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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Hard Out

Comedy From The Closet

Janice and Jeffrey Available Now On IFC's Comedy Crib

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She’s been referred to as “the love child of Amy Sedaris and Tracy Ullman,” and he’s a self-described “Italian who knows how to cook a great spaghetti alla carbonara.” They’re Mollie Merkel and Matteo Lane, prolific indie comedians who blended their robust creative juices to bring us the new Comedy Crib series Janice and Jeffrey. Mollie and Matteo took time to answer our probing questions about their series and themselves. Here’s a taste.


IFC: How would you describe Janice and Jeffrey to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Mollie & Matteo: Janice and Jeffrey is about a married couple experiencing intimacy issues but who don’t have a clue it’s because they are gay. Their oblivion makes them even more endearing.  Their total lack of awareness provides for a buffet of comedy.

IFC: What’s your origin story? How did you two people meet and how long have you been working together?

Mollie: We met at a dive bar in Wrigley Field Chicago. It was a show called Entertaining Julie… It was a cool variety scene with lots of talented people. I was doing Janice one night and Matteo was doing an impression of Liza Minnelli. We sort of just fell in love with each other’s… ACT! Matteo made the first move and told me how much he loved Janice and I drove home feeling like I just met someone really special.

IFC: How would Janice describe Jeffrey?

Mollie: “He can paint, cook homemade Bolognese, and sing Opera. Not to mention he has a great body. He makes me feel empowered and free. He doesn’t suffocate me with attention so our love has room to breath.”

IFC: How would Jeffrey describe Janice?

Matteo: “Like a Ford. Built to last.”

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Mollie & Matteo: Our current political world is mirroring and reflecting this belief that homosexuality is wrong. So what better time for satire. Everyone is so pro gay and equal rights, which is of course what we want, too. But no one is looking at middle America and people actually in the closet. No one is saying, hey this is really painful and tragic, and sitting with that. Having compassion but providing the desperate relief of laughter…This seemed like the healthiest, best way to “fight” the gay rights “fight”.

IFC: Hummus is hilarious. Why is it so funny?

Mollie: It just seems like something people take really seriously, which is funny to me. I started to see it in a lot of lesbians’ refrigerators at a time. It’s like observing a lesbian in a comfortable shoe. It’s a language we speak. Pass the Hummus. Turn on the Indigo Girls would ya?

See the whole season of Janice and Jeffrey right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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Die Hard Dads

Inspiration For Die Hard Dads

Die Hard is on IFC all Father's Day Long

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIPHY

Yippee ki-yay, everybody! It’s time to celebrate the those most literal of mother-effers: dads!

And just in case the title of this post left anything to the imagination, IFC is giving dads balls-to-the-wall ’80s treatment with a glorious marathon of action trailblazer Die Hard.

There are so many things we could say about Die Hard. We could talk about how it was comedian Bruce Willis’s first foray into action flicks, or Alan Rickman’s big screen debut. But dads don’t give a sh!t about that stuff.

No, dads just want to fantasize that they could be deathproof quip factory John McClane in their own mundane lives. So while you celebrate the fathers in your life, consider how John McClane would respond to these traditional “dad” moments…

Wedding Toasts

Dads always struggle to find the right words of welcome to extend to new family. John McClane, on the other hand, is the master of inclusivity.
Die Hard wedding

Using Public Restrooms

While nine out of ten dads would rather die than use a disgusting public bathroom, McClane isn’t bothered one bit. So long as he can fit a bloody foot in the sink, he’s G2G.
Die Hard restroom

Awkward Dancing

Because every dad needs a signature move.
Die Hard dance

Writing Thank You Notes

It can be hard for dads to express gratitude. Not only can McClane articulate his thanks, he makes it feel personal.
Die Hard thank you

Valentine’s Day

How would John McClane say “I heart you” in a way that ain’t cliche? The image speaks for itself.
Die Hard valentines


The only thing most dads hate more than shopping is fielding eleventh-hour phone calls with additional items for the list. But does McClane throw a typical man-tantrum? Nope. He finds the words to express his feelings like a goddam adult.
Die Hard thank you

Last Minute Errands

John McClane knows when a fight isn’t worth fighting.
Die Hard errands

Sneaking Out Of The Office Early

What is this, high school? Make a real exit, dads.
Die Hard office

Think you or your dad could stand to be more like Bruce? Role model fodder abounds in the Die Hard marathon all Father’s Day long on IFC.

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Founding Farters

Know Your Nerd History

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIFs via Giphy

That we live in the heyday of nerds is no hot secret. Scientists are celebrities, musicians are robots and late night hosts can recite every word of the Silmarillion. It’s too easy to think that it’s always been this way. But the truth is we owe much to our nerd forebearers who toiled through the jock-filled ’80s so that we might take over the world.


Our humble beginnings are perhaps best captured in iconic ’80s romp Revenge of the Nerds. Like the founding fathers of our Country, the titular nerds rose above their circumstances to culturally pave the way for every Colbert and deGrasse Tyson that we know and love today.

To make sure you’re in the know about our very important cultural roots, here’s a quick download of the vengeful nerds without whom our shameful stereotypes might never have evolved.

Lewis Skolnick

The George Washington of nerds whose unflappable optimism – even in the face of humiliating self-awareness – basically gave birth to the Geek Pride movement.

Gilbert Lowe

OK, this guy is wet blanket, but an important wet blanket. Think Aaron Burr to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton. His glass-mostly-empty attitude is a galvanizing force for Lewis. Who knows if Lewis could have kept up his optimism without Lowe’s Debbie-Downer outlook?

Arnold Poindexter

A music nerd who, after a soft start (inside joke, you’ll get it later), came out of his shell and let his passion lead instead of his anxiety. If you played an instrument (specifically, electric violin), and you were a nerd, this was your patron saint.


A sex-loving, blunt-smoking, nose-picking guitar hero. If you don’t think he sounds like a classic nerd, you’re absolutely right. And that’s the whole point. Along with Lamar, he simultaneously expanded the definition of nerd and gave pre-existing nerds a twisted sort of cred by association.

Lamar Latrell

Black, gay, and a crazy good breakdancer. In other words, a total groundbreaker. He proved to the world that nerds don’t have a single mold, but are simply outcasts waiting for their moment.


Exceedingly stupid, this dumbass was monumental because he (in a sequel) leaves the jocks to become a nerd. Totally unheard of back then. Now all jocks are basically nerds.

Well, there they are. Never forget that we stand on their shoulders.

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC all month long.

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