We love horror movies all year round. From zombies and supernatural beasts to murderers and haunted abodes, the classic motifs are tried and true. But the sad fact is, by the time you choose the horror flick you want to see, you pretty much know what you’re in for — and that can take the edge off.
True horror is in the element of surprise, so what’s more surprising than believing you’re about to watch a comic book adaptation, and instead witnessing to the sadistic mauling of your favorite character’s personality, powers or storyline?
Here five of the most unintentionally terrifying films based on comics so far… because the scariest thing about comic book movies is when they go wrong.
Roger Corman’s Fantastic Four (1994)
A legend in efficient filmmaking, director Roger Corman did plenty with the tiny $2 million budget allotted him, but Marvel’s first family’s first foray into film was still seriously deranged. The villains — a sexually tense Victor Von Doom and cosmic jewel-stealing hobo — are creepy enough, but it’s the heroes’ unsettling depictions that’ll haunt your nightmares.
The Thing’s rocky armor melts away when his crush declares her love for him. Invisible woman is no more than a vapid house frau (whose power isn’t so much invisibility as it is Shadowcat-like phasing, demonstrated by her effective killing of two henchmen via their own bullets). But the toughest image to shake — Reed Richards' freakish stretched-out arm — is as limp as the acting in 2005’s maligned “Fantastic 4” wide release.
Batman & Robin (1997)
With the box office success of “Batman Forever,” Warner Bros. wanted another sequel with director Joel Schumacher. For his second whack at the franchise, Schumacher wanted to pay homage to the camp factor of Batman’s '60s TV series days.
What moviegoers witnessed was a gnarly franchise homicide filled with Arnold Schwarzenegger one-liners, jarringly absurd costume choices, and bloodcurdling codpieces.
League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003)
Sitting down for the big-budget butchering of Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill’s masterful Victorian sci-fi literary team-up is like watching a snuff film. You wont find the familiar motley crew of adventurous geniuses led by Mina Murray, misfits and fiends all of them, but an unnatural Frankenstein-like patchwork of contrived characters, forced plot turns, and a crotchety Sean Connery.
The scariest thing about a historical disaster is the prospect of it taking place a second time. With Batman having been such a well-used vehicle for ridiculousness in the past, it is no less than terrifying that Catwoman was permitted to be yanked from the (campy at worst) context of her comic and celluloid legacy, turned into a character with no relevance to the Gotham universe, and slapped on Halle Berry. The primary goal of the film never seemed to exceed the marketing of that year's most popular slutty Halloween costume.
Adding insult to the injury that was “Daredevil,” Jennifer Garner’s superhero debut was a regular Greek tragedy, but cartwheeled into inexplicable territory when it incorporated barely seen “New X-Men” character Tattoo, who was changed from a female character into a male who secretes snarling animals from his chest. It was one particularly nightmarish bit of contrived visual gimmickry in a movie that was full of scary-bad moments.
What are some of your most bone-chilling comic book movie memories? Let us know what you think in the comment section or on Twitter!