A hot potato: There are plenty of monsters in Resident Evil Village, obviously, but one in particular has angered the director of a 2013 horror due to its uncanny resemblance to a creature he created. Richard Raaphorst said the Sturm boss is a “one-to-one” copy of the propeller-headed mutant he created for Frankenstein’s Army.
In a later section of Resident Evil Village, players face a monster called Sturm, which has a spinning propeller attached to its head. In Frankenstein’s Army, one of the many creatures encountered by the soldiers is a humanoid with a whirling plane propellor instead of a head. Much like its game doppelganger, the movie version is killed off in a fiery explosion.
— Richard Raaphorst (@RichRaaphorst) May 10, 2021
Speaking to Eurogamer, Raaphorst alleged that Sturm is a shameless steal from his found-footage feature. “It’s just the same scene as in my movie, except that in my movie you have to cut loose the fuel tubes. That’s the only thing that is missing,” he said. “But the whole thing is getting into flames, and then it explodes, and then the way it rotates through the camera – it’s all the same, really. Even the environments, the whole colour palette. It looks like an animatic for my movie.”
Raaphorst said he only discovered the similarities between the two creatures when fans informed him on the day Resi Village went on sale. “At first I felt pissed,” he said. “Then I felt proud. Now, I see all the reactions and I feel pissed again, and insulted. It’s so difficult to come up with a great design. It’s really hard to actually think about something that communicates as a cool design. It’s not just that ideas are floating around that you can grab. It’s actually hard labour. Then they just grab it and put it somewhere in the game […] It’s creative abuse.”
As Raaphorst doesn’t own the rights to Frankenstein’s Army—those belong to MPI Media Group—he isn’t expecting to receive any royalties but would like to be credited.
“If they had asked me, ‘hey, Richard, we’d love to have your design in our next Resident Evil, and we will give you a credit or some kind of royalty payment,’ I would have been honoured and flattered and proud. It would have been a super positive experience.”
As a horror fan, this writer has watched Frankenstein’s Army—twice, for some reason—and rates it as one of the better found-footage horrors, though that’s not a difficult achievement given some of the crap populating the genre. Whether Capcom plagiarized the movie monster, took inspiration from it, or the similarities are just a coincidence is unknown, but this won’t be the last time a game is accused of stealing a design from another medium.