The MCU is entering its fourth phase and it’s the strangest yet. They’ve tried a lot of different things in this new era of Marvel. Multiverse of Madness was praised for its horror motifs and surprisingly darker story. Fans forget, however, that the MCU has always been open to the horror genre.
From the nightmarish hologram sequence of Mysterio torturing Spider-Man’s psyche to the cosmic horror of Ego the Living Planet, the MCU is more than happy to indulge in darker subject matter. It’s just a matter of which characters are the most effective at pulling this off.
Gorr, the butcher god
The new trailer for Thor: Love and Thunder finally gave fans a glimpse of the God Butcher himself. Comic book fans know how terrifying Gorr the God Butcher is. Essentially, he’s a serial killer whose MO targets all gods.
The distinction of a serial killer is very important here. Gorr is not a villain who does what he thinks is necessary. He kills gods, not only out of anger, but for his pleasure. He delights in making proud gods suffer. Christian Bale Cast American psycho fame was a brilliant move, and fans are hoping Christian lives up to the character’s hype.
While Hulk has mostly been used as an action man or comedy segment in recent MCU films, there was a time when he was rightfully feared. Fans should remember that the Hulk in the comics started out as a horror, similar to Frankenstein Where jekyll and hyde.
Critically Acclaimed Immortal Hulk run had horrors of all kinds, from body horror to existential horror. With the MCU trying so many weird things with their characters, it would be great to see the MCU’s version of the Hulk once again become a menacing figure.
White Vision is essentially Vision stripped of all his personality. Instead of the warm and endlessly patient vision, White Vision is determined to pursue its goals. There’s something dark about seeing a fan-favorite character transformed into an emotionless husk of their old selves.
Vision’s powers also lend themselves to the horror genre. Being intangible is a classic ghost ability, and that means even walls won’t stop Vision from chasing his target. With his current absence, fans are wondering if he will return as a hero or a villain.
Ultron may have suited Tony’s sarcastic personality, but he has none of his warmth. From his one introduction, crawling inside a shattered shell of an Iron Man suit, Ultron establishes just how terrifying he can be. The fact that he is a psychopathic genocidal robot is just the icing on the cake.
Ultron’s towering build and deep red eyes contrast with his seemingly affable personality. The stark contrast of his sarcastic dialogue with the horrible things he does make Ultron an effective villain. Ultron is the mighty endgame of what the AI can do if tinged with ambition and a lack of human empathy.
The Punisher’s introduction to the MCU was practically a slasher movie. As Daredevil explored the grisly crime scenes he leaves behind, even the survivors tremble at the mere mention of his name. For criminals, the Punisher is the human manifestation of their karma brought to life.
The Punisher is an effective horror “villain” due to his steadfast lack of remorse for criminals. He’ll torture them despite their pleas for mercy and spend hours convincing Daredevil to kill, and he’ll do it without a shred of regret. The fact that he’s a one-man army only makes his attitude that much more menacing.
Most fans saw Mysterio get shot at the end of Far from home and thought “yeah, there’s no way he’s dead”. They would be right to assume so. In the comics, Mysterio is known for faking his death to further a grand master plan. Said plan often involves gaslighting the hapless heroes who have earned his wrath.
Mysterio is the closest the MCU has to a Scarecrow. He manipulates the heroes by confronting them with visions of what they fear most. Worse still, he can even trick them into committing horrible crimes, and they won’t even know until he reveals the illusion. Mysterio’s psychological torment causes the heroes to doubt their reality.
Dealing with the occult often means touching powers far beyond human comprehension. As the Multiverse of Madness graciously points out, Doctor Strange likes to do just that. Of course, dealing with the occult is not without consequences, and those consequences are frightening to behold.
MCU fans who watched What if? know how dangerous Doctor Strange can be when given eldritch powers. Its true form shifts and shatters into a hodgepodge of monstrous parts. It is only by force of will that Stephen holds the false face of the man he once was.
Ego, the living planet
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 may be one of the funniest MCU movies, but the villain dives deep into the depths of cosmic horror. Ego is an incredibly old being. The “Ego” the Guardians talk about is not actually “Ego”. He is a flesh planet tumor that walks and talks in the form of a comforting old man.
Ego is a gigantic case of body horror when you stop to think about who he is. Everything from the beautifully alien architecture to the living wildlife is part of a living, breathing being. Beneath all this beauty lies a cavern of corpses, fueling this mirage of a perfect planet.
Kilgrave’s power is one of the most terrifying in the MCU. He may not have the physical strength or ability to shoot lasers from his eyes. What it can do is make you do the vilest things imaginable with just one sentence. Kilgrave is a man who likes to dominate his victims.
People are afraid of losing control. They fear this feeling of helplessness. Kilgrave’s power completely erases a person’s autonomy, and they become mindless slaves. jessica Jones explores the uncomfortable depths an evil man with these powers would go to and the impact this has on victims.
Wanda Vision was practically half of a horror series. If Kilgrave was already dangerous with the ability to control minds alone, then Scarlet Witch is multiplied by a hundred. Besides dominating minds, she also distorts reality according to her whims.
Combined with her already unstable state, Scarlet Witch was a ticking time bomb waiting to happen. Only for some, an explosion would have been preferable to the harrowing experience of going through the traumas of a Sokovian war refugee.
NEXT: 10 Horror Tropes Moon Knight Uses With Success
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