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The top 10 “Oh Shit!” moments in video games

Resident Evil 4

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By Adam Rosenberg

Video games may well be the greatest source of “oh shit!” moments in fiction. With movies and television and books you’re really just along for the ride, whereas games force you to actively engage with the world around you. As terrifying as it can be to watch as Victim #26 is confronted by a ghostly killer without warning in Horror Movie Sequel #347, the experience strikes on a much deeper level when you yourself are the agent of the unfolding action.

We’re taking some time today to look back at some of those classic “oh shit!” moments in gaming. Do these line up with your own favorites? Are there others that hit you even harder? This isn’t a definitive list, it’s a starting point. Share some of your own favorite “oh shit!” moments in the comments below, and don’t forget to watch IFC’s “Scared Shitless” back-to-back horror movies every Saturday in October at 8/7c!

Dead Island – A most unexpected trailer

The game itself is quite enjoyable, but the top “oh shit!” moment for Dead Island goes to its initial reveal trailer. Essentially a gameplay-free short film, the trailer serves up a brutal scene of a family as they are literally torn apart by a horde of zombies. What’s unique about it is the presentation, amounting to a pair of concurrently playing sequences that show the same event: one at normal speed in chronological order and one in reverse that plays in slow-motion, all with a very quiet, calming piano theme playing behind it. Seeing the pieces all fall together in the final seconds is deeply disturbing, and the finished product is one of the best trailers we’ve ever seen, in this or any other medium.

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare – Getting shot in the face

Modern Warfare 2‘s infamous “No Russian” airport shooting might be more horrifying, but it was Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare that provided one of this biggest “oh shit!” gaming moments of this generation. An early level sees you, a captured and newly deposed leader, shuffled into a car in a nameless Middle Eastern nation. In the sequence that follows, you drive slowly through the war-torn streets until you reach a large, open outdoor space where one of the game’s chief antagonists is waiting. Following a brief speech, he pulls out his sidearm, takes aim at your face… and fires. It’s a trick that seems so common now, but that Call of Duty 4 level very effectively set our expectations moving in one direction only to bring them all to a crashing halt in no more than the time it takes to pull a trigger.

Halo: Combat Evolved – A flood of Flood

Over the years, Halo‘s “other” enemy — the zombie-like Flood — has transformed from dreadful terror into hated gameplay hook. The puffy, explosion-prone beings may be absent from the upcoming Halo 4‘s story, but their first introduction in Halo: Combat Evolved amounts to one of gaming’s most chilling moments. Master Chief was already lost and stranded on what appeared to be an unusual alien world, but he discovered real terror deep below its surface as the Flood make their series-first appearance in an overwhelming horde. Many look back on that moment now and scoff, but their collective “oh shit!” shouts echo back to us even now.

Dead Space – The whole damn thing

Dead Space effectively out-Resident Evil‘d Resident Evil. Visceral Games’ atmospheric sci-fi horror tale follows engineer Isaac Clarke as he explores a dead spaceship that’s been overrun by fearsome alien creatures known as Necromorphs. These twisted beings infect regular people, turning them into nightmare visions that hunt you every step of the way. There are so many moments in Dead Space that make the blood run cold — and in Dead Space 2, for that matter — that it’s easier to just point at the whole game and go “oh shit!”

Silent Hill – Welcome to horror

There’s a different “oh shit!” moment for nearly every flavor of Silent Hill fan, a series built around horrifying imagery and building tension through desperate situations. Really though, it all comes back to those first tentative steps that we all took through the titular town. No one really knew at that point what was to come. The fog. The desolation. The white noise. As open as that environment is, it always felt so alarmingly claustrophobic. It teased you too. The game didn’t start with OMG THERE ARE MONSTERS IN MY FACE. It keeps you dangling on the hook for awhile, for quite awhile, before the first hints of nastiness rear up and try to kill you.

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A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.


Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.

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WTF Films

Artfully Off

Celebrity All-Star by Sisters Weekend is available now on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Sisters Weekend isn’t like other comedy groups. It’s filmmaking collaboration between besties Angelo Balassone, Michael Fails and Kat Tadesco, self-described lace-front addicts with great legs who write, direct, design and produce video sketches and cinematic shorts that are so surreally hilarious that they defy categorization. One such short film, Celebrity All-Star, is the newest addition to IFC’s Comedy Crib. Here’s what they had to say about it in a very personal email interview…


IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Celebrity All-Star is a short film about an overworked reality TV coordinator struggling to save her one night off after the cast of C-List celebrities she wrangles gets locked out of their hotel rooms.

IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Sisters Weekend: It’s this short we made for IFC where a talent coordinator named Karen babysits a bunch of weird c-list celebs who are stuck in a hotel bar. It’s everyone you hate from reality TV under one roof – and that roof leaks because it’s a 2-star hotel. There’s a magician, sexy cowboys, and a guy wearing a belt that sucks up his farts.


IFC: What was the genesis of Celebrity All-Star?

Celebrity All-Star was born from our love of embarrassing celebrities. We love a good c-lister in need of a paycheck! We were really interested in the canned politeness people give off when forced to mingle with strangers. The backstory we created is that the cast of this reality show called “Celebrity All-Star” is in the middle of a mandatory round of “get to know each other” drinks in the hotel bar when the room keys stop working. Shows like Celebrity Ghost Hunters and of course The Surreal Life were of inspo, but we thought it
was funny to keep it really vague what kind of show they’re on, and just focus on everyone’s diva antics after the cameras stop rolling.

IFC: Every celebrity in Celebrity All-Star seems familiar. What real-life pop personalities did you look to for inspiration?

Sisters Weekend: Anyone who is trying to plug their branded merch that no one asked for. We love low-rent celebrity. We did, however, directly reference Kylie Jenner’s turd-raison lip color for our fictional teen celebutante Gibby Kyle (played by Mary Houlihan).


IFC: Celebrity seems disgusting yet desirable. What’s your POV? Do you crave it, hate it, or both?

Sisters Weekend: A lot of people chase fame. If you’re practical, you’ll likely switch to chasing success and if you’re smart, you’ll hopefully switch to chasing happiness. But also, “We need money. We need hits. Hits bring money, money bring power, power bring fame, fame change the game,” Young Thug.


IFC: Who are your comedy idols?

Sisters Weekend: Mike grew up renting “Monty Python” tapes from the library and staying up late to watch 2000’s SNL, Kat was super into Andy Kaufman and “Kids In The Hall” in high school, and Angelo was heavily influenced by “Strangers With Candy” and Anna Faris in the Scary Movie franchise, so, our comedy heroes mesh from all over. But, also we idolize a lot of the people we work with in NY-  Lorelei Ramirez, Erin Markey, Mary Houlihan, who are all in the film, Amy Zimmer, Ana Fabrega, Patti Harrison, Sam Taggart. Geniuses! All of Em!

IFC: What’s your favorite moment from the film?

Sisters Weekend: I mean…seeing Mary Houlihan scream at an insane Pomeranian on an iPad is pretty great.

See Sisters Weekend right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib

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Reality? Check.

Baroness For Life

Baroness von Sketch Show is available for immediate consumption.

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Baroness von Sketch Show is snowballing as people have taken note of its subtle and not-so-subtle skewering of everyday life. The New York Times, W Magazine, and Vogue have heaped on the praise, but IFC had a few more probing questions…

IFC: To varying degrees, your sketches are simply scripted examples of things that actually happen. What makes real life so messed up?

Aurora: Hubris, Ego and Selfish Desires and lack of empathy.

Carolyn: That we’re trapped together in the 3rd Dimension.

Jenn: 1. Other people 2. Other people’s problems 3. Probably something I did.

IFC: A lot of people I know have watched this show and realized, “Dear god, that’s me.” or “Dear god, that’s true.” Why do people have their blinders on?

Aurora: Because most people when you’re in the middle of a situation, you don’t have the perspective to step back and see yourself because you’re caught up in the moment. That’s the job of comedians is to step back and have a self-awareness about these things, not only saying “You’re doing this,” but also, “You’re not the only one doing this.” It’s a delicate balance of making people feel uncomfortable and comforting them at the same time.


IFC: Unlike a lot of popular sketch comedy, your sketches often focus more on group dynamics vs iconic individual characters. Why do you think that is and why is it important?

Meredith: We consider the show to be more based around human dynamics, not so much characters. If anything we’re more attracted to the energy created by people interacting.

Jenn: So much of life is spent trying to work it out with other people, whether it’s at work, at home, trying to commute to work, or even on Facebook it’s pretty hard to escape the group.

IFC: Are there any comedians out there that you feel are just nailing it?

Aurora: I love Key and Peele. I know that their show is done and I’m in denial about it, but they are amazing because there were many times that I would imagine that Keegan Michael Key was in the scene while writing. If I could picture him saying it, I knew it would work. I also kind of have a crush on Jordan Peele and his performance in Big Mouth. Maya Rudolph also just makes everything amazing. Her puberty demon on Big Mouth is flawless. She did an ad for 7th generation tampons that my son, my husband and myself were singing around the house for weeks. If I could even get anything close to her career, I would be happy. I’m also back in love with Rick and Morty. I don’t know if I have a crush on Justin Roiland, I just really love Rick (maybe even more than Morty). I don’t have a crush on Jerry, the dad, but I have a crush on Chris Parnell because he’s so good at being Jerry.



IFC: If you could go back in time and cast yourselves in any sitcom, which would it be and how would it change?

Carolyn: I’d go back in time and cast us in The Partridge Family.  We’d make an excellent family band. We’d have a laugh, break into song and wear ruffled blouses with velvet jackets.  And of course travel to all our gigs on a Mondrian bus. I feel really confident about this choice.

Meredith: Electric Mayhem from The Muppet Show. It wouldn’t change, they were simply perfect, except… maybe a few more vaginas in the band.

Binge the entire first and second seasons of Baroness von Sketch Show now on and the IFC app.

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