Resident Evil proves that the worst trope in horror video games must die

Resident Evil proves that the worst trope in horror video games must die

The very nature of the terrible is to transgress, to dig beyond what is acceptable.

Back in February 2022, the launch of the controversial indie game Martha is dead aroused nausea among critics, which urged Stone, paper, shotgun to wearily describe it as “the game where you peel off a dead woman’s face.” But even though the shocked conversations about the launch of the game may have faded, a major problem remains that allows games like this to exist in the first place. The implicit threat of monstrous violence against women has been a prominent video game trope ever since Mario first rescued Princess Peach from Bowser. As the medium has matured, depictions of that threat have become all the more explicit – both literally and figuratively.

Martha is dead takes the grotesque to new heights. In her headline-grabbing scene, Giulia peels her dead sister Martha’s face and puts it over her own, emphasizing how she has stolen Martha’s identity. Most dedicated horror fans, including myself, do not necessarily take issue with the story being told within the interactive scene. Fear is by nature difficult to see.

We save you the rest of this moment from Martha is dead.LKA / Wired Productions

Yet this moment is obscenely eerie. After a moment that could make the most stoic of us squirm, the game lets us look back at our craft; we are left to linger over the mangled corpse. This means that the entertainment value of this violation is more important than what the incident reveals about Giulia’s deteriorating psyche.

Giulia later breaks into Martha’s crypt, cuts open her clothes to reveal her naked body, and then uses the same scissors to cut up Martha’s womb to reveal a fetus. In that moment, Martha is the ultimate embodiment of vulnerability. Despite the peace that death should give, further violations are placed on her body. The peaceful purity of the immaculate female body is taken against its will, forced to endure horrors against which it can not defend itself.

“The game entertainment in killing her with sexually charged brutality. ”

The use of nudity and violence to abuse and overpower women, both living and dead, is seen in other popular games, such as Tormented souls. The game was released in August 2021 and got it many positive reviews for its retro survival horror vibe. But others were not impressed. Game trend called it outraged “just another example of brutalization and unnecessary sexual violence against women who have permeated the horror genre since its inception.”

Honestly, it’s hard to see Tormented souls any other way. The fixed camera perspective puts the player in a predatory mode right from the start. You often lurk behind her, the angle was like a stalker’s, you regularly see the protagonist Caroline’s underwear as she wanders around the abandoned hospital. It is an inevitable and conscious design feature, her underwear rendered in intricate details.

The opening scenes for the 2021s Tormented souls.

This “artistic decision” has no effect on the story itself and is most noticeable in the game’s opening scenes, when Caroline is brutally beaten unconscious. Less than three minutes into the match, we see her wake naked in a bath with an endotracheal tube in her throat, her body twisting and splashing as she hurries to remove it.

“If a woman’s body should deviate from the norm it becomes a frightening ‘other’ that must be be combated. ”

This grotesque voyeurism sexualizes her abuse in two distinct ways. First, the camera is always in a position that offers the most graphic angles of nudity. The player glimpses over the bath, looks down on her from a place of safety and superiority, and then walks with her in the bath, placed at the opposite end to maximize the visual effect of her nudity. Secondly, Caroline moans when she removes the tube in a way that is clearly intended to provoke oral sex, her floating chest further emphasizes the eroticism. This degrading and traumatic episode transforms Caroline from a shrewd investigator into a vulnerable victim in a matter of minutes, a transformation that follows her throughout the game.

It’s all too easy to suggest that indie horror is the problem – after all, it’s both niche games with limited reach. But AAA franchises are equally guilty of fetishizing violence against women, even if they do it in a less open way.

Jill Valentine, one of Capcom’s heroes 2020 Resident Evil 3 remake, is a particularly alarming example. Although the game is known as an iconic badass in the beloved zombie series, the game enjoys killing her with sexually charged brutality. An example is a scene which involves a giant spider monster that strangles Jill from above and then stomps a large tentacle down her throat. Similar Tormented soulsthe camera angles emphasize Jill’s vulnerability: we look down at Jill as the creature inserts the tentacle and get a close-up of her mouth jawning around it.

There was no such scene in the original game – this is a brand new invention for the remake. What’s more, when you play as the game’s second playable character, Carlos, this type of scene simply does not happen. He is hurt, of course, but never in such an open sexual way.

The portrayal of Mia Winters, a supporting character in Resident Evil 7 and Resident Evil: Village, is a little more nuanced in its execution, but still traverses troubling tropics. The wife of the main character Ethan Winters, Mia is depicted alternately as a victim to be seen (as Martha, Caroline or Jill) and as a reviled monster (as Giulia).

Mia Winters was transformed into Resident Evil 7.Capcom

IN RE7Mia’s body becomes a place of vulnerability that Ethan must protect, while at the same time being a vessel of terror in itself. She is helpless in the face of the whims of the serial-base zombie virus (it’s complicated) when it takes hold, forcing her to turn against her will. Under one of theirs many is fought in RE7, Ethan embeds a splitting knife in the side of Mia’s neck, which turns her face from a crazy monster to the embodiment of peaceful femininity. The scene is fed into this idea that women are easily overpowered, but at the same time threatening.

Women’s bodies change throughout life, often more noticeably than men’s – think of menstruation, pregnancy or menopause. As such, the feminine form arouses both curiosity and fear; men are alternately fascinated or rejected by what it can be. If a woman’s body deviates from what they decide is the norm, there will be a frightening ‘other’ that must be fought. This is one of the main reasons why abuse of the female body too often is at the center of horror games.

Fear is an ideal tool for exploring these ideologies without repercussions, with the line between pop culture commentary and fiction blurred. It entertains from a place that continues to reinforce stereotypical views of women, a perversion of fear that comes from enjoying women who suffer. Going beyond this type of lazy tropics is an important step towards telling more memorable and thought-provoking stories within the genre.

#Resident #Evil #proves #worst #trope #horror #video #games #die

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.