Clock Tower was a point and click horror game for the Super Nintendo, released in 1995. It spawned several sequels and is known for its iconic villain, Scissorman. This aptly named stalker of the night, is a small man-ish creature who follows the protagonist with a ridiculously gigantic pair of gardening shears. Not your standard villain. In the first game, Jennifer Simpson must find her way out of a mansion that she finds herself trapped in whilst dodging Scissorman’s attacks and traps.
The Scissorman is seemingly demonic in nature, as he defies the laws of space and time, and frequently transports ahead of the player after running in the opposite direction from him. He also takes great pleasure in his hounding of the poor Jennifer, as when he knocks her down, he will do a little jig to signify his happiness at terrorising the innocent girl.
Creator Hifumi Kono, has stated that Sciccorman’s design was influenced by Italian horror films such as Phenomena, which is about a girl at at boarding school with the power to communicate with insects. Using this power, she intends to do battle with the serial killer, that has been killing people in and around the grounds of her boarding school. As you can see, this draws parallels Jennifer and Scissorman’s battle.
Perhaps, the biggest influence though is the film, The Burning. I believe, this film poster below speaks on my behalf.
Dino Crisis was a game that released on the Playstation back in 1999 by Resident Evil creator, Shinji Mikami. It is a horror game, like Resident Evil but substitute zombies with time displaced dinosaurs in a research facility. You play as Regina, a weapons specialist and a field operative with a talent for gathering intelligence. Regina is sent to a research facility on Ibis Island to find and retrieve Edward Kirk, a researcher at the base. Upon her arrival, Regina is attacked by time travelled dinosaurs. Because, why not? Armed with her trusty shotgun and other weapons she ventures on, unravelling the mystery as she goes.
Dinosaur fever was big in the 90’s. Jurassic Park was a killer (get it, dinosaurs?)at the box office and what followed was a slew of other dinosaur films or TV shows. Jurassic Park sequels, Barney the Dinosaur, The Land Before Time, Theodore Rex and even Godzilla, which I know it’s meant to be a radioactive lizard, but look at it! That’s a T-Rex. So, it’s no surprise that video games decided to have a go at the craze. Dino Crisis spawned two sequels and was a hit franchise until the third one. I believe Jurassic Park played a big role in its success and so did Dino Crisis acknowledge this inspiration? Quite possibly.
Regina’s shotgun is a SPAS-12 (Sporting Purpose Automatic Shotgun), the very same shotgun that the character Muldoon, can be seen sporting in Jurassic Park. Whether this is a nod to Jurassic Park is up in the air as the SPAS-12 was a common weapon in a lot of games. But, the fact that these are both characters whose job it is, to take down dinosaurs on a remote island, leads me to believe it is a reference to Jurassic Park. At least Regina didn’t meet the same fate as Muldoon. Clever girl!
The Thing was a 1982 horror film by famous director, John Carpenter. The film is considered a horror classic and boasts a fantastic cast, setting and plot. Starring Kurt Russell, a group of Antarctic researchers are beset upon by a shape shifting alien. This alien can become any living thing and therefore who can be trusted? What follows is a game of guess who as our characters are stuck in their isolated Antarctic base with a sly, killing machine.
With the success of the film, it wasn’t long before game developers decided to make The Thing into a video game. They were so eager, they waited a full 20 years to make it. Putting it alongside Reservoir Dogs and Scarface as a ‘Huh, there’s a game of that?’. Although The Thing the video game isn’t a perfect game, I had fun when I rented it. It had some novel ideas too. In the film, the only way to tell if a person or animal was The Thing (I keep forgetting to capitalise The Thing), was to take a blood sample from the individual, and apply searing heat to it. The Thing was a living organism and it would do anything to survive. That’s why when heat is administered, the blood will activate fight or flight mode from its attacker. This idea was implemented into the game, with an item that was a blood test kit.
The game developers, Computer Artworks, tried so hard to get the feel of the film into their game, that they even brought the director John Carpenter aboard to help. John Carpenter, an acid video game fan was happy to join the team and help put his vision into the game. He enjoyed the experience so much, that he even gave permission to use his likeness for the character, Dr. Shaun Faraday. The director even voiced the character himself.
Although John Carpenter voiced the character, he was not listed in the actors credits. Instead, a special thank you message can be seen, thanking the legendary director for his input.