Get out your “umbrellas” because it is time to open up the doors of the Hive. Boot up the Red Queen, grab your shotgun, and get ready to shoot some undead with Capcom’s Resident Evil. Starting with the first game in 1996, Resident Evil was heralded as one of the best games ever and is arguably still the undefeated king of the survival horror genre.
With video game monopolization clearly not enough, Resident Evil kicked it up a notch in 2002 when Paul W.S. Anderson brought Capcom’s world to life in the film of the same name. With subtle nods and the odd character inclusion from the games, Anderson set to carve his own world of Resident Evil and made a new heroine out of Milla Jovovich’s Alice.
With 27 games under its belt, and rounding off the film series with this year’s The Final Chapter, there is plenty of history to take a bite at. Looking back at the franchise’s 21-year lifespan across console and cinema, here are the 20 WTF moments that had us gawping at our screens in disbelief.
Warning: Spoilers ahead for Resident Evil 7 and Resident Evil: The Final Chapter
21 Chris Redfield's Boulder Punch
Resident Evil 5 may be the all-time bestselling Capcom game, but let's be honest, it is remembered in particular for the wrong reasons. After the stellar work on Resident Evil 4, proving that zombies don’t have to be the only threat out there, RE5 then upped its lunacy to "James Bond lair" infamy and took the battle into an active volcano. Resident Evil 5 offered up a wholly new enemy to round off Chris Redfield’s adventure in Africa. Could it be some sort of T-Virus ravaged lion? Well not quite... it was a boulder!
Before Chris can reach the final Wesker battle, there is a large boulder blocking his way, the likes of which only Hulk or Superman could shift, surely. After a furious bout of button mashing, you will be pleased to hear that Redfield makes it to be reunited with his partner Sheva, but not before he uppercuts the boulder with his Herculean strength.
This moment has reached internet meme notoriety; all you have to search is “Chris Redfield boulder” to be inundated with glorious nuggets of gaming hilarity and YouTube hits. While fighting lickers, Crimson Heads, and Nemesis Projects may be one thing, the boulder was undoubtedly one of the hardest enemies the series saw.
20 Retribution's Opening (In Reverse)
Resident Evil: Retribution was certainly a step up in the action stakes, in a series which swapped out credible plotlines for Hollywood SFX and big bangs. Following Milla’s usual “My name is Alice,” the fifth film in Anderson’s series didn’t waste any time breaking up the family reunion and pitting Sienna Guillory’s returning Jill Valentine against Alice. For the opening scene, Anderson made the most of the film’s 3D technology by shooting coins, crashing jets, and dropping Milla into the ocean like the necklace from the Titanic.
The scene would have been typically over the top on its own, but then sticking the whole action into slow-mo reverse pretty much sums up the insanity of the series - it didn’t serve any purpose other than to give us all a headache. It was all guns blazing as the Umbrella attack ships launched their attack on the Arcadia tanker.
As a ridiculous moment of the series, it was also the last time we saw Wentworth Miller’s Chris Redfield and Spencer Locke’s K-Mart (which were no great loss). Producer Jeremy Bolt says that Retribution was heavily influenced by the likes of Inception - well, let’s not go overboard with the comparisons there.
19 Zombie Dogs Through The Window
While the RE game series would eventually move away from its survival roots and into cinematic action sequences, the original game was firmly rooted in horror shocks. As players trod the decaying halls of the Spencer Mansion, there were plenty of ghouls to go up against. Many remember the iconic “first zombie,” but for some, it was zombie dogs which were the scariest encounter - we couldn't look at man's best friend in the same way again.
Going for the big scare, ravenous zombie dogs smashed through your windows when you least expected it. The quaintly decorated and chintzy corridor soon become a bloodbath as the animated Cerberus dogs gave chase. The live-action opening showed the S.T.A.R.S. agents being chased through the woods by dogs, but no one realized that they would come knocking at the window.
While zombified humans were already a given of the genre, Resident Evil showed us that it isn’t just homo sapiens that are affected by the apocalypse. The Cerberus dogs became a mainstay of any good RE game, and even transitioned over into the films too. And we all owe it to that first window-smashing with the world’s worst Crufts entrants.
18 Dr. Isaacs The Tyrant
He may have been a bit of a Tyrant, but the mutation of Dr. Alexander Isaacs in Resident Evil: Extinction was pure Frankenstein madness. Iain Glen was superb as the calm and conniving leader of the Nevada base, who was undoubtedly going to lose against a powered-up Project Alice. After running into trouble in Las Vegas, and being infected with the T-Virus, Isaacs limped home to inject himself with the antidote before it was too late. As Alice took her battle with Umbrella underground, she came across a mutating Isaacs who had been locked in the lower levels. Serving as the film's "boss fight," Isaacs got his ass whooped.
With tentacles galore, Isaacs just barely fell victim to his own laser grid, diced like yesterday’s sushi. The whole thing would eventually be retconned (it was a clone of the original Isaacs), but the Extinction version of the doc was the one we came to know and love.
As well as Milla’s fighting skills, the moment also contains the superb “No, you're just another asshole" line. It may have been overkill to bring back Glen for The Final Chapter (simply to up the Game of Thrones factor), but in his first incarnation, Dr. Isaacs was a huge part of the third film, while the Tyrant battle is one of the franchise’s best.
17 Alfred Is Alexia
Thankfully, it isn’t just the seven main games that kept a shock or two up their sleeves. While the game itself was criticized, Code: Veronica contained a superb (but not so subtle) tribute to Anthony Perkins and the Hitchcockian thriller Psycho. Sure, Steve Burnside may possibly be the worst character Capcom has ever invented, but thankfully the creepy Ashford twins make up for that fumble. Showing that incest is “in,” Alfred Ashford is keen to get all Cersei and Jaime to preserve the family legacy - which might be a little hard, especially when you consider than Alfred and Alexia are the same person for most of the game.
With more wigs than an episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race, Alfred donned the guise of Alexia following his sister’s cryogenic freezing. Without his sister there, it is safe to say that Alfred underwent something of a trauma, developing a split personality.
We did eventually meet the real Alexia as she cradled her dying brother in her arms, then went on a rampage as a giant butterfly woman, but being honest, the Alfred/Alexia character was much more complex. Just like the reveal of Sheik in Zelda, the Ashford cross-dressing is one of gaming’s few gender swaps and a real WTF from any Resident Evil game.
16 Send In The Clones
Alien: Resurrection is on the phone, they would quite like their plot twist back. If there is one way to reassure fans of a series, it is by making sure your lead character can never die. By having the Umbrella Corporation manufacturing its own facility of battery-farmed Alices, they were stocking up for the future of the film franchise. The start of Resident Evil: Extinction is a confusing one, and audiences would be forgiven for thinking they are rewatching the first move as we see Milla back in her red dress inside the Spencer Mansion.
Watching Alice get gunned down just moments from her escape was shocking. Surely they couldn’t kill off the main character? Well, of course not. Milla and her red dress were quickly disposed of as the camera panned out to reveal a whole ditch of dead divas.
It was one of the most important changes in the franchise; multiple Alices meant double the fun, but half the danger. Call it a stroke of genius, or a cheap cop out, but it gave us one hell of a shock seeing a lab full of foetal position Jovovichs.
15 The Original Game's Live-Action Opening
The legacy of Resident Evil is now pretty apparent, but from its humble origins, Capcom was just out to scare us. The first game can seem a little rough ‘n’ ready, especially when you take into account the live-action opening. 1996’s game may have been more about survival horror, but that doesn’t mean the creative team anticipated there could one day be a Resident Evil movie. The only thing you can liken the original game’s opening would be one of those low-budget, faux-trailers, like Machete.
Basically, the surviving S.T.A.R.S team regroup outside the Spencer Estate and chew some meaty dialogue about rescuing Bravo team and are then chased by the Cerberus dogs. Weirdly, none of the actors present were even the voice actors from the game and the scene jarred with the rest of the game, but its inclusion made Resident Evil what it was.
It was censored over the years - Chris Redfield’s smoking habit was removed for American audiences - but the uncut version packs one hell of a punch.
14 Alice's Murder Of Crows
Killer dogs have already been mentioned, but they weren’t the only animal menace during the apocalypse. As audiences settled in for Extinction, its runtime was packed with Vegas zombies and a full-on reproduction of The Birds. As a powered Alice set out on her one-woman quest, she had a flying foe to take on in the form of a murder of crows. We had already seen an ominous bird cawing early on, but no one realized that they would be part of one of the film’s biggest WTF scenes.
As Claire Redfield’s convoy is attacked by the murderous murder, it looked like curtains for the crew. We waved goodbye to Ashanti’s Nurse Betty as she sacrificed herself, and Oded Fehr’s Carlos looked like he was about to have his eyes pecked out. But of course, Alice arrived just in time to save the day. There was the superb full 360 as Super Alice sets fire to the sky, but what else would you expect from the franchise’s insane third entry?
If anyone talks about Extinction, they automatically think of the crows, and rightly so.
13 Leon Takes On Del Lago
As a player of the games, you certainly were gonna need a bigger boat when tackling Resident Evil 4. Leon Kennedy’s sinister trip to Spain took an unexpected turn as he braved the Del Lago beast. It was effectively Resident Evil’s own version of Jaws, while Kennedy sailed out to take on the Plaga-infected experiment. The game was a radical departure from the zombies of the previous three games, but as one of the first Los Illuminados creations, Del Lago was classic RE villainy.
As Leon approaches the mist-covered lake, it is a big case of “Nope, let’s just turn around.” It still doesn’t stop our hero hopping in a tiny little rust bucket and sailing off into the unknown. Like a classic horror film, players see the shadow of the Del Lago coming closer before a battle ensues.
You have to hurl harpoons at the creature (it is actually a giant salamander) and avoid debris in the lake. Those who fall in the water are subjected to furious button mashing as they clamber back into the boat to continue harpooning Del Lago. Obviously, Leon wins, but not before players are teased with the possibility that Leon will be dragged to a watery grave too.
12 Retribution's Washington Ending
Anderson was back for No.5 and a veritable tour of the globe. This time it was off to Umbrella’s Soviet facility and a near-miss escape from The Red Queen. With all the pieces in place for an amazing final entry, the last shot of Wesker in the White House took everyone’s breath away. As Alice, Jill, Leon, and Ada look out over the ruins of Washington and humanity's last stand, we finally had the entire group together after waiting for five films.
Umbrella gunships taking on the flying Kipepeo monsters, the burning ruins of the White House, and Jill Valentine back on our side. Audiences couldn’t wait to see how the next film would continue the story. Surely there would be some epic battle. Sadly, the payoff wasn’t quite as great.
The Final Chapter pretty much disregarded Retribution’s end to cut straight to Alice alone in the wasteland. All we are told is that “they’re all dead,” presumably meaning that Jill and co. didn’t make it out of Washington alive. You can assume that there would have been one or two scheduling conflicts, but to completely disregard 90% of the cast - not cool Anderson, not cool!
11 Alice(s) On Tokyo
As the world of Resident Evil fell apart, the Umbrella Corporation rightly took to ground to wait out the apocalypse. From Resident Evil: Afterlife they made a much bigger deal of Albert Wesker, and Shawn Roberts taking over the role was a welcome change from Jason O'Mara's bit part. With the reveal of multiple Alice’s at the end of Extinction, a whole slew of Jovovich's heroine took on the Tokyo Umbrella facility. With one Alice being bad enough, how about a team of clones taking on the Tokyo HQ and slaughtering everyone in sight?
The Tokyo attack was full blood-fuelled carnage and multiple Alices skydiving down the center of the facility was pure madness. There was also the great final payoff as the Alices are blown to Kingdom Come while Wesker escapes in his jet.
When confronted by the “real” Alice, Wesker stole her powers and crashed into the mountains where he seemingly met his demise. While the move may have rendered her powerless, Tokyo worked as the perfect reset for the series, sending Alice out on her one-woman quest to reach Arcadia and be reunited with her chums. Right from the get-go, Afterlife threw all credibility out of the window.
10 Raccoon City Gets Nuked
Like Gotham City for Batman, or Hyrule in Zelda, Raccoon City was an anchor point for not only the Resident Evil games, but the films too. We all known that the fall of Raccoon City was only the start of the T-virus outbreak, but its destruction was instrumental in moving the game series onto a new territory. The likes of Resident Evil 6 were hugely expansive, but if we hadn’t destroyed Racoon City back in Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, we would probably still be there now.
The city held some of the franchise’s best locations, like the R.C.P.D, the Spencer Mansion, and Umbrella’s underground labs. Although the bombing is famously remembered from the end of Resident Evil: Apocalypse, the games did it first (and better).
If defeating a leather-faced Nemesis wasn’t bad enough, Jill then had to try and escape Raccoon City before the U.S. Government nuked it to hell. Luckily, Carlos Olivera and a timely Barry Burton were on hand to help her escape, while players are treated to the beautiful orange glow as Racoon City and the undead become just another blotch on Google Earth.
9 Jill Valentine's Introduction
There is no denying that inventing Jovovich’s Alice purely for the films was a master stroke, but when looking at the franchise as a whole, Jill Valentine has to be Resident Evil's leading lady. Anderson rightly wanted to distance his films from the history of the games, but everyone knew that it was only a matter of time before Jill turned up as the franchise's very own Lara Croft. Boy, what an entrance she made, complete with oodles of sass and Valentine vigor: “I’m leaving town, I suggest you do the same.”
Critics may be divided on the second film of the series, but Apocalypse introduced Jill in the best way possible - a disgraced cop storming into a police station and shooting the place up. Quite why on Earth the R.C.P.D would still be at their desks as the various station inhabitants turned into ravenous zombies is beyond anyone, but Jill was there to help out.
Set to gritty cut-shots and Matrix-esque music, Jill stole the show, proving her validity as a more than perfect partner in crime for Alice.
8 The Licker
Did no one ever tell Capcom that it is rude to stick your tongue out? The second game introduced plenty of elements that became staples of the games (and films), but the most memorable are the skinless Lickers and their exposed brains. Not only are the Lickers one of that game’s best parts, but some of the coolest monsters that Capcom has created. Anderson pretty much replicated the Licker meeting from Resident Evil 2 in his 2002 film, but again, the games did it better!
Leon/Claire’s arrival at the R.C.P.D. is interrupted by that horror trope of something dripping from the ceiling, only to reveal that it is blood from a ravenous Licker. The cutscene kicks in and we get a truly classic moment of the series before you go to town on the slimy-tongued bastard. Sure, it may be a bit of a rip-off of Ridley Scott’s Alien, but it still scared the bejesus out of players.
7 The Moscow Simulation
If Licker representation wasn’t already enough, a huge version of the monster returned for Retribution to kick off the fifth film’s biggest WTF moment. Of all the simulations at Umbrella’s Soviet base, the Moscow one helped reanimate a pretty lackluster film. The whole Moscow scene is the epitome of Anderson’s crazy dream for the films; it seemingly threw anything and everything at a mid-film battle. There was a brief standoff when the Las Plagas army was activated, but it was only after Sergei was pulled to the roof and devoured by a Licker that the action really began.
Leon’s group took Las Plagas on the road, but Alice turned up to save the day in a Rolls Royce Phantom with one hell of a chase through the Moscow streets. It involved bikes, gun-mounted jeeps, and the giant Licker pursuit. If RPGs and crashing into a subway weren't enough, Moscow wasn’t even the end of the Licker. The whole scene runs like an advert for Rolls Royce, but since it gives us everything a Resident Evil movie needs, who is really complaining?
6 Lisa Trevor
Ah, the Moaning Lisa, where would the 2002 REmake be without her? Sure, the Gamecube could’ve just upped the graphics a bit, introduced the notoriously hard Crimson Skulls, and be done with it, but oh no, they went and introduced a whole new character in the form of Lisa Trevor. The big twist came when we find her emaciated body chained in a cabin outside the mansion, barely recognizable as the girl she once was - Lisa’s penchant for wearing other people’s faces made her the Hannibal Lecter of the series.
As the daughter of the mansion’s architect, Lisa became collateral damage in Umbrella’s schemes but showed a remarkable amount of resistance to their probing. She inadvertently became a jokingly hard-to-defeat monster and a superb boss battle by anyone’s standards.
However, what makes Lisa all the more harrowing is the fact that she was just an innocent girl, and one of the rare good people in the Resident Evil universe. All Lisa wanted was to give Mommy her face back, but instead, we went and blew her up!
5 Alice And Claire Take A Shower
Two girls getting steamy in the shower sound like some people’s dream, but in Resident Evil: Afterlife, it turned into more of a horror show. The film may be disjointed by its several location jumps, but the prison area is defined by Ali Larter and Milla Jovovich taking on the Axeman in the showers for one of the many final battles. If we needed any reason to see Larter’s Claire Redfield as the franchise’s second-in-command, the shower scene sets her up for it.
Seemingly unkillable, the hooded horror just kept coming back for more, and was made all the more freaky by the fact that we never saw the monster’s face. The Axeman came back for double trouble in Retribution, but it is nothing compared to the Afterlife battle.
After overusing the 3D technology to hurl the giant axe at the screen, the sight of Alice and Claire back to back and blowing the Axeman's brains out as water pours around them couldn't be any more ridiculous.
4 Wait, His Name Is Redfield?
2017’s Resident Evil 7 was a welcome return to form or the series, swapping out cinematic cut-scenes for good ol’ fashion hillbilly cannibalism. There are still nods to Wesker, puzzle traps, and survival stealth, however. Some criticize it for moving away from the predecessors, but most call it change for the good. The game progresses to a final battle with the mutated Everline, while a familiar “Umbrella Corporation” helicopter belatedly arrives to extract the main player.
The seventh game may seem way off map compared to its predecessors, but various clues hidden in the game prove that Resident Evil 7 is set in canonical continuation of the rest of the series. If the odd Easter egg wasn’t good enough for the avid player, one final scene links everything with a big neat bow. As Ethan is rescued by the helicopter team, the man that offers his hand introduces himself simply as “Redfield.”
Could this possibly be the Chris Redfield? Well, the game’s credits seem to suggest so, as does the upcoming "Not A Hero" DLC, but we still don’t fully know the answer. Either way, that is one hell of a family lineage to carry around with you and what a way to end the game!
3 Birkin's Transformation
Betrayed and fatally shot seems like one way to get rid of a character, but this being Resident Evil, William Birkin wasn’t ready to go just yet. Resident Evil 2 expanded from the first game to give us a lot more of the Umbrella lore, making Birkin into the man behind the G-Virus, which was effectively T-Virus on steroids. His transformation into “G” sets him up as the game’s secondary antagonist and final boss - although he is hardly recognizable.
Birkin had planned to leave Umbrella, however, a team of special forces were sent to finish him off. Birkin was gunned down, but not before he injected himself with his own G-Virus and pursued the forces into the sewers to exact his revenge. With those who had wronged him decimated, Birkin fed the T samples to rats and released the infected creatures into Raccoon City, while simultaneously kickstarting the apocalypse.
Birkin’s first transformation was never fully shown, allowing players to only imagine what the final product would look like, but we see him in various forms as the game progresses. Ending up as an amorphous blob of teeth and flesh, Birkin is finally blown-up onboard an escape train - but his original transformation stands out as one of Resident Evil 2’s most shocking moments.
2 Wesker's Battle
Axemen are child’s play when it came to Afterlife’s real big battle. After finally tracking down the (seemingly) deserted Arcadia ship, Claire, Chris, and Alice discover it is really an Umbrella lab-- and another final showdown. The sniveling Bennett was back, as were tentacled-Cerberus dogs, but most importantly... Albert Wesker - the man you can never kill. Obviously surviving his earlier plane crash, Wesker was sitting pretty in a white chair and his signature shades.
It looked hopeless as Wesker trapped the Redfield siblings and took on Alice alone. Shawn Roberts excelled as the Umbrella chairman, dodging scalpels, and whooping Milla’s backside at every opportunity. He was taken down by a well-timed double-tap to the mouth, but even that wasn’t enough to end his reign of terror. An infected Wesker flew off (again) to blow up Arcadia, but unfortunately, Alice had conveniently planted the bomb on the exact helicopter he took off in.
Those who have watched the following two films will know that Wesker survived, but as final boss battles go, his apparent Afterlife death was a piece of Resident Evil wizardry.
1 The Alice Twist
Hmm, that little girl looks a lot like Milla Jovovich (ignore that it is her daughter), and she is named Alicia. Could she possibly be anything to do with lead character Alice? Also, that mysterious woman in the shadows sounds a lot like Milla Jovovich. Could she possibly be her by any chance? The Final Chapter gave us the least shocking final twist ever, but one that still had us shouting WTF at the screen. With prosthetics even worse than Guy Pearce in Prometheus, Jovovich played dual roles, as Alice and an aged Alicia Marcus.
By the time Anderson bowed out with the sixth film, pretty much everyone was a clone. Anyone with half a brain could've guessed that Alice was actually a clone of the original Alice/Alicia Marcus, or that The Red Queen was modeled on the real deal. Annoyingly we never got to find out why Project Alice was actually called Janus Prospero, but there are a lot of things that the film series screwed up on. Having three versions of Alice as the “Trinity of B-----s” is the only way that a true fan would’ve wanted the series to end, so bravo Mr. Anderson, Bravo.
Which crazy Resident Evil moment stuck with you the most? Let us know in the comments!