The final installment of the astonishingly inconsistent X-Men film franchise has traveled a long and circuitous route to its eventual premiere this Spring. Based on the 1982 X-Men spinoff comic created by Chris Claremont and Bob McLeod, The New Mutants actually completed principle photography back in September of 2017, shortly before Deadpool 2 wrapped filming, with director Josh Boone delivering a cut of the pic that tested as well with audiences as early screenings of the first Deadpool had.
Speaking with IGN at that time, Boone explained that the movie was based largely on Bill Sienkiewicz’s run on the comic, particularly the Demon Bear story beginning with issue #18, drawing “on movies like One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Stephen King stuff and even Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors” for the film’s aesthetic, with the first trailer also borrowing from Alfred Hitchcock’s seminal 1960 horror movie Psycho.
The parallels between New Mutants and Dream Warriors are especially significant, with both stories centering on a group of teenagers learning to harness their individual abilities while being unwillingly confined to a psychiatric facility.
“I do love Dream Warriors,” Boone said. “I loved the first [Nightmare] as well, but this is very much a rubber reality horror movie for the first about 75% of the movie and then it becomes something else. It follows the logic of those early Wes Craven movies.”
The film pays further homage to the Nightmare series in its use of practical effects, which Boone claimed comprise “90% of this movie.” Specifically, the imagery of figures stretching through the walls was accomplished in the same manner as Craven’s original 1984 Nightmare on Elm Street, though “rubber walls.”
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The facility itself was portrayed by the 125-year-old Medfield State Hospital, originally opened in 1892 as the Medfield Insane Asylum, which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1994 and has served as a filming location for several movies including 2009’s The Box and 2010’s Shutter Island. Boone further told IGN that “every single person on my crew…had weird things happen to them while they were there,” inspiring the director to instruct his behind-the-scenes crew to interview all of his personnel “for an extra on the Blu-ray.”
This conversation took place, of course, before 20th Century Fox was eventually purchased by The Walt Disney Company in March of 2019, which ensured the inevitable termination of the current incarnation of the X-verse and threw the prospects of The New Mutants into question. For a time believed to be undergoing extensive reshoots and briefly, erroneously billed as the first mutant film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the film will now be released under Disney’s freshly-reverted 20th Century Studios banner.
The New Mutants debuts April 3rd before the X-Men are eventually rebooted by Marvel Studios.