James Wan may have taken to big budget filmmaking like a duck to water, with the success of Fast & Furious 7 and Aquaman giving him the distinction of being the only director not named James Cameron to ever steer a pair of movies from two different franchises to over a billion dollars at the box office, but he clearly hasn’t abandoned his roots in horror.
It wouldn’t be a stretch to call Wan one of the genre’s biggest influences throughout the 21st Century having developed, created and overseen two multi-billion dollar brands in Saw and The Conjuring Universe, while he’s also been heavily involved throughout the entire existence of the Insidious series and has his next effort behind the camera arriving in less than a month when Malignant comes to theaters and HBO Max.
Production is now underway on Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, which comes burdened with high expectations as the sequel to the highest-grossing DC Comics adaptation ever made. The first installment was often a very strange and bizarre film with octopuses playing the drums and Dolph Lundgren riding into battle on an armored seahorse, but in a new interview Wan cited an inspiration for the project that nobody would have guessed.
“Aquaman 2 is very heavily inspired by Planet of the Vampires. You can take the boy out of horror but you can never take the horror out of the boy.”
As you may have gleaned from the title, horror icon Mario Brava’s Planet of the Vampires finds two spaceships crash on an unexplored world, where they discover the disembodied natives can possess human bodies, where they use the reanimated corpses to hunt down and kill the remaining survivors. Quite how that ties into PG-13 rated superhero story Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom is anybody’s guess, but its an excitingly unexpected inspiration nonetheless.