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Top 5 Underrated Horror Video Games

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When it comes to horror video games, you typically hear most about big names like Resident Evil and Dead Rising. The latter just had a big release last month, and the former is offering its newest entry this month. The games in these popular franchises are a few examples of horror games which get their due credit.

But over the years there have been some horror games which didn’t get a lot of attention. They’ve quickly been forgotten, due to either initial bad reviews or poor marketing. But if you ask me, these games are all quite fun and should have been given more of a chance.

So let’s take a look at five horror video games that are vastly underrated. Be sure to let me know in the comments if you agree with my list or if there are any good ones I forgot.

Obscure – Courtesy of DreamCatcher Interactive

5. Obscure

(PlayStation 2, Xbox, Windows)

Obscure is a 2005 survival horror video game which nobody seems to have ever heard of. Set in a high school, the plot centers on a group of five teenagers searching for their missing friend. They wind up locked in the school building overnight. With light-sensitive creatures closing in on them, the goal is to survive the night and escape.

A very interesting aspect of Obscure is its two-player cooperative mode. Rare at the time for a survival horror game, two players could take the monsters on together. This made for some very fun multiplayer experiences. Exploring the creepy, dark school with someone else added an extra layer of enjoyment to the game. Each character also has its own unique talents, so switching them out occasionally is encouraged.

Another unique part of this game is having permanent death for the characters. If one of the five teens died, they were gone for good. You would then have to play as another character to continue the game until either you win the game or all five are dead. This has since become more common in horror games, such as in the PS4 hit Until Dawn, but at the time there was nothing else like it.

Saw II: Flesh and Blood – Courtesy of Konami

4. Saw II: Flesh and Blood

(PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)

Did you realize that not only is there an official Saw video game, there’s even a sequel? It’s surprising how many horror fans aren’t aware of these games existing. But back in 2009, Konami released Saw: The Video Game, developed by Zombie Studios. It serves as a tie-in to the movies, taking place between the first and second films. You play as Danny Glover’s character, Detective David Tapp.

The first Saw game is decent enough, though it had a flawed combat system. Sometimes it seemed like you were fighting the controls more than anything else. But it was overall satisfying and felt like the potential was there for a new game franchise based on Saw.

Konami was hoping for that same thing and released Saw II: Flesh and Blood the very next year. This time players took on the role of Detective Tapp’s son, Michael, searching for the truth about what happened to his dad. The writing improved this time around, with a much more compelling story than the first game. Michael Tapp is actually a more interesting protagonist than many of the ones from the later films.

Also gone is the clunky combat system, replaced with something much easier to control. It’s like they were improving upon the promising premise of the original game. However, this sequel did not perform as well as the first game, and plans for future entries were scrapped. It’s too bad as I found this one to be a big improvement with potential for at least one more video game.

The Suffering – Courtesy of Midway

3. The Suffering

(PlayStation 2, Xbox, Windows)

Midway’s The Suffering isn’t a game you’re likely to hear mentioned anytime soon. The 2004 survival horror game has long been forgotten. But at the time it was such a unique game that it was unlike anything else. It even warranted its own sequel soon after, though it wasn’t quite as solid as this original title.

In the game you play as Torque, a convicted prisoner. You’re awaiting execution on Death Row for the murders of your ex-wife and two children. You believe you’re innocent, but you blacked out and have no memory of the event. Did you kill them? Or is something even more sinister happening? The game screws with your mind in this way from beginning to end with top-notch psychological horror.

While sitting on Death Row, horrific monsters suddenly descend upon the prison. While battling your own personal demons, you must also survive the real ones. You’ll encounter other terrified guards and inmates during your quest, but helping and/or killing them is entirely up to you. Be careful, though— it uses your moral choices to determine which powerful ending you’ll receive.

Silent Hill: Shattered Memories – Courtesy of Konami

2. Silent Hill: Shattered Memories

(Nintendo Wii, PlayStation 2, PSP)

While they vary in quality, most of the Silent Hill games are all pretty similar. When looking at the series as a whole, it’s easy to pick the odd one out: Silent Hill: Shattered Memories. Being so different has gotten it a lot of criticism, while simultaneously being the reason why I praise it. Initially released exclusively for the Wii, this new take on Silent Hill incorporated the Wiimote into the gameplay. It was a very interesting new way to experience the franchise.

The biggest difference with this title is the removal of any type of combat system. You cannot fight the monsters— all you can do is run and hide. For me this wasn’t a dealbreaker, as I typically ran more than I fought in the other games anyway. And it also added to the horror experience, as I felt even more helpless when the monsters would start coming after me.

This game features a reimagining of the original Silent Hill and is set in its own universe. It has an in-game psychologist ask you questions, using your answers to tailor the story to you. The writing is top-notch, and I might even say it’s the best of any Silent Hill game in the franchise. Although there are five possible endings, each one is devastatingly heartbreaking. No matter which one you get, tears are guaranteed.

Friday the 13th for NES – Courtesy of LJN/Nintendo

1. Friday the 13th

(Nintendo Entertainment System)

No, I’m not talking about the upcoming Friday the 13th game from Gun Media. That game is already getting tons of praise, despite not being out yet. And it’s well deserved. After personally beta-testing the game, I can confirm that the hype is real, and this game will be insanely good.

But the original Friday the 13th video game from 1989 has taken a lot of heat over the years. The Angry Video Game Nerd infamously rips it to shreds in one of his first videos. And admittedly, its difficulty level is pretty steep, which would turn off many players who try it.

Personally, however, I say this game doesn’t get due credit. It’s by far the scariest title on the NES. The eerie music alone is enough to make it frightening. And even if he is wearing a purple jumpsuit, Jason can still terrify you when he pops up from out of nowhere. There’s also a foreboding sense of dread as the sun slowly sets, gradually shifting from day to night— another unique aspect for an NES game. Taking on Jason does take a bit of a learning curve, but surviving each encounter with Jason feels like an accomplishment

At the time, the idea of permanent death in video games was unusual. But it’s a strong aspect of the Friday the 13th Nintendo game. You’re given six counselors to choose from at the start, with the ability of alternating between them. When one of them dies, though, they are dead. There’s nothing but a blank space where their picture used to be. And when all six die, the game literally tells you, “You and your friends are dead. Game over.”

Talk about the most depressing game over screen of all time.

I think that this game was simply too far ahead of its time. In fact, some of its elements are being used in the new game from Gun Media. This includes exploring cabins for items to use against Jason as well as choosing as different counselors to play as. It’s like the new game is an extremely advanced version of the NES classic. Even so, I’ll always have fond memories of purple-suited Jason scaring the daylights out of me when I was a kid. If its job was to be horrifying, it accomplished that.

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Vampire Hunter D: The Series Gets Writer For Pilot Episode

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It’s been a little while since we’ve heard news about “Vampire Hunter D: The Series”, the CG-animated series based on Hideyuki Kikuchi’s titular character. However, some new news broke today over at ANN as they’ve reported that Brandon Easton, who is writing the scripts for new Vampire Hunter D comics, has been tapped by Unified Pictures to write the pilot for the series. The pilot will be based on Kikuchi’s “Mysterious Journey to the North Sea” storylines, which make up the 7th and 8th titles in the book series. Unified is making this series in conjunction with Digital Frontier, the Japanese animation studio behind the CG Resident Evil titles.

Easton told the site, “I’ve had to manage the expectations of three entities: the creator Hideyuki Kikuchi, the producers at Digital Frontier and Unified Pictures, and ultimately myself. This means that you have to find new and exciting ways of telling a story that has a set of concrete rules that have been fully established by the novels.

Meanwhile, the studio has also announced that Ryan Benjamin is taking over as the artist and colorist on the Vampire Hunter D: Message From Mars series with Richard Friend inking the issues.

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Watching A Quiet Place’s John Krasinski Get Scared by Freddy on Ellen Will Brighten Your Day

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I was just researching the new Platinum Dunes horror-thriller A Quiet Place and stumbled across this video. It features the film’s writer-director and star John Krasinski getting scared by a man dressed as Freddy Krueger on “Ellen.”

It’s as much fun as it sounds, and I’m sure it will make your day. It sure as hell just brightened mine.

Give it a watch below, and then let us know what you think!

John Krasinski directs the film, which will be the opening night entry at this year’s SXSW festival in Austin, TX. Emily Blunt stars alongside Krasinski, Noah Jupe, and Millicent Simmonds.

A Quiet Place will then open wide on April 6.

Synopsis:
In the modern horror thriller A Quiet Place, a family of four must navigate their lives in silence after mysterious creatures that hunt by sound threatens their survival. If they hear you, they hunt you.

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Interview: Director Jeff Burr Revisits Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III

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Director Jeff Burr was gracious enough to give us here at Dread Central a few minutes of his time to discuss the Blu-ray release of his 1990 film Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III. Recently dropped on 2/13, the movie has undergone the white-glove treatment, and he was all-too-happy to bring us back to when the film was being shot…and eventually diced thanks to the MPAA – so settle in, grab a cold slice of bloody meat, read on and enjoy!

DC: First off – congrats on seeing the film get the treatment it deserves on Blu-ray – you excited about it?

JB: Yeah, I’m really happy that it’s coming out on Blu-ray, especially since so many people bitch and moan about the death of physical media, and this thing made the cut, and it’s great for people to be able to see probably the best-looking version of it since we saw it in the lab back in 1989.

DC: Take us back to when you’d first gotten the news that you were tabbed to be the man to direct the third installment in this franchise – what was your first order of business?

JB: It was fairly condensed pre-production for me, and there really wasn’t a whole lot of time to think about the import or the greatness of it – it was basically just roll up your sleeves and go. It was a bit disappointing because a lot of times in pre-production you have the opportunity to dream what could be – casting had already been done, but certain decisions hadn’t been made yet. A very condensed pre-production, but exciting as hell, for sure! (laughs)

DC: R.A. Mihailoff in the role of Leatherface – was it the decision from the get-go to have him play the lead role?

JB: No – I totally had someone else in mind, even though R.A. had done a role in my student film about 7 years earlier, and we’d kept in touch, and I’d felt strongly because I’d gotten to know him a bit that Gunnar Hansen should have come back and played Leatherface, which would have given a bit more legitimacy to this third movie. He and I talked, and he had some issues with the direction that it was going – he really wanted to be involved, and it ended up boiling down to a financial thing, and it wasn’t outrageous at all – it wasn’t like he asked for the moon, but the problem was that New Line refused to pay it, categorically. I think the line producer at the time was more adamant about it than anyone, and Mike DeLuca was one of the executives on the movie, and he was really the guy that was running this, in a creative sense. I made my case for Gunner to both he and the line producer, and they flat out refused to pay him what he was asking, so after that was a done “no deal” I decided that R.A would be the right guy to step into the role. Since New Line was the arbiter of the film, he had to come in and audition for the part, and he impressed everyone and got the part. He did an absolutely fantastic job – such a joy to work with, and he was completely enthusiastic about everything.

DC: Let’s talk about Viggo Mortenson, and with this being one of his earliest roles – did you know you had something special with this guy on your set?

JB: Here’s the thing – you knew he was talented, and I’d seen him in the movie Prison way back in the early stages of development and was very impressed with him, and he was one of those guys that I think we were really lucky to get him on board with us. I really believe that The Indian Runner with he and directed by Sean Penn was the movie that truly made people stand up and notice his work. Every person in this cast was one hundred percent into this film and jumped in no questions asked when it was time to roll around in the body pits.

DC: It’s no secret about the amount of shit that the MPAA put you through in order to get this film released – can you expound on that for a minute?

JB: At the time, I believe it was a record amount of times we had to go back to the MPAA after re-cutting the film – I think it was 11 times that we went back. What a lot of people don’t realize is after Bob Shaye (President of New Line) had come into the editing room and he thought that it was very disturbing, and cut out some stuff himself. He thought that it would have been banned in every country, and it was banned in a lot of countries but so were the previous two. It was definitely on the verge of being emasculated before even being submitted to the MPAA, and I would have thought just a few adjustments here and there – maybe a couple of times to go back…but eleven? It was front-page news in the trade papers then, and I think that the overall tone of the film was looked at as being nasty. The previous film (Chainsaw 2) had actually gone out unrated, and with the first film being so notorious, I think it was a combination of all of that, and now even the most unrated version of this would be rated R – that’s how far the pendulum has swung in the other direction.

DC: Looking back at the film after all this time – what would be one thing that you’d change about the movie?

JB: Oh god – any film director worth his salt would look back at any of their films and want to change stuff up, and with this being 28 years old, I can look back and say “oh yeah, I’d change this, this and this!” You grow and learn over the course of your time directing, and this was my third movie and my first without producers that I had known, so the main thing that I’d do today would be to make it a bit more politically savvy. I had always thought that they wanted me to put my vision on this film, and that wasn’t necessarily the case, so maybe I’d navigate those political waters a little better.

DC: Last thing, Jeff – what’s keeping you busy these days? Any projects to speak of?

JB: Oh yeah, I’ve got a couple of movies that I’m working on – I’m prepping a horror movie right now, and then I’ve got a comedy film that I’m doing after that. You haven’t heard the last of me! I’ve had a real up and down (mostly down) career, but I still love it – it’s what I love to do, and it’s still great that after 28 years people still want to talk about this movie, and are still watching it – that’s the greatest gift you can get, and I thank everyone that’s seen it and talked about it over all these years.

BUY IT NOW!

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