'Doctor Strange 2' Will Be the MCU's First Real Horror Movie
But ironically, comic book stories aren't exactly strangers to the horror genre.
It's a bit shocking given this is the Marvel Cinematic Universe we're talking about. The stories—as exciting, epic and powerful as they are—do have the grandiose, splendor, humor and positivism we all love about superheroes. We hardly see the terror in the eyes of a victim suffering from nightmares and demons, or the weird things that go bump in the night.
That's largely due to the fact that the stories often are told from the perspectives of those heroes! When you think about it, this does make perfect sense as aliens from the sky would be pretty terrifying, and you'd think lots of humans would have major nightmares from all of it. We don't see that side of the story. We see the explosions, the fight scenes, the clever one-liners, and so much more.
But NOT the Horror Side of All of It—Until Now, Thanks to Doctor Strange
The sequel's being billed as the studio's first real horror film. With the title, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, we're getting a sense of some Clive Barker, psychological horror, Jacob's Ladder stuff. And to make it even more interesting, Wanda Maximoff AKA Scarlet Witch will also be in the film.
This is particularly interesting given that witch's propensity for emotional breakdown and terror, her powers going awry and causing major havoc that would propel Strange into taking some sort of action. Pretty interesting. In a way, it's like X-Men's Dark Phoenix!
Believe It or Not, Marvel—and Even Comics as a Whole—Delved Into Horror Long Ago
So this isn't very novel at first glance when you think about it. Yet we're going from Avengers-style sex appeal in Scarlet Witch and debonair mystic arts of Infinity War spectacle in Doctor Strange—to true character studies of the fiercely mortifying kind, stripping these characters down to what makes their skin crawl the most.
There's currently no synopsis for this Doctor Strange sequel, however. But we can certainly make educated guesses that it all hinges on the madness that is the Scarlet Witch. And Strange must somehow solve it. We're digging that angle.
Again, though, Marvel—and even DC (and perhaps one more brand you might recognize)—gets their fair share of horror tropes, starting with...
If you have FX and you've seen this show, you've delved into some madness, for sure. Billed as the Marvel mutants universe akin to the X-Men, it's all about the offspring of one Charles Xavier and the utter mindf*ck ensuing.
It's purely genius and qualifies to be a part of the genre in a big way. In other words, we don't see epic CG fights—no stunts, no quips. Just psychedelic sentiment, the unusual, the dreamlike state. It's a mind trip of the macabre into the darkest parts of your soul, and that's largely why it's made such an imprint in this universe, without a doubt.
It's not about superheroes. It's about superhorror.
'The New Mutants'
Sticking within the same universe of mutant superhero phenomenon, this also fits right in—but perhaps even more so, featuring a slew of teenage kids with frightening powers, but also stuck in a kind of asylum. We're willing to bet you already see where this is going.
We've seen kids play a big role in horror, no doubt. This amps it up that much more. The fact is The New Mutants has been characterized as the comics first superhero TV show that's all about horror at its most petrifying.
Think demonic possession. Crazy people. Insanity. You get the picture.
Remember this guy? We certainly do. Many can argue that the biggest reason comics dipped more than just fingers into the horror genre was due to Spawn, a hellraiser of sorts not unlike the other one (Ghostrider) but with that much more slick nature, darkness, devils and so much more.
Spawn was truly evil. But in a good way. However the original adaptation left plenty to be desired, although John Leguizamo certainly played up the clown quite well.
Todd McFarlane's reboot may just retcon everything we know about the current movie adaptation...
One of the cool things about the horror genre is that it can all be literally about the monster itself: Predator... Aliens... Dracula. When the focal point is the nightmare itself, you have a winner.
The reboot will attempt to echo that same model with Spawn featured really not as a superhero or even an antihero, but the suspect all other characters are then focused on. Sort of like The Crow or even Batman of DC Comics, which all by themselves have that sense there's a hidden agenda, or a shadow we can't speak of, the terror in the night that makes us all mortified to even be a villain or criminal.
If anyone can do it, McFarlane can. We're all in for a straight-up monster thriller.
And... One More Exciting Announcement (or Two)
Marvel certainly isn't done with delving into the madness, of course, as it was recently announced Blade will sink its fangs into the Marvel Cinematic Universe soon as a reboot, featuring Oscar winner Mahershala Ali as the titular Daywalker. We shall also not forget that most likely Spider-Man will go toe to toe with another revenant of the horrifying kind in Morbius.
So there's no argument: Marvel's getting scary. Check out more stories at SCARYHORRORSTUFF.COM!
I am an author, adventurer, and father, living with my wife, four daughters and one son in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I've trekked through tundras, waded through swamps, wandered through deserts, and swam in the Great Barrier Reef.