Filming is underway on Aquaman 2 — properly titled Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom — and while we don’t yet have a lot of details about the much-anticipated sequel to 2018’s Aquaman, director James Wan has revealed a surprising source of inspiration for the DC film. Wan told Total Film (via Slashfilm) that the Jason Momoa-starring film is heavily inspired by the campy 1960s Italian horror film Planet of the Vampires.
“Aquaman 2 is very heavily inspired by Planet of the Vampires,” Wan said. “You can take the boy out of horror but you can never take the horror out of the boy.”
Directed by Mario Bava, Planet of the Vampires was released in 1965 and is a pulpy, science fiction horror film that follows the crew members of two space ships that crash land on an unexplored planet. While crash landing on a strange planet itself is pretty scary, things turn horrific quickly when the disembodied inhabitants of said planet possess the bodies of the crew killed in the crash, reanimating their corpses to kill the survivors. The film, which was produced on a relatively low budget, has extensive visual effects that were done in-camera and the film has a distinctive look and feel. The film has influenced a number of other works, including Ridley Scott’s Alien and Prometheus.
How Planet of the Vampires will influence Aquaman 2 is something that fans will have to see for themselves when the film enters theaters, but Wan did suggest that fans are now ready for Aquaman to lean into the horror and, in comics, things do get a bit weird.
“And that’s partially because they were not familiar with the comic book, which deals in this very lurid, strange world,” Wan said. “People were taken aback that I didn’t throw all that stuff away and make a dark, heavy film. But I didn’t feel that would have been right for it. So with the second film, I feel it will be easier for people to accept where we go because I’ve already laid the foundation.”
“Just like the first movie had a touch of my horror sensibility in it, in regards to the Trench sequence, I would say there will be a little bit of that in this next one,” Wan told fans during last year’s DC FanDome. “I think it’s something that’s a big part of who I am, and it just naturally comes out in these kinds of films.”
Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom opens in theaters on December 16, 2022.