Resident Evil: The George Romero movie we never got

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Resident Evil: Horror film director George Romero poses for a portrait at MPRM in Los Angeles on May 12, 2010. He has a new film coming out, “Survival of the Dead.” (Photo by Anne Cusack/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Resident Evil was almost written and directed by George Romero, father of the zombie craze. What would his movie have been like? We have the details.

Resident Evil is back on top. The release of Resident Evil 2 is more than a nostalgic throwback as it pits players against the terrors invading Raccoon City, but also offers fans something nearly impossible to achieve in a remake —  an intensely new experience in a familiar franchise.

Rightly so, RE2 has gone and made zombies terrifying again. And that’s how they should be. They should scare the ever-living hell out of us. They reflect the worst aspects of our society and give us a harrowing glimpse into the dire consequences should the social structures — that we trust in so religiously — crumble. They also represent something else we are fundamentally all scared of –sickness.  They are a new plague shambling along in a mindless commission to spread their infection to every corner of the world.

But where would the modern zombie be without its father George A. Romero? The man created a phenomenon with his debut film, Night of the Living Dead.

Think about it for a moment. In NotLD, we have a group of survivors who desperately try to survive the sudden zombie apocalypse all the while remaining boarded up inside a lone house. A house with no visible neighboring homes, leaving the survivors inwardly trapped and alone to confront the surmounting hordes of flesh-eating zombies.

Resident Evil: A line of undead ‘zombies’ walk through a field in the night in a still from the film, ‘Night Of The Living Dead,’ directed by George Romero, 1968. (Photo by Pictorial Parade/Getty Images)

More from George Romero

Kind of like the first Resident Evil game, huh? In RE, players are thrown into a hostile environment where they must survive a night inside an old and mysterious mansion out in the lonesome middle of nowhere. The players who stepped across that haunted threshold really had no idea what they were getting themselves into and that only heightened the suspense and deepened the horror.

It’s undeniable that George Romero’s apocalyptic visions were influential over the developers of Resident Evil. Fans familiar with RE‘s past may argue that Sweet Home (a horror NES RPG never officially released in the USA) was the direct inspiration for Capcom’s pivotal horror game. But on the other hand, I would argue that Romero strongly inspired both games.

In all three of his original Dead series, we find a group of survivors locked up inside of some kind of facility while the end of the world breaks all around them. Be it a house, a mall, or an underground military base. They were staples to his film, as they were to the first couple of Resident Evil games.