Across the Web, Halloween lovers will find a slew of movie recommendations to accompany the weekend festivities. Comic Afterthoughts can be counted among those enthusiasts: We love movies in the horror and thriller genres, especially ones that include the characters from our beloved, funnybook medium. With this guide, we'll take a look at five comic book films that are perfect for the season. Each entry comes with a graphic novel suggestion that features characters from the films.
Blade's place in the history of comic book films is more important than it seems. Before X-Men and Spider-Man made their transitions to the screen, Hollywood took a chance on the titular vampire hunter. The beauty of being a darker, slightly more obscure character is that it could secure an "R" rating, something no other Marvel character has gotten, despite fan protests. Stephen Norrington's take on Blade, starring Wesley Snipes, includes Halloween mainstays of vampires, guts, gore and Kris Kristofferson's weathered face. The Blade film series would spawn a few sequels and a television series, with mixed results.
Graphic novel to buy: Blade Max, by Christopher Hinz and Steve Pugh
2. The Crow
The 1994 film, starring the late Brandon Lee, garnered a cult status for both its plot and the death of its leading man during production. The film's about a rocker who returns from the grave to avenge his and his fiancee's death after they were to be married on Halloween. He becomes The Crow, donning face paint and a black costume, and uses his new supernatural abilities to pursue the thugs responsible. Directer Alex Proyas' stark style, also seen in Dark City and Knowing, was heavily praised, and the film would get multiple sequels, too. Luke Evans is currently attached to the latest film to feature the character.
Graphic novel to buy: The Crow, by James O'Barr
3. From Hell
It's generous to say that From Hell is a "loose adaption" of its comic counterpart. Regardless, the Hughes brothers captured a fascinating take on the Jack the Ripper murders. While Alan Moore's comic book took readers much deeper into the mind of the villain, the 2001 film rendered the story into an effective whodunit. Spoiler: A lot of people die along the way. The always dependable Johnny Depp leads the cast of this horror entry, with Ian "Bilbo Baggins" Holm opposite.
Graphic novel to buy: From Hell, by Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell
4. The Dark Knight
You may not agree with me on this one, but I always have an urge to watch the second part of Christopher Nolan's trilogy this time of year. It's not the "Batty" aspect of the film or its somber ending note that draw me during this particular holiday. Simply put, it's Heath Ledger's incredible take on one of comics' greatest villains. It creeps me out, man, and I love the movie for it. Any month of the year, the Joker of the Nolanverse is a magnetic character that commands your full attention throughout the course of the year. On Halloween, you're more likely to lock your door at 3 in the afternoon.
Graphic novel to buy: Batman: The Long Halloween, by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale
5. 30 Days of Night
Every Halloween list needs a stinker. No genre is celebrated more for its mediocre offerings than horror. 30 Days of Night is not on the same tier of quality as any of the aforementioned films, but it has genuine scares. And for your Halloween fix, that may be enough. Steve Niles' comic vision of vampires in Alaska carries its terrifying tone to the screen under the direction of David Slade. It's less convincing, but still worth watching. Niles was also responsible for Batman: Gotham County Line, one of the creepiest and more supernatural Bat-tales to date.
Graphic novel to buy: 30 Days of Night, by Steve Niles and Ben Templesmith