Halloween Ends will come out this week, seemingly bringing the decades-long battle between Michael Myers and Laurie Strode to an end. The third film in a rebooted trilogy that ignores everything after the original 1978 slasher classic, Halloween Ends will bring the original final girl, Jamie Lee Curtis, back for one last round. It promises to bring the franchise to a satisfying, albeit hardly final, conclusion.
Fans of the series and the slasher genre might have bittersweet feelings about Halloween Ends; it will be the end of an era for what is arguably the mother of all slasher franchises. However, they shouldn’t worry or wallow for too long. Aside from a plethora of films that will surely satiate their slasher thirst, numerous video games also succeed in capturing the survival aspect of a classic slasher flick. And unlike a film, players can experience the violent plot in a more personal and interactive way and maybe even discover what it’s truly like to be running away from a deranged killer. Here are five of our favorites.
The Quarry is the most recent entry in the interactive horror genre. Featuring an all-star cast that includes David Arquette, Brenda Song, Justice Smith, Halston Sage, and Ariel Winter, it follows a group of nine teenage counselors on their last night at the Hackett’s Quarry summer camp. As the night progresses, they find themselves hunted by a group of supernatural creatures and a string of violent locals that will make surviving until morning a nearly impossible task.
A love letter to the genre, The Quarry is basically a teen slasher flick in video game form. It’s also a worthy successor to Until Dawn, Supermassive Games’ first horror breakout hit. Using every trope in the teen slasher subgenre — and there are many — but reworking them for the modern player, The Quarry is a gory and satisfying nightmare that balances tension with old-fashioned drama. Fans of the original Halloween will have a worthy adventure with this claustrophobic and surprisingly cinematic horror story.
And speaking of Supermassive Games, of course, we must again mention Until Dawn. Centering on a group of eight young adults who find themselves pursued by dangerous creatures while at a lodge on Blackwood Mountain, Until Dawn features a cast that boasts several prominent actors, including Rami Malek, Hayden Panettiere, and Peter Stormare.
The game became particularly famous for its butterfly effect-like plot, resulting in multiple choices with potentially deadly consequences. Like the best slasher films, no character is safe — indeed, they can all die, depending on the player’s choices. However, the game’s greatest triumph might be the fear it inflicts on the players as they uncertainly traverse the woods, hoping they’re making the right choices while second-guessing their every step. Like Michael Myers himself, Until Dawn thrives on the paranoia it inflicts upon its victims — I mean, players — guiding them through a crescendo of emotions and reaching a suitably violent climax. Fans of the slasher genre will not be disappointed.
Slasher films usually follow the final girl, the virginal and innocent protagonist who must fight the seemingly indestructible serial killer chasing her. Usually played by a scream queen, the final girl is the slasher’s most enduring trope. Few films put us in the killer’s perspective, instead keeping them surrounded by mystery for as long as possible, thus increasing their fear factor. Dead by Daylight flips the script by allowing players to step into the killer’s shoes.
The online multiplayer game is a one-versus-four case where one player takes on the killer role and attempts to, well, kill the other four. Those wondering what it would be like to be Michael Myers can finally scratch their itch, as the game literally has Myers as a playable character. Laurie herself is also a potential Survivor, thus bringing the Halloween saga to the player’s hands. Other iconic horror characters, heroes and villains alike, join in on the fun, making Dead by Daylight a mix of franchises and styles under the shared umbrella of slasher glory. In short, it’s a must-play for any self-respecting fan of the genre.
Heavy Rain centers on four characters who become enveloped in the mystery of the Origami Killer, a serial murderer who drowns his victims during periods of heavy rain. Developed by Quantic Dream, Heavy Rain features heavily interactive gameplay where choices matter and shape the narrative. The game’s now-iconic alternate endings will either bring the player a sense of satisfaction or bitter heartbreak.
Although more of a psychological thriller than a straight-up slasher, Heavy Rain is still a worthy game for fans of the latter. Clever, twisty, emotional, and thrilling, it is a cerebral entry in the horror genre that never sacrifices its emotional impact in favor of cheap jump scares. True, it’s not as in-your-face scary or violent as our other suggestions, but it succeeds in creating a tension-filled environment that will send chills down any player’s spine. By framing the action in such a human storyline, Heavy Rain ups the ante and makes itself scarier than any zombie or monster game. The plot is a vortex of emotions, and one wrong choice will lead the story down a path from which there is no going back. If that’s not what makes slashers so effective, we don’t know what is.
The ’70s were a great time for iconic female characters. What Laurie Strode was to the slasher genre, Ellen Ripley was to sci-fi. The Alien franchise redefined the limits of sci-fi horror, featuring a claustrophobic scenario and a story that appealed to the most basic human instinct: survival. The 2014 survival horror game Alien: Isolation is a worthy entry into the Alien canon. It features Ripley’s daughter, Amanda, who goes against the super-strong xenomorph as she investigates her mother’s disappearance aboard the Sevastopol space station.
Nothing about the game is particularly innovative — it’s a classic woman-versus-alien storyline. However, that’s more than enough. Taking control of a sci-fi final girl, players will have to use their wits, balancing stealth and strategy to prevail against the savage xenomorph. Alien: Isolation is a love letter to the original Alien, honoring its themes, style, and visual language. Like the best slashers, Isolation uses its eerie atmosphere to the fullest, employing shadows and noise to demonstrate that nothing is scarier than the unknown.
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