Marvel Studios is touting Doctor Strange 2 as the MCU's first horror film, and the director's prior horror efforts could tease what we're in for. Back in July, director Scott Derrickson revealed that 2021's Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will be legitimately scary, and essentially the introduction of real horror to the MCU. While no one is expecting Texas Chainsaw Massacre-level intensity from the MCU, Derrickson is definitely the right man for the job if Marvel is looking to get creepy.

Derrickson's directorial debut came rather inauspiciously, helming the direct to video Hellraiser: Inferno, the fifth film in that franchise. As a sign of Derrickson's budding talent though, many consider Inferno one of the better sequels in the series. Derrickson would further his standing in horror circles by directing the even more acclaimed The Exorcism of Emily Rose in 2010, and Blumhouse's Sinister in 2012. His only misstep horror-wise has been 2014's Deliver Us From Evil, which there's no reason to believe wasn't just a fluke.

While plot details about Doctor Strange 2 are predictably being kept close to the chest by Marvel Studios, looking at Derrickson's horror films can provide fans a preview of what they might be in store for inside the Multiverse of Madness. Warning: it's not pretty.


One aspect that's readily apparent from Derrickson's horror oeuvre is just how much he loves to inflict psychological scares on his audience. In Hellraiser: Inferno, the main character experiences bizarre hallucinations, and is rarely sure what's real and what's in his head. So much of The Exorcism of Emily Rose is focused on an argument over whether Emily's demonic behavior is really of infernal origin. In Sinister, Derrickson delights in hiding scares at the edge of the frame, and watching as shocking revelations throw Ethan Hawke's character further away from sanity. There's also the infamous "lawn work" kill, where the viewer is left to imagine the gory aftermath. Since Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness stars a powerful sorcerer, the MCU's version of a witch, and a dream-ruining villain called Nightmare, Derrickson's psychological scare ability should be used to full effect.


As stated above, no one is really anticipating that Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will be as horrifying as an R-rated film made with the sole purpose of scaring the audience. That said, if Scott Derrickson brings even half, much less 3/4 of the intensity he brought to his prior films to the MCU's first horrific entry, Marvel fans might be in for a surprise. In addition to his love of scares that mess with viewers' minds, Derrickson's horror movies tend to be quite intense and unrelenting. Sinister just piles on the dread from beginning to end until things culminate in a remarkably twisted finale. The Exorcism of Emily Rose sees the titular possessed young woman put through the wringer in an almost tortuous manner. Hellraiser: Inferno sees the main character's life just keep descending further and further into damnation. Doctor Strange and Scarlet Witch will most likely make it out of their own personal Nightmare with their lives intact, but their minds may never be the same again.

Black Widow (2020) release date: May 01, 2020
Eternals (2020) release date: Nov 06, 2020
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021) release date: Feb 12, 2021
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2021) release date: May 07, 2021
Spider-Man: Homecoming 3 (2021) release date: Jul 16, 2021
Thor: Love and Thunder (2021) release date: Nov 05, 2021
Black Panther 2 (2022) release date: May 06, 2022