There’s a common sentiment in the entertainment world about video game movies and TV shows—they kind of suck. But that’s been changing in recent years, with well-received adaptations like The Super Mario Bros. Movie and Sonic The Hedgehog making blockbuster bucks at theaters, while shows like The Last Of Us rack up record-breaking Emmy nominations.
We’ve combed through video game adaptations—the good, the bad, and the insane—to find some worthwhile picks that actually heavily features queer themes and actors. Press start and get ready….
This 2021 horror comedy, directed by Josh Ruben based on the Mafia/Werewolf-style VR game of the same name, takes a simple premise—someone in a small town is a werewolf and nobody can be trusted—and weaves an often-hilarious, spooky mystery yarn. Is there a werewolf afoot, or is Sam Richardson’s forest ranger character, Finn Wheeler, just dealing with a bunch of paranoid nutjobs? Werewolves Within features a cast of colorful characters, including wealthy, b*tchy married couple Devon and Joaquim Wolfson (boy, that name’s not suspicious at all, is it?), played by out actors Cheyenne Jackson and Harvey Guillén.
Streaming on Hulu.
Resident Evil: Welcome To Raccoon City
Johannes Roberts’ 2021 reboot of Resident Evil was meant to be a more straightforward adaptation of the horror video game series than the Milla Jovovich series, which strayed from the zombie-in-a-mansion formula. In Welcome To Raccoon City, a group of strangers team up to escape from a zombie outbreak in a small city over the course of one scary evening. Among them is rookie cop Leon Kennedy, played by Avan Jogia, who queer audiences know from the TV series Now Apocalypse. Jogia also founded Straight But Not Narrow, an online group that seeks to educate teens on LGBTQ+ issues.
Now streaming on Starz.
Hitman: Agent 47
Based on the popular series of video games, which star the enigmatic, genetically enhanced Agent 47, Hitman: Agent 47 features out star Zachary Quinto as one of the film’s primary antagonists. Quinto’s character—and the film in general—feel plucked right out of a Terminator story, with lost memories, shifting alliances, and lots of intense action sequences. Hitman: Agent 47 also stars Rupert Friend as Agent 47 and Hannah Ware as Katia.
Now streaming on Tubi.
Lara Croft: Tomb Raider
Directed by Simon West, Tomb Raider features queer A-lister Angelina Jolie as the iconic, short-short wearing spelunker and action heroine Lara Croft. This globe-trotting adventure follows Croft as she races against time to collect a series of artifacts before the Illuminati gets them. It’s just a bit of fun, but for fans of Jolie—and her svelte bod—it’s highly recommended.
Rentable on all major platforms.
Super Mario Bros.
Unlike the recent animated film, which was a faithful adaptation of the legendary Mario franchise, the ill-fated 1993 live action comedy attempted to drop Mario and Luigi (Bob Hoskins and John Leguizamo) into a post-apocalyptic hellscape filled with sewer monsters and an absolutely unhinged Dennis Hopper as King Koopa. One of the highlights of this insane movie is out actress Fiona Shaw as Lena, Koopa’s jealous girlfriend. In a movie full of weird decisions, the over-the-top Shaw makes several acting choices that are simply hilarious.
Not officially streaming, but find the full film on YouTube.
A neo-noir mystery comedy starring Ryan Reynolds as Pokémon mascot Pikachu sounds like a recipe for a beautiful disaster, but Detective Pikachu is actually quite a good movie! Directed by Rob Letterman and released in 2019, this neon-drenched film, filled to the brim with brilliantly rendered Pokémon, stars queer performer Justice Smith as Tim Goodman, a young man who finds himself solving a strange mystery involving the disappearance of his father… and a talking Pikachu. You don’t need to be a Pokémon fan to enjoy this weird, sweet mashup of noir and nerdiness.
Now streaming on DirecTV, TNT, TBS and TruTV.
The Last Of Us
This dark, post-apocalyptic HBO series based on the Playstation game stars zaddy Pedro Pascal as Joel, a man tasked with escorting Ellie (Bella Ramsey) across what’s left of the United States in the hopes that her immunity to a zombie-like virus will give experts clues toward a cure. This series was showered with critical and audience acclaim and has been nominated for a staggering 24 Emmys. In addition to Ellie being a queer teen, an early, standout episode featuring a relationship between Nick Offerman and out actor Murray Bartlett is a brilliant and heartbreaking gay romance.
Now streaming on Max.
This Netflix series, based on the books and game series—which originally starred Henry Cavill as the titular monster hunter and will soon star Liam Hemsworth—is worth it just for the beefcake, but this past season introduced a gay romance between Prince Radovid (Hugh Skinner) and traveling bard Jaskier (Joey Batey). Jaskier, who’s known for his fabulous song “Toss A Coin To Your Witcher,” has deserved love, so let it be with royalty!
Now streaming on Netflix.