Who is Alcina Dimitrescu? We delve into Japanese legends and Hungarian aristocracy to discover the inspirations behind the character who has stolen the hearts (and blood) of Resident Evil Village fans.
If you have visited the Internet in the last few days, it is impossible that you do not know her: she is wearing a dress almost as white as her skin, she has a terrifying smile and is about three meters (approximately). We are talking, of course, about Lady Alcina Dimitrescu, the villain of Resident Evil Village who has only taken a few seconds on screen (literally) to conquer the entire community.
Of course, perhaps the effect she’s achieving is the exact opposite of what Capcom was trying to make us feel (or maybe not?), but whether you’re terrified of her or dream of her stepping on you, it’s clear that Lady Dimitrescu has every chance of becoming one of the most iconic villains in the Resident Evil series.
At first glance, everything points to her being a vampire, especially if we take into account the clues left by the Maiden demo, the encounter with one of her daughters (who also has a good legion of fans), or the fact that Resident Evil Village is based on European folklore. But what is really behind Lady Dimitrescu, and what materials have Capcom’s artists used to design her?
And first, we have to go to the source of it all: Japan. There, among all the urban legends that exist about spirits (or yokais), one of the most popular refers to the Hachishakusama, a name that could be translated as “two and a half meters tall”. This detail immediately makes us think of Lady Dimitrescu, but it doesn’t end there.
Her appearance is also very similar to that of the villain in Resident Evil 8 Village, as she is often described as a woman with long black hair wearing a white dress and hat. She is also said to have a deep, almost masculine voice and continuously repeats a “po po po po po po” sound.
Legend has it that the Hachishakusama spies on young children, chasing them for days (or even months), and the moment she stops… she abducts him to take him away from his family and eventually murder him. If she has served as an inspiration for Lady Dimitrescu, the latter may give us a clue as to her role as an enemy in the game: will she relentlessly pursue Ethan throughout the story? Is Lady Dimitrescu the Mr. X/Nemesis of Resident Evil Village?
And if you found that disturbing, wait until you hear about the inspiration based on a real character: Erzsébet Báthory was a Hungarian noblewoman who lived from 1560 to 1614. As well as being part of one of the most influential families of the time, Erzsébet has become known as the murderess who took the most lives in the history of mankind.
And no, we are not talking about a legend or a myth: nearly 300 people testified about Erzsebet’s cruel practices which included beatings, burns, mutilation of limbs and biting the skin off the face, arms, and other parts of the body, and she is suspected of practicing cannibalism. Victims were often young girls, aged between 10 and 14.
She was arrested in December 1610 together with four servants (Dorotya, Ilona, Katarína, and János) accused of being her collaborators. Mutilated bodies and dead or half-dead imprisoned women were found in her castle. Her punishment? She was sentenced to what today would be house arrest (the laws of the time were… different). She died in her castle, aged 54, but to this day the whereabouts of her body remains unknown.
And hold on, here comes the interesting part: the story of Erzsébet’s tortures and murders grew over the years to become part of the national folklore, acquiring a vampiric aspect along the way.
She was said to bathe in the blood of virgins to preserve her youth, and some believe that the true inspiration behind the Dracula of Bram Stoker’s novel is to be found in Erzsébet Bathory, hence her nicknames such as “Bloody Countess” or “Countess Dracula”. On the other hand, her collaborators have become part of the legend, no longer servants of the castle but three witches in the service of the Countess.
Sound familiar? It’s almost word for word the background of Lady Dimitrescu: a woman with vampiric tendencies who lives in a castle in Romania with three witches and a man (her brother, in the case of Resident Evil Village), and whose hobby is to capture the maidens of the area.
There is no doubt that Capcom has drawn inspiration from the legend of Erzsébet Bathory when creating Lady Dimitrescu.
What did you think, are you looking forward to meeting Lady Dimitrescu in person? Remember that Resident Evil Village will be released on May 7th for PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S and PC.