The Most Cult Moment in Resident Evil History

Wednesday 24 June 2020

Although Resident Evil 3 Remake disappointed many of us for not including a few iconic areas, like the Town Hall, the Clock Tower or the Cemetary, we were compensated by an anthology moment, a sequence that is funny, insane, creepy and horrifying at the same time, and which builds up gradually and silently in the background, from the start of the game up to that very moment when it happens. The culmination is a scene that I think will be considered cult material in the Resident Evil fandom for generations to come.

When the intro sequence is over and the main game begins, you are undergound with Carlos and he leads you to the subway train where he and Mikhail, his Captain, are providing shelter for survivors so as to get them out of town. But the subway has no power to move, so you have to make your way outside, run to the local Substation and restore the power. The first thing that you see upon exiting from the subway via a half-closed shutter is a glimpse of a huge doll head standing on the roof of the local toy store.

Then as you make your way further, you have the chance to see the head better, in all its smiling and somewhat creepy glory. It adorns the roof of a toy store which is called Toy Uncle. Surrounded by spotlights that make its bright colors look even brighter, it stands out in the gloomy and dark town.

The path you need to take is on fire, so you have to get to the Railway office in another section of the town, to find a water hose (why the water hose is there, is another story). Going down the steps towards the Donut Shop which leads there, the head is behind you, staring at the zombie-infested town, happy as ever, as if nothing had happened.

If you are playing in the higher difficulties, where the Donut Shop back door is blocked by a zombie that is banging it from inside, or if you just want to check the alternative route to the Railway office, you can take the long way and go up on the roof of the nearby building from where the head pops up behind the scaffolding.

After getting the hose, you return to the alley and, as you exit the Donut Shop from the back door, you can see the head opposite you, smiling in the distance.

After finding the lockpick outside the Substation, you can finally go back to the first area of the town and unlock the door of the toy store. You literally get inside the head's body.

In the store, there is a poster advertising a doll which is a bobblehead version of the head.

Reading the brochure, we learn that the doll is called "Charlie Doll"; it was based on the likeness of the Toy Uncle's founder from whom it also took its name, and it has become the mascot of the company. In fact several such bobbleheads can be found scattered in random places around the town; you are practically surrounded by Charlie dolls.

After restoring the power and setting a route for the subway train in the Railway office, you have to go back to the underground station to meet Carlos and the other guys. But as you exit the Donut Shop, Nemesis appears and starts marching at you while the head watches from its rooftop.

Upon arriving at the platform and as you are about to leave with the guys and the survivors, Nemesis makes a grand entrance, so you decide to stay behind and lure the creature away from the station, as it is supposed to be chasing only the members of STARS, aka you at this very instance. A crazy chase begins resulting in a construction site. As you make your way to the roof, jumping on scaffoldings and climbing ladders, you can spot the head down in the distance.

You climb even higher, and the head is still visible on top of the burning city.

When you reach the rooftop of the demolition site, you have to fight Nemesis for the first time. During the boss fight, you may be able to catch a glimpse of the head in the city down below.

After the boss fight is over on the roof, you find yourself in a street leading to the back area of the Raccoon Police Department. The head can be seen next to a row of buildings across and to the right.

You dash inside Robert Kendo's gunshop which is opposite the RPD and, after a brief conversation with Kendo, you take a key which unlocks an alley door neaby. Passing through an abandoned house, you are back in the street leading to the Substation. Of course Nemesis isn't dead and shows up again, this time armed with a rocket launcher, and after a brief crazy chase, it fires a rocket that catapults you near the starting part of the city, from where you can see the head peek-a-booing at you.

From there, you climb back on the roof leading to the back alley of the Donut Shop, and the head pops up from behind the metal bars.

You jump down to the alley as the whole place is in flames, and the head is staring at you with its creepy smile.

The head can be seen from almost everywhere in that first part of the game, like a landmark and a point of reference in any place you go. Its insisting and unmissable presence constantly hints that something ominous is going to happen soon.

And just then it happens. As you run up the steps towards the street beneath the head, Nemesis fires a rocket straight at it.

The head is cut off from its pedestal and tumbles over on the roof of the toy store.

It drops down on the street and starts rolling down.

It keeps rolling, chasing you, and it is huge, it is fast and unstoppable. It is a rolling nightmare.

Assuming you make it in time in a safe spot just to the side of the steps, you have a few seconds to stand and watch it as it keeps rolling down.

It reaches the burning yard of the Donut Shop, where it takes a couple more tumbles as long as it has space to move.

Nemesis shows up just in time, to add to the thrill of the moment. You can throw a grenade to make it go down for a few minutes, or run for your life if you like taking risks.

Whatever you do, however, the head remains in place, upside down, still smiling and unaffected by the burning chaos around it.

The rolling head is one of the new additions in the remake of Resident Evil 3, a terrifying and hilarious sequence where the environment not only becomes interactive, but moreover it is transformed into a moving trap from which there is only a tiny way out. In older games of the series, there would be a random boulder here and there, falling from a high point, and you had to run like mad and hide in a recess or dodge its landing on the spot. The rolling head seems to be a new era type of boulder trap that is not simply dangerous but also surreal and creepy.  It has personality and a life of its own. All the while it would just stand there, overlooking the town, a giant but nonetheless innocent object which however becomes a lethal weapon within seconds. This scene is an instant classic and it is guaranteed to stay on top of the most memorable moments in the history of the Resident Evil saga.

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