Unless someone comes up with an original superhero connected to a B-movie producer, there probably couldn’t be today. Established superheroes are tied up in licensing restrictions, and even if the thought of one in a crudely made, gore-infused spoof flick is amusing, it’s probably never going to happen outside of the realm of parody.
But that doesn’t mean it isn’t fun to think about. When you start thinking about popular superheroes, there are a number who are well suited to the genre. These are the superheroes who are a little less “super,” and could be brought to life relatively hassle-free without multi-million dollar special effects. Let’s consider a few and how exactly this would go down.
This kind of hypothetical simply has to start with Marvel’s most brutal and perhaps most human character. Back in 2011, Punisher headlined a list of the 20 most violent comic book characters—and that’s for all of comics. The dude is a bloody, uncompromising, ass-kicking machine who falls into the antihero category a lot more easily than the hero one. If you take away the Marvel label, he’s practically made for B-movies. The character is generally framed as a war veteran dealing with some degree of PTSD. So imagine a movie where the zombified corpses of soldiers he’s killed in his past chase the Punisher through a dark cityscape. Yeah, we’d buy that ticket too.
We’ve gotten used to thinking of Batman as a fabulously rich character strapped in high-tech armor, but it wasn’t always that way. The public may have largely forgotten the 1966 movie, but an assortment of themed arcade games at a mainstream casino gaming site brought them back to life in all their campy glory. The games showcase the classic Adam West take on the Caped Crusader as he takes on kitschy versions of villains like Riddler, Mr. Freeze, and the Penguin through artfully designed slot reels. For our purposes, the games are nice reminders that characters, not costumes and effects, are at the core of the Batman stories. You could make a Batman B-movie with a camcorder and a trip the local costume shop that could be a delightfully whimsical take on the comics.
The X-Men’s leading man has been pretty thoroughly explored in cinema, and if we’re being honest, the upcoming finale to Hugh Jackman’s time in claws looks pretty good. The recently released plot synopsis suggests a bare-bones story but there’s so much more that could be done with the character. A gruff killer with claws coming out of his fists who heals faster than he can be hurt could make for an incredible exploitation flick. So why not make it so? Maybe instead of being a reluctant leader and protective hero, a B-movie Wolverine could simply get fed up with his own condition and go on a rampage.
These are just a few who come to mind. Even if it’s unlikely that anything like these suggestions ever materializes, anyone is free to make a crude parody. Hero parodies could even be a gold mine for the B-movie crowd.