Once all the Undead scenes had been shot, the director turned to the challenge of putting the Licker on screen. He notes, "The Licker is one of the defining points for the avid game player. The creature appears for the first time in
Resident Evil 2 and is one of the entire game series' highlights. You glimpse blood dripping from the roof and, when you look up, you see this grotesque creature with a long deadly tongue, crawling upside down along the ceiling that suddenly turns and looks at you with a transfixing gruesome stare. I knew if we could create that image on screen, it would not only be a great moment in the movie but also pay homage to the game."
Using a combination of animatronic special effects and computer graphic imaging, the Licker sequence was recreated on location at the Reichstag U-bahn. Anderson describes the scene: "The Licker drops on Spence and devours him. But because the Licker is genetically unstable, when it eats Spence's DNA, it begins to transform into a more streamlined and bigger 'Uber-Licker" that fights the survivors in the train climax. We put James Purefoy into a harness and shook him about so it would look like a giant creature was attacking him and holding him in between its teeth."
For the Licker sequences, Animated Extras built numerous puppets in various sizes to create the 8 feet long, 4 feet high monster. Pauline Fowler explains: "We built a three-quarter length model for close-ups of its eyeless face and to show its jaw dropping, a half-length battering ram version that is worn over a puppeteer's shoulders, and gloves with talons fixed on so it could rip through metal walls. We gave the creature a raw meat texture by using a mixture of dried stage blood and latex to suggest a sinewy musculature. Although we did build a latex wriggling tongue, it was more to give the actors something to react to on set rather than anything we thought would make the final cut. Digital augmentation will ensure the Licker's tongue is the horrifying appendage it is in the game. We also used 30 litres of surgical jelly to give the Licker a congealed and organic countenance."
Animated Extras also provided the Zombie Dogs, another game favourite, that Alice must fight in order to help Matt survive an attack by his Undead sister. Fowler says, "When it comes to real animals, animatronics are not the best option. So for the Zombie Dog scenes we decided to put prosthetics on trained Dobermans to make it look like they had been skinned alive. But because you can't stick anything onto animal fur, we dyed a stretchy four-way fabric known as zeta net in dark colours, fashioned it into a pull on outfit and dressed it with a rib cage, fatty tissue, muscles and blood. Hints of computer graphic imaging around the eyes complete the illusion. We also built a full-size dummy Zombie Dog for when Alice has to kick one.
Responsible for coordinating the computer graphic side of Resident Evil and supervising the entire visual effects was multi-Academy Award® nominee Richard Yuricich. The film industry veteran, who includes
Mission: Impossible and MI:2 on his impressive credits list, was also the visual effects supervisor on
Anderson's Event Horizon. Producer Jeremy Bolt says, "Richard is an important part of our team. We
hired him for Event Horizon because Paul and I were such fans of his work on Close Encounters of the
Third Kind and Blade Runner. His experience is phenomenal."
"I found out on Event Horizon how much Paul was into the visual effects side of film and how much he liked to be involved," says Yuricich. I'm very comfortable with Paul because he's interested in making this film the best it can be — whatever it takes — and he loves the fantasy genre."
Although some key visual effects in Resident Evil are computer<
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