It’s been nearly a full week since Fox dropped its New Mutants trailer, revealing to the world that while we weren’t looking they’d gone away and made a genuine superhero-horror movie hybrid. They’re not done, though. New Mutant‘s director Josh Boone tells IGN that in success this movie will be the start of a new trilogy, all of which will be modeled off of different well-known types of horror movies. New Mutants will…actually, why don’t I just let Boone explain it. Cue the quote:
“We brought it to Fox as a trilogy of films, really all based on that long run by [Bill] 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.”
Translation: this one is their mind-fuck, mental institution horror movie. The next one could be a slasher flick. Or maybe something with zombies. Why not a Jordan Peele-style social thriller (i.e., a smart horror movie which has something insightful to say about the world, at least for those who care enough to look past the scares)? Can’t go wrong with an old-fashioned haunted house story.
Point being: they’ve got options, and they’ve apparently figured it all out, even if they aren’t telling us yet.
But where, oh dear comic book readers, did this all come from? The New Mutants have shifted from junior X-Men to tales of supernatural wonder and slight horror over the years, but what in all of that motivated Fox to lean so hard into horror, harder, even, than the comics might have? Well…..
“Our whole pitch for this series was based on Bill Sienkiewicz run with Chris Claremont [The New Mutants vol. 1 #18–31, 35–38], so it’s very much when New Mutants became dark and surreal and more horror driven. We were incredibly inspired by the Demon Bear story which is probably the best, well-known New Mutants story. We also drew on movies like One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Stephen King stuff, and even Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors.”
Sure. But does this mean these films, which will be set in the present day, now occupy their own corner of the X-Men film universe? Are they off in their own continuity? Or will they be open to cross over into Deadpool or X-Force or whatever becomes the central force of the franchise? Umm, maybe. Maybe not.
Fox isn’t in the world-building business anymore; they’re in the “what sounds cool” business. And a superhero-horror movie hybrid? Haven’t seen one of those since Blade and Hellboy, and certainly never seen it done quite like this. Could be interesting.
If you like horror movies.
And aren’t too married to the way you’d expect The New Mutants to be presented based on the comics.
And aren’t thrown by the astonishing elasticity of the X-Men cinematic universe.
Which horror subgenres do you think would look good in future New Mutants installments? Or are you more of the mindset, “Sequels? Why are we talking about sequels? Let’s wait to see this damn movie before we get that far?” Let me know in the comments.
The New Mutants is due April 13, 2018.