Can making a horror film make you a viable candidate for directing a superhero movie? How does the quality of a film that terrifies a kid makes you eligible to make a movie that enthralls the young audience? Apparently it does, for some of our most favourite superhero films have been helmed by filmmakers who have produced some scary stuff in the past? That list has quite some renowned names, who are now favourites among the geeks these days. Justice League Snyder Cut: 5 Superhero Movies With Superior Director’s Cut Versions That Give Us Confidence in DC’s Upcoming Experiment.
Like for example, James Wan, who kick-started The Conjuring universe, has also given DCEU a huge hit in Aquaman. Zack Snyder, who united DC fan boys and girls to rally for justice for his cut of Justice League, started off making a remake of George Romero's famous zombie film. James Gunn, who used to write for Troma Entertainment, had directed a very icky creature film, before he made a talking raccoon and tree favourites among the kids (and is about to do a repeat with a carnivorous Shark man!) And of course, how can we forget the great Sam Raimi, who is all set to make a return to the Marvel cinema?
In this special feature, we will look at 11 directors who made their name first directing horror movies, before they seamlessly shifted base to making entertaining superhero flicks!
Let's start off this list with the man who gave the 21st Century its first successful superhero trilogy with Spider-Man. Raimi, who returns to directing Marvel movies with the upcoming Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Darkness, is also most remembered for giving cinema another iconic trilogy - but in horror - The Evil Dead saga. There won't be any horror geeks out there who have sampled Evil Dead movies and not come out impressed by any of them. Raimi had also directed The Gift and Drag Me to Hell, both horror films. Interestingly, Spider-Man was not his first tryst with superhero lore, as in 1992, he had made the underrated Darkman, starring Liam Neeson. And anyway, isn't Ash Williams also kind of a badass superhero?
A little trivia before we get to the dark part - Watch the live-action Scooby Dooby movies, and you will realise that James Gunn has written them. Now let's get onto the scary part. The maverick filmmaker is known for directing both the Guardians of the Galaxy films and the upcoming The Suicide Squad movie. But before he entered the Marvel league, Gunn had made Slither, starring Michael Rooker, Elizabeth Banks and Nathan Fillion. A sci-fi creature flick, Slither has a cult fanbase among horror aficionados for its icky special effects and a nice blend of horror and comedy. James Gunn, The Suicide Squad Director, Loves Watching Indian Movies, Calls Aamir Khan’s Lagaan His Favourite.
You though only superhero sagas can have cinematic universes? James Wan proved that wrong. Though he himself jumped into superhero bandwagon by making Aquaman, Wan is much respected by geeks for making one of the best horror films of this century in The Conjuring, also going on to direct its equally terrifying sequel and overlooking the rest of the franchise. The Conjuring universe has spawned off spinoffs and more sequels, each being a cash cow for the series. Wan is also directing another horror film, Malignant, scheduled to release this year, and needless to say, we are quite excited about that as much we are about Aquaman 2! Before The Conjuring – The Devil Made Me Do It Arrives, Ranking All the Conjuring Universe Movies From Worst to Best As per IMDb.
Guillermo del Toro
One of the most amazing filmmakers with a fine eye for some splendid frames, Guillermo del Toro is known for, as the nerds put it, making Oscar material out of a fish and a woman making out! Jokes aside, we all know the filmmaker's penchant for horror. He has made some cult scary flicks like Cronos, Mimic, The Devil's Backbone, Pan's Labyrinth (a dark fantasy, but still scary enough) and Crimson Peak. Less discussed among the geeks is that how he made three awesome superhero movies that are not MCU or DCEU in Blade II, Hellboy and Hellboy II: The Golden Army. BTW, he was once supposed to helm a live-action Justice League Dark movie that never happened. What a loss for the fans!
David F Sandberg
The man responsible for making DCEU's most light-hearted movie in Shazam! has his origins in the horror genre. Currently busy in the production of Shazam! Fury of the Gods, David F Sandberg had made his directorial debut with the impressively scary Lights Out, that was based on his own short film by the same name. He also helmed the better Annabelle movie in Annabelle: Creation.
The filmmaker who has been in recent news for both good and bad reasons, depending on how you see his films and his controversies, also made his beginnings in the horror genre. He started off his movie career in 2004 with Dawn of the Dead, that brought him a lot of notice. The critical and commercial acclaim that the film brought him paved way for the divisive filmmaker to get big- budget fare like Watchmen, kickstarting DCEU with Man of Steel, Batman vs Superman and then the controversial Justice League saga. Now Snyder returns to his horror roots with an interesting spin on zombie genre by interpersing a heist thriller in it with Netflix's Army of the Dead. Army of the Dead Movie Review: Zack Snyder Delivers a Flawed but Fun Zombie Flick, Starring Dave Bautista and Huma Qureshi.
If you found some of the images in MCU's 2016 film Doctor Strange, well, 'sinister' then you can blame director Scott Derrickson's horror genre beginnings for that. Before Marvel happened, the filmmaker's big fame ticket was known for making some very popular horror films like Hellraiser: Inferno, The Exorcism of Emily Rose, Sinister, Deliver Us from Evil and Sinister 2. While we are disappointed that he is no longer helming Doctor Strange sequel (considering it is supposed to embrace more horror vibes), the director has returns to his fave genre, currently filming The Black Phone.
Loved how Spider-Man: Homecoming and Spider-Man: Far From Home captured the John Hughes' vibes from the '80s? It is hard to believe that that the man who did a great job espousing the fun spirit of teenage hormones, had begun his movie career making a film about a cannibal clown who eats kids! Strange but true, as Watts made his feature film debut with the 2014 film Clown, that is not just terrifying but also emotional as well.
Taika Waititi is now a very popular filmmaker who reinvigorated our interest in Thor as a character, while giving us some fine quirky dramedy movies (Jojo Rabbit, anyone?). Before Thor: Ragnarok happened, the movie that put him in the geek radar was, of course, the satirical horror comedy, What We Do In The Shadows. While not strictly a horror film, What We Do In The Shadows mixes blood and humour in the most entertaining way possible, with Waititi also putting in a hilarious acting turn as a vampire. What We Do In The Shadows has also lent itself into a equally mesmerising series by the same name. From Deadpool to Thor: Ragnarok, 5 Surprising Nude Scenes The Indian Censor Board Didn't Allow You To See!
Speaking of horror-comedies, how can we forget Ruben Fleischer, the filmmaker who gave us one of the most entertaining and quip-worthy entries in the genre, Zombieland? It is perhaps how he smartly handled the horror and comedy elements of the movie, is why he might have been tasked with directing Venom. Though Tom Hardy's Spider-Man spinoff was not as critically acclaimed as expected, it went on to be a huge hit at the global box office. However, for the sequel, the studios brought in the mo-cap champion, Andy Serkis, to direct Venom: Let There Be Carnage. Fleischer, meanwhile, is busy directing Tom Holland in Uncharted.
Last but not the least, let's end this list with one of the most prolific filmmakers of all time, who glamourised superhero genre and made the men in capes so cool. The director who gave us the epic 1978 film Superman, was also responsible for other classics like The Goonies, Lethal Weapon (and its two sequels), Scrooged, Maverick among others. However, the movie that brought him to the spotlight came two years before Superman and that was The Omen. Considered a masterpiece in the horror genre, The Omen is a brooding, chilling piece of cinema about the birth of the Devil himself in form of a human child.
(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Jun 01, 2021 02:49 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).