When news first broke of a potential Resident Evil 4 remake by Capcom it wasn’t uncommon to see articles asking whether the game actually needed to be remade. The original game was released on GameCube in January 2005 to critical acclaim, hailed as the next evolutionary step not just in the field of survival horror but in video games as a whole. Given this, it all begged the question, why update a classic that’s still influencing games as we speak. Furthermore, how do you upgrade or rework something so groundbreaking for a new audience to appreciate without undoing the things that made it special to being with?
Looks like we’ll be having answers to these questions soon as Capcom formally announced the March 24th, 2023 release date for the Resident Evil 4 remake during Sony’s recent State of Play event. It’ll be coming to consoles and PC with all the bells and whistles expected of a next-gen game along with new gameplay mechanics to help it better fit in with today’s gaming sensibilities.
Bits of gameplay were shown in a trailer made for the event, showcasing highly detailed character models and environments not unlike those seen in the Resident Evil 2 and 3 remakes in terms of design and overall polish. What little we see of the Ganado (the now iconic infected Spaniards out for Leon’s head) looks terrifying, and opening village segment seems more claustrophobic and denser. If anything, it’s easier to compare now with Resident Evil: Village, especially in terms of color palette. It all bears a more gothic sense of horror, as was the case in RE8.
It’s not unfair to state that RE4 marked a watershed moment in gaming, of the kind that strikes a dividing line between the ‘pre’ and ‘post’ times of a game’s release. RE4’s over-the-shoulder camera angle, for instance, has basically become the standard for third-person experiences, seen in games such as Gears of War (2006), Dead Space (2008), and 2018’s God of War, extending as far as the most recent Resident Evil remakes (albeit with more modern mechanics featured as part of the update, such as the ability to aim while walking rather than having to stand still to do so as was the case in RE4).
The same goes for targeted limb damage, which wasn’t so much created by RE4 as it was equipped with more layers of gameplay mechanics thanks to the precise aiming controls and the well-rounded the weapon upgrading system. Running foes could be shot in the legs to stop them in their tracks while axe-wielding enemies could get their murder weapons knocked out of their hands by well-placed shots. Dead Space picked up on this with its own limb dismemberment system while The Evil Within series stuck more closely to RE4’s combat stylings (down to the weapon upgrades).
If the trailer for the RE4 remake is any indication, it’s fair to assume the trip to back to Spain will result in a celebration of these contributions to gaming. And yet, it does invite questions as to how much of what made the game so revolutionary will carry over into the final product. This makes the existence of the remake exciting beyond all expectations, especially when one considers what current gamers are used to when engaging with the latest offerings and whether they make RE4 come off as outdated or not.
I for one consider RE4 to have aged quite well. Upon revisiting it, the only thing I find myself taking time adjusting to is having to stop in my tracks to then be able to aim my weapon. It’s nothing that requires much wrangling from my end to get used to again, but it’s a noticeable shift.
It doesn’t compare to the amount of work I have to do to get back into the swing of things with the Playstation 1 line of Resident Evil games, which extends to the GameCube remakes. The tank controls require tapping into muscle memory you were already glad to be rid of (meaning the use of a single d-pad or analog stick to both turn and move backward and forwards as opposed to the first-person controls-inspired scheme that came later).
Resident Evil 4 didn’t do away entirely with the classic survival horror control scheme, but it made it infinitely more flexible when compared to what came before. Remakes post-RE4 would use that game as a map for their comebacks.
I’m not holding my breath for this, but I do hope there’s a classic mode that keeps the original controls in place for an experience that comes closer to what so many of us experienced when Resident Evil 4 first came out (if only for the sake of recognizing its contributions to gaming). I also hope the context specific actions Leon could pull off if he staggered an enemy crossover as well. I want to be able to roundhouse kick the infected after I’ve shot them enough to make them trip over their feet.
Resident Evil 4 quite simply broadened the scope of an entire industry, opened its eyes to change. It’s curious that the franchise has found so much success in remakes that update their classic entries by not only giving them very generous facelifts but also by changing the gameplay of the originals into something that plays more like Resident Evil 4. That’s how important this game is. It looks to update the past while still offering a viable blueprint for future games. Now it’s a matter of seeing how well the Resident Evil 4 remake captures the original Resident Evil 4.
Resident Evil has become a pop culture giant, and now it aims to become even bigger with its first ever live-action series slated for release on Netflix this coming July 14th. Actor Lance Reddick (The Wire, Bosch, Horizon: Zero Dawn) is attached to the project and will be playing the role of Albert Wesker, the sunglasses-wearing embodiment of government conspiracies and clandestine machinations.
Netflix has released a summary for the series. It reads:
“2036 – 14 years after a deadly virus caused a global apocalypse, Jade Wesker fights for survival in a world overrun by the blood-thirsty infected and insane creatures. In this absolute carnage, Jade is haunted by her past in New Raccoon City, by her father’s chilling connections to the Umbrella Corporation but mostly by what happened to her sister, Billie.”
Judging by the main character’s name, it’s safe to assume the story is hedging its bets on Wesker’s history being compelling enough to build an entire series on. I’d say it is. His place in the RE universe can be compared to that of the Cigarette Smoking Man’s in The X-Files tv show. He’s the shadowy observer, the backstage manipulator whose limitless knowledge of everything secret turns him into the very essence of what makes ‘deep background’ character types so easy to obsess over.
The focus on a future setting is surprising, even if the time jump is little more than a decade from our own time. In the context of COVID, going for a post-pandemic scenario might allow the story to look back into recent events and comment on the many missteps we took as a people from all corners of society. Of course, you take all that and add zombies to it to get that special RE flavor.
Netflix has also released three teaser posters that reassure fans the basic elements of the game’s universe will transfer over into the series. One of them, for instance, shows a vial that contains a blood sample marked positive for the T-Virus. Another presents an Umbrella Corp pill covered in blood that carries the name of JOY. It’s all in the details and the posters make sure any first impressions ramp up fan excitement.
For those eager to jump into the RE extended universe, Netflix already has a solid animated series called Resident Evil:Infinite Darkness. It follows an international investigation led by Leon and Claire as new signs of the same zombie outbreak that descended upon them in Raccoon City start to surface once more. It’s a digital animation that plays out much like an extended cinematic sequence ripped straight from one of the games but with a serviceable storyline and well-choreographed action moments to round out the experience.
With the Netflix series on the horizon, expect to see more information to pour out in the coming weeks. A trailer drop should be imminent. The biggest question surrounding the show is how faithful it will be to the source material. The Milla Jovovich-ledResident Evil movies have a fanbase, but they were quick to ditch the games after a few entries. Netflix has a chance to set a new standard for the license. In an already crowded zombie arena, Resident Evil has a unique chance to rule the land. It has to make sure it gets the zombies and the monsters right, though.
Raccoon City, which was once a booming home of pharmaceutical giant Umbrella Corporation, is now a dying Midwestern town. The company’s exodus left the city a wasteland…with great evil brewing below the surface. When that evil is unleashed, a group of survivors must work together to uncover the truth behind Umbrella and make it through the night.
Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City is directed by Johannes Roberts and stars Kaya Scodelario, Hannah John-Kamen, Robbie Amell, Tom Hopper, Avan Jogia with Donal Logue and Neal McDonough.
4K Ultra HD™ and Blu-ray™ include over 20 minutes of all-new featurettes, exploring the characters, creatures and creepy locations of Raccoon City as well as the process of adapting the first two games of the massively popular video game franchise for the big screen. A limited edition 4K steelbook, available at major retailers while supplies last, includes five collectible poster cards featuring incredible original artwork from winners of a worldwide fan art contest.
I’m not one to look back on a year and say the horror produced in it was a reflection of how bad things were. Every year finds its sources of fear, be it war or global pandemics or even economic strife. There’s no shortage of things that inspire terror.
What’s been a constant throughout time is how we turn to stories to work through our collective fears. This year saw no shortage of them, and so we recognize them.
Ahead you’ll find a list of horror across media that stands as some of the most impressive, surprising, disturbing, and downright scary that came out in 2021. It’s not meant to be a comprehensive or a definitive list nor is it in any particular order. It’s a look at the stories that got us to confront the horrors of everyday life, for that is what horror does best: create monsters and specters to helps us sift through the madness of reality. Oh, and it’s entirely subjective, as every list is.
Without further ado, the list for some of the most compelling things in horror in 2021.
1. Resident Evil 8: Village (PS/Xbox/PC/Stadia)
The Resident Evil franchise went through a legitimate transformation with the arrival of RE7, the entry that shifted from the third-person perspective into the first-person. It got the series to reconsider the places it could extract fear from. RE8 builds upon this by taking a more action-heavy approach, but like the classic Resident Evil 4 before it, the faster pace allowed the game to be infused with a more violent and visceral sense of horror, turning each encounter into a nerve-shattering experience. We once again follow Ethan Winters as his family drama extends into a village bursting at the seams with grotesque creatures and insidious conspiracies. The new werewolf villagers Ethan faces are superbly designed and they carry themselves with the same degree of doom and maliciousness as The Ganado did in RE4, but deadlier. It’s one of the best horror games in recent years and it foretells of an indulgingly dark and exciting future for the franchise.
2. Red Room (Fantagraphics)
Ed Piskor has the most macabre and twisted book to have come out in recent years in comics, period. Red Room is not for the faint of heart. It’s for those who don’t mind watching cruel individuals tearing those hearts out. The comic centers on an on-going dark web streaming show, supported by cryptocurrency, called The Red Room where serial killers dismember, disembowel, torture, and kill in the most creative ways imaginable, building a fanbase in the process. The more gruesome the kill, the more crypto tips the killer gets. In a sense, it’s a story about the depravity of creativity in things considered evil, but it’s also about how dangerous something like the dark web can be and how crypto figures into something like this. Piskor said he didn’t base the story on an actual red room-like website he knows about, but that he wouldn’t be surprised if such a place already exists. The thought of that alone is frightening enough and the comic pulls on the same strings. There’s nothing like Red Room on the stands. Nothing.
3. The Night House (TSG Entertainment/Dir. by David Bruckner)
Some of the best horror movies manage to find that well-worn formulas never truly reach a point in which everything is said and done with them. The Night House is one such movie. Beth (played by Rebecca Hall) is dealing with the sudden and unexpected death of her husband, a man whose departure hints at something darker lurking in his backstory. Beth notices her lake house is behaving strangely, possibly haunted, and that her husband might be back for a visit. The movie excels at making the house seem labyrinthian, a place where memories are dangerous and the architecture itself contains hidden images if looked at from certain angles. Rebecca Hall plays Beth with a sense of sadness and anger that sets her apart from the usual haunted protagonist, more of an active participant in her grief rather than a victim to it. All of the elements of a haunted house story are also there, but then the movie pushes every expectation down a different route to come out the other end as a more disquieting experience. It deserves to be talked about more.
4. Evil Dead Trap (Unearthed Classics 2021 Blu-Ray edition, originally released in 1988)
Okay, I’m cheating a bit on this one—being that it’s the Blu-Ray edition of a Japanese giallo-inspired horror movie from 1988—but that Unearthed Classics restored this gem and made it available for gore hounds in 2021 was one of the year’s most pleasant surprises. Evil Dead Trap follows a TV reporter that sets off with her team to an abandoned factory where a mysterious snuff filmed was shot. As they search for answers, the video’s creator starts in on the killing, one team member at a time. The movie’s director, Toshiharu Ikeda, who started out in the industry directing pink films (movies with risqué or explicit sexual content), takes a lot of inspiration from the Italian slasher genre and manages to craft some truly memorable death scenes. Unlike giallo films, though, Evil Dead Trap opts to pay more attention to story and character motivations. It all adds up to a brutal experience that’s unafraid to go far beyond concept to push the envelope on genre conventions.
5. Two Moons (Image Comics)
Given the controversies surrounding anything related to the American Civil War in today’s political climate, I found John Arcudi and Valerio Giangiordano’s Two Moons to be quite the surprise. It’s a Civil War horror comic about a Pawnee soldier fighting for the North and the procession of creatures and monsters that he meets along the way. Whether these beings are real or imagined is part of the story’s mysteries, but what’s certain is that Giangiordano’s designs are nightmarish and worthy of mention. Arcudi treats the subject matter in a very clever way, avoiding moralistic pitfalls for a more complex narrative that explores hatred, myth, and the types of violence war inspires. It’s an impressive example of horror storytelling.
6. Midnight Mass (Netflix, dir. by Mike Flanagan)
Religion and horror together is like a highly dysfunctional marriage that still manages to work. It gets at the root of some of the darkest aspects of faith and how people try to keep it even when that darkness starts seeping through. Mike Flanagan’s Midnight Mass is precisely about that, but then it also throws a terrifying creature into the mix. The story follows a small town with a waning sense of religious devotion with a few key personalities ready to turn that around. In comes a new priest that holds a terrible secret that he thinks comes with good intentions but is actually entirely the opposite. Hamish Linklater as Father Paul Hill keeps the tension on a razors edge, going from approachable spiritual guide to fire and brimstone orator. The promise of hope and salvation religion provides proves to be dangerous when it asks for blind devotion and Flanagan makes sure the sentiment comes across without it being overbearing. It’s thought-provoking horror with a creature that will haunt you long after you’re done with it.
7. Nothing But Blackened Teeth (Tor Nightfire)
Cassandra Khaw’s Nothing But Blackened Teeth finds that haunted houses and destination weddings are pure horror gold, especially when the house is a Heian-era Japanese mansion with the bones of a dead bride in it. A group of thrill-seekers make their way to a mansion for their friends’ wedding and very quickly discover the ghosts that inhabit it like to torture their victims by bringing their past mistakes and personal misgivings come to the fore. Each character is confronted with themselves all the while a bride with black teeth roams the halls of the mansion. For such a short novel, the narrative feels dense and quite heavy tone-wise, but never to its detriment. Khaw gives readers enough information to get them acquainted with cast so that the haunting hits harder with each twist and turn. The book also invites repeated reading as it reveals layers upon layers of meaning the more time you spend between its tight and superbly crafted sentences. Truly a standout book you’ll want to keep on your permanent collection.
8. Magic: The Gathering- Innistrad Midnight Hunt/Crimson Vow (Wizards of the Coast)
MTG has had an impressive set of expansions in recent years despite the hardships of running a competitive card game during a global pandemic. Innistrad: Midnight Hunt and Crimson Vow stand as two of its best, both parts of a whole centered on werewolves (Midnight Hunt) and vampires (Crimson Vow). Wizards of the Coast made a great decision in bringing back the day/night cycle for its werewolf cards, which allows for dual-identity creatures on double-sided cards. They play differently based on whether the sun is out or the full moon is up. The mechanic is simple and fair and adds another layer of strategy that directly affects deck building in surprising ways. Crimson Vow is set in a decadent vampire wedding and its spells are based on that concept. Zombie waiters and vampiric guests of honor grace its cards, giving the game a touch of celebratory gruesomeness that’s also playful with its elements. The day and night cycle doesn’t impact the vampires as much is it does the werewolves, but they complement each other well and make for a very story-driven affair. The Crimson Vow bundle comes with a collectible invitation to the wedding that is worth the price of it alone.
9. The Nice House on the Lake (DC Black Label)
James Tynion IV and Álvaro Martínez Bueno’s The Nice House on the Lake is set to become one of the best horror comics of the decade. No surprise, then, that it makes the list. The story unravels like an apocalyptic puzzle box horror mystery with an exceptional cast of characters and an overall visual design that gives everything a hazy vibe not unlike the kind found in dreams. An odd man called Walter brings a select group of friends to a very well-stocked house that’s just outside the fiery apocalypse’s reach. Each entry in the series peels back a few layers, but what they really like to sink their teeth into is individual backstories that explain how each person made it to the house and how Walter figures into their lives. Each character houses volumes of story and not one reveal is wasted as their personalities clash and lean on each other as they try to figure out what’s going on. This year saw the first half of the series run its course, making 2022 the year we finally get to see what the nice house on the lake truly is.
10. The Amusement Park (Communicator’s Pittsburg, dir. by George Romero)
George Romero left behind a vast collection of scripts, posters, props, and unreleased movies when he passed away back in 2017. It’s so extensive, in fact, that the George A. Romero Foundation (who possess the majority of the legendary filmmaker’s collection) is still uncovering new material. Back in 2018, the GARF discovered a feature-length film called The Amusement Park, a movie about how people treat their older population and how they get left behind and forgotten. It’s presented in a kind of surrealist way that leans on psychological horror as we witness the mistreatment of older folk in a strange amusement park that is not only indifferent to them but also hostile. The movie has a dystopic feel to it that isn’t all-encompassing. Instead, it’s an imposed way of life dictated by age. The older you get, the more life starts to resemble a dystopia. It hits hard and there’s a sadness coursing through it that separates it from the traditional psychological horror fare. The iconic horror elements Romero is known for make it into the film in a variety of ways, especially in terms of how regular people can become monsters. It’s necessary viewing and I hope it continues to promote discussion.
And there you have it, a look at what Horror was in 2021. Here’s to making monsters out of the things 2022 will definitely give us to scream at, and then confront them.
In 2006, American federal agent Leon S. Kennedy is invited to the White House to investigate a hacking incident. During the investigation, he encounters a horde of zombies in a mysterious attack against the President. Meanwhile, TerraSave staff member Claire Redfield uncovers a strange image drawn by a young boy in a country she visited. Haunted by this drawing, which appears to be of a victim of viral infection, Claire starts her own investigation. Claire visits the White House and has a chance reunion with Leon. Together, Leon and Claire investigate the connection between the White House attack and strange drawing and uncover a threat that will shake the nation to its very core.
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Tokyopop has announced their release of a manga-style graphic novel to accompany the Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness CG animation, as revealed at their New York Comic-Con Metaverse panel.
A survival horror franchise, Resident Evil has been a favorite of gamers since its first launch in 1996, and the series has sold over 100 million units cumulatively. With 2021 marking the 25th anniversary, Capcom and TMS Entertainment recently announced original CG animated series is exciting news for horror fans, and the graphic novel series will follow protagonists Leon S. Kennedy and Claire Redfield in an adaptation of the CG animation.
When it comes to suggesting comics for individuals to check out, it’s often good to start with what they like in other media like television, movies, books, or video games. Enter If/Then, where we’ll throw out suggestions for you to check out!
Returning to theaters this weekend is the kick-ass Resident Evil: The Final Chapter.
The human race’s last hope against apocalyptic obliteration is super soldier Alice (Milla Jovovich), but she’s been stripped of her psychic powers. She must form alliances and rally survivors in Raccoon City for the climactic battle against the Umbrella Corporation and its ravenous hordes of the undead. This sixth installment of the video game-inspired franchise is directed by Paul W.S. Anderson.
So, we’ve got a zombie flick headed up by a kick-ass female lead. I think we’ve got some comics that can fill that niche. If you want to know what you should check out, find out below.
Resident Evil (Manga by Viz Media) – Did you know there’s Resident Evil comics? The highly virulent C-virus became a global disaster, but where did the outbreak start? In this prequel to the hit Resident Evil 6 game, the terrifying origins are revealed.
Published by Viz Media, this manga series will keep you entertained and immersed in the world of Resident Evil. If you love the video games and the movie then you should absolutely check these manga out to find out what you’ve been missing. Each volume perfectly captures and extends the world on the printed page.
The Walking Dead (Skybound Entertainment/Image Comics) – Yes, there’s a television series, but before that, there was a comic series. For well over 100 issues the story of Rick, Carl, Michonne, and more has been chronicled in shocking and gory detail.
This one is for fans of the zombie aspect of the movie and video game series it differs enough from the television series that you’ll be kept on your toes and is more gory and unrestrained.
DC Comics Bombshells (DC Comics) – If you like the idea of kick-ass women, this comic series might be for you if you’re also into superheroes. Set in an alternative world this series takes inspiration from bombshell/pin-up art putting the women front and center as the world’s superheroes. What has me including this comic series on the list is its strong feminist leads and it’s women saving the day, much like Alice. Entertaining and action-packed, it’s a solid alternative for those looking for a world where women are the ones doing the punching, taking the lead, and the ones saving it.
Buffy, the Vampire Slayer (Dark Horse) – Numerous volumes have been released bringing the popular character from television to comics. Released as seasons, the comics act as a continuation of the world made popular on the small screen. Replace zombies with demons and vampires and you’ve got a more teen-friendly take on a similar story.
Monstress (Image Comics) – Steampunk meets Kaiju in this original fantasy epic for mature readers, as young Maika risks everything to control her psychic link with a monster of tremendous power, placing her in the center of a devastating war between human and otherworldly forces. A horror fantasy series full of monsters and magic is as jaw dropping beautiful to look at as it is engaging to read.
What would you suggest that I didn’t include? Sound off in the comments below!
VIZ Media gives gamers and action fans a special FREE sneak preview of its forthcoming Resident Evil: The Marhawa Desiremanga series as part of the company’s participation in 2014 Halloween ComicFest.
The terrifying 5-volume apocalyptic action thriller was created by Naoki Serizawa and serves as a prequel to the storyline of CAPCOM’s bestselling Resident Evil 6. The manga series is rated ‘M’ for Mature Readers and will launch on November 18th under the VIZ Signature imprint. Resident Evil: The Marhawa Desire Vol. 1 will carry a print MSRP of $12.99 U.S. / $14.99 CAN.
Held each year, Halloween ComicFest is celebrated at scores of comic shops and retailers nationwide on the Saturday before Halloween. On this day, participating shops offer fans and visitors a special FREE Halloween ComicFest sampler filled with previews of scores of exciting upcoming titles.
The highly virulent C-virus became a global disaster, but where did the outbreak start? In the series’ opening volume, at the prestigious and elite Marhawa Academy in Singapore, a female student suffers a horrifying transformation. Called in to investigate, Professor Doug Wright and his nephew Ricky find themselves caught up in a deadly and growing tragedy. As things get rapidly out of hand, Chris Redfield and his team from the Bioterrorism Security Assessment Alliance arrive on the scene, while behind it all a mysterious figure looms.
Since the landmark release of Resident Evil in 1996, the CAPCOM franchise has firmly established itself as a truly worldwide entertainment brand and mainstay of contemporary culture with a series of live action movies, CG anime, manga, novels and numerous merchandising lines. To date the Resident Evil series of videogames has achieved global sales of over 50 million units, while the live action movies starring Milla Jovovich have grossed in excess of $525 million dollars at the box office.
Batman: Arkham City
Batman: Arkham City Digital Exclusives
Batman: Arkham Unhinged
End of Nations
Gears of War
Kane & Lynch
Modern Warfare 2: Ghost
Red Faction Guerilla
Red Faction Armageddon
Dead Rising: Road to Fortune
Dead Space: Salvage GN
Duke Nukem: Glorious Bastards
Nanovor: Game Day
Silent Hill: Among The Dead
Silent Hill: Dying Inside
Silent Hill: Past Life
Silent Hill: Sinner’s Reward
Sore Thumbs GN
Halo: Uprising GN
Halo: Helljumper GN
Halo: Bloodline GN
Halo: Fall of Reach: Boot Camp GN