres and leap over some tombstones and get to talking about the films that are near and dear to many horror fans’ hearts.

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Phantasm (1979)

Mike, a young teenage boy who has just lost his parents, is afraid to lose his brother. This fear causes him to follow his brother to a funeral, where Mike witnesses the Tall Man lift a coffin on his own. Mike decides to investigate and discovers a horrible world where the Tall Man, along with his flying spheres, shrink them to half their normal size and reanimate them as slaves. It is then up to Mike, his brother, and Reggie the ice cream man to stop the Tall man.”

Phantasm was one of those films that when I first viewed it as a youngster, I was lost by the twist and turns of the plot, but nonetheless was so drawn in by the atmosphere. Looking back, I think I first saw this film on the USA Network or some other cable station as I can remember watching it with my brother late on a weekend night while living in Waynesville. As I grew older and into my teens when I started to collect more and more horror films on VHS, the Phantasm series was on my must-own list, and part one always remained a chilling and bizzarre classic in my eyes. The film was directed by Don Coscarelli, who also was the brain behind the idea of characters, and the cast was made up of such talents as Michael Baldwin as Mike, Bill Thornbury as Jody, Reggie Bannister as ice cream man Reggie and Angus Scrimm as The Tall Man. At the US Box Office it brought in a total of $11.988,469.00 on a $300,000.00 budget. The year it was released, it was joined by such other Horror Films as “The Amityville Horror”, “The Driller Killer”, “Tourist Trap”, “Zombie 2”, “Screams Of A Winter Night”, “Cannibal Holocaust” and “The Dark” to name a few. This first one is a true cult classic in my book and is one that you should watch this Halloween season if you have not seen it, and hell even if you have seen it, watch it again!

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Phantasm II (1988)

Mike is released from psychiatry, when he agrees with the doctors that the terrible happenings in his past were just in his imagination. But once he’s free, he contacts Redge and they team up to hunt down and eliminate the “Tall Man”, who plunders the graveyards and abducts the sleeping with help of his terrible gnomes. A beautiful strange girl starts to appear in Mike’s dreams. He assumes she’s in danger and needs their help – will they find her before the Tall Man can do her any harm?”

I can remember when Phantasm II was coming out to theaters as Fangoria Magazine was pushing it, and the TV spots playing on the local stations always captured my attention. My first time seeing the film was when it hit home video and my cousins Dino and Norman rented it and had me and my brother over to watch it. I can remember when the sphere killed one of the Tall Man’s funeral workers, Norman and I cheered and were in wonder as the effects looked fantastic.  This sequel was also directed by Don Coscarelli with actors James LeGros as Mike, Reggie Bannister as Reggie, Paula Irvine as Liz and Angus Scrimm as The Tall Man. The film did okay for Universal at the US Box Office bringing in $7,282,851.00 on a $3 million dollar budget. The film came in at 103 for the year and beat such cult films as Waxwork, Hot To Trot, Mac And Me, The Unholy, Braddock: Missing In Action III, Elvira Mistress Of The Dark, Monkey Shines, Night Of The Demons, Pumpkinhead, Maniac Cop, Hero And The Terror and Critters 2: The Main Course to name a few. The sequel packs a wicked punch and adds to the mystery of The Tall Man and his wicked dead spreading ways, a great watch for your Halloween season for sure.

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Phantasm III: Lord Of The Dead (1994)

The Tall Man, that imposing menace from Morningside Mortuary, is back and once again haunting the thoughts of the now-adult Mike and his friend, ex-Ice Cream vendor Reggie. The two continue their hunt for the mysterious figure and in his path of destruction encounter a variety of dangerous situations, friends and enemies. They also must contend with the resurrected dead plus a growing number of the infamous and deadly silver spheres which aid the Tall Man as he sets his sights on indoctrinating Mike and finishing the fight begun so many years ago”

Phantasm III was the first of the series not to make it to theaters, and the rumor going around about why it went direct to video was because Universal and Don Coscarelli were at war with each other and they did this as a way to flex their muscle, but by doing this they created one of the top selling direct to video films of all time. I first saw the film when my brother Bryan and I rented it from K&L Video, and both of us liked it but were also confused by some of it.  But that’s the real charm of the Phantasm films, they reveal answers but also make it so there are more questions that need answers from film to film. This one also adds female characters named Rocky and Tanesha who are also on a quest to take down the sinister Tall Man…part three in this series is great and was one that was worth renting and now owning on DVD.

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Phantasm IV: Oblivion (1998)

Taking off immediately where the last one ended, in this episode Mike travels across dimensions and time fleeing from the Tall Man, at the same time he tries to find the origins of his enemy, and what really happened the night that his brother died. Meanwhile, Reggie (accompanied by a beauty he picked up on the road) battles the spheres and the undead in a quest to find Mike before the Tall Man can complete his transformation.”

The fourth film in the series was another one that my brother Bryan and I rented from Blockbuster Video.  While good, I did find it to be the weakest in the series, but even with that said, it’s still an amazing and strange film. I don’t have much to say about this film besides I bought it on VHS and later DVD. It was great seeing The Tall Man back in 1998, and it was released by MGM this time around and not Universal. Also a fun fact is that the film was originally written under the title “Phantasm 1999 A.D.” and would have been set in a post-apocalyptic world and would have co-starred Bruce Campbell, but that script could not find funding so it disappeared into developmental hell. This film also had the lowest budget out of all the sequels that were made up to that point. Over all it’s a solid sequel that adds to the legend and mysteries that is The Tall Man.

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Phantasm V: Ravager (2016)

The final installment of the long-running Phantasm series.”

Not much is known about this fifth film in Phantasm series besides it was filmed in secret from 2012-2013.  Oddly enough the film has been scheduled for release this year and has yet to see the light of the movie theater or even the home viewing market, but just recently the release date of October 7th, 2016 was announced. This fifth film is also supposed to be the end of the series and is also the only film not to be directed by Don Coscarelli as David Hartman steps into the director’s chair. I am hoping that the Neon Movies in Dayton will get this film to screen when released, but I won’t hold my breath. I am very much looking forward to this film as the world needs another nightmare of celluloid featuring The Tall Man. So you friends and readers, are you looking forward to this fifth and final Phantasm film?

Tall Man in The Crypt

I am sure some of your readers would like to know who is Tall Man and what is he about. In the 19th century a mortician named Jebediah Morningside had become obsessed with finding out the connections between the worlds of the dead and the living.  He researched and built a machine that would allow him to travel through time and space via a portal that when stepping into it, lead him to an unknown destination and when returning he was no longer Jenediah; he was different…he was now The Tall Man. With these changes he became immortal, super strong, can shape shift, is telekinetic and able to control not only people but also objects with his mind.  When having a body part cut off, the severed limb not only grows back but the amputated limb can transform into insect-like creatures.  His helpers are many as he not only has humans to help in his goal to make the world a graveyard, but also small dwarves, gas mask wearing guards and spheres to name a few. His only known major weakness is cold as it’s believed that the dimension he came from is very hot and this makes is body not able to deal with freezing temperatures. Another fact is that with the change his blood is no longer red but yellow, and while he can be hurt, he has never been killed as shown for 4 films thus far (could his death be in the fifth film?). What makes The Tall Man a fascinating character is the fact that his motives are unknown for the most part besides he wants the land of the living to be the land of the dead. While he can talk, he is a bad guy of few words and mostly uses his face and eyebrow movement to show his feelings. The Tall Man is said to be 6 feet 4 inches tall, have grey hair and is always wearing a black suit. Actor Angus Scrimm has played The Tall Man for five films and his portrayal will forever lock The Tall Man as a true iconic character in the world of horror films. And one has to wonder if the Creepypasta Slenderman is slightly based on The Tall Man…think about it.

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Let’s talks a little about actor Angus Scrimm, shall we? Born on August 19, 1926 in Kansas City, Kansas, Scrimm started his media journey when he wrote and edited for such magazines as TV Guide and Los Angeles Herald Examiner and would also write the liner notes for LPs and CDs for bands like The Beatles and Frank Sinatra and even won a Grammy for his work on liner notes. Hits first acting role was in 1973 in the film “Sweet Kill” with another role that year being in “Sceam Bloody Murder” and after another small role in 1976 for a film called “Jim The World’s Greatest.”  His career changing role would come three years later in 1979 when he landed the role of The Tall Man in the film Phantasm.  This launched his career in acting in horror and cult films, landing roles in “Wiches’ Brew”, “Subspecies”, “Wishmaster” and “John Dies At The End,” to name a few. Angus would travel around the world acting and appearing at conventions and was always a man who made time for his fans. But sadly on January 9th 2016 at the age of 89, Angus Scrimm passed away peacefully surrounded by his family and friends.  This marked another major blow for fans of horror as the year before we lost Wes Craven and Christopher Lee. While gone, his work will live one, and I just wanted to take a moment and honor the man who truly made The Tall Man come alive and scare all those who witnessed his cinema and home video madness. This update is for you, Mr. Scrimm.

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The Tall Man has lots of creepy helpers that are trying to usher in a world of death.  Let’s take a few moments to take a look at them. The most popular of his helpers are the Spheres, also known as Sentinels.  They are flying weapons of death that are packing drills, knives, lasers and saws inside of them and are pure killing machines. The Dwarves, also called Lurkers, are pint size terrors who are crushed down dead bodies that have their brains removed and act as his main forces in his quest. The Hearse is another of his allies, a roaming self controlled four wheeled death machine, and lastly we have the Gravers, who are gas mask wearing slaves who act as guards. All these minions help make The Tall Man a true menace that the world fears and has to combat in order to save their towns from becoming wastelands of death.

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Phantasm has had its share of merchandise and only VHS, DVD and Blu-Ray and other home media releases. Over the years Phantasm and its character The Tall Man have appeared on t-shirts, posters, a comic book, action figures, posters, books, wall clock, hats and many more official and unoffical products. Over the years my most favorite Phantasm item I own is my NECA action figure that not only showcases The Tall Man but also a Lurker.  I also really like my Xmachina Comic as well as an item I will be talking about very shortly. So if you’re a fan of Phantasm and are also a collector of cool things, you can find some very kick butt stuff that showcases characters and the logos for this cult classic horror film.

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In 2009, a Phantasm homebrew video game was made for the Atari 2600 by Scott Dayton.  During its limited release, it was placed on a cart, and I was lucky enough to get a copy of it to play. It’s an adventure game and has you looking around doors in the mausoleum trying to find your shotgun and fighting off the dwarves and dodging The Tall Man who says/screams “Boy” at you. The best part of the game is the midi version of the film’s theme…amazing! While not ground breaking, the game is very much a fun play and makes you flashback to the days when a joystick and one button were all you needed to play a game. While out of print and pretty hard to find, from time to time it will show up on Ebay, and for a high price, you too can get yourself a copy of the horror video game.

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The score music for the 1979 classic Phantasm was done by Fred Myrow and Malcolm Seagrave and could be some of the most memorable horror film music to come out of the 70’s next to Goblin’s Dawn Of The Dead work. The opening theme has a creepy organ sound that blends the sound of the 70’s and yet also mixes in the eerie feel of the 60’s horror score music. The soundtrack has been released on vinyl and CD, and both are pretty much out of print and fetch a very high price in the used market. I was lucky to find a special edition CD release for Phantasm that puts the scores for the first and second film on one CD-R and play the main title during the Halloween show of Alpha Rythms on WYSO. If you’re a music score fan and have extra cash, you should check out this soundtrack as it’s worth buying and listening to.

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Back in 2011 as part of the podcast Gutter Trash’s Halloween special, I was asked to be a guest to review Phantams alongside hosts Jason Young and Eric Shonborn, and wow was it a fun time! We ate take out Chinese food and watched the film over at Eric’s house and after the film recorded the podcast in the Gutter Trash studio….and I was the only one trying to defend it! It was a great time, and if you want to take a trip to the past and listen to some movie and comic geeks chat about Phantasm and other topics, make sure to give it a listen here.

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So we are now in the heart of this Horror Comic Mortuary where good scary comics go to die, and it’s my job to bring them back to life and share them with you my readers – I should warn you that I have had to dodge so many Lurkers who have tried to stop me! I want to thank an Ebay seller for having this issue in stock. I also want to also tell you that this Phantasm comic series was planned to be a four issue mini series, but after Xmachina closed up the comic shop, only one issue was released. But I would like to make a prediction that may could come true; Eibon Press, the new amazing Horror Comic Company who is releasing the missing issues from the Xmachina Gates Of Hell comic series, could take the chance and release the remaining issues..again, just a guess that I could be WAY OFF on. As I am writing this, I can hear a Lurker mumbling this, “Remind them that you grade on a star scale of 1 to 4 and are looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story.” And that Lurker said it best..let’s move onto the Phantasm comic that is the perfect way to countdown to Halloween with as well as kick off my new themed updates “From Horror Movie To Horror Comic” so dodge the spheres and try to outrun The Tall Man and see what this comic has to offer as this is my first time reading it.

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Phantasm # 1 ***
Released in 2002    Cover Price $4.95    Xmachina Comics    # 1 of 4

Mike is stuck in a world of his memories of his past run-ins with The Tall Man and his strange world and followers. He remembers back to when he was convinced it was all a dream and that his brother Jody died in a car crash and was not taken away by The Tall Man.  He also remembers when The Tall Man took him into his world and he witnessed the bizarre and weird place in between dimensions that he walked between.  He remembers going along with his best friend Reggie and meeting a female survivor named Rocky and how they had to fight to stay alive, and he remembers how The Tall Man removes his brain to show him not all is what it seems…and then he wakes up attached to machines, greeted by a hippie looking doctor named John Andrew Quezada who is dream specialist.  The year is 2047, and he has been studding Mike who he claims has been in a coma since 1979, a year after his brother Jody and friend Reggie were both killed in a car wreck.  He also claims that the world went crazy some years back and that many people went into dream comas and that The Tall Man is something that lives in dreams and only one other person has ever lived this long in a coma. Mike is still young as a serum was used to keep him youthful, and now Quezada wants him to help find a cure for the dream coma that is sweeping the world. The woman who survived is Rocky, and Dr. Quezada puts them both through dream tests that pits them against The Tall Man and his army of minions, but also what ever weapon they dream up to fight him with can be made as the clinic has a weapon manufacturing room! In one of his dream tests Mike has his own mind taking the appearance of Reggie telling him that this is all a trick of The Tall Man to get him and Rocky out of the way so he can spread death around the world and that they must fight back and end The Tall Man’s path of destruction. When he awakens, he questions Quezada who in turns answers questions but soon turns into The Tall Man and along with spheres and his minions attack Mike and Rocky, only for them to run away and smack dab into a twisted grotesque version of The Tall Man…and our story ends.

Just like the movie series this is based on this comic took so many twist and turns and was so odd that it fit perfectly into the world of Phantasm! The plot mixes the elements from the four films and tries to twist Mike’s memories into nightmares and say that he has been in a coma for decades – and that The Tall Man is nothing more than a nightmare man who has infected the sleep world of many people on earth causing ones who dream of him to go into comas…this of course is all a trap as Mike and Rocky, a returning character from the film Phantasm III, soon find out that this clinic to help them is just another sick game being played by their most hated enemy The Tall Man. The things that work the most about this issue are that while you are reading it and being drawn deeper and deeper into the possibility that these nightmares of Mike are what’s causing these major and evil problems, you know in the back of your mind that it has to be the work of The Tall Man as his sinister mind games are on par with the Marvel Comic villain The Red Skull as they both get joy in watching their targets squirm as their twisted plans unfold. Mike is a great character as by the point we join him in this comic issue, he has already been through so much and he seems to be fed up with all the strange and sinister antics he has had to deal with in his young life.  Plus he knows that he is the key that can stop this approaching end of the world, and he is ready to take up the fight! Rocky is also a fighter, and she tries her best to have no fear even when the odds are stacked against her.  The best way to describe her to modern horror comic fans is that she is much like Michonne from The Walking Dead. While we see Reggie and Jody in flashbacks mostly, they are missed in the story, but I have a feeling that later on they would have played a major part in the story. Doctor John Andrew Quezada is one of those characters that from the moment you see him you’re not sure if he can be trusted and after getting to know him a little better you lighten up only to again quickly question his motives…is he good or bad or a pawn of The Tall Man…I can’t say for sure, but by the end of this issue, he sure does seem evil! The Tall Man always seems to be around in this issue whether its in flashback, on TV screens or in person, and he just wants to screw things up and mess with the minds of those who can stop his rampage. Tall Man is always also surrounded by his minions and his spheres making him a major threat. The cover has a dark mood look and for some reason The Tall Man looks like he is part Terminator with his glowing red eye.  The interior art is done by Michael Broom and is creepy and fitting for this style of story based on these characters. The story is well crafted and put together by Stephen Romano, who you could truly tell was a fan of the series.  I wish that Xmachina Comics stayed around longer so that this series could have been finished up and we horror comic readers could have seen how the story played out. Here is to hoping that sometime in the future companies like Eibon Press or Rough House Publishing will pick up the series and put out the remaining three issues in the planned miniseries. Over all, this is a great read and something that fans of the film series should track down as well as horror comic readers. Below is artwork from the comic that shows the badass nature of what this comic has in store, so enjoy!

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So I hope you’re not too scared as we have just started with our countdown to Halloween 2016, and I think taking a look at Jaws 2 and Phantasm was the right way to kick off this season. Phantasm is one of those cult classic films that has a loyal fanbase that just cannot be beat, and I for one will always stand by the fact that I am a fan, or as they say Phan, of this film! Our next update is a comic based on another film that I am a super fan of, the 1932 classic film Dracula.  We will be taking a look at the Dark Horse Comic adaptation of that Universal Monster Classic as well as Lugosi’s Dracula and the impact it has had on society.  So make sure to join me back here for that as you will not want to miss it.  Until next time, avoid The Tall Man, watch a horror movie or two, read a horror comic or three and as always support your local Horror Host. Also watch out for flying spheres as they can be a real pain in the neck!

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Rotten Pixels

This update I think I am going to take a break from comics and films and talk about another great past time for me:  video games.  So I’m dubbing this one Rotten Pixels. I grew up in the prime time for gaming and was a fan of home gaming consoles from the start.  While I never owned a Atari 2600, a childhood neighbor named Brad Burns did when I lived in Waynesville and I remember playing games like E.T., Superman and Raiders of the Lost Ark and being captivated. A few years later my parents got my brother and I a Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) for Christmas after our cousins Dino and Norman showed us the wonders of Super Mario Brothers, Ninja Gaiden and Contra. The system was a hit at the Brassfield house, and even my parents would play on occasion.  My Mom liked playing Mario, while my Dad would play sports games like Blades of Steel and WCW Wrestling against us. Those times spent playing the system with my family will forever be amazing memories. The games that seemed to capture my attention were games based with horror themes like Castlevania, Friday the 13th and Ghost and Goblins.  The more monsters, the better, I always thought.

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As time passed, we moved up to a Sega Genesis that we bought off a guy Bryan went to school with for $30.00.  While the system had better graphics and some amazing games like Sonic the Hedgehog, Altered Beast and Golden Axe, it failed for the most part in the horror department.  While some great horror games would come out like Castlevania Bloodlines and Splatterhouse 2-3, the system was bogged down with some off the wall and down right crappy movie tie in games like Bram Stokers Dracula, Marry Shelly’s Frankenstein and The Lawnmower Man. The Sega Genesis years for me belonged to the super hero games like Captain America and the Avengers, Spider-Man Maximum Carnage and Incredible Hulk.  While I still loved a good spooky horror game the games were just not being made as fast leaving me fighting super villains and not horror icons. The Super Nintendo would come along, and my brother would be the one to take that step and get the system when we moved to Kettering.  While the system had great games, once more I found it had the same bad horror film game tie ins and even less horror games coming.

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We made the next move to Nintendo 64, and while it was a solid system, the lack of horror inspired games led this to be the system of “name brands” for me like Super Mario 64, Legend of Zelda Ocrina of Time and Goldeneye. But in 1995 Sony released the Playstation, and things would never be the same.  The system had many great titles and a ton of horror games that become known as survival horror, making this my favorite system and making me a loyal Playstation buyer. Games like Clock Tower 1-2, Resident Evil 1-3, Silent Hill, D and Nightmare Creatures 1-2 kept the gamer in me happy with chilling monster filled games. But during this time there was also a lack of games based on horror films, something that continues to this day.  Sure, every once in a while we will get a game like PS2’s Underworld: The Eternal War and Microsoft Xbox’s Land of the Dead: The Road to Fiddlers Green, but the Underworld game was a European only release, and Land of the Dead was a rushed mess.  But back to the system at hand, Sony Playstation would have many horror inspired games come out during its run like Evil Dead Hail to the King , Juggernaut, Over Blood, Legacy of Kain, Dino Crisis, Castlevania Symphony of the Night to name a few. I spent many of late nights in my room or in the family room playing these chilling games alone or with great friends like Jason Gilmore and Andrea Seay, and enjoying every spooky moment. The PSX had a few movie tie-ins that were based on horror/sci-fi films like Evil Dead, The Crow and Alien. Then In 2000 the Playstation 2 was released and like its predecessor it had a nice amount of Survival Horror games released including sequels to Resident Evil, Silent Hill, Evil Dead and Clock Tower, and introduced new series like Siren and Fatal Frame.

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In 2006, the Playstation 3 was released and along with it came HD survival horror games! Resident Evil, Silent Hill, Siren, Splatterhouse and Castlevania all have sequels that came out with top notch graphics and continued the amazing story lines. The PS3 also had horror writer and director Clive Barker help make a game called Jericho.  Konami released games based on the SAW movies to be a companion to their popular Silent Hill franchise.  There were many more great games like the goofy cult classic Red Seeds Profile, zombie first person shooter Dead Island, and the F.E.A.R. series that added end of the world themes with the supernatural.  These are just a handful of amazing titles that have come out on this amazing system. While they are not the best of the PS3 horror titles, the SAW games are some entertaining games that show that horror films CAN make some good solid games! Kanomi has only released two in the series and there is a rumor of a third game which, as a fan I am hoping will come.

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In 2013, PS3 and Xbox 360 were supposed to get a game based on Childs Play’s killer Chucky! TikGames is the company that making the game, and they claim that in game you will play as Chucky and spend the time plotting against and killing all those who are in your way. The downside to the game is that as of this point it will not be a disc based game but a download only title that it appears will not feature the voice talents of Brad Dourif who has voiced the doll killer in five films. While I am hyped for the game I am still a little let down in the game’s handling, and I feel like the download games are most the time just throw away games. As you can see by these pics at least his look is well done. But as of late 2012, it looks like this game has been canceled.

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I could go on and on about video games, but that’s not the full reason for this update.  The main reason is the fact that there are many horror films that would lend themselves to becoming amazing video games for a present generation system (aka PS3, XBOX 360, WII).  So I would like to do a Top 20 list of films that should be made into games.  I chose from a list of many, and it was hard to choose just 20, but I was able to limit down my list and choose ones that would lend themselves to the gaming world. But enough of the build up, let’s start the list with a nice runner up one that came close to making the final cut.

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# 21.) Puppet Master Series

Andre Toulon is a puppeteer who has the secret to turn his puppets into living, killing beings! At first Toulon used his puppets for good to fight the Nazi’s that were responsible for the death of his wife. But after his suicide, others used the Puppets for evil as did Toulon when his secret formula later brought him back to life. The Puppets (Blade, Jester, Pinhead, Miss Leech, Torch, Six Shooter, Tunneler) have become good and bad guys and have dispatched  ancient demons and even had a fight with The Demonic Toys, another film series from Full Moon Pictures. What the game could be about is that at first you play as Alex Whitaker (psychic from the first film) who must find a way to fight and capture the puppets and turn them from evil to good at Bodega Bay Inn and must use them to help stop a evil cult who wants to steal the secrets of the puppets for an evil plot. The rest of the game is spent playing with your choice of a team of three from all the puppets and using them to fight back against the cult. While the game at this point would not be a huge IP (Intellectual property) for a company to pick up, its cult following and 11 films done and one on the way proves this franchise has a good fan base.

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# 20.) Rawhead Rex

Clive Barker’s short story of the same name from The Books of Blood Volume 3 came to the silver screen in 1987 and told the story of a pagan god who was released onto the countryside of Ireland and an author who must risk his life and that of his family in order to stop the killing machine once and for all. The film’s subject would be a perfect fit for a video game as Rawhead would be the main boss and his followers, the goons you must fight off. Rawhead would pop up through out the game and give chase much like Nemesis in Resident Evil 3. It would be great if the character you are is caught off guard from the start of the game and must use whatever he can find to fight off the crazed followers. The gameplay would be very close to Silent Hill and Red Seeds Profile and would have the vast world of Ireland’s countryside complete with farms, barns and small towns. The movie, while very low key and having a cult status, should be and should have been made into a bloody good survival horror game.

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# 19.) Wishmaster

 A evil Djinn grants wishes to those who posses a gem that binds him to do the bidding of the owner.  The Djinn, who can become more powerful by capturing the soul of the possessor, must do so to bring on the end of mankind and the age of the Djinn’s. The film sparked three sequels, and while the second in the series had the same Djinn, the following two sequels had a new one showing that there is more than one of the powerful beings. The game would be a fun one that would have the player making the mistake of waking the Djinn from the gem and causing chaos all around them, with many Djinn’s and the fact they can use their power to create monsters and have the ability to steal the looks of those they choose.  It would make this game a fun time trying to figure out who is friend and who is foe. They could get all crazy with enemies and backgrounds given the fact the villains are so powerful and will be as cruel as possible to get what ever they want. Plus getting Andrew Divoff who played the Djinn from the first two would be a must to voice him again for the game. This could make a great PS3 game and would have also made a great PSX game. While the series has lost a little steam in this day and age, it still leaves itself wide open for a good game.

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# 18.) Phantom of the Opera (1925)

At the Opera House in Paris, a deformed madman roams the sewers causing terror and killing those who go against his wishes to turn a young singer (Christine) into the star of the show. But the singer’s lover Raoul wants to marry her and take her away from the demanding Phantom.  This clash leaves people dead and the Phantom being hunted like a wild animal. The game could follow the aftermath of the film and follow up to what happens when the Phantom who is believed to be dead is in fact not and sets out to get his songbird back, leaving the player to control Raoul having to find Christine who has been kidnapped in the underbelly of France. Besides the Phantom the player would have to also beat rats and vagrants that have been hired by Phantom to stop him at all cost. This could be a mix between a game like SAW and Uncharted and mix horror, action and puzzles together to force Raoul to stop the madman and rescue the lovely lady. The look of the Phantom would have to be taken from this 1925 version and keep the whole Lon Chaney Sr. look of the character.  It would also be cool if his grandchild Ron Chaney would lend his voice to the Phantom character. The legacy of The Phantom of the Opera has lived on not only in the reprints of the novel the whole property is based around, but also in stage and film making the character a classic in the world of horror. I think TellTale Games would be the perfect company to make this one come to life.

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The Phantom has made it to a few games for the PC.  The first is called “The Return of the Phantom,” a game that is very similar to the idea I would want but is one of those early point & click adventures.  The second is “Mystery Legends Phantom of the Opera,” both helping tide over fans of the character. And if ya need more Phantom there was also a pinball machine made by Data East for arcades. So PC gamers they have gotten a Phantom fix, but what about us home console guys, why are we left out in the cold?

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# 17.) Tombs of the Blind Dead

The Knights Templar were the Catholic Church’s right hand men and were the warriors who spread the word of God, until they were all set up and murdered by the same church they worked for and were accused of witchcraft. The Knights were blinded by fire pokers before they were killed, and for this the Knights placed a curse on the small European town that they were executed in. Years later they return as blind zombies to get their revenge and make all pay for their wrongful deaths. The series of films featured them in old ruins and even on a ghost ship showing you cannot escape the blind dead who hear you breath and your heartbeat. The film had three sequels and a handful of copycat films making it a very well loved iconic Spanish horror series.  So if you have not seen them, I recommend them. The game could take place in the small town and could follow you and a group of other survivors as you must survive the night of the Blind Dead’s attack.  Guns, torches, swords and blunt objects are your weapons, and the game will send you into harm’s way many times to save fellow men from what could be their deaths.  Everything in town can be used and every building is open for hiding because the main focus of the game is to save others and survive! The game’s path can change whether or not you are able to save people in your group and depending on the amount you don’t affects your ending. The game could also be multiplayer and would allow you and friends to try and survive the night of terror. This game would fit in perfect with the zombie craze that is sweeping the consoles now and is one that could appeal to fans of the film and those who don’t know the series.

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# 16.) Leprechaun Series

Forget about Lucky from Lucky Charms cereal, this pint sized terror is an overprotective mean magical terror of his pot of gold and will murder you and your friends to get it back! A family moves into an old house and after taking a dried up four leaf clover off a box a newly freed Leprechaun torments them. His weakness is not only the power of the four leaf clover but also that of dirty shoes that he feels like he must clean. The Leprechaun has been in a total of seven films and has been to Las Vegas, Space and even the Hood twice.  He kills in all types of silly yet fun ways, and delivers funny rhymed remarks while doing so. The game could take place with a group of friends who stumble upon his gold and make the mistake of splitting it and making themselves the target of the pint sized terror. This one would be fun to play as either the human who must get the gold back from his friends and or stop the Leprechaun or you could play as Leprechaun and avoid the means of defeating you from the thieves and collect all your gold back. This is just a small idea that would make for a good cheap download game, but I know that there is a full disc-based game to be made with some other idea beyond what I’ve come up with here. This character lends itself to the world of video games and with the cult following, it could easily be a good selling game as well. Warwick Davis is a must to voice Leprechaun and it would be nice to see the look captured in video game form as well. With a reboot of the series in the works for 2013 from Lions Gate and WWE, there might be some hope this film series might get the game treatment.

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# 15.) Phantasm

After the death of a long time friend, brothers Mike & Jody and ice cream man Reggie go to the funeral and find out that the new mortician called the Tall Man is not what he seems.  He is super strong, super tall, loves the cold and controls hooded dwarves and silver flying spheres that can kill a man in seconds! Tall Man has spread death and chaos around the world for many years and wants to ruin the whole world. This amazing yet odd series has four films total and begs to be made into a video game that could be almost an official number 5 in the film series that seems to have had problems for years getting made. The game could finish the storyline that has been presented into the films and could have you play as Reggie and Mike and have them go to war with Tall Man and his followers.  You would have to switch between the two depending on the mission and at times the two would have to complete a mission together. I would love to see this game made, and it should have all the actors from the films voice the characters they played in the films.  It would be a must to have Angus Scrimm voice the Tall Man. Someone should pitch this idea to director and creator Don Coscarelli and a game studio and get this game made! Also when you die, Tall Man should say “You Played a Good Game..But You Died” then laugh…that would be amazing!

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I should also mention for gamers who still have an Atari 2600, they can get their hands on a fan made game cart based on this popular film series.  It’s a maze-based game and plays like an early version of Final Fantasy. The game has not only Tall Man and the dwarves but also an amazing midi version of the films main theme. This is a must have game for fans of the film series and all that’s horror for the Atari 2600. Copies of this cart pop up on Ebay from time to time so keep your eyes open. I happen to be the proud owner of a copy of the game, and I must say while simple, it is a fun gaming experience.

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# 14.) The Howling

The Howling series is one that’s run for a total of 8 films so far and for the most part each follow a different town with different issues dealing with werewolves. The first film follows TV reporter Karen White who helps in the capture and killing of a brutal serial killer whom she thinks turned into a beast before he was gunned down. The station sends her away to a nice resort to relax but instead she finds out that she is in the company of a town filled with werewolves and the killer she thought to be dead is back and is in fact a werewolf! The sequel to the film had Karen’s brother trying to get to the bottom of his sister’s torment and fighting the queen of werewolves. While low budget after the original, the series has a wide open door to making a good video game and has enough characters and locations to keep it fresh. It would be great if in the game you must escape the resort only to find that the whole town is werewolves and it becomes a race to escape the hellish location. Throw in key werewolves from the other films in the series and bam, you have a great survival horror game like Resident Evil that substitutes the zombies for werewolves. Or another idea could be that you are a hunter who goes to different locations from the films to kill off werewolves, you see one of them killed your wife and now you want revenge on them all. This one also could be a first person shooter and support motion controllers. Or one last idea would have you play Ian the werewolf from part 6 and have him at war with other werewolves, that way you can have them fight! While this series does have some stinkers, it still could be a fun cheap IP that could make for an entertaining gaming experience.

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# 13.) The Hills Have Eyes

The Carter family goes out into the desert looking for an old family mine, and while on the quest they suffer some car issues that lead to them fighting for their lives against an inbreed family lead by the father named Jupiter.  The death toll rises and only one family will make it out alive. The film spawned an official sequel and a remake that also had a sequel. The game could take place in the desert and would have you playing as a new family that finds themselves the target of the hills family.  The goal of the game would be to rescue and dispatch the cannibal family before you and yours become dinner. It would be a prequel as well that way you can add in all of the family and show a little backstory of who and what they do, and as well they could make up and add new family members. The plot of the game could also take many twists and turns and could really build up the suspense and horror of what this family does. It should be based on the original films and not the remakes and must have Pluto look like Michael Berryman, and include the rest of the family and from the first and second film making this a full tie in. This one could be made and while the IP is not a major household name if the right amount of survival horror and terror is placed in the playing experience I am sure horror gamers would check it out. I would like to see Rock Star or Konami handle this title.

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# 12.) SCREAM

Sidney Prescott is a teenage girl who is dealing with the murder of her mother and the relationship she has with her boyfriend. But when fellow classmates are being slaughtered and she gets haunting phone calls, she becomes the focus of a killers sick game.  The killer known as “Ghostface” is out for blood and fame, and Sidney must fight to stay alive and to figure out who the killer is! This one also was made to be a video game and with the graphics and advanced programing this could be an amazing game! The game again could play like Silent Hill mixed slightly with Resident Evil and could follow you as Sidney Prescott or another young lady who is being stalked by Ghostface and how you must find who the killer is and save those he has also targeted. I know many people have said they would like to play as the killer but to me that would not be as fun as trying to survive his attack. With the The Weinstein Company getting into the video game business with the birth of TWC Games, one would think it’s only a matter of time that a home console gets a game based on this film series. Fans want a game as you can see by this “fake” PS3 cover.

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TWC Games did make a Scream 4 game, but sadly it’s just an iPod/cell phone game and to me those are not really true games they are just small games for none gamers who play the games while waiting. In the game you play as Ghostface and must kill your target and avoid being captured by the cops. So with this I must say come on TWC Games get on making a full game for PS3 and Xbox 360.

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# 11.) Hammer Frankenstein Series

Doctor Victor Frankenstein is a man hell bent on creating life and finding the secrets of life and death.  Along the way he doesn’t care who he has to kill or swindle to get what he wants. After many failed attempts to create life Victor has been hung, been burnt and attacked by his own monsters many times.  If fact when we last see him, he is a patient in a mental hospital who is in fact running it.  The Hammer Frankenstein series has a total of seven films and every installment has a different monster! Victor Frankenstein was played by the amazing british actor Peter Cushing who American fans also know as Grand Moff Tarkin in Star Wars.  In fact David Prowse who played two monsters in the series was also the man in the Darth Vader suit! The series left itself wide open for another sequel and what better way then to do one in the video game world.  It could take place in the asylum and have you play as The Baron as the inmates have turned on you.  You working on a new monster, but something goes wrong as you must battle your old monsters from the past.  All the creatures from the past seven films could be present and you must destroy them and your new creature all the while trying to escape the inmates, guards and monsters. Or you could play as a man who has had his girlfriend kidnapped by Victor who has taken a shine to her and has decided she will be his.  So you travel to the asylum and must battle inmates and all the monsters of the past that have been rebuilt by Victor in order to save your woman. This would be a Hammer fan’s dream, and this could happen if Hammer that has now been reopened decides to get into the growing game market. I would line up to play a game based on this series, and I am sure many others would as well. I would like to see Konami, Capcom or THQ tackle this one.

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Well this is the end of the first wish list for horror films that should be video games, and we have made it from 20 to 11 and have even had one bonus film! To me it’s odd that more film companies have not gotten into the game business.  I mean WB has been in and has made a killing on their Batman titles. Universal has gotten kind of into the game world with working alongside companies like Telltale Games and TikGames to bring Back to the Future, Jurassic Park and the soon to released Childs Play to gaming consoles, and even Paramount has released new games based on Days of Thunder and Top Gun. The Weinstein Company has said they will be making games when the only thing that has been released is a cell phone game based on Scream, and one company that should get into the gaming market is Lions Gate that owns the rights to many horror properties that could make great games.  I mean Lions Gate has the new Texas Chainsaw Massacre movie coming out made by the people who did the SAW series and what’s keeping them from teaming with Konami and Zombie Studios to make a game based around Leatherface and his family? Well while you try and figure out the answer I will see you all back for part 2!