The Classic Horror Movies That Will Inspire Justice League Dark, According To Doug Liman

Justice League Dark Swamp Thing Constantine Zatanaa Deadman

For years it was horror maestro Guillermo del Toro who was attached to direct DC Comics' Justice League Dark, but that changed when Doug Liman was handed directorial duties last summer. Given that Liman has never made a movie really built to scare, fans wondered how this would affect the tone of the comic book blockbuster -- but the filmmaker has assured us by noting the era of horror titles that are inspiring his approach. During an interview this weekend, the director told me,

It's going to have real horror elements, for sure. I love early horror films, be it The Exorcist, or Carrie, The Omen. In the same way that Bourne Identity, I went back to the '70s paranoia. There's stuff to be mined from the people who have come before me that I'm planning to bring to Justice League Dark. And also the arena, my good friend Simon Kinberg, with Deadpool really pushed the arena. I'm never going to do something that's straight forward, but I'm not going to do something campy either. I have a take on it that isn't like anything else out there. At the end of the day I make character driven movies.

I had the opportunity to sit down with Doug Liman during the Los Angeles press day for his new movie, The Wall, on Saturday, and I used my last question to ask about his work on Justice League Dark. Noting the way that comic book movies have expanded as far as genre in recent years, I asked the director if he was developing a straight horror film -- and in his response he namedropped a few titles in explaining how his project will be a throwback of sorts.

One of the best things about the developing comic book movie world is the way in which the industry has learned to explore genres on beyond simple "Action." For example. Doug Liman notes the influence of 1970s paranoia thrillers on the making of The Bourne Identity, and it was that exact same era and style that Joe and Anthony Russo looked at in the making of Captain America: The Winter Soldier. The idea of a project putting a strong emphasis on spooks and scares is most definitely enticing, and it's great to know that it's something that Liman wants to explore with Justice League Dark.

Justice League Dark is a superhero team that was first formed in DC Comics in 2011, featuring supernatural and supernatural-centric characters taking on the supernatural. As the project has been in the works for a long time now and has seen director changes, the only confirmed character to appear is detective John Constantine -- but previous reports have suggested the inclusion of Swamp Thing, Zatanna, Etrigan the Demon, Deadman and more.

Justice League Dark is still in the development stage, with no start of production or release date yet announced. We'll be sure to keep you up to date on all details, so stay tuned, and also look out for more from my interview with Doug Liman about The Wall, which will be in theaters this Friday, May 12th.

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

Eric Eisenberg is the Assistant Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. After graduating Boston University and earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism, he took a part-time job as a staff writer for CinemaBlend, and after six months was offered the opportunity to move to Los Angeles and take on a newly created West Coast Editor position. Over a decade later, he's continuing to advance his interests and expertise. In addition to conducting filmmaker interviews and contributing to the news and feature content of the site, Eric also oversees the Movie Reviews section, writes the the weekend box office report (published Sundays), and is the site's resident Stephen King expert. He has two King-related columns.