Aquaman was bonkers fun and way better than it had any right to be. The right blend of high camp and superhero drama, with silliness and seriousness, in equal measure. Plus it had an octopus playing war drums! What’s not to like? So where will filmmaker James Wan get his strange inspiration for Aquaman 2 from?

The director has revealed to Total Film that he has gone to an unexpected source for Aquaman 2. Mario Bava’s camp favorite and cult classic Planet of the Vampires.

The 1965 movie follows the experiences of the crew members of two giant spaceships that have crash-landed on their way to a distress call on a forbidding, unexplored planet.

The disembodied inhabitants of the world possess the bodies of the crew who died during the crash, and go on to use the re-animated corpses to stalk and kill the remaining survivors.

Planet of the Vampires (Italian: Terrore nello Spazio, or Terror in space) was produced by Fulvio Lucisano, and stars Barry Sullivan and Norma Bengell. The screenplay, by Bava, Alberto Bevilacqua, Callisto Cosulich, Antonio Roman and Rafael J. Salvia, was based on an Italian-language science fiction short story, Renato Pestriniero’s One Night of 21 Hours. American International Pictures released the film as the supporting film on a double feature with Daniel Haller’s Die, Monster, Die! (1965).

Wan talks of the well-regarded trench sequence in the first movie, and how that revealed that there are true horrors living in the deep. The sequel will explore them and the risks they took in the first movie allowed the studio to let them get weird this time, knowing the audience would have faith:

“Well, the first movie took a lot of people by surprise, right? And that’s partially because they were not familiar with the comic book, which deals in this very lurid, strange world.

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.”

Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom is scheduled to be released on December 16th, 2022 from Warner Bros. Pictures and DC Films.

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