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From 'Blade' to 'Hellboy': 8 scary comic book movies that you should watch
There are dozens of film adaptations of comic books. Only a few, however, are truly terrifying.
There are more than a few comic book movies out there. Most of them are on the lighter side, albeit not without their dark moments.
Some comic book movies, however, get into some pretty terrifying territory. The upcoming Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness directed by horror legend Sam Raimi, for example, looks to be on the darker side of the MCU.
If you want to get scared up for that movie’s premiere, try watching these eight other scary comic book movies that will leave you wondering what’s lurking in the shadows when you try to go to bed at night.
1. Blade (1998)
The first Blade movie came out before the MCU was even a twinkle in Kevin Feige’s eye. In it, Wesley Snipes plays the titular Blade, a half-human, half-vampire Daywalker who hunts down and kills vampires in very graphic ways. The film, directed by Stephen Norrington (The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen) and written by David S. Goyer (Foundation), was groundbreaking at the time and was able to take a lesser-known Marvel character and make an R-rated, edgy movie about a Shaft-like vampire hunter kicking ass. We’ll be seeing the MCU version of Blade sometime in the future, with Mahershala Ali in the titular role. Chances are, however, it won’t be as dark and gory as the 1998 version.
2. Blade II (2002)
Blade was a box office success, so it wasn’t a surprise that the Snipes-led film would get a sequel. Like many sequels, Blade II upped the ante with Reapers — a new breed of vampires that turn humans and vampires alike. Goyer is back for the sequel as the screenwriter, but this time Guillermo del Toro is in the director’s chair, and the filmmaker’s penchant for creating horrific monsters comes through here. The movie is full of WTF moments, from sadomasochistic rave scenes to autopsies that will stick in your brain long after viewing, whether you want them to or not. It’s arguably one of the best sequels ever, and extremely terrifying to boot.
3. Hellboy (2004)
Del Toro also directed and co-wrote with Peter Briggs the first movie adaptation for Hellboy. In it, we meet the gruffly demonic Hellboy, played by Ron Perlman, as well as the other members of the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense. The film has Hellboy and others at the BPRD take on Rasputin and includes terrifying monsters and the threat of unleashing hell on Earth (perhaps through Hellboy’s hands). The movie is quirky, yes, but it’s also downright scary, in large part because of Del Toro’s love of the monstrous.
4. Brightburn (2019)
What if Superman decided to be evil instead of, you know, good? That’s the premise of Brightburn, a movie that follows a young alien baby crashing down in Kansas (sound familiar?) who decides to use his powers for evil when he grows up. The movie is directed by David Yarovesky and produced by James Gunn, and explores the darker side of what can happen when a kid truly believes he’s very, very special.
If you’re looking for a superhero movie with a happy ending, this isn’t the movie to watch. “I'm making the horror, upside-down version of superhero mythology,” Yarovesky told SYFY WIRE back in 2019. “Superhero movies are so good at filling you with hope and joy and optimism. And so I would not be fulfilling my role as creator of the anti-superhero horror movie by filling you with hope and joy and optimism.”
5. The Crow (1994)
The Crow is a dark movie based on the comic run by James O’Barr. In it, Eric Draven (Brandon Lee) comes back to life to hunt down those who raped and murdered his fiancée, Shelly Webster (Sofia Shinas). The film revolves around vengeance and hurt and pain, and the darkness that lies therein. It’s such an impactful movie that Hollywood has tried to reboot it several times, most recently with Bill Skarsgård and FKA Twigs taking on the roles of Eric and Shelly respectively.
6. Constantine (2005)
Keanu Reeves’ John Constantine looked different than his comic book counterpart, but the 2005 film adaptation definitely captured its source material’s darkness and has a strong noir vibe that you don’t see in your typical comic book movie. Unlike many comic book movies, Constantine is also chock full of terrifying demons that help earn the film its R-rating.
7. The New Mutants (2020)
You can have a healthy debate on whether The New Mutants is a good movie. What it unarguably is, however, is a horror film. The story is a spinoff of the X-Men franchise and follows five teenagers who find out they have superhuman abilities because of mutations in their DNA. The group finds themselves in an institution where they believe they will be “cured.” The reality is different, however, and the teens relive their origin stories and trauma as they try to escape.
8. 30 Days of Night (2007)
Vampires wreck a small Alaskan town in 30 Days of Night, a David Slade film based on the comic book series with the same name. In it, Josh Hartnett and Melissa George are in Barrow, Alaska just when the month-long polar night begins, and also when vampires enter the town and slaughter everyone in sight. The remainder of the movie follows the few survivors trying to stay alive until the sun rises, with varying degrees of success.