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The 8 Ball: Top 8 Wanted Horror Comic Book Movies

October 14, 2014 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas

Top 8 Wanted Horror Comic Book Movies
Welcome, one and all, to the 8 Ball in the Movie Zone! I’m your host Jeremy Thomas and as always, we will be tackling a topic and providing you the top eight selections of that particular category. Keep in mind that this list is meant to be my personal opinion and not a definitive list. You’re free to disagree; you can even say my list is wrong, but stating that an opinion is “wrong” is just silly. With that in mind, let’s get right in to it!

We’re full-bore into October now and so of course we’re still rocking the horror-themed topics at 8 Ball Headquarters. This week we’re looking at a genre of comic book films that Hollywood hasn’t fully embraced for some reason: horror comic adaptations. While comic books have and will always be first associated with superheroes, casual fans often forget that the format is just as strongly associated with horror and for almost as long as the spandex-clad defenders of justice. Whether it’s the early days of New Adventures of Frankenstein in 1940, the infamous EC Comics that nearly brought down the whole industry, the resurgence of the 1970s or the rise of modern horror comics after the abolition of the Comics Code Authority, horror has always appealed to the same kinds of kids who liked to get lost in superheroes. While there have been some horror comic film adaptations such as Spawn, Constantine, From Hell and 30 Days of Night, it seems that Hollywood is hesitant to latch onto the creepier side of comic books. This week we’re going to look at the best potential horror comic films, should the movie industry ever get around to them.

Caveat: For the purposes of this list, a comic book property qualified if it was primarily dominated by horror themes and didn’t have a horror movie or TV series made from it yet that saw a full release. Obviously there will be some gray areas in there and I’ll explain where I felt they qualify if they didn’t seem to. But all in all I think it’s pretty self-explanatory.

Just Missing The Cut
Route 666 (CrossGen)
The Darkness (Top Cow)
Werewolf By Night (Marvel)
Neonomicon (Avatar Press)
Fatale (Image)

#8: Severed (Image)
First up on our list is a seven-issue comic that came from co-writers Scott Tuft and Scott Snyder. Get used to seeing that last name, he’s popping up a couple more times. Severed is the story of a young kid in the 1980s who decides to go train-jumping across America to find his missing father and encounters a mysterious salesman who turns out to be a cannibalistic serial killer and who threatens to make him next. Snyder and Tuft threw a lot into this limited series in terms of tense and unsettling horror; the Hitchockian elements are strong and the Salesman is a truly nasty piece of business that would excel on the big screen. This is the kind of comic that would excel in the often-tawdry psychological horror genre, which has been besotted by half-hearted home invasion films and the tired “killer plays cat-and-mouse with the cops” trope. It’s incredibly well-paced and the relatively short nature of the limited series arc means that it would be easily adapted for the big screen. Get the right director behind it (Scott Derrickson comes to mind) and we would have a real winner of a horror flick on our hands.

#7: B.P.R.D. (Dark Horse)

Some people may cry foul at this one as according to my caveats, I’m not using any comic books that were previously adapted into films. However, while the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Development were obviously an integral part of the Hellboy films, those movies were understandably focused on Big Red as opposed to the agency that protected America from the myriad occult threats out there. An adaptation of the B.P.R.D. comic book would allow for further exploration of a host of characters who didn’t get much or any screen time in Guillermo Del Toro’s films. Storylines like the frog invasion or last year’s “Vampire” arc would make for some fantastic horror stories and it would allow the Hellboy universe to continue in a way that didn’t require the third film in that franchise that Del Toro doesn’t have time for. They would allow that film universe to be pulled in a less fantasy/superhero direction toward the creepy horror aspect that could invigorate it and help the horror comic genre resonate with a new fanbase. And of course, a cameo by Big Red himself somewhere wouldn’t go amiss.

#6: Ghosted (Image)

Ghosted is a fairly new entry into horror comics, having begun publication in July of 2013, and yet it’s one of the strongest entries for a potential horror comic adaptation. The popular description for the Joshua Williamson/Goran Sudzuka series is “The Shining meets Ocean’s Eleven.” Now having read that, just tell me that you’re not already intrigued. The series follows the highly skilled professional thief Jackson Winters, who is serving time in prison after his last attempt at art theft resulted in the rather grisly deaths of the rest of his team. He is freed from prison by a man who wants him to assemble a team for the job of a lifetime: steal a ghost from a haunted house. The series is remarkably intelligent and well-plotted, with solid characterizations and a strong visual aesthetic. Frankly it’s the kind of comic book series that is so obviously perfect for the big screen, I’m shocked that it hasn’t been snapped up yet.

#5: Marvel Zombies (Marvel)

Let’s be honest: the odds of seeing Marvel Zombies hit the big screen is unlikely in the extreme at best. Marvel is in the midst of owning the movie industry with the Marvel Cinematic Universe and a complete departure from the franchise to tell a horror tale where their highly-marketable star characters became ravenous undead isn’t something they would do. But man, it could be amazing if they did. The Marvel Zombies universe began in 2005, written by The Walking Dead’s Robert Kirkman. It saw an alternate Marvel universe beset with a virus due to an unknown superhero from another dimension that turned them into the titular flesh-eating animated corpses and became so popular that two sequels followed. This could be the most successful due to sheer name recognition and the idea of super-powered individuals as part of a zombie apocalypse makes the idea all the more horrifying. Will it happen? Obviously not. But I really wish that it would.

#4: Swamp Thing (DC/Vertigo)

This is another one that you might cry foul on, because there has of course been a Swamp Thing film made. In fact, there were two: the 1982 Wes Craven film and its 1989 low-budget sequel. However, despite Craven’s involvement in the first one these films don’t really count as horror in any capacity; the first is more sci-fi adventure while the second takes a more comic tone. The first film came before Alan Moore’s beloved run with the character, which took Swamp Thing and put him in a much darker and more horror-tinged direction. Moore helped skyrocket the character’s popularity among audiences by taking the character seriously and making it a deeper, more interesting series that focused on a more sophisticated horror that would grow to influence many later horror comics. There was an attempt to get a new filmic take on the character off the ground a few years back, but that fell apart and the film has been in limbo. With the property’s use of both horror and ecology, you could get someone like Larry Fessenden (Wendigo, The Last Winter) involved and do some wondrous things. Since DC is having problems with their superheroes, perhaps it wouldn’t hurt to build up their brand as a studio through alternate avenues and Swamp Thing would be a strong candidate for that.

#3: American Vampire (DC/Vertigo)

Another Scott Snyder title makes its entry onto the list in American Vampire, and technically it could be considered the third entry if you count his recent work on Swamp Thing. Regardless, it’s also a newer title and frankly one of the better horror comics still being published. The series is set in a universe where vampires consist of several different subspecies, and the American breed is a particular kind created through the turning of Skinner Sweet. Skinner can walk in daylight and has a weakness not for silver, but gold. His progeny is Pearl Jones, an aspiring actress from the 1920, and the series focuses on their relationship and dynamic with other vampire races, along with humanity, across the course of American history. It’s an astonishingly good series and exactly the sort of deeper project that Hollywood would fall in love with if they bothered to pay close enough attention to it, with two well-developed and complex characters but also the horror aspects that would help make it a hit. Why it hasn’t been snapped up in the vampire craze yet, I don’t know.

#2: Locke & Key (IDW)

If you’ve been around 411 for a while, you’ve probably heard of Locke & Key. The Joe Hill-penned series is a favorite of many of ours, including Shawn Lealos and myself. Hill is the son of Stephen King and while I mean no offense to the horror literature icon in saying this, the son has already surpassed the father in my estimation. Locke & Key is reportedly currently in the works at Universal, but the project has had a long history of not making it through development through various projects so until they’re filming, I don’t consider it a sure thing yet. The tale focuses on the Locke family, who move back into their family’s mansion after the family’s patriarch is killed by a crazed student. The Keyhouse estate (in Lovecraft, Massachusetts no less) is inundated with strange doors, peculiar keys, and dark, dangerous spirits. Perhaps foremost among them is Dodge, a creature stuck in a well who befriends the youngest member of the family so he can be freed from his imprisonment. The tale unfolds over a series of six-issue miniseries and is frankly one of the best horror comics of all-time. A TV series was planned at FOX and a pilot was shot, with Ksenia Solo (Lost Girl) playing Dodge but despite its phenomenal quality FOX passed. Hopefully Universal stays the course and the film shows as much promise as the pilot did.

#1: Hack/Slash (Devil’s Due/Image)

How Hack/Slash hasn’t been made yet is beyond me. This is a comic book series that is virtually screaming to be turned into a film franchise. The premise of the Tim Seeley-created series is quite simple: a somewhat tongue-in-cheek subversion of slasher films in which young Cassie Hack teams up with an enormous, muscle-bound and disfigured man named Vlad to hunt “slashers,” or monsters that conduct terrible acts throughout the country. Cassie is a savvy extension of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer conceit; a girl who by all accounts looks to be your standard horror victim but instead turns the tables and hunts the hunters. Where Joss Whedon’s tale took it all in a somewhat safer context, Hack/Slash is a distinctly R-rated and very dark–yet also deeply funny–take on the idea. At last count Marcus Nispel was set to direct an adaptation but nothing has been heard about that in two years now, suggesting that it’s dead (and that’s probably for the best considering Nispel’s output). This is one that Hollywood really needs to get on because it really can end up as its own franchise and even slot in with Cabin in the Woods as a great subversion of the typical horror tropes.


And that will do it for us this week! Join me next week for another edition of the 8-Ball! Until then, have a good week and don’t forget to read the many other great columns, news articles and more here at 411wrestling.com! JT out.