Todd McFarlane Says ‘Spawn’ Is a Supernatural Thriller, Not a Horror Movie

Spawn writer-director Todd McFarlane says his small-budget Blumhouse production is more "supernatural thriller" than horror movie.

"I hesitate on the word horror. I'm very specific about not using that word too much. Because it has a broad definition to a lot of people," McFarlane told

"Horror, to my wife or to a lot of people, it means, oh, you're gonna slaughter some co-eds in some bloodbath or something," McFarlane said. "I consider dialing it back to say it's a supernatural thriller. So then it's not gonna be a gore fest."

Whatever boxes Spawn ticks, McFarlane said his movie will sell itself straight and potential moviegoers will know what it is before they go see it.

"What's gonna matter is, really, the first time they get to watch the trailer. And then, once you watch the trailer, then all the talking's over. Because, now, they're gonna see it," McFarlane said. "And then, at that point, they're gonna go, 'Oh, that's either interesting or curious. I might give it a chance.' Or, they're gonna go, 'Yeah, you know what, I was hoping for something a little more, you know, Marvel-like.' They're gonna visually see it. I'm not gonna be tricking anybody by saying, 'Hey, come to my movie. It's superhero extravaganza,' then do a dark movie behind their back. They're gonna see the trailer. Might even do three or four trailers. They're gonna see lots and lots of this. So, everybody will be personally educated as to whether they wanna walk into the theater and give it a chance by the time the movie gets there."

The famed comic book creator said Spawn's small budget allows more freedom not usually allotted to movies boasting larger price tags.

"So, for now, I know there's a lot of head scratching. That people sorta go, 'I don't quite get how your movie's gonna work.' I do," he added. "Again, I'm not saying it's good. I may be on a suicide trip right now. Being stubborn to a story that nobody may wanna watch. Who knows? But, like I said, if it does work, and we get some success, and by keeping the budget where we're at, then we don't need giant success for it to be in a place where we could then quickly say we're gonna be making a sequel."

"This is the thing," he continued, "if you spend a dollar and you make two, it's a success, right? If you spend a thousand dollars, then you gotta make two thousand for it to be a success. So, okay. Okay, let's keep the risk low. And let's go."

McFarlane said if his rebooted movie can attract the same amount of moviegoers as the 1997 original that starred Michael Jai White as his most famous creation, his low budget Spawn can prove itself a hit.

"Math tells me that if I get the same number of people who came to the opening of Spawn number one in 1997, now that the ticket prices have more than doubled in that time, it can be a 46 million dollar opening," McFarlane explained. "It'll be the same number of tickets. That same number of people. It would be a 46 million opening. So, at that number, let's say I cut that number in half. It's still a good opening. The movie's just not gonna be spending a ton of money."


Academy Award-winning actor Jamie Foxx will star as Al Simmons-slash-Spawn, it was announced Tuesday. Spawn has yet to announce additional cast members or a release date.