When it comes to the world of pop culture, writer/director/producer Joss Whedon is known for many things. Perhaps the works most tied to his name will always be Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its spin-off series Angel, although Whedon’s short-lived shows Firefly and Dollhouse also boast a cult-like legion of followers. In recent years, Whedon has found himself thrust into the world of A-list blockbuster filmmaking, both writing and directing Marvel Studios’ The Avengers and its sequel Avengers: Age of Ultron.
One genre Whedon has never really ventured into all that much is horror. While Buffy and Angel’s subject matter is obviously at least horror adjacent, it would be hard to argue that either is a standard example of the genre. The same goes for 2012’s The Cabin in the Woods, a quite beloved horror comedy that is still more of a deconstruction of the genre than a straight entry into it. To date, the only non-comedic horror endeavor Whedon has undertaken is sci-fi/horror sequel Alien: Resurrection, one of his earliest feature writing jobs.
With his tenure with Marvel now seemingly behind him, Whedon is apparently ready to finally indulge his dark side, and craft a film that’s main intent is to scare and creep out. As revealed during a recent interview with Complex, the Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog creator is currently working on a horror script set during World War II that sounds like it has the potential to be a major departure from his recent output.
“I’m in the middle of a screenplay that I am extremely passionate about, and I am going to be extremely passionate about it again on November 9. It’s definitely a departure from the things that I’m known for. It’s as dark as anything I’ve ever written. I just said, ‘OK, id, your turn.’ I would write scenes and be like, ‘Oh this is great! I shouldn’t be allowed near people.’ It’s a historical fiction/horror movie about a time when the world was going insane, World War II. I got to tell you, I was in Germany and Poland doing research for this movie and I was seeing so many parallels [to the U.S.]. And I know it’s a shopworn thing to compare the orange guy to the little guy with the mustache, but you see things, indelible things in terms of propaganda, the state of the country, and the parallels are eerie as f*ck.”
Possibly inflammatory comparisons to current GOP candidate Donald Trump aside – Whedon has never been shy about his political leanings – that certainly sounds like quite the interesting project, and definitely unlike any other movie he’s made. The fact that he actually went to Germany and Poland to do research also suggests that the screenplay will likely be grounded in the real-life horrors surrounding that hellish time in human history.
While WWII has served as the setting for plenty of past horror films, there has arguably never been an entry into the sub-genre that fans can point to as the definitive example, such as The Exorcist with demon possession films or Halloween with slasher films. As talented as Whedon is, it’s not hard to imagine him turning out a movie worthy of taking that mantle.