Are Marvel’s Horror Plans as Scary as They Sound?
It appears as though Marvel Studios head honcho, Kevin Feige, is considering the possibility of including the horror genre in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The studio’s decade-long history doesn’t include traditional horror movies, but after the debut of Avengers: Infinity War (2018), there has been talk about the movie studio’s plans for Phase 4. While an official reveal won’t be made until after Avengers 4 (2019) has been released, plans are moving ahead, and the Web is full of rumours regarding the potential future of the MCU.
Marvel’s already been there
Marvel’s history is rich in the horror genre, both in comic books and in movies. From Ghost Rider (2007) to Blade (1998), the company has utilised its horror properties through multiple Hollywood studios; albeit never under Disney and Fiege. Marvel has acknowledged characters like Man-Thing on Agents of S.H.I.E.D., and others, such as Moon Knight, could also lend themselves to horror. Even Boy Scout Captain America was given a scarier side, as horror character Capwolf.
Feige was talking to ComicBook.com when he revealed that he is giving serious thought to horror as a genre he would like to see the MCU tackle. Superhero movies, such as Venom (2018), with a horror bent, are making strides, as is New Mutants (2019) from 20th Century Fox; an effort to take the X-Men universe into horror. Feige said that he plans to consider a number of stories and genres within the MCU, saying that he “would like to play with as many genres as possible.” One avenue that could darken the existing marvel tone is with the introduction of Nova, a character that usually appeared in his own series of comics.
A perfect marriage
Both horror and adult Marvel films have enjoyed recent success: IT (2017) and Deadpool (2016) are the most successful R-rated movies of all-time. So, the marriage between the two maybe not be a bad idea, after all. Marvel clearly has a built-in audience and horror has been thriving of late. In fact, history shows that movie fans can never quite enough of horror; whether it’s newer movies, such as Hereditary (2018), or classics like Psycho. (1960). It’s a genre which has also inspired countless re-makes, with Halloween (2018) released this year as the eleventh instalment of the franchise and remakes such as Hellboy (2019) due out next year. It isn’t just in the movies where the genre thrives, either. Horror fans love dressing up as their favourite serial killers come Halloween, and horror film festivals, such as Grimm Up North, remain popular.
The horror genre has also been a pertinent influence on the general gaming industry for years, which is something else that’s beneficial for Marvel. Video games such as Outlast (2013) and the Resident Evil series still enjoy popularity today, and Naughty Dog’s Last Of Us has managed to reach a staggering 17 million copies sold, according to Polygon. The genre has also inspired other spin-offs, such as the aforementioned Hellboy, which even has its own slot game. And, beyond the digital, the genre’s influence can be felt in everything from Top Trumps’ Retro Horror Collections, which shows the potential for expansion using horror.
There’s scope for a film of this nature that would fit in with the marvel theme too, with existing series such as X-Men providing the perfect transition to horror with storylines such as Necrosha. For those unfamiliar with this, renowned vampire villain Selene tries to resurrect previous X-Men foes in order to create a bloodthirsty zombie army strong enough to defeat the heroes. Cue a heart wrenching struggle for survival.
What about Disney in all of this?
Marvel Studios would immediately be a player in the horror genre, taking their catalogue of stories and characters into account. Even with sensitive material being dealt with in Black Panther (2018), however, Marvel may still struggle to convince Disney that horror would be the right move. The company known for characters such as Mickey Mouse doesn’t exactly have a reputation for R-rated movies, let alone horror. Further, fans had already expressed concern over Disney’s stance on Deadpool after the pending merger with Fox. What Marvel has to offer Disney with regards to a possible genre shift is anyone’s guess at this moment in time. While plenty of other genres exist for Marvel to consider, it would be interesting indeed to see how it takes to horror.