Compared to most of the Resident Evil movies, which function more as loose interpretations of the source material across every genre in existence, Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City is decidedly faithful to the video game franchise. It follows mainstay characters such as Chris and Claire Redfield, Jill Valentine, and Leon S. Kennedy through the titular — and obsessively recreated — Midwestern town. It’s also bursting with Easter eggs at every turn. And one in in particular will be confounding to anyone who hasn’t touched the games.
After returning to Raccoon City and visiting her brother Chris’ house in the middle of the night, Claire Redfield has an exceedingly creepy encounter with a deranged neighbor, whose hair has either been falling out, or forcefully ripped out from its roots. At one point, Claire and the woman make eye contact through a rain-slicked windowpane. The woman proceeds to scrawl the phrase “itchy tasty” with someone’s blood on the dividing glass:
Taken on its own, it comes a bit out of left field. But fans of Resident Evil, the 1996 video game that kickstarted the multimedia franchise, will recall the phrase in a different light.
In the original game, while exploring the Spencer Mansion, players can stumble into a small bedroom on the ground floor of the west wing, where they’ll find a diary lying on a desk. The pages detail a 10-day period in the life of the Keeper, an Umbrella Corporation employee tasked with taking care of various animals before they undergo experimentation. The pages mention an accident in the basement laboratory, after which point the Keeper describes (in fairly sickening detail) the various symptoms he develops from the incident. His mind rapidly deteriorates, culminating in the final two entries, which read:
- Fever gone but itchy. Hungry and eat doggy food. Itchy itchy Scott came. Ugly face so killed him. Tasty.
- Itchy. Tasty.
The kicker? Once you finish reading the file, the Keeper himself, in full zombie form, erupts from the nearby closet in a desperate attempt to sate his hunger.
“Itchy tasty” has become something of a callsign for the Resident Evil fandom, indicating that they’re “in the know” when it comes to the deeper cuts of the franchise’s lore. But in its original form, the diary provided vivid insight into the events surrounding Spencer Mansion. The context may be different in Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City, but the intent is the same: to show, up close, how a mind deteriorates under the effects of the T-Virus.