Since the mid-seventies, B-Movie mogul Charles Band has been running film production / distribution companies Full Moon Features, Empire Pictures and Wizard Video. He's best known for producing the "Re-Animator" and "Puppet Master" films. In 1982, he dipped his foot into the already-saturated video game market by creating Wizard Video Games, which released two horror-themed titles for the Atari 2600.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre is striking in its verisimilitude. A blue figure with a faucet protruding from his stomach shambles along a detailed landscape, dodging wheelchair obstacles, while an unnerving smoke alarm goes off randomly. He makes his first gruesome, gory kill at 0:45. Terrifying!

There's no long-term goal; You keep slogging along until your "chainsaw" runs out of fuel. Then one of the innocent civilians turns the tables by walking up to your Leatherface avatar and kicking him playfully in the tuchus. Aw, cute!

Perplexingly, this game was judged to be way too intense to sell in most stores. The game was only available at a few outlets, making them extremely rare today.

Halloween actually looks pretty good. It has a John Carpenter soundtrack which sounds almost as tinny as the original recording, and I like how that little kid is running around in a panic the whole time. See the babysitter get it at 0:25.

Holy smokes, he just cut off her head, and now she's running around with blood spraying out of her neck-stump! That's awesome!

Halloween may be even more rare than "Chainsaw". As Wizard's videogame division was shutting its doors and liquidating, they sold many cartridges without labels; they simply wrote "Halloween" on the blanks with magic markers.

Besides being a victim (and catalyst) of the 1983 Video Game Crash, Wizard Video made the mistake of marketing games that most stores wouldn't sell. Fortunately, Charles Band survived and has maintained moderate success by releasing direct-to-video exploitation fare. Recent promising-sounding titles include Evil Bong (2007) and Gingerdead Man 2: Passion of the Crust (2008).

Related: E.T. for Atari and Custer's Revenge

1 comment:

The Shitty Astrologer said...

Oh LoLz...by today's standards, you could get away with showing this game to a toddler now (without the toddler batting an eyelash).