Paul W.S. Anderson Looked To James Cameron For Resident Evil's Inspiration

Paul W.S. Anderson's "Resident Evil" movies are something to behold. Each film ups the ante of its previous iteration so much that by the time audiences have reached the third installment, the movie is a completely gonzo thrill ride. Whether you loathe the films for straying too far from the video game sources or love them for being silly, kick-in-the-pants adventures, it's impossible to ignore just how much genre fun Anderson packed into the franchise. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the director shared his inspiration for keeping the franchise fresh. It has a little something to do with blue alien enthusiast and door flotation expert James Cameron. 

'Franchises need to evolve or die.'

When creating "Resident Evil," Paul W.S. Anderson looked to action directing champion James Cameron, who had managed to take Ridley Scott's "Alien" and come up with a sequel that was somehow entirely fresh. He explained how that inspired him to keep changing up the "Resident Evil" flicks, never sticking to one subgenre:

"Franchises need to evolve or die. You can't just keep making the same movie, and I was very inspired by what James Cameron did when he did 'Aliens.' Because Ridley Scott's 'Alien' is one of my favorite, favorite films. You look at that as a haunted house movie in space. It's almost a perfect movie. How intimidating to try and follow up the perfect film. How do you do better? And I think Cameron was very smart in that he didn't try to redo 'Alien.' He made actually a different kind of film. Where Ridley's movie was kind of a small, claustrophobic, contained haunted house movie, Cameron went and made a war movie."

To that end, Anderson tried to make every installment of "Resident Evil" different. Like "Alien," the first "Resident Evil" is a claustrophobic haunted house film with a science-fiction setting. The second was bigger, with more action. Then Anderson started digging into some other genre favorites:

"The third movie, in its structure and its scope, was very much a road movie. We went out in desert and made this 'Road Warrior'-esque, 'Mad Max' road movie with zombies. The fourth movie for me was always a siege movie. You had all of the characters besieged within that one prison and they are desperate to escape with the thousands of zombies around them. And then the fifth movie was very much a chase movie."

By the time he made "Resident Evil: Retribution" and introduced tank-driving, rocket launcher-wielding Soviet zombies, he created goofy genre perfection, so no wonder the next movie was "The Final Chapter." Even if the "Resident Evil" movies aren't your favorite, you have to hand it to Anderson for trying something new every time.