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Superhero Horror

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This WOULD horrify Bruce.
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There's the Weird West for horror meets the Western and there's Sci-Fi Horror for when Horror meets Science Fiction. Superhero Horror is when the Superhero genre meets horror. At its most basic, typical Superhero Tropes are Played for Horror.

Heroes will sometimes have a Lovecraftian Superpower, and the tone is generally Darker and Edgier than the usual superhero comic (not to mention often Bloodier and Gorier too). It often mixes Capepunk with horror tropes (Capepunk being more cynical or deconstructive takes on the superhero genre). There's also frequently a strong overlap with Action Horror.

See also: Beware the Superman.


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Examples:

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    Comic Books 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Blade Trilogy, with its Dhampyr protagonist and its secret societies of vampires, is a notable example of this trope, being a hybrid of the superhero genre, the horror genre, and the action movie genre.
  • Brightburn deconstructs the Superman mythos and turns it into something much horrifying, demonstrating just how dangerous and terrifying someone with Superman's powerset could be if they had no morality or humanity.
  • Darkman: Following a gruesome attack in his laboratory that leaves most of his skin burned off, scientist Peyton Westlake develops a synthetic skin that lets him impersonate others for a limited time, and enhanced strength from the constant adrenaline in his system. As Darkman, he takes revenge on his enemies more like a horror movie villain than a superhero.
  • Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is directed by Evil Dead mastermind Sam Raimi. It shows off plenty of Surreal Horror elements, there's the reanimated corpse of a Doctor Strange variant, and the Big Bad, Wanda Maximoff/the Scarlet Witch, has quite a gory body count by the end.
  • Fantastic Four (2015) is a much Darker and Edgier take on the Fantastic Four, attempting to merge the Origin Story of Marvel's First Family with Body Horror. The scenes in the climax involving Dr. Doom stalking through darkened corridors killing anyone in his path particularly give off horror movie vibes.
  • The Flying Man takes a near-Lovecraftian approach to superhero fiction, by showing the titular Flying Man as an entity that just showed up one day and started enforcing its own justice without anyone being able to do anything about it.
  • Glass (2019), a crossover sequel to Unbreakable and Split, utilizes both psychological horror and superhero elements.
  • Hellboy (2004) dabbles in horror, combined with Dark Fantasy and Urban Fantasy (the sequel tones down the horror elements and leans more into fantasy). The titular hero is a benevolent demon who battles undead Nazis, Rasputin and other monsters to protect the world from Eldritch Abominations.
  • Hellboy (2019) leans into horror even more heavily than the 2004 version, ramping up the gore and dark tone (notably, the 2004 movie is PG-13, while this one is a hard R rating). It features Hellboy fighting monsters to try and prevent the resurrection of an evil witch who seeks to destroy the world.
  • Kamen Rider:
    • Kamen Rider: The First in 2005 and its sequel Kamen Rider: The Next 2 years later are reboots of the original two series made to celebrate the franchise's 35th anniversary that lean more into the subtle horror elements of the show on account of no longer being aimed at a younger audience, with some newer J-Horror elements thrown in.
    • Shin Kamen Rider: Prologue features our hero: the titular Shin gene-spliced with Grasshopper DNA, becoming a grasshopper-monster hybrid himself.
  • The New Mutants is a superhero action film taking place in a Bedlam House and ripe with Jump Scares, demons, and a bit of Psychological Horror.
  • Sony's Spider-Man Universe:
  • The Toxic Avenger might be the first superhero horror film yet (or at least superhero Horror Comedy). A 98-pound weakling named Melvin runs afoul of a local gang of hoodlums and ends up falling out of a second-story window at the gym — straight into a vat of toxic waste. The resulting mutation transforms Melvin into the Toxic Avenger, a deformed creature who proceeds to beat up baddies (and boy, are they bad!) in the goriest ways possible.

    Literature 
  • In the Goosebumps story "Attack of the Mutant", the titular supervillain has breached his way into the real world and targets his biggest fan, a regular 12-year-old kid. The "heroes" are shown to be cowardly and powerless, while the Mutant's shapeshifting gives him the edge in getting him closer to his young victim. The book overall shows how terrifying it would really be to meet your favorite comic characters.
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    Live-Action TV 

    Tabletop Games 
  • Trinity Universe shows a superhero universe that goes From Bad to Worse over the course of two centuries, with an event called "The Aberrant War" turning a significant chunk of the world into a wasteland when the superheroes go completely berserk in The New '10s. Like many White Wolf games, there's more than meets the eye. While many Aberrants went crazy, the War started because a Government Conspiracy named "Project Proteus" was going all CADMUS on them and they fought back.
    • The motive changes in Continuity Reboot Trinity Continuum, where it comes down to two things: one, that many supers never learned to moderate and control their development, and as a result became ever more dangerous to those around them, and two, that the supers discovered humanity had never really trusted them, and designed contingency plans to deal with them.

    Web Original 
  • Worm goes into a lot of detail on the evil that supervillains can do and the damage fighting off regular Kaiju attacks takes on person, property and psyche. Some types of capes, like the mind-controlling Masters and the invisible or perception-altering Strangers, are played for all the fear factor they're worth. Bug-controlling protagonist Taylor is a Horrifying Hero at one point explicitly compared In-Universe to the Slaughterhouse Nine, a band of notorious Serial Killer supervillains, for her brutality and creepiness.

    Web Videos 
  • Truth in Journalism is a mockumentary about Eddie Brock and his unsavory reporting methods; throughout the story, we get disturbing glimpses of his infamous alter ego (including Brock babbling to himself and him attacking two junkies and stringing them up while the film crew is distracted). When he fully transforms into Venom at the end, we get a horrifying first-person taste of what it would feel like to be locked in a room with the symbiote.

    Western Animation 

 
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Video Example(s):

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WandaVision

WandaVision is, on the surface, a throwback to classic TV sitcoms (including The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Brady Bunch, and Full House). However, it's obvious that something is not quite right about Westview, and elements of Psychological Horror, Surreal Horror, and Paranoia Fuel only become more prominent as the series continues.

How well does it match the trope?

4.82 (11 votes)

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