Fear. Merriam-Webster tells us that the feeling is "an unpleasant often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger." Other dictionary entries say it's an "anxious concern" or to show "reason for alarm." Fear is one of the six basic emotions, and it's the Marvel Studios has played to the least. In fact, the very second Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness was first announced, then-director Scott Derrickson said he was going to make the Marvel Cinematic Universe's first scary movie. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness: Marvel's first scary movie out of 27 whopping blockbusters made before it. Suffice to say, Marvel Studios needs to introduce more horror characters.
Look at the recent success of Moon Knight on Disney+. Streaming fiends have given the series a 93-percent Fresh Audience Rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and rating services suggest millions have tuned in each week with every passing episode. The Oscar Isaac-led series deals directly with the macabre and supernatural, and it's still pulling in comparable numbers to the likes of WandaVision and Loki.
Better yet, Marvel's home to an incredible stable of horror characters it has yet to touch on. There's Moon Knight and then there's Blade (Mahershala Ali), who've we've only heard recite a single line so far. The studio has yet to introduce other Marvel Horror juggernauts like Man-Thing, the scientist essentially given a replica of the Super Soldier Serum, only to turn him into a monstrous keeper of the gate connecting all realities, or Elsa Bloodstone, the one character in the Marvel Universe that's hunted nearly every other horror character one can think of. On top of that, that's not considering the Hellstrom siblings, Ghost Rider, Dracula, or even Clea or the Living Mummy.
At the very least, it'd be a wise business decision — even if the studio kept its horror offerings PG-13. According to The Numbers, four of the top ten highest-grossing horror films of all time are rated PG-13. Between those movies, $1.68 billion dollars has been made around the world, and not a single one of them has the benefit of carrying with it a Marvel Studios title card.
Between the massive box office guarantee the Marvel Studios brand carries with it in this day in age, and a venture into an untapped genre for the franchise, it's near-certain MCU Horror would perform exceptionally well commercially. Not only would those movies continue to flesh out the Marvel Cinematic Universe and get repeat viewings from the staunchest of MCU fans, but it opens the market up to horror fans who have yet to dip their toes into Hollywood's behemoth of a franchise.
Whether it's the fact that some of Marvel's richest stories are rooted in its horror characters, or the idea the untapped genre could end up being a goldmine for Marvel Studios, it's all pretty clear — Marvel Studios needs to make more horror projects.
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