“I haven’t set out to make a horror movie,” he explained during an interview on the
He continued, “It just so happens that you’re dealing with a world that is beautiful, magical, but at the same time scary as well. People are terrified of the ocean because they don’t know what’s down there… I want to capture the fear that we have of the ocean, the scariness, but at the same time the magic and wonder that comes with it.” Ah, yes, the magic and wonder of brushing against what you thought was seaweed and then immediately contracting a bad case of death by jellyfish.
Accordingly, said production designer Bill Brzeski, Atlantis is populated by some freaky-looking folks—i.e., the citizens of the Trench Kingdom. In
No wonder Wan described the Trench Kingdom inhabitants as “fun sea creatures that Lovecraft would love.” Imagine surveying the kingdoms of your newfound ancestral homeland and then BOOM, city full of these:
Like their real-life inspirations, the people of the Trench Kingdom aren’t far off from what Giger might have come up with if he’d taken up scuba-diving. In one Trench Kingdom sequence, Brzeski revealed, two lovers taking a romantic boat ride soon discover that they’re on “the boat ride from hell, because these creatures are just ripping them apart, and they want to eat them and kill them.” The savagery, the suspense, the all-around freakiness, is “James’ horror film expertise coming into play.”
Sounds chilling. Gory, even. But isn’t that level of suspense what good superhero movies are all about? A horror movie hinges on the audience fearing for the protagonists’ lives/limbs/immortal souls. A superhero movie thrives on the audience worrying whether the hero will really be able to defeat the latest threat to the universe as we know it. Both require spot-on timing, evocative cinematography, immersive atmosphere, and, of course, a story that brings something new (or at least something less predictable) to the table. Maybe
Do superhero movies need more horror? Less? Tell us what you think below!