It appears that the zombie genre has greater legs than anyone might have anticipated (AMC’s The Walking Dead–despite a ratings decline–still shuffles on while spawning a sequel–Fear The Walking Dead–a somewhat unnecessary admonition) and along the way appears to have discovered a legitimacy few horror genres have had prior.
Though that shouldn’t be a surprise in that George Romero has long used the zombie genre to tell tales of class warfare and as metaphors for consumerism, among other things.
The latest example: Cargo, starring Morgan Freeman (Sherlock, Black Panther) which is coming on Netflix (Yay!) May 18.
What–if the trailer is to be believed–separates Cargo from it’s grisly siblings is that Freeman’s character appears to be be infected himself (and in search of a cure among the Aboriginal people of Australia) while the baby he carries (likely the ‘cargo’ of the title)–isn’t.
Horror has been pretty good to AMC. In 2010 they premiered The Walking Dead, one of he biggest shows on television, cable or otherwise (despite how atrociously they apparently treated Frank Darabont). Later came the spin-off, Fear The Walking Dead, which hasn’t been a laggard in the ratings department, either.
That they’re sticking with the genre that has been so successful for them makes sense.
Though this time around it’s not the undead that go bump in the night, but the Devil.
Damien is a continuation of the story of Damien Thorne, from The Omen and Damien: The Omen II, who had the misfortune of being the son of Satan (though other than the ‘scion of Old Nick’ thing and the typically violent and–often–gory deaths of everyone cursed enough to get close to him he had a pretty awesome life).
Damien: The Omen II
Though what I find really interesting is that there was a third movie in The Omen saga, The Final Conflict, which while not quite up to the standards of the first two movies–it’s a bit campier than it needs to be at times–it’s still quite enjoyable (with an awesome ending).
The Final Conflict
The fun part is that the series–if it’s at all faithful to the movies–should take place between the second and third movies. The not-so-fun part is that in the trailer Thorne is dealing with issues that he had already solved in the second movie, so we’re apparently going to get some more angst of a repetitive nature (the worst type).
(There were also at least two made-for-television sequels, which I am ignoring because they’re not terribly memorable.)
Vertigo’s Hellraiser was a groundbreaker of sorts for DC Comics, which despite being adapted as a movie starring Keanu Reeves in 2005 and a television show in 2014 was never quite as successful as fans of the character would have wanted it to be.
Garth Ennis’–who also wrote Hellraiser for eight years–created Preacher, which was published in 1995. Perhaps not surprisingly, it was of a similar vein to Hellraiser in many ways and also dealt with demons, angels and what it meant to be human.
And while it never quite–in comic form, at any rate–had the success of John Constantine, AMC apparently has enough faith in it that they’re willing to build a series around it.
It’s worth mentioning that there’s some validity to the perspective that, while cable series also have to deal with ratings, the threshold for success or failure isn’t quite the same as it is for network television.
Luckily for AMC they also have The Walking Dead and Fear The Walking Dead, which are two of the most successful series on television on either regular television or cable, so even if Preacher isn’t all that they want it to be, they may have a bigger window for it to build an audience, unlike Constantine (which for some reason I refer to as Hellraiser, which is a Clive Barker-directed movie, as opposed to Hellblazer) which lasted only one year.
I actually have the first few issues of Preacher, but truth be told it was never one of my favorites (that honor goes to Shade: The Changing Man and Hellraiser, so I can’t tell how faithful the trailer is to the comic off the top of my head.