Posted in Coming Soon
Darkchyle to the Big Screen
Gotta be totally honest here, I’m not sure if John Carpenter signing on to direct a big screen version of the late 90s comic DARKCHYLDE is a good or a bad thing.
On the positive side, I’m glad Carpenter is back for good. Considering the lukewarm reception of his recent comeback, THE WARD, I was a little worried that he might consider retiring. When STYD dropped the announcement that he’d be directing the long-in-development DARKCHYLDE, I was actually excited. After all, Weta Workshop (the FX gurus behind LORD OF THE RINGS) had already delivered an FX reel for this flick nearly a year ago without a director attached and it was pretty impressive. So, combine the impressive FX stuff with Carpenter and this flick should be good to go, right?
Um….no. You see, up until this morning, I wasn’t too up on the whole history of DARKCHYLDE. I knew it was a comic from the late 90s, I knew that it involved a teenage girl who could change into her worst nightmares to defeat the forces of evil and that was about it. My knowledge of this comic was limited, to say the least.
Matter of fact, here’s a blurb from the STYD announcement that basically sums up DARKCHYLDE in a nice concise paragraph: Offering a stark contrast to super hero comics, Darkchylde was a breakout sensation of the late 90’s and early 2000’s, garnering immediate acclaim, and an unusually large female fanbase. The property went on to outsell Spider-Man, Superman, and Batman in both domestic and foreign audiences, and has been realized in toys, trading cards, apparel, lunch boxes, mini busts, and more recently a hit crossover with Top Cow, and a statue from PopCultureShockToys.
Seriously? This comic outsold Spider-Man, Superman AND Batman?!?
This is where the “no” pops up. You see, DARKCHYLDE is an awful comic book. It is definitely a product of the time, which pretty much means that most of the issue is devoted to splash pages that feature a borderline underage girl in various states of undress. The stories (in the few issues I have) are weak, the dialogue is atrocious and the whole thing reeks of Rob Liefeld’s wet dreams.
And therein lies my beef with Carpenter taking on this project. According to the STYD article, Carpenter definitely has a passion for the property and he actually compares the character to Laurie Strode., But with the source material being this weak, does it really matter if he’s into the character or not? I’m sorry, but Carpenter needs some better source material. I get that comic book adaptations are all the rage right now and most of the good ones have already been done, but attaching himself to an adaptation of a comic that should’ve never escaped the 90s seems like a desperate cry for relevance.
Carpenter’s previously announced projects LA GOTHIC and FANGLAND seemed more suited to his tastes than this. What happened to those?
Does DARKCHYLDE have the potential to be a good movie? Sure. Carpenter is a pro and he’s more than capable of churning gold out of a weak idea (see THEY LIVE and PRINCE OF DARKNESS). The main problem here is the basis for the film. When a movie starts off with material that is already weak, it seems like the film already has one foot in the grave. If this project is going to happen, my hope is that Carpenter simply uses the idea (teen girl who manifests her nightmares into weapons) and ditches the rest. If he goes that route, this project might stand a chance. Otherwise, it might end up like DYLAN DOG: DEAD OF NIGHT and never see the light of day.
Oh, here’s the Weta DARKCHYLDE footage. Cool stuff, but the visuals for this project aren’t the issue, the story is.