Alcina Dimitrescu: The Ingredients for an Iconic Character

When kink, history, and horror coalesce.

With the grand debut of Resident Evil Village (2021) looming on the horizon, I was compelled to write about the gaming world’s statuesque stunner that’s uniquely enraptured the Internet.

The one.The only.Alcina Dimitrescu.💋

With her silky flowing cream-colored dress, beautiful necklace of pearls upon her impressive décolletage, subtle but well-worn leather gloves, and hat that eclipses the sun (these things and more) made her the loveliest sight for quarantine-eyes.

In the earliest Maiden demo, if one searched every corner of the playable experience you may have found Alcina’s towering dress mannequin with her signature garment and spectacular hat fixed atop it. After the pitter-patter of your heart decreased a bit, little did we know that at demo’s end we’d come face-to-face with the enigmatic woman herself in all of her finery. Oh, and what a moment it was! She completely filled the screen and the doorframe — hoisted us off of our feet effortlessly — and gave us a demonstration of her power that’s lived on and on and on in our heads rent-free for months. A singular moment that launched a thousand memes and packed the hype train full of new passengers. The fandom was ravenous even for the crumbs and mmm mmm what delicious crumbs they were.

What an entrance!

Art director Tomonori Takano revealed her illustrious height to be 9 feet 6 inches tall or almost three meters and to carry the massive frame she has 17.3 inch or 44 centimeter long feet. All of this seemingly random information, *wink*, set the Internet ablaze. The number of game players that have admittedly said they’d live for the thrill of the chase inside the castle or gladly be skewered over and over throughout the gameplay segments is just revealing a refined quality to our appetites and how Capcom has been feeding them these past two years. Don’t even get me started on the 11 seconds of footage that showed the Lady stalking the protagonist through the castle with her thunderous voice, claws scraping against the walls and booming click-clack of high-heeled footsteps. The additional icing on top (beyond the obvious gargantuan cake) is her elegance and poise throughout the entire affair. She’s not sprinting or wasting her divine energy on us, oh no, she’s moving at a gingerly pace while maintaining the integrity of her wide-brimmed chapeau as she descends through doorways.

Whilst getting the vapors and swooning upon my fainting couch, I pontificated with a cool compress to my brow, why do we all unabashedly adore this vampire lady? What primal dormant longings is she engendering upon millions of us that have swept us off our feet and willingly into her embrace? How has she alone brought all corners of the universe to heel while maintaining such a guilt-free, non-toxic, and supportive space? I know it isn’t our collective pandemic-quarantine brain shifting into hyperdrive. THAT would be too simplistic of an answer. It’s undeniable the pandemic made us slow down and pay particular attention to everything but if we were still physically going to cons, panels, etc. the response would probably still be mathematically about the same. Alcina + Dimitrescu = adulation. After months of analysis (and religiously checking the hashtags) my eureka moment jolted me fully into consciousness, Lady Alcina Dimitrescu’s design is the ultimate coalescence of kink, horror, and history.

The beauty is truly in the details of her blueprint and by deconstructing all of the intricate pieces of that form we will find the ingredients for a truly iconic character. Resident Evil 7: Biohazard (2017), the prequel to this much-anticipated game introduced the formulaic concepts of ‘hillbilly horror’ to a broader audience via iconography from cinema’s past such as The Hills Have Eyes (1977), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974), or more recent fare such as the Wrong Turn series. The downsized and intimate nature of the game made for a truly memorable experience that allowed the developers of the Resident Evil franchise to traverse any territory they wished thereafter. What better way to accomplish this than to return to Umbrella’s ancient underpinnings. In my last speculative piece entitled Resident Evil: Familiar and Horrifying Formulas, I briefly discussed the ‘Stairway of the Sun’ progenitor flowers that are native to West Africa that were ritualistically consumed to gain heightened mental and physical capabilities.

This floral insignia is worn by the Lady herself within her string of pearls and it connects all of the noble houses in-game (e.g., Beneviento, Dimitrescu, Heisenberg, and Moreau). From the state of her medieval castle/sprawling estate and the storied history behind the archaic floret, one can surmise that the Lady is at least hundreds of years old. This knowledge only adds to the beguiling nature of her allure. This ancient secret (akin to the particularly grim vintage her house is known for) is like the pulchritude she continues to exude which is rare and aged to perfection. The individuality of her stature speaks to mythological stories of giant races of people that used to be dotted across the globe. Perhaps, she is a descendant of such a monolithic lineage, and information littered across the game may confirm or deny this theorem. I’m certainly hoping for the former rather than the latter for personal giant woman aesthetic reasons but I digress.

Speaking of ancient mythologies, let’s discuss the idiosyncrasies of her name and their import. Alcina, of Greek origin, means strong willed; moreover, this name also appears in the Italian epic poem entitled Orlando Furioso (1516), wherein a sorceress/goddess akin to Calypso from Homer’s Odyssey keeps a man under her thrall for years preventing him from returning home to his wife and family. FACT: The Lady could keep us in her castle without the threat of intimidation that’s for sure. Many of us would go voluntarily, except for that basement with all those deadites (no relation to those from the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis) roaming around.

With a lovely first name such as Alcina, it’s only befitting she has a singularly exquisite last name: Dimitrescu. The admixture of the Greek Demetrios, meaning follower of Demeter, and Slavic Romanian spellings make for a beautiful marriage of languages and cultures. According to the Surname Database, the earliest recorded derivative of the name was that of Lyubava Dmitrievna in the charters of the city of Novograd, Russia in the year 1100. Returning briefly to that earlier thread about Demeter, she is the patron goddess of fertility, and the hyper-feminine assets of the Lady screams BIG MOMMY ENERGY.

From a historical and storytelling standpoint, this detail adds so many layers to Alcina’s possible origin story. To illustrate, the Women of the Thesmophoria — covered from the shoulders down in white gowns — in festivity celebrated the goddess Demeter and her daughter Persephone. In processions of hundreds to thousands, these women and girls spread across multiple countries to herald the goddess of the harvest. How very interesting that the Lady’s style of dress is a modernized version of this ancient style, especially the bust-line, to include how the flowing fabric itself is gathered with little embellishment. For reference, see the full-length Grecian-influenced Regency gowns of the 1700s to early 1800s below on the left (as compared to Alcina’s on the right):

The innumerably gorgeous cosplays that exist across social media all took very specific notes and kept this construction in mind when designing their pieces; with a sliding scale of interpretations rated E for everyone to definitely NSFW, the devotees of house Dimitrescu have excellent taste and I live for it. The statuesque 6 foot 9-inch basketball player and model, Yekaterina Lisina also portrayed the great Lady, and the Internet imploded for a day or two. There’s been this beautiful collectivity of respect, admiration, and genuine pleasure imbued into the vampiric horror aesthetic of Lady Dimitrescu and its certainly made her the most unique addition to Resident Evil cannon to date.

The bevy of game artists who crafted her design also took great pains in highlighting the beauty of her musculature and toned physique. One Twitter artist in particular, @Vales_arts, has created absolutely captivating artwork that emphasizes her build and ferocity. I’m particularly enamored with the lifelike painted quality of their artistic choices. Every frame they’ve rendered looks like art history museum pieces and I gasp every single time they post a new creation. You can see and feel the brushstrokes within every single composition and I cannot recommend you delve into all of their work posthaste.

One of the most imposing features of the Lady, beyond her height, is that aforementioned muscularity. The historical strongwomen of the great circuses or who came under their employ were immensely strong and/or sculpted individuals who became immortalized via illustrations or photography. Thank goodness, the Internet as an archival space exists because many of these women’s feats, besides word-of-mouth, may have faded into obscurity. Now, we can all keep their legacies alive (and their likenesses circulated for gains inspiration).

An extensive search led me to the great Luisita Leers (1909–1997), strongwoman, acrobat, and trapeze artist. Preferring to show the extent of her muscular form in skin-tight or sculpted suits, she became known as ‘a maiden of power’. If not for the onset of World War II, her star would have continued to shine brightly in all of the athletic fields she enjoyed, but alas twas not to be. In relation to Lady Dimitrescu, her visage is almost uncannily similar to Luisita’s, or at minimum a snapshot of the Lady in her youth.

The piercing gaze of the Lady hearkens back to one of the most famous depictions of the vampire played by the legendary Bela Lugosi in Dracula (1931). The lighting techniques utilized to highlight the hypnotic mesmerism employed by the actor are still unmatched. They both share a stare that chills the blood in the best way. The devil’s in the details for the Lady’s countenance and those eyes cement just how striking she is. When not in murder mode, it seems that her eyes are a serene grey.

In reference to other ancient vampyrs, her sleek movements and clawed hands especially allude to silent film’s Count Orlock of Nosferatu (1922). They both sport a magnificent set of talons (and a similarly intense leer). Regarding the Lady’s white pallor, it remains to be seen if its due to her transformation or an individual makeup choice. It may be some variety of tinctures or cosmetics with a lead-base and if that’s the case thank goodness she’s no longer human.

For the aesthete, the design of the Lady will exist in perpetuity amongst the annals of video game’s hall of fame characters. She’s been the light of our lives for the past year and with her grand entrance looming so large, forgive us as we kiss the hallowed ground she walks on. She’s single-handedly diverted all attention from her peers in-game to herself and herself alone. We’ve been devouring every demo and press release about the game and you will regularly find a swath of the audience asking about or praising the Lady.

Truly, we love this sprawling Universal Monster movie theme that Capcom has in store for the humbled masses this year. Werewolves, swamp creatures, ventriloquists, vampires, and a pagan-religious Mother at the centre of the entire proceedings are all individually great premises for a horror title but to package all of them and more in the entire experience for us hungry plebeians is such a gift and an acknowledgment of the sumptuous experiences we expect from all our video games. To think, all of this hyperventilating began with an innocuous trailer that featured a giant vampire lady.

🌺~*~

Isn’t she lovely?

Isn’t she wonderful?

Isn’t she precious?

Less than one millennia old

I never thought through love we’d be

Seeing one as lovely as she

But isn’t she lovely made from love?

Isn’t she pretty?

Truly the artist’s best

Woo, I’m so happy

We have been heaven blessed

I can’t believe what Capcom has done

Through funding given life to one

But isn’t she lovely made from love?

[Crowd Sings Acapella]

~*~🌺

I’d be foregoing my duty as a devotee of the Lady if I didn’t extrapolate why we’re all collectively fawning over her en masse. I’ve been alluding to and even incorporated this theorem into my subheading. An amazing historical backstory, a cavalcade of horror references, and an embrace of our own interpersonal sexual/nonsexual desires have lead us to this very moment where we can bask in the effervescent luminosity of this giantess. I’m also going to throw her giant hat in the ring for queerest pop cultural icon of the new decade. Persons who aren’t even into video games or the Resident Evil franchise itself are all mesmerized by Alcina Dimitrescu. (Why, you ask as you prostrate yourself at her feet?) Your subconscious knows why but let’s interrogate this phenomena further.

She serves the most exquisite well executed drag — with absolute camp! The swagger, cheeky smile, and knowing twinkle from her eyes imbues her character with a self-awareness that lets the audience know she’s in command of the stage. She’s serving face and body-ody-ody to boot. It’s also been a revelation to see her being the grand gatekeeper of unknown kinks. I’ve been peeping the bios of who’s been sharing, drawing, cosplaying, live-streaming, and clinging to Alcina’s skirts: everyone! Cis, trans, hetero, LGBTQIA+…it doesn’t matter, she’s adopted so many children (and pets). I don’t know what we did to deserve her, but my god, we LIVE for Alcina Dimitrescu (and cherish the ground she walks on…and wish to be cradled in her massive arms…and…)

Revel in the unbridled radiance of Alcina Dimitrescu when Resident Evil Village debuts this Friday, May 7, 2021.

EIC: We Are Horror Magazine. Writer: An Injustice, Gayly Dreadful, Ghouls Magazine, Rely on Horror, SUPERJUMP, and Upper Cut!