Movies & TV / Columns

Will Morbius and New Mutants Open the Door for Horror Comic Book Movies?

January 20, 2020 | Posted by Steve Gustafson
Morbius New Mutants

Before we jump into things, I acknowledge movies like Venom, The Crow, Hellboy, Spawn, Constantine, and others who have come before. While they touched upon the horror theme, none have funny embraced it outside of Brightburn.

New Mutants and Morbius look to take things a little further.  

Every so often we get a round of columns and articles about how the superhero movie theme is becoming over-saturated and stale. While the box office numbers are immensely strong, it’s only a matter of time before audiences are looking for something new and fresh.

Thanks to a couple of new trailers like Fox’s (I’m going to call them that for a bit longer) New Mutants and Morbius comes along and makes you say, “Yeah, that’s different, I want to see where this goes.”

But will enough people feel that way to make it worthwhile for that trend to continue?

Fans of the comic book are likely familiar with ‘The Demon Bear Saga’ storyline and are excited for what’s to come. But the average moviegoer is probably a little confused at what they saw and how it fits in with the rest of the X-franchise.

New Mutants has taken a lot of bumps and has been the target of a number of rumors. Thankfully, it’s getting its due. The latest trailer looks and feels like a full-on horror movie in the X-Men movie universe. It was supposed to. The movie’s director, Josh Boone, spoke to IGN a while ago about the project and made that clear. Here are some of the highlights from the interview:

On how Fox let him make a X-Men horror movie: “FOX made Deadpool and Logan and they were sort of so tonally different they felt embolden to let us go make it different, and make have its own distinct tone and identity. I think of the mainline X-Men movies more as grand operative science-fiction films. This is much more of a performance-driven horror film.”

On what influenced the movie: “Our whole pitch for this series was based on Bill Sienkiewicz run with Chris Claremont [The New Mutants vol. 1 #18–31, 35–38], so it’s very much when New Mutants became dark and surreal and more horror driven.

We were incredibly inspired by the ‘Demon Bear’ story which is probably the best, well-known New Mutants story. We also drew on movies like One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Stephen King stuff, and even Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors.

Darabont wrote that back in the day and that was very inspiring to us. If we’d had just done New Mutants the comic, it would’ve been very much set-up like an X-Men movie in the mansion with Professor X and all that. So we really wanted to do something different. So kind of what we brought to Sienkiewicz and Claremont’s take on New Mutants was this idea they’re all in a psych-hole for mutants.”

On how it connects to the X-Men universe and will other X-Men appear in the movie: “I can’t… there’s some things I can’t talk about. I can just say it is connected to and a part of the X-Men universe, and will continue to be a part of the X-Men universe and will be a part of that as it opens up in the next movies and all that.

Every video complains online about characters that aren’t in it right now. I will say we’re going to introduce new characters in the next movie as well. Characters like Karma and Warlock, and all that will be in future movies.”

Over to Sony and Morbius, which got the greenlight after seeing the response to Venom and it’s healthy box office. Avi Arad confirmed that there was excitement at Sony to produce Morbius, especially due to the story of a “healer that becomes a killer, and how do you deal with [that?]”

From the looks of the trailer, Morbius will pick up on the horror elements set up by Venom.

Taking the horror genre and examining them through comic book movies, with it becoming its own own distinct sort of horror film could open the doors for a whole new subset, one that would draw independent creators to the table.

Of course it will only work if these big budget movies perform well at the box office. What did you think of the trailer? Will audiences crowd to see a horror/superhero blend movie?

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Steve Gustafson