Director Sam Raimi’s return to the superhero genre with the highly-anticipated “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” also marks the return of Raimi’s trademark horror elements, which will be a core part of the film. The filmmaker cut his teeth on scary movies at a very young age, directing “The Evil Dead” when he was 20 years old, with a tiny production budget of just $375,000.
Raimi had considerably more money to play with on “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” but he still used many of the lessons learned from his early filmmaking experiences. At a recent press conference to promote “Multiverse of Madness,” Raimi talked about the opportunity to bring some of those tested horror elements back, drawing from his long-standing experiences of directing horror:
“When Kevin [Feige] announced that this movie would be the first entry into Marvel putting their toe into the world of horror, I was thrilled that he called me to come in and talk about the possibility of directing this picture. I was able to take those horror films that I made in my youth and what I had learned from them — building suspense sequences, titillating the audience … gonna give them a scare now? No … NOW! [audience laughs] Gonna give it to ’em. That’s the stuff I was able to apply in the spooky sequences in this film.”
While the Marvel Cinematic Universe itself is steeped in narrative arcs that are fantastical in nature — be it in the form of alien life forms or objects that possess unimaginable power — “Multiverse of Madness” will formally be the first MCU film with distinctive horror elements. With Raimi at the helm, the film will undoubtedly delve into the psychological impact that the multiverse will have on the central characters, along with the absurd premise of the self versus variants who have personal motivations of their own.
Apart from horror genre offerings that define Raimi’s filmography, including “The Evil Dead” franchise and films like “Drag Me To Hell,” Raimi has injected the “flavor of horror” into his superhero films before. This obviously includes the “Spider-Man” trilogy, which was thoroughly infused with macabre elements, along with his 1990 film “Darkman,” which broke the superhero mold while following a dark, grisly superhero origin story like no other.
The mere premise of a multiverse with endless possibilities is terrifying enough. However, the presence of Gargantos, an obscure Marvel Comics monster with Lovecraftian echoes, could be one of the horror elements utilized by Raimi to induce genuine suspense and scares throughout the film. While Gargantos’ motivations in the film remain unclear at the moment, the arrival of an ancient monster that might have been inspired by Cthulhu mythos verges directly into the cosmic horror territory. Let the madness ensue!
“Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” hits theaters on May 6, 2022.