Willem Dafoe Discusses 'Aquaman's Horror Influence

When it comes to superheroes, Hollywood tends to shy away from the horror genre. The box office juggernaut surrounding the medium is too large to justify a big-budget horror take on Captain America, but studios can lean into horror when called to do so. Aquaman is one such film that will explore its horror roots, and Willem Dafoe just opened up about how director James Wan brought his expertise on the subject to set.

During a recent interview with Collider, the DC Films star was asked about his upcoming superhero gig. The actor, who plays Vulko, was asked how Wan and Spider-Man’s Sam Raimi suited the superhero genre given their work with horror. As you can see, Dafoe totally approves of the pair’s unique perspective.

“I wouldn’t say I’m a horror movie aficionado, but I appreciate them. Those directors in particular, James Wan, when you see his horror movies, you know there is a director there and that was very appealing and evident on Aquaman,” Dafoe explained.

“You see a kind of discipline, a kind of precision in viewing his films and being on set; he’s very precise and aware of storytelling tricks. He knows film language, [Sam] Raimi knew film language,” the actor continued.

“They came from modest, low-budget movie that you could tell these stories differently. Horror is a really good platform to mold these guys with good film language; it’s a good genre to strut their stuff. And superhero films is a good place to strut those horror influences, I think.”

Aquaman may not have any full-blown horror sequences or have knife-wielding psychopaths to contend with, but it will excel in suspense. Wan seems like he had a tight grip over Aquaman’s story, and the director has the kind of enthusiasm that impresses even Dafoe. Films like The Conjuring and Insidious may have made Wan a household name, but the director’s work with Aquaman will show just how horror sensibilities can give superheroes a bit of extra flair.

Just, let’s maybe avoid any jump-scares in Aquaman. Black Manta will be scary enough as is.

Dafoe will hit theaters next year when Aquaman premieres, but the actor will first enter the DC Cinematic Universe with Justice League next month. Justice League currently has a 4.16 out of 5 ComicBook.com User Anticipation rating making it the third most anticipated upcoming comic book movie among ComicBook.com readers. Let us know how excited you are for Justice League by giving the movie your own personal ComicBook.com User Anticipation Rating below.

Justice League opens in theaters on November 17, 2017.

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