Helstrom is now streaming season 1 on Hulu, and even though the series is downplaying its Marvel connections, there are still some significant lessons that Marvel Studios can learn from it. There's been a lot of debate in recent years about whether or not Marvel should venture into more horror-themed territory - or if such a thing was even possible under Disney. We know that Marvel will be rebooting Blade within the Marvel Cinematic Universe - but what form that reboot takes is still unclear. But Helstrom makes a compelling case for why it's time for Marvel to fully embrace horror, and all the genre has to offer.
Taking a look at the landscape of modern movies, there are two clear frontrunners when it comes to guaranteed profits: horror and superheroes; it seems like a no-brainer that the two should be truly combined into one. Television/streaming are also seeing more and more horror-themed shows growing in popularity, with wide-open lanes for bigger, blockbuster-sized horror event TV. Helstrom is a fine beginning, but it admittedly lacks the full production scale (and endorsement) of the Marvel Studios brand.
Clearly there's opportunity for Marvel-brand horror on both the big screen and TV, but what's the appeal?
Granted, combining superheroes and horror is an easy bet from a money-making perspective, but on the less cynical side there's another opportunity that a show Helstrom presents: the novelty of heroes with horror-themed powers. Fans have responded well to seeing heroes like Blade or Ghost Rider unleash the darker side super powers - but Helstrom leans into some much darker ideas of what it's like when heroes are fighting to harness evil power for good purpose. Audiences love stories about "complicated" heroes - especially those that invite terms like "dark" or "gritty"; Marvel can take those kinds of terms to new levels into both of those things (and maintain clear branding boundaries) with some horror-themed content.
Helstrom also offers some unique visuals when it comes to seeing things like demonic powers put to use in combat - and with a bigger scope and budget, Marvel could do something neither the superhero nor the horror genre have done one their own.
Finally, the other main appeal of getting more Marvel horror content like Helstrom is that Marvel Horror is in fact a entire potential universe of its own. In Marvel Comics, characters like Blade or Ghost Rider go hand-and-hand with Daimon and Ana Helstrom, and so many other characters that could (and will) debut in TV and movie projects, giving fans (and Marvel Studios) an entire set of crossover stories that don't have to really intersect with the main Avengers universe. There were already plans for Helstrom to be part of a new Marvel Horror franchise on Hulu; those plans were changed, so maybe Marvel Studios has plans for its own corner of horror? Blade is on the way, and hopefully it will establish the kind of tone horror fans are hoping for.11comments
So Far, as Helstrom reviews and fan reactions are coming in (at the time of writing this), it seems like Marvel horror is a universe that fans would indeed like to see more of. How about you (and which characters)?
Helstrom is now streaming season 1 on Hulu.