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A New Doom Movie Should Embrace The R-Rated Heavy Metal Apocalypse Of The Games

The renaissance of video game adaptations is here at last. Between the acclaimed success of HBO's "The Last of Us," and Nintendo and Illumination's "The Super Mario Bros. Movie" breaking box office records, Hollywood is finally learning that the ticket to pleasing fans and bringing in new audiences is to stay true to the unique spirit of the source material, rather than trying to cut it to pieces and jam it into a formulaic box. However, if there's one video game property where cutting something into pieces is, well... the nature of the beast, it's "Doom." And after two failed efforts to bring the classic id Software franchise to screen, it's time for a "Doom" movie that understands the chainsaw-revving, blood-spurting nature of the games. 

Both of the previous two "Doom" movies seemed scared of the material they were adapting. Instead, a new film should hew closer to what makes the games such a BFG-level blast in the first place. What would this look like? The key is to look at what happened in the games themselves, which experimented with survival horror in "Doom 3" before plunging headfirst into bloody action with the 2016 reboot. That game, as well as its sequel, "Doom Eternal," wisely flipped the script by making the Doom Slayer the most terrifying thing in Hell, just as he was in the first two 1990s games. 

That's what a "Doom" movie needs to do: stop trying to be a moody horror film, ditch the forgettable space marine crews for the Doomguy we all want, break out a heavy metal soundtrack, and embrace this Hellish rollercoaster ride for what it's meant to be.

Forget horror, Doom needs to showcase its scary protagonist

In 2016's "Doom," the Doom Slayer finds records all throughout Hell of how feared he is by the demonic hordes and how much they dread his return. This is what helps to put the player into the mindset that they are not to fear the denizens of Hell, but the other way around: the demons are the ones who need to run from him.

From the moment the Doom Slayer steps into hell, he should be tearing demons a new one and taking names as he goes. While he only has a pistol and a shotgun to begin with, as his arsenal grows, so too does his ability to rain down demonic blood amid the fire and brimstone of the demonic legions. This doesn't mean that the Doom Slayer can't talk or have a proper name and rank as the space marine he is, but it does mean that storytelling and conversations should not be the point of this movie. Like "Mad Max: Fury Road," a "Doom" movie needs to instead focus on moving the plot from one big action set-piece to the next, with as little downtime in between as possible.

We don't need a desperate team of marines slowly being picked off. That's what the other movies get wrong. Since 1993, "Doom" has always centered on the idea of one man — not a group — taking on the forces of Hell, by himself, and shutting them down. The prior movies have avoided this, and that's exactly why they haven't succeeded with fans.

A Doom movie needs to be as over the top, ridiculous, and Hellish as the games

"Doom" is supposed to be an R-rated demonic blockbuster, not a spooky haunted house in space. So, a "Doom" movie needs to embrace the far-out, sci-fi weapons that the Doom Slayer uses in the games. Yes, that means a shotgun with four — count 'em — barrels on the front, and at least one chainsaw massacre. Add in a mini-gun, a backpack full of ammunition, and by the end, this guy better be facing off against a Cyberdemon or Spider Mastermind with the iconic BFG. Maybe even have that massive weapon fail to take the bad guy down, so the film can conclue with the protagonist relying only on his arm-mounted Doom blade by the end (leave the Unmaker sword for the sequel).

Yes, this is ridiculous, over-the-top, and utterly bonkers. That's what "Doom" is supposed to be. And similarly, this movie shouldn't conclude with a happy ending where he goes home, or anything resembling that — just a heavy metal score as the blood-splattered protagonist glares at the camera. 

Doom needs a heavy metal soundtrack, not an atmospheric score

But let's get back to that pulse-pounding metal soundtrack for a moment. Though a Doom movie could pay its dues by using a couple of metal songs like "Reign in Blood" by Slayer or "Mirror Black" by Necrophobic, the focus should be on getting Mick Gordon back to add his signature flair to the score. Though there is clearly some bad blood between Bethesda and Gordon following his work on "Doom Eternal," his music — particularly with tracks like "Rip and Tear," "BFG Division," and "Rust, Dust & Guts" — created so much of the gritty atmosphere that fans loved in the recent games.

If, for some reason, Bethesda and Gordon can't mend fences, the movie is going to need to bring on a composer with a similarly thrash-heavy sensibility. While this might not seem like a huge deal here, a "Doom" movie without a metal soundtrack ignores the influence of metal on the games themselves, from the hellish visuals to the general vibe of the whole thing. Doom is inherently metal. It's time for a movie that lives up to that.

A Doom movie needs to go to Hell and stay there

Finally, while producers might want to cut down the budget by spending as much time in a military facility as possible, this is the opposite of where a "Doom" movie needs to go, especially if it wants to set itself apart from its lackluster predecessors. By the end of the first act, the Doom Slayer should be teleported right into Hell itself, doing what he does best: running, gunning, slashing, and blowing to bloody pieces one demon after another. He doesn't need a weepy backstory about his dead family, a friend to save, or any of that — he needs to be a dangerous, world-weary outcast who finally finds his purpose in the thrill of the kill. When the movie wraps up, maybe he doesn't even want to leave. Any internal conflict shouldn't be that the Doomguy wants to escape from Hell or get away from this carnage, but rather, the fact that he actually loves it a bit too much. 

"Doom" isn't a hard story to adapt. While its 1990s peer "Duke Nukem 3D" has a lot of outdated tropes to scrap if it becomes a movie, "Doom" doesn't need a heavy reimagining — it just needs a fan who is willing to make a movie that actually resembles the games. Done right, a new "Doom" movie would be an overnight sensation, with a lasting cult following. It's the kind of vision that could unite horror-action audiences, the legions of fans of the video game series, as well as metal heads across the world. 

Take this approach, rev up a chainsaw, wade into the scorching flames of Hell, and watch a better "Doom" movie open the gates for a new blockbuster franchise.