Todd McFarlane got Spawn fans excited when he suggested that the upcoming film about the dark and gritty hero he created would be a hard-R horror movie. “I’m not going for the same crowd that Marvel and DC is going for; I’m going for the same crowd that horror film releases going for,” he explained back in December 2016. However, the writer-director recently clarified that the Jamie Foxx-led film won’t be a traditional horror film, but a “supernatural thriller.”
On Thursday, McFarlane spoke with ComicBook.com, the same outlet where he had first teased the horror nature of the film months and months ago. This time, his tone was a little different.
“I hesitate on the word horror,” he said. “I’m very specific about not using that word too much. Because it has a broad definition to a lot of people.”
“Horror, to my wife or to a lot of people, it means, ‘oh, you’re gonna slaughter some co-eds in some blood bath or something,’” McFarlane continued. “I consider dialing it back to say it’s a supernatural thriller. So then it’s not gonna be a gore fest.”
For any Spawn fans who are also huge try-hard edgelords, this news probably is a bit of a bummer, but it seems like McFarlane is probably making the right call. Spawn — a murdered CIA operative who comes back from the grave as a demonic antihero in hell’s employ — is certainly a dark character, but to make a pure slasher horror film about him seems like a waste of the superhero aspects of the character. Sure, Spawn isn’t a traditional hero by any stretch, but the Image Comics character has superheroics in his creative DNA. There’s room for that in a supernatural thriller (a horror-adjacent genre, for what it’s worth), but a straight horror flick could make Spawn feel just like a monster of the week, rather than an iconic comics character.
Spawn does not have a release date yet.