V.G. Movies #16: House of the Dead.

[Welcome back to the Evolution of Video Game Movies series. Every week, I will be moving forward through time, starting with the earliest and ending with the most recent of video game movies. I will be detailing the histories of the games and how the films came about, and both my and fan reaction to the adaptations. Practically all of my background information is either common knowledge or from Wikipedia. So without further ado, let's move on to the next film on the list.]


This one has a pretty basic history. Sega released it in 1997 in arcades as a "light gun" game--you know, where you actually shoot at the screen to kill things. (In a PC port, you just used a mouse, of course.) The player takes over the role of either agent Thomas Rogan or agent "G" as they are sent on assignment on December 18, 1998. There were disappearances at the home of Dr. Roy Curien, a biochemist/geneticist. While there, they have to fight a bunch of zombies and monsters, such as mutant bats, spider-like creatures, and a demon-like warrior who can wield fire. There's also the character of Sophie who is agent Rogan's fiance. Depending on how you play, she will either survive or become an undead being at the end of the game.

And that's about all there is to it. It's not that complicated, either in execution or story. It's one of those games that would be almost impossible to screw up. But of course, we hadn't been introduced to the master of that ability yet.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give to you the film that introduced the world to the "genius" that is Uwe Boll.


I actually saw this bad boy in theater back in high school. The film follows a bunch of young adults who want to go to a rave on an island. They miss their boat and end up chartering a fishing boat helmed by a man named Captain Kirk (Jurgen Prochnow) and his first mate, Salish (Clint Howard). Unfortunately for them, they also have a cop named Casper (Ellie Cornell) on their trail, as she wants to check the ship for drugs and weapons. Of course, they get to the island and all hell breaks loose as they soon discover the island is over-run by zombies.

There are different camps of people on how much this flick sucks, especially in comparison to other b-movies. There are those who say it's so bad it's good. Others who say it's so bad... it's just bad and boring. To me, it's the former. This movie is hilariously awful. And there are plenty of reasons why. The zombis, for one, look incredibly stupid, and they don't really function as zombies. These zombies can even swim (and visibly hold their breath as they do so). The action scenes are terrible, including bad slow motion, as well as the camera spinning around almost every single time a zombie is attacked at one point. Don't forget they never run out of ammo, either! And let's not forget the most famous thing in this film: the game footage. That's right, Uwe Boll actually randomly spliced in footage from the games for no reason and in completely random spots. I mean, the majority of the time, it's not even during action scenes... just... whenever he felt like it.

The script and characters are just painful, as well. The dialogue is mostly dull and cliched with the exception of almost anything said by the Captain or Clint Howard's characters. There's the nonsensical decisions of the characters, as well. Who would pay a thousand bucks to a shady fisherman just to go to a rave on an island after they missed their boat? And then pay him additional money to run from some cops just to get to the rave? On top of that, they're doing all of this after they find out the island is called "Island of Death" and that nobody should go near the place. On top of that, there is almost nothing to do with any of the games in this film. This is apparently a prequel to the games, but still... you should have some ties, right?

I know this is a short review, but what is there really to say? Uwe Boll is considered the modern day Ed Wood, and this is where he got his start. And considering you can only learn and get better from experience (which, believe it or not, he actually does), this is still at the start of his career and is totally bad. Bad story, bad acting, bad writing, bad makeup, bad editing, bad directing... bad everything. There's even some stuff I didn't even bother to mention. I do admit that the last few seconds give a cool twist if you know the game story, as that's where the prequel bits come into play. Otherwise... that's about it. If you're interested in Boll, might as well start here. It might be beyond bad, but it's surely entertaining.

A Hot Mess

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