Marvel and X-Men movie fans were caught off guard by the first trailer for The New Mutants, as it revealed a much darker and horror-themed Marvel movie than we've seen in some time, and certainly for the first time ever from the X-Men franchise.
However, it's somewhat ironic that fans were surprised and/or put-of by the tonal approach to New Mutants; after all, the modern comic book movie trend can arguably be traced by back to Blade in 1998, a movie that definitely combined tropes of the superhero and horror genres.
With New Mutants (re-)opening the door to an entire superhero horror movie sub-genre, we have five Marvel horror movie suggestions that should definitely get made:
The Darkhold was a series that ran from 1992 to 1994 as part of Marvel's "Midnight Sons" imprint at the time. It followed an odd trio of characters -- a descendant in the line of Darkhold guardians, an elderly occult expert, and an FBI agent -- as they tried to safeguard the famous "Book of Sins" from evil forces that sought to use it as a weapon for wreaking havoc on the world.
Why It Would Work: The Darkhold is a book that essentially gives those who read it terrible supernatural power. It is essentially a (forgive the term) open book for any kind of supernatural menace one can think up. For example, one user in the comic becomes a mass of living carnivorous worms. It's a simple framework for a very creative and unique horror movie experience, and best of all, it already has an established foundation in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, thanks to last year's Ghost Rider/Darkhold story arc on Agents of SHIELD.
Morbius "The Living Vampire" was created when biochemist Michael Morbius tried to cure himself of a rare blood disease, and instead endowed himself with the powers (strength, speed, flight) and weaknesses (bloodlust, aversion to light) of a vampire, while not technically being dead. At first ,he was a villain who battled characters like Spider-Man and the X-Men while searching for a cure, but he eventually embraced his "pseudo-vampire" existence, becoming an anti-hero who fed on the blood of the guilty.
Why It Would Work: Morbius is, in a lot of ways, like Doctor Strange: a brash and talented doctor searches for a cure to his affliction, and ends up stumbling into a entire new reality he never knew existed. The main difference is that the Doctor Strange movie transported Marvel movie fans into the metaphysical worlds of "magic" and multiverse theory; Morbius would take a normal man on a journey into a frightening world of the occult, while also providing a great "man vs. his savage nature" thematic arc that has been sorely missing from the modern vampire genre. The crossover potential with characters like Blade, Ghost Rider, or the Darkhold Redeemers also makes this a good pick.
The "X-Men: Necrosha" storyline from the late 2000s sees classic X-Men villain Selene (psychic vampire and "Black Queen" of the Hellfire Club) use the extraterrestrial Technarch transmode virus to resurrect a whole host of dead mutants, including many former friends and foes of the X-Men. Selene uses her army of zombie cyborgs to invade the X-Men's bases on several fronts, leading to a desperate struggle for survival.
Why It Would Work: With New Mutants already adding a horror influence to Fox's X-Men franchise, Necrosha would be a great story to adapt into a film - especially after the next slate of X-men movies (Deadpool 2, Dark Phoenix, X-Force). "Necrosha" is essentially a dark reflection on the just how much loss, tragedy, and moral compromise (like an X-Force assassin squad) has come with fighting for Professor Xavier's dream. Depending on when the film was released, X-Men: Necrosha would be a perfect horror-themed commentary on the violence and bloodshed that characters like Wolverine, Deadpool, Cable (and soon X-Force) have brought into the franchise. It would also be a great way to bring back any number of characters and actors who have died during the franchise's run.
Terror Inc. was a series centered around a late-'80s / early-'90s character who was an immortal, with the gruesome ability to absorb the memories and abilities of others by attaching their dismembered limbs to his body. His origin involves an ancient tribe of humans who hunted a demon bear; the hunter who killed the bear became cursed, forced to host the demon in his own body, and was shunned by his tribe. After wandering through the ages and assuming various roles such as an errant knight, he eventually entered the modern age of the Marvel Universe as a mercenary, assassin, and, at times, Hero for Hire.
Why It Would Work: Terror Inc. is one of lesser-known Marvel Comics properties that has the potential to be reinvented as a great horror film adventure. The character's origin and powers are in keeping with a film like Vin Diesel's Last Witch Hunter, except with an extra dose of horror, as Terror's primary power and means of completing an investigation or mission requires some pretty gruesome (and/or funny) acts of killing and dismemberment. If Marvel ever wants its version of an Evil Dead movie, Terror Inc. is a good pick. The character has also had ties with characters like Punisher and the Heroes for Hire, so there's definitely room for him to join the MCU.
"Maximum Carnage" was a '90s Spider-Man story arc that saw the Venom symbiote's psychotic offspring, Carnage, assemble a cult of equally psychotic supervillains for a campaign of terror and murder across New York City. It takes the combined efforts of Spider-Man, Venom, and other Marvel superheroes to finally bring the killing spree to an end.
Why It Would Work: Sony is rapidly expanding its Spider-Man universe beyond the Marvel Cinematic Universe, starting with Tom Hardy's Venom movie and continuing with the Silver and Black female-centric movie, starring Silver Sable and Black Cat. If Sony truly wants to give its Spider-Man spinoffs an epic crossover event to rally around (with or without using Spider-Man himself), then "Maximum Carnage" would definitely fit the bill - especially if Rogue One actor Riz Ahmed is truly making an appearance in Venom as Carnage. Needless to say, the superhero genre getting its own serial killer horror flick would be something new, indeed.