With movie theaters now seeming to constantly be showing some sort of superhero movie, there is growing pressure on directors and producers to create films that stand out from their potential rivals.
Marvel experienced success with the self-aware comedy and explicit violence of Deadpool and its sequel, but even that pair of movies balanced its gorier moments with a positive atmosphere and an overarching expectation that everything would be alright in the end. Venom, set to be released in October 2018, appears to be similarly diverging from the well-trodden path of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but by adopting horror elements.
Tom Hardy plays the role of Eddie Brock, a journalist who becomes tied to an alien symbiote that grants him a variety of dangerous powers and inclinations. This movie incarnation of the character looks set to correct the mistakes made in Spider-Man 3, which not only did a disservice to Venom but pretty much everything within the Spider-Man universe. Hardy’s Venom looks set to remain firmly within the new Spider-Man universe without crossing over into the wider Marvel Cinematic Universe. Part of the reasoning behind this could be that Venom’s tone is so drastically different from other Marvel movies that it would be too jarring to see the worlds collide.
There are slim pickings when trying to find a movie that successfully blends horror traits with classic superhero fare. The Blade trilogy are the most blatant examples of horror mixing with heroes, with the vampire-based movie franchise concluding in 2004 before the overwhelming success of superhero movies began. The Dark Knight is arguably the most influential superhero movie of the past decade, with the 2008 Batman movie redefining expectations of what a superhero film could be.
Yet even The Dark Knight does not veer into horror and terror significantly. While Heath Ledger’s interpretation of The Joker is chilling and haunting, the movie still plays more like a gripping crime thriller than a genuine horror. That the movie has inspired its own slot game is testament to this; The Dark Knight slot game from Betfair borrows images directly from the film for superhero fans looking for a free bonus no deposit, with symbols including that of The Joker and Two-Face. Players may be less inclined to play a slot game that uses Venom’s face as one of its symbols.
The trailer suggests that the movie will be dark from start to finish; the glimpses of humor in the movie are brief and dark, while the violence looks brutal and visceral. It is far removed from the sanitized world of the Avengers, with their cheery quips in the face of danger and their picturesque costumes. Venom’s face is likely to inspire more nightmares than dreams. If that’s true of the “hero” of the movie, then it is likely that his foes will be even more chilling.
This gives fans hope that Venom will take superhero movies in a new direction. After all, superheroes (and antiheroes) are facing perilous situations against sinister villains. Horror should be expected in these moments to accurately reflect what’s at stake. This is obviously not feasible in most Marvel Cinematic Universe outings which have diverse audiences, but Venom definitely has more scope to adopt classic horror movie elements.