Top Scary Games & Films for Students
BE WARNED THIS BLOG IS NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART
Our picks for top scary films and games to play and watch over the winter term.
Winter is coming, the nights are drawing in and Halloween is still in our minds. This means Pumpkin Spice is back in Starbucks, the leaves are turning a lovely orange hue, and it’s time to be scared out of your wits by movies and video games! Our Matthew asked the social media team for their picks and now we’ll run down the spookiest things you can do to spend your long winter nights.
From the initial contact with the underwater city of Rapture, through dark corridors filled with genetically crazed “splicers” to the climactic, Ayn Rand themed ending, the original Bioshock is scary. Like, proper scary. It isn’t just the enemies, though the rabbit masked denizens of Rapture are pretty frightening, it’s the glimpses into the darkest parts of the human mind and the things that people are willing to do once the “restrictions” of civilisation are stripped away that leave you shivering in the dark. There are three games in the Bioshock series now, but the first one is by far the scariest.
I’ve only played one Resident Evil game, Resi 4, which moves the action from the “mansion” of the first game into a zombie infested village somewhere in Europe. The mansion was scary, the zombie dog part caused one of us in the office to quote “pee myself”, and by the time we get to four, there’s still loads of frights to be had. My favourite part of this game is the boat scene where you have to avoid going too fast in case of disturbing the creature in the deep… scary stuff.
PT (SILENT HILL)
The “playable test” for an eventually scrapped Silent Hill game is one of the creepiest things I’ve ever seen. One corridor, over and over again, with sometimes things changing subtly, sometimes gifting you with a more dramatic jump scare. It’s a shame the full game was never made because if the whole thing was like this then it would have scared the bejeezus out of the whole world.
The latest game utilising Ridley Scott’s Alien franchise, Isolation washes out the grim taste that Aliens: Colonial Marines left in everyone’s mouth, and takes it back to one alien, one Ripley, and a whole host of heart-racing, terrifying moments. The alien will rip you apart if it finds you, so this action game is as much about avoiding the action as taking part in it. It doesn’t hurt that it’s absolutely gorgeous to look at as well.
A tad different from the other games on the list, this 2D platformer of sorts might not seem like it is going to be scary, but once you start, the monochrome environments puncutated by your character’s bright eyes creates a really spooky atmosphere, where you’re always only one step ahead of giant, multi-limbed arachnids who will crush you. Half platformer half puzzler, this game will keep you up, then keep you awake.
Word of warning, I am NOT a horror film types in the office. Games are much more my scene. I asked around the office and got some suggestions for top scary films, as summarised by a filmy friend. In their words “All of these are horror classics, and basically a must see.” High praise indeed. Let’s take a look.
The Babadook — A single mother must reckon with a terrifying malevolent force unleashed by a mysterious pop-up book which threatens to tear her son away. This film is super scary, and the critics went wild for it back in 2014, universally acclaimed for its atmosphere, despite avoiding gore.
They’re cute and cuddly but they come with very specific instructions: keep them away from sunlight, don’t get them wet and never, ever feed them after midnight. Or else. Gremlins came out in 1984, so well before I was born, but is still a staple of the genre. It was a “modest” success at the box office, making $148 million on an $11 million budget. Despite being kid friendly on the surface, this was not one to take your kids to. I remember being shown some of Gremlins when I was small and I still have nightmares about it.
Last House on the Left
Two teenage girls become the victims of a gang of brutal convicts who later find themselves in the last place they want to be. This is definitely not a film to watch by yourself, it’s brutal, sadistic and vengeful, everything that you want in a horror movie.
Halloween 1963: a young boy named Michael Myers is locked away in a mental institution, having stabbed his teen sister to death with a kitchen knife. Exactly 15 years later, he breaks out. No one is safe. Inspired by Hitchcock’s Psycho, and the oldest film on the list, you owe it to yourself to watch this on or around Halloween. A real classic, itself inspiring many of the low budget horror films of the next two decades.
The Cabin in the Woods
A group of high-schoolers decide to take a trip to a cosy cabin in the woods but quickly discover that their fate is not in their own hands. This film is last on the list for a reason. Not because because it’s a lesser film than the rest, but because The Cabin in the Woods is kind of deconstruction of the horror genre, and it would be hard to take the rest of the films seriously if you saw this first. :)
So there we have our playlist of the scariest media to consume in the long dark of winter. Snuggle up warm and prepare to have your mug of cocoa scared out of your hands. If you have any other suggestions for things to watch or play, let us know @Uninorthants #UNandYou