Perhaps this debate sparked from Scott Derrickson’s individual turns as director of both Marvel’s Doctor Strange and his own coming-of-age supernatural horror The Black Phone, among other successful horror flicks. Derrickson isn’t the first horror director to branch out into CGI superheroes; Sam Raimi got his start in horror with 1981’s The Evil Dead and its 1987 sequel, Evil Dead II, before branching out into Marvel’s Cinematic Universe with Spider-Man, Spider-Man 2, Spider-Man 3 and then, coincidentally, taking over from Derrickson (who was preoccupied with The Black Phone) to direct Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. There are countless others that define their careers with both horror and action, such as James Wan (Saw, Aquaman) and Guillermo Del Toro (Mimic, Hellboy), but why do horror directors appear to be the secret ingredient to making a revolutionary superhero movie?
Anyone wishing to know the answer isn’t alone. Twitter has been wracking its brains to explain — beyond a reasonable doubt — what makes horror directors so fortunate in the superhero sub-genre. One Twitter user, @D4hz4hn, reached out to “someone smarter than [them]” who could explain why, exactly, horror directors make such good superhero movies. No one really knows for sure, but an abundance of users came swarming to the comments to give their take on the matter.
It seems that one of the most common answers is that horror directors, as they specialize in that genre, know how to illicit fear in their audience and therefore, it would be reasonable to assume that they have some insight on how it illicit excitement as well, which is quite the opposite emotion. Other comments suggest that horror directors are more educated on inventive camera angles, which comes in handy when looking to provide viewers with a fresh and interesting perspective through the lens.
If there’s one thing that Sam Raimi (as seen in his Spider-Man movies) is known for, it’s fascinating camera angles that make the experience truly immersive. Same with Derrickson and Wan, whose horrors have made history throughout the last few decades. Perhaps we’ll never know the secret formula to make a worthwhile horror or superhero flick, but these directors have a few tricks up their sleeves that work in their favor as far as diversity.