Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness arrived! With a release date of May 6, 2022, we have less than a month to go until the (not quite) Sorcerer Supreme lands in theaters to begin his journey through the multiverse. And a question that’s been on our minds for three years now is: how good is a horror movie? Doctor Strange 2 going to be exactly? Let’s investigate.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is Stephen Strange’s second solo outing, seeing him far more advanced in the powers he strove to master in the first strange doctor. Pick up where Spider-Man: No Coming Home leave behind, Doctor Strange 2 will see Stephen being held responsible for the spell he cast that opened up the multiverse. Teaming up with Wong, America Chavez and Wanda Maximoff, Stephen will take on the Illuminati, Gargantos, Baron Mordo and who knows how many other monsters and villains. The film promises to be a sprawling, realistic adventure.
Keep in mind that the horror genre has some pretty fuzzy edges, so even after the movie comes out, there’s probably never going to be a 100% consensus on whether or not it’s horror movie. Horror itself spans countless subgenres – folk horror, psychological horror, adventure horror – and some of them don’t even incorporate the jump scares and supernatural elements that most people use. to define gender. That said, however, there is pretty strong evidence that Doctor Strange 2 will at least send a shiver down your spine.
Horror elements in comics
Before we watch the movie itself, here’s a quick look at why Doctor Strange is such a strong candidate for Marvel’s first horror movie in the first place. Unlike other Marvel comics, which derive more of their world-building elements from the action, espionage, and sci-fi genres, Doctor Strange has always been set squarely in the realm of the supernatural. Take Nightmare, for example. One of Doctor Strange’s most memorable foes, Nightmare rules the Dream Dimension, where he tortures dreamers in their sleep. Doctor Strange also features HP Lovecraft-inspired monsters like Shuma-Gorath, a hideous being with tentacles and a giant eye. Doctor Strange’s storylines and visuals have always been, at least, horror-adjacent, when not veering directly into the realm of horror itself.
Kevin Feige’s vision
The minds behind Marvel Studios are fully aware of the horror potential of Doctor Strange, and plans have been in place for some time to give Doctor Strange 2 some horror elements. In a 2019 interview with ColliderKevin Feige referenced movies like The Raiders of the Lost Ark when he discussed Marvel’s inspiration for Doctor Strange 2:
“I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s a horror movie, but it is, as our director Scott Derrickson put it, it’s going to be a big MCU movie with some scary footage… It’s fun to be scared that way, and not in a gruesome, torturous way, but in a legitimately scary way, because Scott Derrickson is pretty good at it, but scary in the service of exhilarating emotion.
Raise your hand if you’ve been scarred for life by the face-melting scene in Raiders! Aww, to think that today’s kids might be permanently ruined by Doctor Strange 2…it brings tears to my eyes.
Scott Derrickson eventually left the production due to creative differences, but Feige’s vision for a film with horror elements did not die. Instead, Marvel brought in the King of Horror himself, Sam Raimi.
Sam Raimi sheds more light on Doctor Strange 2genre
With Raimi known for classics such as Evil Dead and Spider-Man 2 (which isn’t a horror movie, but has that amazing operating room scene), fans knew the moment he signed on that Doctor Strange would have a hair-raising makeover. Now a new interview with fandango gives us a look at Raimi’s vision for the new movie.
“Doctor Strange in the comics has always dealt with pretty scary universes and dimensions, so we tried to bring some of that into this movie. It’s spooky at times and scary at others… It’s unclear what you’ll find in the multiverse. It is in this unknown that there is suspense and darkness. A tool to titillate public fear.
Doctor Strange 2 isn’t the first Marvel movie to deal with the multiverse, of course, and previous films and movies that dealt with the multiverse (either directly or in the background) had slight tinges of horror. There is the disturbing nature of some advertisements in Wanda Visionfor example, or Miss Minutes’ jump scare in the season finale of Loki. When you think about it, Raimi is right: the multiverse is the perfect setting for a horror movie. What makes classic horror tropes like dreams and the supernatural so frightening is that literally anything is possible and the normal laws of physics and causality don’t apply. Likewise, anything is possible in alternate realities. Looks like Doctor Strange 2 will increase this element of the multiverse.
The trailers, of course, already contain recognizable horror elements. There’s Zombie Strange, of course. We see him transform into a zombie, then cast a spell with extra arms in zombie form. There’s the shot of him and America breaking into blocks as Strange screams in fear, or pain, or both. There’s the movie version of Shuma-Gorath, now named Gargantos.
And then there’s Wanda, who describes her life as a waking nightmare and seems to live a dual existence as a mild-mannered, orchard-cultivating recluse and the terrifyingly bitter Scarlet Witch. It is possible that Doctor Strange 2 will take some of his cues from the comics House of Mwho influenced Wanda Vision. In House of M, Wanda suffers unimaginable psychological stress from the loss of her children and reshapes reality in an effort to recreate them. If she decides to do something similar in Doctor Strange 2we could see her using her powers in quite alarming ways.
But, at the end of the day, remember this is a Marvel movie, not Nightmare on Elm Street. It’s rated PG-13, so it won’t have overdone gore.
If it is at all comparable to The Raiders of the Lost Arkhowever, it will leave your children shivering on their own.
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