Greetings, True Believers – and Happy Halloween! Welcome to another installment of MarvelUs – a biweekly column for The Marvel Report. As the name suggests, MarvelUs aims to explore and strengthen the deep connection that fans share with Marvel. No discussion topic is off-limits here, so if you’d like to see something discussed in this space in the future – please leave a comment and let us know!
In this installment, I’ll be discussing spooky scenes found in Marvel films and television episodes. Although this column normally runs every other week, we decided to delay this column to run it closer to Halloween. We’re quickly approaching the Halloween holiday, and there’s nothing like getting in the holiday spirit by watching some scary films. And while Marvel products are not, inherently, scary – there are plenty of spooky scenes that to be found that can get the heart racing.
Spooky Sequences in the MCU
The Marvel films are not, inherently, spooky. There may be scary parts, but in general – these are fun, escapism films. And while there’s no horror film found in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, there are certainly some films with scary scenes that are worth revisiting as Halloween draws near.
The Incredible Hulk is probably the scariest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe films. The transformation from Bruce Banner to the Hulk is unsettling to watch. The way the Hulk escapes from the body of Banner really parallels the unsettling Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde mythology – a mindless monster taking the place of a brilliant man. The visuals and sound effects of a human body growing to massive proportions is unsettling – although the most unsettling audio and visual cues belong to the transformation of the villain – the Abomination. The villain also is rather terrifying to look at – earning The Incredible Hulk a nod as the scariest MCU film.
If there’s one thing that Thor: The Dark World does right, it’s spooky prosthetics. The creatures in this film are downright chilling. The Dark Elves are especially frightening, with masks that contain black orbs for eyes. Malekith and Kurse were two villains that just had that perfect spooky look. The villains in this film are unsettling on a visual level – and unsettling antagonists are vital to any good Halloween film.
Avengers: Age of Ultron also has a real spooky quality to it. The first battle that the Avengers have with Ultron, after their spectacular party in Avengers Tower, remains one of the creepiest moments in the MCU thus far. After interrupting the party with a haunting soliloquy, the deeply damaged Ultron (with a very sinister face as a result of battle damage) orders additional Ultron robots to attack the Avengers. This isn’t a typical action sequence. There aren’t funny quips or soaring music – this attack is deeply personal, and it’s very jarring given the party scene that just occurred. It’s what makes this scene work – and gives it that haunting edge that is definitely worth revisiting as Halloween draws near.
Hair-Raising Scenes in Marvel TV
Although Agents of SHIELD started off as a superhero-infused spy television show, it has certainly morphed into something much darker during the course of its run. Currently, the show is home to Ghost Rider – and really, nothing can put one in the Halloween spirit quite like watching a man with a flaming skull for a head. Ghost Rider has been an awesome presence in Agents of SHIELD – and his desire for vengeance has led to some of the spookier moments on the show. The Season 4 premiere, “The Ghost”, is definitely the place to start for some Ghost Rider spookiness! And also, the episode includes some really creepy ghosts as a bonus Halloween addition. The introduction of Hive in Season 3 also proved to be quite the spooky addition to Agents of SHIELD. Hive, which served as the primary antagonist for the latter half of the third season, was shockingly brutal in not only its method of killing – but also in twisting the minds of other Inhumans to serve it. For some truly hair-raising episodes starring Hive, check out the episodes “4,722 Hours”, “Maveth”, and “Ascension”.
Of course, there is no villain more disturbing than Kilgrave. This Jessica Jones villain might just be the best, and certainly most horrific, Marvel villain to-date. Kilgrave has the power to compel anyone to do what he tells them to do. It’s a power everyone has wished for at certain times in their lives, but it’s shocking to see how truly awful the power can be in the hands of a bad person. And make no mistake – Kilgrave is a very bad person. He uses his power to compel others to murder, suicide, servitude, and rape. He’s a grisly villain, and David Tennant plays the part brilliantly. It’s tough to watch Kilgrave’s scenes, and it certainly makes the skin crawl. As Halloween approaches, there’s no better time to revisit this truly disturbing villain. For the creepiest episodes, check out “AKA Ladies Night”, “AKA Top Shelf Perverts”, and “AKA 1,000 Cuts”.
Eerie Moments in Other Marvel Properties
Before the Marvel Cinematic Universe was created, Marvel film properties were treated as individual franchises rather than a linked, super-franchise. As a result, the films were varying in quality and genre. But luckily, that helps when trying to find Marvel-themed Halloween spookiness.
Nothing says Halloween like Blade. Based on the Marvel superhero of the same name, Blade is a half-human, half-vampire that hunts vampires. Throughout the course of the three Blade films (all of which are very R-rated), the Halloween spirit manifests itself wonderfully. There’s blood, vampires, otherworldly creatures, and plenty of scares. For a really spooky time, check out Blade II. It’s the best, and scariest, of the Blade films.
Spider-Man 2 is often considered one of the greatest superhero films of all time – but it also contains one of the creepiest scenes in a superhero film. After Otto Octavius has his lab accident and his lab equipment is fused into his body, he is rushed to the hospital for surgery. In the hellish scene that follows, Octavius’s robotic arms come to life – gruesomely murdering the surgical team trying to save his life. The highlight of the scene: the arms dragging a doctor across the floor while her fingernails scrape away.
There’s also a quiet horror found in the X-Men films, particularly in X-Men and X-Men: First Class. The horror of the Holocaust during World War II is never focused on in detail in these films, but there is a rising dread in the Holocaust sequences of these films that is very unsettling. Sometimes, the most horrific things are the horrific events that actually happened.
A Marvelous Halloween Spirit
If you’re celebrating the Halloween season with some scary films, or just want to watch something to make your skin crawl to bring in the holiday, I hope you’ll consider using these suggestions! While none of Marvel’s current properties can be considered horror, there certainly are scary elements of past and present films and television shows that can be used to keep one in the Halloween spirit!
I’m sure there’s plenty of other spooky Marvel moments that didn’t make there way into this column. If you have any suggestions, please share them in the comments below!