The Let's Play Archive

Dead Space

by The Man with a Hat

Part 14: Horror Movie Influences for Dead Space

Not really an update, but I've got a bit of content to discuss, considering the season.

With Halloween dangling over our heads, I think it's appropriate to think about what it is that makes Dead Space scary. There are the enemies... the environments... the ambience... all highly-polished and truly captivating at times. But original? Lord, no. Dead Space rips off provides a respectful homage to some of the most entertaining horror media in existence. For instance, Dead Space takes inspiration from a number of movies...

John Carpenter's The Thing. A scientific team in the Arctic is infiltrated by an ancient alien shapeshifter.
What's the connection? Much of Dead Space's creature design was inspired by the Thing and its various forms (particularly the Lurker, the Swarmers, and the Divider). Plus, this movie features the flamethrower the way it was meant to be used.
Out-of-context quote: "I know you gentlemen have been through a lot. But when you find the time... I'd rather not spend the rest of the winter tied to this fucking couch!"

Event Horizon. Responding to a distress call from an experimental faster-than-light vessel, a recovery team discovers only chaos.
What's the connection? In some areas, the architecture is practically identical, and both Dead Space and Event Horizon put a fair amount of emphasis on dark, ancient evils with religious connotations. Plus, there are frequent "spacewalking" scenes.
Out-of-context quote: "Fuck layman's terms - do you speak English?"

The Alien Trilogy. If you haven't heard of this, I swear to God, you've been living under a fucking rock. All the Alien movies revolve around the Xenomorph, an extraterrestrial creature that incubates in a foreign host, punches its way out, and goes around killing things.
What's the connection? A ruthless corporation stumbles across a hostile organism, and promptly fucks everything up. Plus, some of the developers have cited Ripley's MacGuyver approach  (particularly the autoloader fight in the second movie)  as the main inspiration for Isaac using construction tools. Not to mention the way the Xeno lives only to kill, eat, and breed.
Out-of-context quote: "I admire its purity. A survivor. Unclouded by conscience, remorse... or delusions of morality."

Not to mention the cues it takes from other video games.

Resident Evil 4. While on a delightful vacation rescue mission in Spain Europe, Leon Kennedy discovers some hostile locals. With knives. And explosives. And parasites.
What's the connection? RE4 was one of the main inspirations for Dead Space's camera system, and may have had some contributions towards the creature design (particularly the Regenerators and Iron Maidens, U3, and the Verdugo).
Out-of-context quote: "Your right hand comes off?"

System Shock 2. Ever wake up with no memories, no weapons, and a ship full of enemies? No? Well, this is your chance!
What's the connection? Alien biomass, crazed mutants, deranged scientists, and a  "assistant" that betrays you.  Yeah, it's no surprise that a lot of people consider Dead Space to be a spiritual sequel to SS2.
Out-of-context quote: "What is a drop of rain, compared to the storm? What is a thought, compared to the mind?"

BioShock. The official spiritual sequel to System Shock! A conveniently-placed plane crash dumps a dishevelled survivor on the doorstep of Rapture, an undersea utopia dedicated to escaping political oppression. Too bad its population has changed into crazed, surgery-addicted mutants.
What's the connection? BioShock uses in-game audio logs to advance the story, much like Dead Space, and in both games, the graphics, acting, and ambience are fantastic.
Out-of-context quote: "Is a man not entitled to the sweat of his brow? 'No,' says the man in Washington. 'It belongs to the poor.' 'No,' says the man in the Vatican. 'It belongs to God.' 'No,' says the man in Moscow. 'It belongs to everyone'!"

The DOOM Series. The one that started it all... experimenting with teleportation technology, the United Aerospace Corporation accidentally opens a portal into Hell itself. Whoops.
What's the connection? Disregarding the fact that Doom influenced essentially every shooter ever... when the game was remade as Doom 3, the revamped plot stated that the basis for the modern experiments was alien technology dug out from under the planet's surface. Familiar? Too bad the aliens didn't have any goddamn duct tape.
Out-of-context quote: [stony silence from the protagonist]

And, proving that there's such a thing as entertainment away from a screen... books!

The work of H.P. Lovecraft. Arguably one of the most influential horror authors of the 20th century, Lovecraft created a vast pantheon of alien gods and demons that is still being cited to this day.
What's the connection? An ungodly number of Lovecraft's stories describe cults based around the worship of extraterrestrials. Not to mention all the buried monstrosities. And the undead. And the mutants. And the...
Out-of-context quote: "The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents... The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the deadly light into the peace and safety of a new dark age."

The work of Stephen King, particularly Desperation.
One of the countless authors inspired by Lovecraft's work, Stephen King is the master of empty, artless pulp a very entertaining, atmospheric writer who specializes in creating huge, interconnected worlds with believable characters who never shut the fuck up, Jesus.
What's the connection? In Desperation, a group of miners  uncover the ruins of an ancient civilization , only to have a demonic presence overwhelm them and break them down from within.
Out-of-context quote: "Don't tell me, it's some new variation of therapy. A symbolic affirmation expressly designed for stressful life-passages, sort of an 'I'm okay, you're stomped to shit' kind of thing."

Well, that's about it. Do you have any favourites that didn't make the list? Do you not agree with some of the choices? Feel free to chime in! It's a long list, but that doesn't mean it's done.

Wait, what? There was a fourth Alien movie?

...No. No there wasn't.

Looks like the update will probably be up on Sunday. The Schadenfreude Run will be going with it - and maybe even the Tour Guide Run for Chapter 1 - and I'll be taking Chapter 10 Tour Guide requests to go with  the basketball court . Don't worry, I don't plan to post the runs horrifically out of order - only after the main videos have been posted. Hopefully, I'll be able to get back on schedule pretty soon.