We’re used to seeing characters rolls the dice over life-or-death decisions in horror movies; do they take the stairs, do they head to the basement, do they flee through the front door? It’s part of what makes this genre so engrossing, especially since the audience will have its own opinions about which route is the most likely to lead to salvation or slaughter.
But what about those horror movies that take this a step further and actually include gambling scenes, where the element of luck is interpreted in a very literal way? Here are just a few examples of frightening flicks that also feature games of chance.
The enduring popularity of the Leprechaun franchise, along with its sadly Warwick David-free reboot that’s in the works at the moment, is not surprising given the compelling concept and oddball tone of the original.
Stick with it until the third entry, which was subtitled ‘Leprechaun 3: in Las Vegas’ in certain regions, and you’ll be rewarded with an entertaining, silly romp set in Sin City itself. Sure, most people prefer to get their kicks playing online slots at sites like Casumo Bonus in the age of the smartphone, but back in 1995 when this movie was released it was still essential to visit this gamblers’ Mecca in person.
The plot revolves around the titular supernatural psychopath taking his wrath out on a plethora of characters who populate the Las Vegas strip, meaning plenty of scenes involving gambling and casino life are scattered throughout.
Dead Man’s Hand
The title of this movie pulls no punches about the gambling-themed plot, and if you’re a fan of low budget horror then this could be ideal.
Variously titled ‘The Casino of the Damned’ and ‘The Haunted Casino’, it follows a plucky young man and his inconceivably attractive friends as they attempt to claim a casino that he has inherited after the death of an estranged uncle. Unsurprisingly this venue is not just very dilapidated, but also plays host to various troubled spirits, including a croupier who insists that the ill-fated intruders play a very deadly game of cards with him.
There’s no questioning that this film features some fairly hammy acting and lacks the production polish of many other horror flicks, but if you’re interested in seeing casino-based carnage then you could take a gamble and give it a watch.
Resident Evil: Extinction
There’s something incredibly endearing about the Resident Evil film franchise. Not only does it diverge significantly from the video game series that inspired it, but it also manages to incorporate some of the most hilarious plot twists, character arcs and action set pieces of any property that can technically be classed as horror.
Extinction sits as the third movie in the run of six, and like its stable mates it wasn’t exactly a critical hit. However, what it does have going for it is some over the top zombie-killing action and of course that all-important Las Vegas setting that includes a huge number of prominent casinos in its list of shooting locations. From the Luxor Hotel to New York-New York, there are lots of iconic inclusions to enjoy here, made all the more interesting thanks to the healthy dose of post-apocalyptic CGI effects that have been applied to their facades.
The most recent entry in this list, Remains is a more traditional zombie horror movie than Resident Evil: Extinction, harking back to the work of the great George A. Romero with its simple story of human survivors trying to stay alive after the dead start walking the Earth.
In contrast to Romero’s consumer satire Dawn of the Dead, this movie shifts the action to a casino that has been abandoned in Reno following the outbreak of shambling corpses. The colourful cast of characters features all of the usual suspects you would expect to see prowling the floor of a casino, expect in this instance they also happen to be running from zombies and coming up with inventive ways to dispatch them without getting bitten.
Based on a graphic novel and made by some of the team behind 30 Days of Night, this is definitely worth checking out if you want more gambling elements in your zombie movies.