They’ve leapt off the silver screen into our nightmares, but in recent years the big icons of horror cinema have made the jump to video games.
Some of horror's biggest stars are as old as gaming itself, from the Atari 2600 era in the early 1980's all the way up to the modern-day Playstation 4.
From Michael Myers being rendered in 8-bit to the Xenomorph from 'Alien' chasing players around a spaceship in glorious HD, the history of the horror star in gaming is long and varied.
Did you catch 'Halloween Kills' in the cinema and ever wonder what it would be like to face off against Michael Myers or better yet, play as the man himself?
The format of video games has you covered.
The boy from Haddonfield has faced off everyone from Donald Pleasence to Busta Rhymes, and over the years "The Shape" himself has made many video game appearances.
His video game debut was a simple 2D affair, collecting points along the way while John Carpenter's iconic theme music is rendered in 8-bit form.
The 2000’s saw Rob Zombie take a stab at the 'Halloween' franchise, and as was the style at the time, a Flash game was released to promote the 2007 'Halloween' remake.
Aptly titled ‘Michael Myers Rampage’, the player assumes the role of Michael Myers, and you slice and dice your way through Haddonfield.
As this gameplay video shows, it’s a video game befitting of the Rob Zombie aesthetic; it’s nasty, trashy and gory and makes no apologies for it.
'Call Of Duty' introduced Michael Myers himself as a downloadable character, complete with John Carpenter’s iconic music in 2013’s ‘Call Of Duty: Ghosts’.
More recently, the popular survival game ‘Dead By Daylight’ allowed players to play as Myers in a proper horror setting, adding him to the roster with fellow horror icons Freddy Krueger, Pinhead from ‘Hellraiser’ and Ghostface from the ‘Scream’ movies.
An enterprising fan has created a free-to-play game simply titled ‘Halloween’ where the player must evade Michael Myers.
Using Unreal Engine 4, the game looks great for a fan-made asset, and while it’s not the real thing, it’s a spirited effort at capturing the spirit and vibe of the franchise.
The game can be downloaded here.
Another icon of horror cinema, Freddy Krueger has made plentiful video game appearances; not surprising, considering the films establishing the man himself as a gamer.
Bursting onto the horror scene in Wes Craven’s seminal 1984 classic ‘A Nightmare On Elm Street’ the burned-face boogeymen of our dreams has been a presence in video games since the 1980s.
Freddy’s first foray into the digital world came in 1989 with a game on the Commodore 64 and PC, and is still playable in Dos form.
A loose retelling of the 1987 sequel (and writer's personal favourite Freddy flick) ‘Dream Warriors’, the game sees players wander around a maze-like environment, trying to find clues all the while trying to avoid Freddy Krueger.
The game is played from a top-down perspective but the core gameplay loop will be familiar to anyone who has played the likes of a ‘Slenderman’ game in the early 2010s; Freddy can appear anywhere when you’re looking for something that advances the plot.
You can choose to play as any of the Dream Warriors, and should you meet your end at the hands of Freddy, he will toss out a patented wisecrack.
1990 saw Rare, of future ‘Goldeneye 007’ and ‘Donkey Kong Country’ fame put out a 'Nightmare On Elm Street' game, and featured what was for the time a very novel feature.
If a player had 3 extra controllers and friends to hand, along with the NES Four-Score (or "multi-tap") you could all team up to battle Freddy together.
In a clever twist, the game had a ‘sleep meter’ which players had to top up with coffee and the like in order to stave off Freddy.
It is a great example of how an idea from the film can be explored in video game form, and for that reason alone, the game is worth seeking out.
The initial plan was to let players to play as Freddy Krueger, but considering the game was coming out on a family-friendly Nintendo console, the plan was scrapped.
Players would have to wait until 2011’s ‘Mortal Kombat’ reboot for a chance to play as "The Springwood Slasher", with Freddy being available as a downloadable character.
In the ‘Mortal Kombat’ universe, people getting chopped up and disembowelled is par for the course, so Freddy was a natural fit for the roster.
For purists, the likeness and voice is that of Jackie Earle Haley from the 2010 reboot, so hardcore fans wanting to play as Robert Englund’s Freddy were out of luck.
Freddy Krueger was added as a playable character in ‘Dead By Daylight’ in 2017, once again bearing the likeness of 2010 reboot Freddy.
Freddy seems a natural fit for the ‘Dead By Daylight’ universe, with his dream-like, shape-shifting abilities a perfect match for video games, and the game does a good job of weaving in Mr. Krueger.
Another 80s icon who started his video game career in the decade he became famous, Jason Voorhees is notable as the horror movie icon with a recent hit video game under his belt.
Jason’s foray into video games started on Commodore 64, PC, and ZX Spectrum in 1985’s aptly titled ‘Friday The 13th: The Computer Game’ which is notable for being relatively gory as far as 80s games went.
Mr. Voorhees’ next video game outing arrived on the NES in 1989 and is notable for being developed by Atlus, the Japanese developer behind the critically-acclaimed 'Persona' franchise.
In stark contrast with the avalanche of praise and adoration 'Persona 5' received in 2017, their 'Friday The 13th' game was critically panned.
After a successful Kickstarter campaign, Jason received a big-budget game for the modern generation in 2017, in ‘Friday The 13th: The Game’.
The game is as faithful an adaptation one can expect, with references galore to the films, unlockable different Jasons, and perhaps most crucially, it captures the spirit of the movies perfectly.
Teaming up with other camp councillors to fend off Jason while waiting for the police or Tommy Jarvis to arrive is a singularly thrilling experience.
The game can be played offline with bots, with the player assuming control of Jason, but the game’s bread and butter is online.
The games unpredictability offers massive replay value, and is well worth seeking out this Halloween.
Owing to legal issues surrounding rights with the series creators, the game is no longer being updated with new content, but the servers are still up at time of writing.
Jason showed up in 2015’s ‘Mortal Kombat X’ as a playable character, with his patented machete serving as a key component of his fatality kills.
There is something about the design and idea of the Alien creature that makes it so fitting for video games.
The iconic HR Geiger designed creature has featured in many games involving guns, from 1992’s ‘Alien 3’ which is a run-and-gun game in the style of Contra, and 1996’s ‘Alien Trilogy’ for the Playstation 1 and Sega Saturn, but it is 2014’s ‘Alien: Isolation’ that stands as one of the most terrifying experiences in gaming.
The 2014 game was a surprise critical and commercial hit in large part being a love letter to the iconography of the films, but for also being pants-wetting terrifying.
Switching the perspective to first-person was a masterstroke of game design, and making the Alien’s AI unpredictable with each passing level makes for a one-of-a-kind experience where you’re never sure where the beast from the darkest stars is lurking.
Seeing that slimy and shimmering xenomorph snaking around the ship is a pulse-pounding affair, and will leave you sleeping with the lights on for weeks.
The granddaddy of modern horror film stars, the ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ star brought his unorthodox, lumbering style to 2015’s ‘Mortal Kombat X’.
Leatherface fits in surprisingly well in the 'Mortal Kombat' roster, and adding in such an iconic horror character to a fighting game solves a lot of hypothetical pub arguments; yes, Leatherface could probably beat Johnny Cage or Predator, but not Jason.
Leatherface received a side-scrolling game in the Atari 2600 era by the same developers as the 'Halloween' game, but owing to violent content, it found a hard time selling in a 1983 marketplace.
Leatherface's chainsaw sounding more like a 'go' signal at a pedestrian crossing than the real thing significantly dampens the impact.
For more horror movie talk, check out our article discussing why most horror sequels suck!