Marvel’s Halloween special Werewolf by Night might not be as scary as some would expect as it has been labeled a comedy on Disney+. Created in 1972, Werewolf by Night has been a mainstay of supernatural Marvel comics and has crossed paths with characters like Blade, Ghost Rider, and Moon Knight. The story centers on a man named Jack Russell who is cursed to transform into a werewolf.
Marvel Studios announced they were developing a Halloween special back in 2021 but did not officially confirm it was Werewolf by Night until the trailer was unveiled at D23. Directed by legendary composer Michael Giacchino, Werewolf by Night’s trailer was unlike anything in the MCU, one shot in black and white and inspired by Universal monster movies. The trailer’s tone walked a balance between classically campy but also offering genuine terror and the presence of Werewolf by Night and the character Man-Thing many assumed the story would be one of Marvel’s first director horror stories.
It appears the Werewolf by Night Halloween special won’t be too scary for younger Marvel fans. The official Werewolf by Night page on Disney+ has the series listed as a comedy and not horror like many assumed or even action like many other MCU entries on Disney+. It is worth noting that due to the family nature of Disney+, they do not have a horror tab for programming.
Werewolf by Night being labeled a comedy is interesting given Marvel Studios’ recent attempts to step into the supernatural realm. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness was pitched as Marvel Studios’ first horror film, and they even brought on legendary horror director Sam Raimi. The film split audiences, with some saying it was too scary for younger viewers while others believed it was not scary enough. Marvel Studios is also set to introduce Blade into the MCU, and the original three films were R-rated action horror films and Werewolf by Night might indicate the direction Marvel Studios will take that property.
There are plenty of movies that blend horror and comedy. Notably Edgar Wright’s Shaun of the Dead or even Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead 2. The black and white format and old-school monster aesthetic might indicate Werewolf by Night is also Marvel Studio’s attempt at doing something in the vein of Goosebumps or Tales from the Crypt, a homage to classic horror stories but also still being accessible to young viewers. The comedy tag might also be misleading, as it may just speak to the special having a few more jokes and winks while still being an old fashion scary experience. Werewolf by Night will premiere on Disney+ on October 7, one week after Hocus Pocus 2 premieres so the streaming service may want to hit different age ranges and audiences in terms of their Halloween material.