Aquaman hype is in full swing, which means we're going to see a lot of James Wan in the next two weeks. Recently, Wan sat down with Heroic Hollywood to discuss the DC flick and comic book heroes, but Aquaman's name wasn't the only one that came up.
Apparently, James Wan is very interested in doing a Batman film, but not the way you might expect. No, Wan's Batman film would be an outright horror movie, focusing on the creepy elements of the Dark Knight's world. Fans know that when it comes to fear in Gotham City, the biggest suppliers are Batman's rogues gallery. So with that in mind, we humbly submit 10 Villains Who Could Star In James Wan's Batman Horror Movie... and no, the Joker isn't one of them. That would be too easy!
10. Solomon Grundy
“Solomon Grundy, born on a Monday...” So begins the haunting poem detailing the origin of Batman’s real zombie foe, Solomon Grundy. A towering mass of dead muscle, Grundy has recently appeared in the popular Injustice games and Gotham TV show. However, many fans agree that he still hasn’t had his true time in the sun (moon?). Giving James Wan the keys to Grundy would guarantee a creepy, bloody, creature feature. Plus, Grundy stands out as a unique villain for Bats to face. He’s got no gimmicks or gadgets to speak of, just a thirst for blood.
Well duh, you’re probably thinking. If Wan wants to make a Batman movie to scare us, why wouldn’t he use Gotham’s Master of Fear? Jonathan Crane would be perfect for a visually frightening tale of the Dark Knight. Along with being an external threat to Gotham City, Scarecrow’s fear gas pits Batman against his own internal fears. Nightmarish visions of losing his loved ones or of going mad often plague Batman when Scarecrow pops up. Films like The Conjuring prove that James Wan is a master of visual scares. Applying those to trips into Batman’s psyche would be different, terrifying, and full of possibilities.
One aspect of Aquaman that fans are especially excited for is The Trench. That's probably because the monstrous, amphibious, demons here aren’t just CGI beasts. They're actors in costume. Practical effects, like rubber suits and prosthetics, can be a horror miracle in the right hands, and James Wan is the type of director who can use them. Man-Bat, a kind of bat-werewolf, would be the perfect opportunity to put those practical effects to use. His mutant face, hairy body, and massive wingspan would be a striking visual icon in a superhero-inspired Monster Movie.
7. The Mad Hatter
Jervis Tetch might not immediately strike you as one of Batman's scariest villains. However, it doesn't take much digging into his character's crimes to see why he's here. The Mad Hatter, as his name implies, is criminally obsessed with Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. He kidnaps Gotham citizens, poses them as characters like the March Hare, and then disposes of them in gruesome ways. The particular obsession with women he deems his "Alice" is especially unnerving. Combined with his unsettling appearance and penchant for controlling minds, The Mad Hatter's literary obsession would make for a terrifying, Seven-esque hunt for a killer.
6. Victor Zsasz
Speaking of serial killers, let's talk about Batman's most knife-happy bad guy. Now, most of Batman's villains have been dubbed a serial killer at one point or another. So it's impressive that Victor Zsasz stands out as the most murder-y among them. Zsasz doesn't have a costume or a gimmick, just a frightening way of counting his victims. After each kill, Zsasz will carve a notch into his body. This gives him a horrifying visage, memorable despite its lack of supervillain flair. Zsasz is spooky because he's possibly the Batman villain closest to our real world, which would make him stand out as an antagonist in a Batman movie. There are no plans to turn Gotham into clowns or robot penguins with this guy, just a race to his next victim.
5. Jeremiah Arkham
As soon as Wan mentioned a Batman horror movie, fans were clamoring for it to be set within Arkham Asylum. Jeremiah Arkham is the man behind that madhouse, and he runs it with unethical to downright evil intentions. Jeremiah is a kind of mad psychiatrist, one who tries to use the insanity of Gotham's criminals to his advantage. At one point, Jeremiah even becomes a more horrifying version of the Black Mask. Whatever role they decide to give him, Jeremiah Arkham would be an awesome antagonist behind an Arkham-based horror film.
4. The Court of Owls
Even though they're relatively new to comics, The Court of Owls has made its mark in Batman's gallery of baddies. The secret society of Gotham's elite act as a kind of Illuminati, manipulating Gotham's history to their advantage. When they can't accomplish their ends through conventional shadow-play, the Court employs a lethal army of undead assassins, the Talons. These killers are almost physically matched to Batman, and with their secret puppet-masters challenging Batman's mental abilities, they come to be a real threat to the Dark Knight. Watching Batman uncover and challenge a hidden cult would be an intense, conspiracy-driven thriller. And with HYDRA gone from the MCU, now is the perfect time for a DC Comics Superhero vs. Shadow Society story.
No, we're not kidding. Since Dark Horse Publishing brought the Predator to comics, he's had several run-ins with Gotham's Dark Knight. These urban cat-and-mouse stories would make for a thrilling horror movie, potentially with a powerful examination of Batman's character. You see, Batman's "no kill" rule means he will occasionally defend criminals from other would-be murderers. Well, what if one of those murderers was a clicking, intergalactic space-hunter? It's the type of moral quandary that could give Nolan a run for his money. Plus, this would link two huge franchises, raising an all-new titan of shared-universe moviemaking. With Marvel's Phase 4 steamrolling the rest of the comic-book-movie landscape, DC could really use that.
Like Predator, Count Dracula might be an off-the-wall suggestion for a Bat-tagonist. But Dracula vs. Batman has happened before. Specifically, it happened in DC's Red Rain storyline, in which Bruce Wayne became a vampire to stop the Count. And if you think about it, this face-off makes total sense. Dracula is a dark reflection of the Caped Crusader. He's a creature of the night, cloaked in fear and shadow, lurking for a victim. It's just that he doesn't limit his victims to Gotham's criminals, and he's, well, less strict about the "no killing" and "justice" stuff. Still, Dracula's cape and shadows would be a great visual opposite to Batman on screen. Besides, it's high time Dracula got back into cinemas, and James Wan has the horror sensibilities to do make that happen.
1. The Batman Who Laughs
Possibly the most horrifying DC Comics villain ever, the Batman Who Laughs is a version of Bruce Wayne from a different reality. In this corner of the multiverse, Batman broke his one rule, killing the Joker to end his reign of terror. however, Joker had one last trick up his sleeve. Upon his death, Joker's body released a hyper-potent strain of his Joker gas, irreparably warping Batman's mind. What resulted was a grotesque combination of the two arch-enemies. Like Batman, this character is brilliant, resourceful, and fearless. But like the Joker, his morality is void, his methods cruel, and his sense of humor deadly.
The Batman Who Laughs could be used in a variety of different ways, all of them terrifying. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is opening the door to multi-universe comic book storylines, so a match-up between the regular, Good-Guy Batman and his twisted counterpart is definitely possible. But what if Wan doesn't want to cross realities? What if he kept the movie within the reality of the Batman Who Laughs? What if the monster in a James Wan batman Horror movie is, in fact, Batman himself?
Which other Batman villains would be a perfect horror movie antagonist? What DC Comics storylines could James Wan adapt? Give us your scariest, battiest Monster Movie answer in the comments below!