I’ve noticed two intriguing trends over the last few years. First is the superhero tale. Of course the big story there is Marvel, every summer since the first Ironman movies the studio has dominated the cinema scene. Star Wars and DC comics are coming on, however, with episode 7 in 2015 and the promise of spin-offs coming soon thereafter and the Batman movies followed by Man of Steel and its sequel due out next summer. There are also mythological and fantasy heroes – the Titans, Immortals, Conan, Hercules, and so forth.
Second is the tendency toward Lovecraft’s views of the universe in dramas. Lovecraft, if you are unfamiliar with the name, was perhaps the father of modern horror. His stories stories revolved around another world filled with supernatural beings and ancient gods that were older than anything man had ever seen. It’s a neat universe to work from, and since he never really defined the extent of the universe, the nature of all its denizens, or even a backstory it has been used consistently since he developed his “Lovecraft Circle”, a group of writers who used each other’s ideas and borrowed heavily from Lovecraft. Robert Howard was probably the most famous of the group and he based his Conan stories on Lovecraft’s ideas. Many of the sword and sorcery novels take their cues from a similar starting point. As mentioned above horror writers have based many of their ideas off of his premises, Stephen King among many others.
More recently, however, Lovecraft’s ideas have went beyond strictly horror into more mainstream shows such as Charmed, Buffy, Angel, Supernatural, and various vampire shows and movies. It’s also been done more elegantly and interestingly than ever before.
Both Lovecraft’s Otherworld and Heroic Mythology seem to be very popular at the moment, they have a variety of applications, and have attracted some great actors. But wouldn’t it be great to combine the two concepts? To get the best of heroes – Superman, Captain America, and so forth – and combine them with the wonderful horror of Lovecraft’s otherworld.
The Japanese have their own otherworld, filled with all nature of monsters and godlike creatures. It isn’t quite what Lovecraft saw, but it is remarkably dark and similar to his vision. The Japanese also have their own heroes from their legends and mythology. Take for instance Yamato. Born into the imperial house, his stories involved the supernatural as well as battles with human villains. He also had a sidekick, a giant monk named Benkei who is famous in his own right.
And the Japanese have a medium that lends itself to both the heroic and the otherworld – anime. With anime, the stories could be cheaply made and the creativity involved in showing it would never be limited by money. I personally would love to see a series or group of movies that explored anything like what Lovecraft dreamed up all those decades ago.