While there are individual exceptions, it's a truism that video game movies tend to be bad. Churned out for a quick buck with a built-in fan base, there's rarely any actual care or effort put into them, and it's going to be a cold day in hell before they get any sort of serious critical acclaim.
While everybody points to Super Mario Bros. and Double Dragon as examples of abysmal game movies, it's the horror games that usually the get real short end of the stick. It's a shame too, because there's some amazing material to be mined in horror gaming, but most of the time the transition to screen results in an unwatchable mess.
Of course you're going to find a lot of Uwe Boll here as we round up the worst of the worst, but he's not the only one who has taken fun game series and turned them into utterly awful movie franchises.
The entire Resident Evil series
I'll grant you the first one was watchable, fun even (but certainly no masterpiece) while each subsequent entry tried to outdo its predecessors in the "unrelentingly awful" category.
It's unclear why those involved with the franchise decided to totally abandoned the storylines and character arcs from the games to go in baffling directions, but needless to say it never worked out for the better.
There's one moment in particular I'll never forget from this series. Sitting there drinking with some friends, we're all staring in slack-jawed awe at the nonsense assaulting our eyes as a flock of very badly rendered CGI ravens attacked a post-apocalyptic convoy in Resident Evil: Extinction. The Birds somehow invaded Resident Evil, and it was even worse than I could have imagined.
I didn't even bother with any of the films past that point, and based on the review scores they garnered, it seems like I made the right life decision there.
House Of The Dead
There's a gajillion bad zombie movies out there if you take the time to look for them, so a truly bad zombie video game movie seemed like a given.
What's unexpected is both how bad this is, and how little it had to do with the arcade shooter series. Picking this one up off the rental wall one Friday night when it first saw DVD release was my introduction to Uwe Boll's gleeful destruction of video game franchises.
House Of The Dead II
Hold on now, there was a sequel to that crapfest? Yes there was, on the only place that would take it: the severely spelling-challenged SyFy channel.
Yep, the brilliant minds behind Sharknado and the Megashark Vs. titles apparently saw the first movie and went “amazing, let's do a made-for-TV sequel!” The end result is absolutely as bad as you'd assume it would be.
The fact that Lionsgate disabled comments on the DVD trailer below ought to tell you everything you need to know...
I remember years ago seeing a poster at a local shop for a game called Samurai Bikini Squad and thought to myself: this is going to be the greatest thing ever. Then I played it, and dropped into a deep existential despair.
Somebody in Japan (who presumably hates both cinema and all meaningful life) decided to make that game into a movie. The fact that there was then a direct-to-DVD sequel sort of bums me out.
Alone In The Dark
Ugh, this one physically hurts. There's so much that could be done with this long-running series, from Lovecraftian cosmic horror to zombies, ghost stories and more. Somehow this is the nonsense we actually got: Christian Slater battling a bad CGI alien. Any guesses as to the director? His name rhymes with roll.
Silent Hill: Revelation 3D
You know nothing for appearing in this movie Jon Snow (yes, Kit Harington was in this movie)... Seriously though, how did they muck this up so badly after the surprisingly well-executed original?
I'm going to break ranks with many in the gaming community here for a moment and gush over that the first Silent Hill, which wasn't just good, it was legitimately awesome. That scene of Alessa dancing while blood rains down, and Christabella is being torn apart from the inside out by sentient barbed wire is one of the most effective in horror movie history.
Contrast that with the bizarre direction, major plot holes, and awful effects of the pointlessly 3D sequel. This follow-up movie was completely lacking in any entertainment and featured some truly abysmal visuals (the screen distortion effects during the mall clown scene was a particular low point looking like direct-to-DVD quality).
We're officially back in Boll country again, so you should already know what to expect. A word like "cheesy" doesn't even begin to cover what's on display here. I'm honestly baffled that they managed to get Ben Kingsley on board for Bloodrayne. Maybe Uwe held his family hostage or something?
Five Nights At Freddy's
Yes, yes, I know, this movie isn't even out yet, but I'm calling it now: this is going to be hilariously bad.
The big screen adaptation of Scott Cawthon's never ending jump scare series is due to be directed by Gil Kenan (who also directed the Poltergeist remake and episode of the TV version of Scream).
But hey, maybe I'll be wrong and this will somehow be randomly awesome. The latest game Sister Location wasn't half bad for a FNAF entry, so there's always hope I suppose. But don't hold your breath.
How many of these abysmal game-to-movie adaptations have you managed to sit through, and what movies should have made our list that are just as bad?
If you love bad movies then don't worry, there's bound to be many, many more cash grabbing horror game crossovers coming soon.
I can't imagine that the planned Dante's Inferno or Castlevania movies are going to be worth seeing, but for those wanting a more serious viewing experience, The Last Of Us (currently stuck in development hell) is actually source material that could make a legitimately good film - if all previous game movie history is somehow overcome.