Director Josh Boone shares the film’s horror influences.

The New Mutants trailer dropped last week and the internet is losing its mind. People weren’t expecting director Josh Boone to release a straight-up horror movie in the X-Men universe. Fox’s decision to turn The New Mutant’s series into a horror trilogy is one of the best things to happen to superhero movies in quite a while.

I love comic book movies but the industry is in serious need of a shakeup, particularly the X-Men franchise. We’ve had 10 X-Men universe films over the past 17-years and there have been more misses than hits. It’s no coincidence that the series two best films, Logan and Deadpool, take place away from Charles Xavier and Magneto’s incessant drama. Right from the pitching phase, Boone’s intention was to use The New Mutants film as a launchpad for a different style of X-Men movie. Speaking with IGN, Boone said,

We brought it to FOX as a trilogy of films, really all based on that long run by Sienkiewicz, and kind of incorporates some stuff from later issues in the ’80s.

These are all going to be horror movies, and they’re all be their own distinct kind of horror movies. This is certainly the ‘rubber-reality’ supernatural horror movie. The next one will be a completely different kind of horror movie.

Our take was just go examine the horror genre through comic book movies and make each one its own distinct sort of horror film. Drawing from the big events that we love in the comics.

Comic book movies are not a genre unto themselves. Anything with a comic book character in it is a comic book movie. For example, Fox could make a Deadpool horror movie. They could also produce a Deadpool comedy, action flick, romantic comedy, social satire, buddy cop movie and even a holiday movie. The possibilities are endless. Hollywood’s fascination with retelling origin stories and sticking characters into shared universes has homogenized the comic book movie landscape.

In the IGN interview, Boone is saying all the right things, listing One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Stephen King, and A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors as some of the inspirations for The New Mutants. It’s worth mentioning that The New Mutants isn’t Boone’s only foray into horror; his name has been attached to a couple big Stephen King adaptations, The Stand and The Talisman.

Boone also stated that he wants to focus on a “more performance driven, grounded X-Men horror movie.” The X-Men films have never captured the spirit of the comic books they’re based on. If Boone’s The New Mutants movie is successful it may be the first step towards an X-universe course correction. And after X-Men: Apocalypse, the universe needs some serious course correcting. The X-films, with their large casts, don’t feel like proper ensembles because too many characters are either underdeveloped or left on the backburner — has anything exciting ever happened to Halle Berry’s Storm character?

In the X-Men comics, the team dynamics feel like ‘The Avengers’ crossed with Beverly Hills 90210; a superhero soap opera. Much like the Guardians of the Galaxy, the X-Men should be a dysfunctional family first and superheroes second. To be fair, Matthew Vaughn’s X-Men: First Class comes the closest to nailing the right tone. Hopefully, this grounded and performance driven entry into the X-universe will do the characters justice and set an example for the next generation of X-films.

The New Mutants is slated to premiere April 13, 2018.

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