When you stop and think about it, it’s really not that absurd that the video game Rampage is now a major motion picture.
After all, the 1986 Rampage arcade game walked in the considerable footsteps of the greatest movie monsters. George (the gorilla) and Lizzie (the dinosaur) were clearly influenced by King Kong and Godzilla, and even Ralph (the werewolf) owes at least a nod to the Universal Wolfman movies. The game’s large-scale destruction also seemed like exactly the kind of thing you’d see in the best monster movies, while the coin-op’s road trip across the US storyline felt oddly epic for an arcade title of that era.
Considering how much films influenced the original Rampage arcade game, it only makes sense that the Rampage movie would, in turn, be influenced in some ways by the video game. Yet there’s one very specific way that the original Rampage game influenced the Rampage film that director Brad Peyton wants everyone who sees the movie to keep an eye out for.
“The woman in the red dress was, to me, the ultimate Easter egg,” said Peyton during a recent interview. “When you go and you look at the game and you’re like ‘What do you really want or need in the movie?’ it’s obviously the three monsters, that’s a no-brainer…but for me it was getting the woman in the red dress and having George eat her. That was the ultimate one.”
What’s the deal with the woman in the red dress? Well, in the original version of Rampage, monsters were only able to hold certain types of characters for extra points. Lizzie could only hold men in yellow shirts (referred to as middle-aged men), Ralph could only hold businessmen in suits, and George was the only one who could hold the woman in a red dress.
The image of George holding a woman in a red dress owes some its iconic status to King Kong— it was clearly a nod to the visual of Kong holding Fay Wray in the 1933 original film–but the reason that many Rampage fans remember it is because the woman in red was front and center on the game’s title screen. The title screen version of the woman in the red dress was unusually well…uh…rendered, which may have had something to do with some young Rampage fans thinking of her when they hear the name “Rampage” so many years after its release.
And being able to eat her, as opposed being a beast who died “for beauty,” was just nerd culture-baiting enough that it had to make it to the big screen.
Peyton noted that there are other references in the Rampage film, but that many of them are hidden throughout the movie on the peripherals. For instance, in a bit fourth-wall breaking self-awareness, villains Claire and Brett Wyden (Malik Akerman and Jake Lacy) have a copy of the original Rampage arcade game co-op in their office, which is visible in only one scene. We didn’t spot any others beyond that, but the question is are you going to be looking for them, or are you just going to be looking at the woman in the red dress?