Non! Nein!: Five Board Games That Would Make Better Movies Than Michael Bay’s “Ouija”

Graphic courtesy of the photoshop-savvy Mr. Lee Michael Bay has been contracted by Hasbro to create a movie version of the Ouija board. I don’t know quite what to expect… a PG-13 horror version of Jumanji only with %100 more … Continued


Graphic courtesy of the photoshop-savvy Mr. Lee

Michael Bay has been contracted by Hasbro to create a movie version of the Ouija board. I don’t know quite what to expect… a PG-13 horror version of Jumanji only with %100 more explosions and %100 less Robin Williams? Bad Boys II, but instead of fighting crime, Detectives Lowrey and Burnett just push a planchette around for two hours? (“It’s moving, it’s moving!” “Okay, T… H… I… S… S… H… I… T… J… U… S… T… G… O… T… R… E… A… L.” “Daaamn, Gina, we so haunted.”)

One things for sure, though: I’m expecting it to suck. Don’t get me wrong: I like Michael Bay. (Yeah, yeah, you’re revoking my overthinking license, whatever. Explosions are rad. Deal with it.) I just don’t see how this is going to be anything other than a catastrophe.

Below the jump: Five board game themed movie pitches that would be better than the Michael Bay Ouija film, plus Ouija boards as a film trope throughout history.

1) Eli Roth’s “Mouse Trap.” An evil serial killer dispatches his nubile victims through a series of brightly colored plastic death traps. Tagline: “The trap is set, here comes the net!” Starring Cary Elwes as the man in the rub-a-dub tub.

2) Michael Moore’s “Hungry Hungry Hippos” A scathing expose/piece-of-agitprop about the incompetence, corruption, and animal cruelty that lurks in the heart of America’s zoo system. Fox News turns out to be responsible, for some reason.

3) Lars von Trier’s “Checkers” Shot on the director’s cell phone camera in a dimly lit Bucharest soundstage, this film is just an hour-long game of checkers played with human pieces, punctuated occasionally by cutaway shots of von Trier savagely flipping the bird to the audience, his cast and crew, and the world in general. Björk and Bryce Dallas Howard star as “Black” and “Red,” respectively.

4) M. Night Shyamalan’s “Connect Four” In a shocking twist ending, Sis is revealed to have been planning a diagonal line all along. (Actually, come to think of it, M. Night Shyamalan’s “Ouija” would still be better than Michael Bay’s “Ouija.”)

5) Jonathan Lynn’s “Clue” Actually exists, of course, and is freaking awesome.

Oh, and also in the category of “actually exists?” Multiple earlier movies based on the Ouija board. There’s a jazz-age Max Fleischer cartoon, a 1997 Dutch short film by Dennis Bots (who went on to direct “Zoop in Afrika”), a 2003 Spanish version (IMDB user quote: “Some films should not exist), a 2006 Egyptian version (IMDB plot summary: “At the heart of the mystery lies a mystic board with an ability to kill”), and a smash-hit 2007 version from the Phillipines. By far my favorite, though, is “Witchboard,” a 1986 movie from the good old US of A, which stars – wait for it – Tawny Kitaen. That one shot at 1:51 is Whitesnake-tastic, no? Presumably the name “Witchboard” came about because the filmmakers didn’t feel like shelling out a percentage of the gross to Hasbro (actually to Kenner, at the time), but you’ve got to wonder who exactly they thought they were going to fool.

15 Comments on “Non! Nein!: Five Board Games That Would Make Better Movies Than Michael Bay’s “Ouija””

  1. mlawski OTI Staff #

    Guess Who? is Coming to Dinner:

    “Is your person white?”


    “You’re Sidney Poitier!”

    “You win!”


  2. shechner #

    This list – brilliant as it is – lacks something… shall we say, “pop-o-matic?”

    “Big ‘Trouble!’ In Little China?”

    Oooh – or “Big Trouble In Little Chinese Checkers?”

    I guess it doesn’t matter, provided that Kurt Russell starts getting some goddam work again. *sigh*…


  3. fft5305 #

    While it’s not an entire movie, let’s not forget the Ouija scene from The Exorcist.

    “Captain Howdy, that isn’t very nice!”


  4. fenzel #

    You know, if you’re really hard up for this stuff, you can always watch old episodes of _Are You Afraid of the Dark_.

    I think they did haunted board game episodes like twice a month.


  5. Dan Alt #

    Should I mention “Jumanji” and/or “Zathura?”

    No. No I shouldn’t.


  6. stokes OTI Staff #

    Dan, I think you probably should, actually. On the one hand, those don’t count because they’re not *really* based on board games. (Instead, they have fictional board games as a plot point.) But I am absolutely convinced that the existence of the forthcoming Michael Bay Ouija movie can be traced to the success of Jumanji. I mean, Clue was a giant flop. And something tells me they weren’t hoping to recreate the box office miracle that was “Witchboard.”


  7. Mertel #

    I think this actually makes sense.
    After all, what do you do with yourself after you mastered little stuff like the summer blockbuster? How about a challenge?
    Making an action movie out of an action toy franchise is one thing, but what will Michael Bay do with something which lends itself to candle-lit attics instead of hi-octane settings?
    Will he do a quiet movie? If not, how will the action be integrated?
    Agreed, the potential for disaster is there. But: no risk, no fun.
    If you always play it safe, you stagnate.


  8. Indra #

    What about ‘Monopoly’, where a smorgasbord of diverse characters (perhaps Top Hat is a swanky, high-class Brit, Thimble is a matronly middle-class housewife, etc.) compete to create a monopoly, and will stop at nothing to do so. Movie would be painstakingly long because….THE GAME NEVER SEEMS TO END.


  9. lambman #

    what about the fact that they already made a Ouija board game in the 80’s, it is called “Witchboard” and pretty dang funny


  10. overthinker #

    Oh, come come. Risk, and All the Avalon Hill war sims with the little cardboard diestamped counters… They could be put out by AH in the same way as the Hallmark Card movies, with their own “feel.”(Chess was done in Harry Potter among maqny othes.) What about Rail Baron? Cosmic encounter? And Steve Jackson games (especially card games) like Illuminati

    Illuminati is the Game Of Conspiracy. Secret conspiracies are everywhere, and now you can take control of one of them and try to . . . yes . . . take over the world! This game has been one of our most popular since its 1982 release (it won the Game Designers’ Guild Select Award and the Origins Award for Best Science Fiction Boardgame, which is a good trick since it’s more of a card game, but the Illuminati work in mysterious ways)



  11. SAM #

    This is a slippery slope. Next thing you know Spielberg will be coming out with a full feature based on “Break the Ice”. Such a good game though.


  12. stokes OTI Staff #

    @rex, that’s a pretty funny site. My experience went like this.

    Stokes: Is anybody there?
    Ouija Board: Yes.
    Stokes: What is your name?
    Ouija Board: Arthur.
    Stokes: Like, the aardvark?
    Ouija Board: Yes.
    Stokes: You are telling me that you are Arthur the Aardvark, from the children’s TV show?
    Ouija Board: [seems to think about it for a minute, probably because it’s a longer question] Goodbye.

    And at this point you get kicked out of the game. I immediately refreshed the page, and asked,

    Stokes: Don’t be a dick. Are you or are you not Arthur the Aardvark?
    Ouija Board: Goodbye.


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