George A. Romero’s Resident Evil (Cancelled in pre-production) – ManlyMovie

George A. Romero’s Resident Evil (Cancelled in pre-production)

In 1997 Resident Evil 2 went through some major problems, it was a bit too clean, slightly cheesy and among other things the creator of the original just wasn’t happy with its progression.  It was scrapped and a darker, more brilliant game built from the ground up (Ironically, the reverse happened for the movie version), a move that would push release back over a year. To compensate they needed a huge PR hit to re-ignite hype, so they recruited George Romero to shoot a 30-second live action trailer.  And in case you’re wondering, that’s where the screenshot is from.  Capcom was so impressed, they ultimately hired Romero to direct a full blown movie.  

By 2000 it had entered pre-production, had a finished script and Romero and his team even had props constructed.  Then, Romero gets fired.  Why?  Creative differences apparently, evidently someone deemed Romero’s version less than marketable. Romero himself: “There are two sides to every coin but I don’t think they were into the spirit of the video game and wanted to make it more of a war movie, something heavier than I thought it should be“.

But if firing the man who pretty much inspired the games existence wasn’t bad enough, the worst was yet to come.  The worst thing that could happen to any movie then happened:  Paul W.S. Anderson. I often hear people say “But the first was good” when it comes to Anderson’s Resi Evil movies.  No, the first was fucking shit as a zombie-horror movie and even worse as an adaptation.  The production values were crap, it looked like the set from a rejected ‘Outer Limits’ episode (A good director can overcome such things, like George Miller or Romero himself) and make it look A-Grade through creative genius.  The story sucked, the acting sucked.  Unbelievably, the score bounced from hard-rock to EuroDance/drum ‘n’ bass.  The guy who made the games must’ve shit his pants – and not for the right reasons.  That alone is the sign of a truly witless hack.  

Not to be outdone, Anderson made increasingly shit sequels.  You’d think that would be impossible considering how bad the first was, but its true.  Though I never made it halfway past the third.  Only Paul Anderson could ruin not one but two classic franchises at once too (AVP, a movie that killed a Cameron/Scott Alien collaboration).  One fascinating question is this:  Who in THE FUCK watches this diarrhea every year?  My guess is its an annual/bi-annual event for tens of millions of teenie boppers or people with the IQ of a turnip.

 We can get a feel for what the real movie may have looked like through several things.  Firstly, just watch Romero’s own movies.  The mansion was inspired by Night of the Living Dead and the laboratory/experiments segments inspired by Day of the Dead. Then there’s the script, its online, google it.  Its basically Resident Evil, live action.  Its probably the most literal video-game adaption ever.  You name it, its all there.  Chris Redfield, the Tyrant, zombies, hunters.  It reads a little more fast-paced than a typical Romero zombie movie, but scripts usually stretch out more on film.  I’d even feel comfortable likening this to Aliens, in that its like an action-orientated sequel to a slower, creepy Romero ‘Night’ movie – but without losing the horror or dark aesthetics.

It’s clear from both scripts that Romero played the games and Anderson did not, its like a love letter and even the games weaker points iron out.  So just how would it all have looked?  The 30 second trailer for Resident Evil 2 gives somewhat of an idea.  For whatever reason, this was only legally allowed airtime in Japan.  But the trailer itself, all 30 seconds of it, is instantly weightier and more oppressive and creepy.  Like a Romero zombie movie then.  Back in the early days of the interwebs, I also remember Jason Patric, Danny Glover and Sarah Michelle Gellar being the tentative centre cast.

We have another torturous Anderson movie to get through before his series ends.  Maybe Romero will get to ‘ground’ (All the rage these days) a reboot.  In the meantime, fuck you Anderson and here’s a dedicated Facebook page some guy set up.