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This article may contain spoilers for Resident Evil.
You spent years waiting for developers to hurry up and release a big game. You buy it, take it home, and play through it in a couple of days. It’s awesome.
But now what?
Read+Watch+Listen is about other material you might want to check out if you’re just not ready to move on. We’ll suggest media that share something in common with a particular game and tell you why it might be of interest. This time, we’re building off of your time with the Resident Evil HD Remaster, which is out now for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360, and PC.
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If you couldn’t get enough of: Unethical human experimentation and freaky-ass monsters.
This competent 1989 knock-off of “gross-ass monster in a confined space” films like Alien and John Carpenter’s The Thing stars Peter Weller (the good Robocop), Ernie Hudson (Ghostbusters), and an assortment of familiar-looking character actors as a deep-sea mining team that stumbles upon a scuttled Russian submarine that contains puzzling medical logs, cryptic videos, and a flask of vodka that seems OK to drink, right?
The rest of the film unfolds as you’d expect — assuming what you expect is for a bunch of dead bodies to fuse together into a massive monster that tries to kill everybody. Leviathan features some memorable scares, grotesque beasts designed by legendary monster maker Stan Winston (Predator), and one of my favorite lines in cinema history.
This comes when the surviving crew learns that nobody will be around to rescue them from the horrifying corpse monster for 48 hours. “I realize you must have gone through hell,” their surface contact says. Ernie Hudson’s response makes me laugh every time I hear it:
The Winchester Mystery House
If you couldn’t get enough of: Crazy, sprawling mansions of dubious design.
Explorers of Resident Evil’s Spencer Mansion will probably notice a couple of things about its architecture. They might think it’s odd that the house has a massive bioweapons laboratory underneath it. But even before that, they might note the odd arrangement of rooms, secret passages, themed key sets, and doors that don’t open until you insert a precious gem or crest into them.
The real-world equivalent of this nightmare of engineering is the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, Calif. Depending on which version you believe, its 160 rooms, doors that go nowhere, and oddly proportioned staircases are either the work of a clinically depressed mind or a Sisyphean atonement for all of the people killed by Winchester rifles. The house’s owner, Sarah Winchester, had the equivalent of $30,000 a day in income from her late husband’s gun-built estate, and she partly put it to use by continually building, rebuilding, and modifying the structure for almost 40 years.
Movies about giant versions of normally small animals
If you couldn’t get enough of: That thing I said up there.
Zombies aren’t the only things that want to kill you in Resident Evil. You also have to deal with some gross remixes of familiar things. But perhaps stranger than the human-reptile hybrid Hunters or the enormous Tyrant are those times you’ll go up against an animal you recognize, only it’s just too damned big. This first game includes giant sharks, massive spiders, and a huge snake capable of biting your torso off.
And if you’re into that sort of stuff, here are some movies you should check out. Don’t worry — nothing by crap factory The Asylum (Sharknado) is on this list. Oversized animals are basically their thing, but I also want you to enjoy yourself.
Night of the Lepus (1972): OK, so this movie is not very good. But it’s about giant, killer rabbits, so what can you do? DeForest Kelley (Star Trek) and Janet Leigh (Psycho) star as researchers combating a fuzzy, nose-wiggling menace that threatens to destroy an entire town — and then does. Be prepared for cute bunnies hippity-hopping all over miniature buildings with ketchup smeared on their faces to simulate blood. And also look out for actors in rabbit suits because this movie does not try nearly as hard as it should. But for all its issues, it’s still a crazy enough premise that’s worth watching.
- Them! (1954): Here’s another animal that isn’t scary: ants. But add some 1950s-era radiation panic and watch the terror happen. More or less. An infestation of gi-ants isn’t inherently terrifying, especially with the cheesy, ’50s-era special effects on display here, but this was the film that started the “big animal” subgenre of sci-fi and horror flicks, so they were still kind of figuring things out.
- Deep Rising (1998): This modern-day B movie comes from director Stephen Sommers (1999’s The Mummy). It’s about a salvage crew, a thief, and a team of cliché, character-actor mercenaries trapped on a luxury ocean liner with a bunch of tentacles belonging to an enormous, cuttlefish-like creature that just straight-up digests people alive. It doesn’t take itself too seriously (how could it?), and Treat Williams’ proto-Nathan Drake-esque performance as a wisecracking scrap pirate makes the whole thing worthwhile.
If you couldn’t get enough of: insane, greed-motivated mad science.
Here’s a thing that’s a read, a watch, and a listen. So take your pick.
Curt Siodmak’s 1942 novel tells the story of W.H. Donovan, an evil millionaire who crashes his plane to escape prosecution for his shady dealings and ends up as a brain in a jar. And that isn’t much of a story on its own, so the brain is also powerfully psychic and begins to influence, infest, and take over the mind and body of the physician who pickled it.
You have three film adaptations from as many decades to choose from: The Lady and the Monster (1944), Donovan’s Brain (1953), and The Brain (1962). The third comes courtesy of Hammer and Amicus alum Freddie Francis, and it departs the most from the original story, having the brain using its telepathic tendrils to try to solve its body’s murder.
But if your eyes are busy, check out this 1944 adaptation from old-timey radio show Suspense. This audio version stars Orson Welles as the well-meaning doctor, and the eeriness builds as you hear Donovan’s voice and mannerisms slowly begin to creep in.
I haven’t read, watched, and listened to everything, obviously. Do you have another piece of media that goes with Resident Evil? Feel free to share in the comments. And be sure to check out the other entries in this series here.
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