And the directors we’d put behind them
Impressed by that seven-minute Mortal Kombat: Rebirth pitch video to Warner Bros. that slammed onto the web, courtesy of director Kevin Tancharoen? I’ll have to admit a familiar tickle of deranged giddiness crept back in watching it. The same sort of adolescent excitement that ignited my imagination at the thought of seeing some of my favorite video games brought to life on the big screen. Still, history has shown we’ve had more duds thanâ¦well, you can’t exactly call them winners, because those games-turned-films that achieved a modicum of success either deviated from the material or could arguably be labeled as “passable” at best, depending on your tastes. The Kombat teaser got me thinking (uh-oh) about which games I’ve personally wanted to see adapted. In no particular order, let’s begin with…
Director Wish List: Joe Lynch (Wrong Turn 2) , Patrick Lussier/Todd Farmer (My Bloody Valentine), Dave Parker (The Hills Run Red)
Let’s be perfectly honest. This game draws upon a lot of films for its inspiration. Shades of The Evil Dead and Re-Animator bleed through every archaic, crimson pixel. The hockey mask, ahem, “terror mask” that haunts the games, and its protagonist Rick, liberally borrows from the Friday the 13th series (insofar that, at one point, the mask had to be colored differently for a release of the game). It predates “The Mask” comic book, but similarities arise between the two properties in that their masks grant a massive transformation. In the case of Splatterhouse‘s Rick puts on the supernatural “terror mask” and turns into a muscle-bound meathead. This is comes in handy when traversing the halls of the West Mansion destroying sundry beasts (Splatterhouse 2 was my introduction to beating the shit out of walking, mutated fetuses) to rescue his girlfriend.
Regardless of the horror movie nods, Splatterhouse‘s storyline presents a solid backbone. Over the course of the first three games, Rick – a parapsychology student – tries to rescue his girl. He loses his girl and is later tormented by guilt and the mask, is called back into action to get his girl back, they get married, have a kid and then their kid is put in peril. There’s something there to work with and, hell, if audiences can buy Tobey Maquire going from a tight-laced nerd to a strapped, lean little runt showing off his muscles in front of a mirror in Spider-Man, Rick’s metamorphosis can be made plausible. Put a splatter hound like Joe Lynch or Dave Parker on to direct, or the deviant duo Patrick Lussier and Todd Farmer to direct and write, respectively, and you might just have a balls-to-the-wall, heavy metal fright fest that lives up to its name and would make the MPAA censors squirm.
Director Wish List: Neil Marshall (The Descent), Neill Blomkamp (District 9), Vincenzo Natali (Splice)
The gaming experience delivered white-knuckle tension and caused sweat-inducing anxiety. It was unmerciful and graphic. Hands-down, still one of the scariest f’in games I’ve ever played. A film adaptation would have a lot to live up to as it followed engineer Isaac Clarke’s various missions on the “planet cracker” known as the USG Ishimura, his encounter with the Necromorphs (resurrected corpses that have been turned into revolting, flesh-tearing killing machines) and the search for the Marker, a relic discovered by the Ishimura’s crew.
The film would be a practical FX shop’s wet dream and in the hands of a skilled director, there’s the potential to explore unbearable claustrophobia and darkness. Keep Peter Mensah as Sgt. Hammond, and obviously make Clarke a vocal character (he says nothing in the game). For Neil Marshall, this could be his Aliens. Under the direction of Neill Blomkamp or Vicenzo Natali, the far out premise might be grounded in reality. The possibilities are endless, just try to avoid turning it into Virus. Right now, it’s in the hands of Disturbia‘s D.J. Caruso, so who knows what we’ll get…
ZOMBIES ATE MY NEIGHBORS!
Director Wish List: Joe Dante (Gremlins), Andrew Currie (Fido)
That’s right, the early â90s monster mash is an absolute favorite of mine and it’s the only Sega Genesis game I won’t let go of. The premise is simple, you choose to control either Zeke or Julie and you run around assorted levels with your water gun and sundry weapons blasting the pus out of the walking dead, setting fire to carnivorous plants and turning a bazooka on masked killers. Oh, and there’s danger to contend with in the form of sand worms, vampires, werewolves, giant toddlers, blobs, ray gun-carrying aliens and Chucky-inspired lunatic dolls.
On the screen, this could be a loving nod to horror films from every decade while playing out like a modern-day Monster Squad. Give it that “Amblin” feel, make it adventurous, franchise the shit out of it and, hell, give it to Joe Dante – something he can be passionate about again. Another guy that comes to mind who would give it a unique look: Andrew Currie, who went retro with Fido.
GHOULS ‘N GHOSTS
Director Wish List: Christopher Smith (Black Death), Don Coscarelli (Phantasm)
Why the hell not? Another gem from my adolescence, I had a blast as the knight Arthur, skewering myriad creatures in an attempt to rescue Princess Prin Prin’s soul (okay, that name has to go). The big bads were cool, if a bit easy to kill: From the murderous cloud with an eyeball, the Lovecraftian water creature that erupted slugs from its abdomen to, of course, Lucifer (and just what the hell were those floating orbs with lion faces anyway?).
Film adaptation-wise, it’d never work today. It’s just downright silly. However, snag Christopher Smith (who just did the period piece Black Death), throw him in a time machine and send him back to the early to mid-’80s. Then you can pull it off a la Krull or Dragonslayer. Better yet, hop in that time machine and track down Don Coscarelli. Pull him off Beastmaster and give him this!
Director Wish List: Pascal Laugier (Martyrs), Xavier Gens (Frontier(s))
Serial Crime Unit investigator Ethan Thomas’ search for a serial killer is ripe for the screen. And if a seasoned writer can string together the events of the first and second game – which involves a murderer dubbed Serial Killer X and raging homeless people – one wicked, furthermore frightening, picture can come together. What I’ve played of the games literally made me lose my grip on the controller due to frayed nerves. Like Dead Space above, you capture that fear of the dark and that non-stop adrenaline rush, this would make a helluva film. To get the job done right, I think you’d have to look overseas to renegade filmmakers Pascal Laugier or Xavier Gens, or maybe the cats behind Inside, Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury. But my money is on Gens who’s capable of both action and horror.
RESIDENT EVIL REBOOT
Director Wish List: Greg Nicotero (KNB EFX)
Based on a script by: George Romero
I’ve read ol’ Romero’s original script for Capcom’s Resident Evil. Let’s not be blinded by the fact that it’s a zombie pro handling one of the best zombie games out there, the script was “okay” at best. It was immensely faithful, from what I recall. And big on scale, too, but the characters were a mess. So, a script overhaul to tidy it up is necessary.
Like many of you out there, I’d like to see a proper Resident Evil film made. I’ve voiced my apathy for Paul W.S. Anderson’s series here on the site before. I think the films in it serviceable junk food at best. But, man, to venture into the Raccoon City mansion and get the wits scared out of you properly with the dogs, the crows, the Hunters and the Tyrant would be cool.
Isn’t it time to give Greg Nicotero of KNB EFX, a man who wears his love for the undead on his sleeve, a shot at directing? The duties this film would call for would likely bring Romero to his knees, but Nicotero is ready for a feature.
There you have it, the six films Iâd like to see… What are yours, and who would you put in the director’s chair? Sound off in the comments section below!
Source: Ryan Turek, Managing Editor