A Guide to Superhero Horror Movies

‘Brightburn’ is the latest addition to a sub-genre filled with misfortune and interesting movies.
By  · Published on May 22nd, 2019

Blade (1998)


Until Blade came along, comic book movies were stuck in a rut. The previous summer saw Batman and Robin, Steel, and Spawn fail to strike a chord with audiences, which led many to believe that these big screen adaptations were dead. So yeah, Blade was a risky bet. Fortunately, the risk paid off. The movie, which stars Wesley Snipes as a half-breed vampire hellbent on smiting bloodsucking creatures of the night, was a hit. It proved that comic book movies could be successful if they were genuinely good. Without Blade, studios might not have gambled on X-Men, Spider-Man, and other popular films that followed in its wake.

Four years later, Guillermo del Toro directed a sequel which is arguably even better than its predecessor. The film provides the same thrills as the first film, but as a lover of monsters, del Toro made the vampires were much scarier and amplified the horror aspects. The good fortune wasn’t to last, however. The third installment, Blade: Trinity, was a misfire that’s now more remembered for its behind-the-scenes drama than what took place on the screen. Here’s hoping that Snipes will reprise the role one last time someday and end the franchise on a high note.

Unbreakable (2000)


Whether you love or hate M. Night Shyamalan’s work, there’s no denying that he’s an unpredictable storyteller with some interesting ideas. In 2000, he deconstructed the superhero movie with Unbreakable, a twisty psychological thriller about an everyman security guard who discovers that he has superpowers. The movie wasn’t horror per se, but what it led to afterward definitely was.

The sequel, Split, is an abduction tale about a man with an assortment of personalities who keeps young women hostage. When the ending of the movie revealed that it was connected to Unbreakable, it was a shock to the system. This movie has more roots in horror than superhero fare, but it also expanded upon a unique superhero universe unlike anything else out there. This year’s Glass pits the characters introduced in the first two movies against each other, but it’s far from a satisfying climax to a fascinating trilogy. All in all, though, the saga is an admirable attempt to provide an alternative to the superhero blockbusters we’re accustomed to.

Faust: Love of the Damned (2000)


Imagine a cheaper version of The Crow with more gore and melting tits. That’s Faust: Love of the Damned in a nutshell.

That said, the comics on which the movie is based actually predate the Crow graphic novel so insinuating that this is a knockoff of a more popular title is probably a tad unfair. Either way, I still recommend Faust to fans of violent schlock and heavy metal soundtracks. It’s a wild ride that offers plenty of demented fun. On top of that, the practical FX work by Screaming Mad George is a thing of grotesque beauty.

Hellboy (2004)


Based on Mike Mignola’s cult comics series, Guillermo del Toro’s adaptation follows a bunch of monsters tasked with saving the world from occult Nazis. Despite originating from the imagination of another, it’s very much a del Toro movie in the sense that it contains a strong affinity for outcasts and monsters.

The sequel, on the other hand, is even better. The Golden Army sees del Toro follow his own creative desires even more and the end result is a gorgeous fairytale which beautifully combines the director’s fantasy with blockbuster spectacle. The movie just missed the superhero boom, but it fully deserved to launch it. Earlier this year, the franchise was rebooted with Neil Marshall at the helm. The movie is essentially cinematic metal opus that features lots of fun action and splatter. Unfortunately, it bombed spectacularly and undoubtedly put the final nail in Hellboy’s coffin as a cinematic franchise.

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Kieran is a Contributor to the website you're currently reading. He also loves the movie Varsity Blues.