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A Look Back at George Romero’s Rejected ‘Resident Evil’

Considering that we’re now preparing ourselves for a sixth entry in the Resident Evil franchise, it wouldn’t surprise me if many of you forgot that at one point none other than George A. Romero, the man who created the modern zombie genre, was going to write and direct a feature-length adaptation based on the highly popular video game franchise. After all, Romero was assigned to the movie in 1999, a completely different century than the one we’re in now. Feel old yet?

And while the current franchise is quite popular and has its dedicated fans, there are still a few of us who wonder what could’ve been had Romero been the one to tell the story. Among those who ponder this are the folk over at Rejected Storytellers, who have put together a fun little video that recalls what Romero’s story would’ve included, including sticking with protagonists Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine and keeping the story in the Spencer Mansion.

Check it out below!



COMMENTS

68 Comments
  • James Packman

    His trailer for the res evil 2 game was great.

    • Dev

      It looks pretty naff to me, even for a late 90’s video game advertisement. It has a distinct Uwe Boll / House of the Dead vibe, to me, with the added strangeness of them having apparently cast a 14 year old boy as Leon.

  • Nicholas

    Considering I don’t like his zombie movies, I’m glad he didn’t.

    • Darrell Simpson

      So you preferred what you got? Allllllllriiiighhhtttty then

      • Nicholas

        TBH, it would be interesting to see what he intended; they would certainly have been different.

        • bdwolfe312

          Read the script. It’s been readily available online for the past 16 years.

          • Nicholas

            A good script doesn’t make a good film, sadly.

          • David Stakes

            Youre delusional, take a long nap and maybe reconsider youre life choices lol

          • Nicholas

            LOL.
            Nah, I just find them boring, a bit like taking a long nap tbh. Zombieland was quite fun, although I’m not sure what made me watch it. I think I enjoyed the guys rules of survival. Some of them were very witty. World War Z, I think it was because, finally, someone has made zombies do something different – they moved fast! I decided to watch it because of the trailer. I certainly had many issues with the film, but not because there were slow-ass zombies in it.

          • Dev

            World War Z is by no means the first film to use ‘fast zombies’ and for my money, it’s easily the worst of that sub-genre (there’s 28 Days Later, 28 Weeks Later, and the 2004 remake of Dawn of the Dead, which isn’t as clever as the original but man alive is it gory). WWZ made a critical error in it’s ending, by turning what is a defining characteristic of zombie lore (the apocalypse) and nullifying it for a happy ending. Totally neutered the entire experience.

          • Matt Khourie

            Thank God someone was here to get the youngins up to speed.

          • Dev

            He’s right though, having a good script doesn’t guarantee jack shit. Lot’s of terrible films start out with great ideas and decent scripts. It’s rarer maybe for a bad script to turn out alright (The Dead has terrible dialogue but amazing atmosphere, but fortunately there’s very little dialogue to dwell on), but still.

    • bdwolfe312

      So when you say that…you are saying you didn’t like Day of the Dead? Dawn of the Dead? Night of the FUCKING Living Dead? You officially have no credibility in the horror community. If all you saw was Land of the Dead, Diary of the Dead, and Survival of the Dead….then you STILL have no credibility in the horror community.

      • Nicholas

        Like I care.

      • ^^^ Truth.

      • Dev

        Even if he disagrees with you, he’s entitled to his opinion. I’m curious about what zombie films he DOES like, if he likes the genre at all (plenty of people don’t). Perhaps he’s more into the 30’s zombie films, or Fulci? You don’t get many voodoo zombie films, like Wes Craven’s The Serpent And The Rainbow, and they’re always interesting.

    • Wolf-man

      So…what zombies movies do you like? I mean literally every zombie movie after NOTLD takes inspiration from George Romero.

  • Mark Andrew Glinka

    Romero’s script is incredible. Giving the film to Paul Anderson is almost as good of an idea as giving Uwe Boll a video camera.

    • Dev

      Oh Uwe. The Ed Wood of Video Game adaptations, except that’s kind of mean to Ed Wood as he was at least enthusiastic about what he was doing.

  • Dustin Maki

    I remember when the script was put out on the net. It was really good. WAY better then what we actually got. With that said I do like the movie’s we have now for what they are. I don’t compare them to the games at all.

    • Rick-Taylor

      Perhaps we read different scripts. The one I read was bad……. BAAAAAADDD.

  • PowerGloveKid

    big mistake hollywood for passing on the master of horror. resident evil films are just terrible, i did however like the one taking place in the desert. maybe in a alternate time line romero made the movie he wanted.

    • Ridiculous

      First two were good, especially the second one, because of being in Racoon City itself, which was made pretty good too, I mean, it had great acting of Nemesis, it had zombies on streets, it didn’t had lame matrix things, and it had Umbrella Corp special units with Carlos and sad moment with Nicholai.

  • vmackey

    Paul Anderson is just a rich guy. He doesn’t give two flying fuck about making a good movie. He’s only interested in making quick bucks for him and his wife to enjoy.

  • Quinton Ridley

    Land of the Dead kinda sucked and only hurt the original Dead movies. He should’ve done Resident Evil instead.

    • Dev

      That’s a negatory good buddy. Personally I’m glad that Romero didn’t end up making a video game movie, because without exception, they are terrible projects that either ruin careers (if you’re good) or simply establish you as Master of Turds (if you’re Anderson).

  • Ridiculous

    But…Land of the Dead wasn’t serious, I mean…zombies adapted, took guns, walked underwater, was kinda humorous…I couldn’t take the movie serious, but I wished all the time for it to be, though it was fun to watch it nonetheless, but I liked Resident Evil 1,2,3 movies too, especially the Apocalypse, the second part.

    • Dev

      There’s a thread of the absurd in all of Romero’s best work, going right back to Dawn of the Dead, and I think it’s taken to a fairly logical conclusion in Land of the Dead, although there’s maybe some problems with how he executed it. I never really had issue with the gun-toting, tool using zombies, as A) Bub used a gun in Day of the Dead, so it can’t be that controversial really, and B) it’s simply a further extension of the basic ideas first stated in Dawn of the Dead, that the zombies are going back to what they know – whether it’s a place, or an activity, or both. It says more about what they are, as a reflection of the living, and I think that’s what always made his films stand out amongst the many, many imitators that fail to show something interesting.

    • LennyTheTroll

      My biggest problem with Land of the Dead was John Leguizamo’s character wanting money. It’s the zombie apocalypse, what do you need ir for? You take what you want, like they did at the start of the movie.

  • Wolf-man

    “Christ Redfield was now a Native Amerian” What? lol
    Also, I always crack up when people are like “See George Romero doesn’t like it that proves its crap!” He has proven that the talent he once had is long gone. Everything after Day of the Dead has been mediocre at best with Diary and Survival being just plain awful. He has no right to complain about zombie movies today when screwed up his own genre.
    It would have been nice if the guy in the video spent more time talking about Romero’s script and less time whining about Walking Dead and the current Resident Evil movies.

    • Mike Darwin

      Monkey Shines is awesome. Or should I say “pawsome”?

      • Wolf-man

        This is true and he has done good films outside of his zombie movies but I’m more referring to his more current work. Land of the Dead and everything after. Land was decent but it just went downhill from there.

  • EvilResident

    Romero’s RE script is embarrassing. Ada had lines about “the evil that resides in all of us.” Or that Hispanic woman who always said something along the lines of “I guess this is my home now.” My god.

    Not saying the current movies are any better, but you are absolutely wrong if you think his take would have been anything more than crap.

    • LennyTheTroll

      In my opinion Romero has always been a terrible writer when it comes to dialog.

  • Dev

    It’s funny that people are so invested in films based on a franchise that has legitimately some of the absolute worst dialogue and totally nonsensical plots of any game I’ve ever played.

    Let’s face it, there’s no way to adapt a Resident Evil game, be faithful to it, and have it make any sense whatsoever as a film. It’s no wonder that Anderson changed so much of it, it’s just a pity that he also neutered it so badly that it leaves you questioning if you even just watched a horror film or not once it’s finished. If Romero had done it, who knows, at least he has history in the genre, but also, that’s kind of all he has these days, as his output has been declining alarmingly rapidly in recent years and he has for the longest time only been interested in rehashing his own ideas rather than going in other directions.

    • drdvdplayerhandbook

      I know, right? Why people keep expecting an actual horror film from a game that’s basically a japanese B horror film adaptation? It’s like expecting a romantic novel based on an Arnold Schwarzenegger film. Just because the guy gets the girl it doesn’t make it a romance.

      I mean, sure, Anderson doesn’t even try to be anything close to the genre, but people’s expectations are still insane.

      • Dev

        And in all these years of shitty adaptations, nobody has learned a thing.

  • Adam Paquette

    I fucking hate the live action Resident Evil movies. They aren’t even similar to the game in any way, they are just over the top shitty action movies. And who the fuck is Alice anyway!? You want a real Resident Evil movie?? Watch Degeneration or Damnation, the CGI movies, they actually feel like they’re part of the franchise.

    • Rick-Taylor

      1. The live-action movies are a departure from the game series and in no-way canon.
      2. Not a fan of the CGI movies, either.

      • Dev

        At least the CGI ones fit in at least, even if they are baffling rubbish as well.

    • LennyTheTroll

      I prefer the CG movies as well, stoked Capcom is making a 3rd one.

    • Mary Anne Celestino

      Hate them, too, excepting the first two. But as always, it’s the bottom line. They go for the greater majority of eye-candy junkies than the dedicated fans of the franchise.

    • Dan Warren (Forgottenretroworl

      The films are illuminati crap. Alice in Wonderland, mind-control, etc…

      • Gadriel

        33.

        • Dan Warren (Forgottenretroworl

          Was that in it too?

      • Dev

        Wait, what

    • Randall Flagg

      So should we make a movie where the characters run around looking for hex cranks, green plants, or a battery to run the elevator? I would have preferred that they stuck to the original story too, but there were parts of that game that were sleep inducing.

  • Fantasma Del Guapo

    No thanks, I rather talk about an RE movie by Edgar Wright.

    “What’s the matter, Carlos? Never taken a shortcut before?”

  • Jonathan Larsson

    I wish they would just reboot the the franchise with something a little closer to the games. Why is it that movies like Spiderman get rebooted after like two or three films while Resident Evil lives all the way to SIX films?

  • I remember reading this script way back when, and it wasn’t very good. That said, it was 100 times the Resident Evil movie than the ones we received.

  • Brodequin

    I don’t like these movies. The only good RE movies are animated ones…

    • suffering

      i hope the new one will be good like the other

      • Brodequin

        Time will tell…

  • Kyle

    Honestly the script s garbage. He changed TO many things from the original games that fanboys woulda lost it. I respect the anderson movies because they are set in an alternate RE universe. So much is different with the Anderson movies that you can’t call them direct adaptions, where as Romero woulda completely butchered the source material that it was being directly based off of where Andersons movies have been loose adaptations.. Thats why Capcom decided against his script and picked Pauls.

    • Hannibal Is at the Gates

      I could eat a bowl of alphabet soup and shit out a better statement then that.

      • HiHoeMan

        I had to create an account just to like this comment! Good day Sir

    • Bonnard Hodgkinson

      So lemme get this straight, changing a character’s race and making the romantic relationship of Chris + Jill (that was definitely subtext in later sequels eg 5 + Revelations) is butchering the source material but not say making Jill the protagonist of the second film with no prior build up running off of fan service alone and then making her dead partner Leon, keeping that as an excuse for not bringing him in…only to break their own shitty canon to include him and Ada as lackluster characters with filler backstory? Yeah get out of here with that.

  • Donald Duck

    Sorry movie fans, I’m with Romero on this one. If I want Matrix bullet-time and Uwe Boll approved ‘ze techno muzak’ in my movies, I’ll just attend some shady San Francisco bar. I went to see the first movie and saw the later movies on DVD hoping for a really good horror movie experience and I found none of that.

    There’s a reason why Romero’s films hold up to this day– people quote them more than anyone of Anderson’s movie, lol. I must’ve seen all those RE movies and for the life of me I can’t remember a single quote, scene, set piece. It really speaks volumes about what is good for everyone else, and what’s good only to a small handful. Have fun with you bullet-time, we’ll stick with the bag of gold, thank you.

    • Hannibal Is at the Gates

      Exactly. These movies are nothing like the game.

    • Matthew Turner

      You donf remember the first res evil? The talking little girl? The room that dices everyone with the lasers. Resident Evil was a good movie. Romeeo is over rated diary of the dead?is that memorable ? What about land of the dead which is ok at best. I remember you hav zombies talk to each other and dennis hopper. But that was his best and wasnt too good. I never liked day of the dead. I DO Like night. Imo opinion dawn was ok. Sure a cult classic; but that was a good 40 years ago…he kept making movies and they were zombie ones but they keep getting medicore reviews because hes not that good.

      • Butchie Sexton

        Look at the way that guy throws shade at the people that like the resident evil movie franchise. Seriously? A pretentious horror snob? What are you even doing? Go sit through Suspiria for the 4th time, and pretend you really really enjoy it. Jeeze.

        • Randall Flagg

          Hey I like Suspiria! The first RE wasn’t bad, the rest not so much, but they are still better than Romero’s last three zombie movies for sure.

  • liltrav88888

    brad renfroe from the client lol i loved that movie as a kid

  • drdvdplayerhandbook

    The existing RE movies are lousy adaptations of the videogames, but at least they’re a bit fun if you’re interested in mindless action. Romero’s script looks like it would have been a lousy adaptation while at the time supremely boring.

    See, Paul W. Anderson had the right idea. He said that making a direct adaptation of the game’s storyline would take away all the tension, since everyone would know exactly what would happen. Granted, the man doesn’t have the talent, but he did have the idea.

    The Resident Evil games have nothing even resembling a good story and the dialogue is so stupid that there’s no way people like it unironically. You just can’t make good movies out of these games. The only thing you can strive for is making good adaptations, and so far the closest I’ve seen is Mega 64’s video of the guy creeping people out while dressed as RE4’s merchant.

  • KLD

    Hate to say it but Romero’s zombie movies are really overrated since Dawn of the Dead. His modern takes are all the same and if not boring, silly. Also, I kind of like the RE movies except for number 2. Bad, just bad.

  • Vader the White

    Guys, guys, calm down. The stories connected to the franchise are crap anyway. They aren’t masterpieces but were never meant to be. The original game was simply going into a mansion/research lab that created zombies and shooting said zombies. Honestly, both the games and the movies should have Friday the 13th the hell out of it and not really had a overarcing story since it just gets sillier. They’re just dumb zombie fun.

    • PetsKeepersGuide

      but the story got more complicated afterward. There was a lot of depth to it. So many myths, etc. if you have looked into the later games’ storyline, you’d know.

  • Charles Lupula

    I hate the Resident Evil films, but I think Romero’s script changed way too many things and just would have sucked, in its own ways.

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