Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

James Gunn Confirms That A GOTG 3 Groot Scene Was Influenced By John Carpenter's The Thing

Before he led the cosmic side of the MCU with the "Guardians of the Galaxy" trilogy, James Gunn was a student of horror, which is evident more than ever in "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3." The movie pushes the boundaries of its PG-13 rating, as the director sprinkles his love for horror throughout the MCU's latest installment. 

Early on in "Vol. 3," Adam Warlock (Will Poulter) attacks the Guardians on Knowhere, chopping off Groot's (Vin Diesel) head in the process. While pretty gruesome, the beloved tree is fine as he sprouts vines and runs around as a severed head. Gunn confirmed on Twitter this was a reference to "The Thing" after a fan related the scene to John Carpenter's legendary horror movie. 

Although Groot's severed head may be the only outright horror reference in "Vol. 3," Gunn still put his own version of the genre throughout the movie. The Guardians' infiltration of Orgocorp may as well be pulled straight from "Slither," as the organic space station is oddly reminiscent of the monster in Gunn's directorial debut. While heartbreaking, the film's depiction of animal abuse brings body horror into the MCU, as the High Evolutionary's (Chukwudi Iwuji) experiments turn animals into horror-inspired creatures resembling the likes of "The Fly" and "Hellraiser." As if that wasn't enough, Gunn also puts audiences on a psychological horror ride, experiencing Rocket's (Bradley Cooper) origins from the raccoon's perspective.

James Gunn is a student of horror

Although audiences will never consider "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3" a horror movie, it's right there with "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" as the two movies brought horror elements to the MCU. While his work with Marvel and DC doesn't scream horror, James Gunn actually has a long history with the genre, dating back to when he was a kid.

In a 2011 interview with St. Louis Magazine, Gunn listed "Night of the Living Dead" and "Friday the 13th" as two films that inspired him to get a foot in the movie industry. With his brothers behind him, Gunn spent most of his childhood making homemade zombie movies, experiences he relied on when he made it to the big leagues. Eventually, Gunn lent his writing skills to Zack Snyder's "Dawn of the Dead," a remake of horror icon George A. Romero's legendary movie. From there, he didn't hold anything back for his gore-filled directorial debut, "Slither."

Throughout the success Gunn has seen over the last 20 years, he hasn't forgotten the genre that inspired him as a kid. In 2016, he wrote "The Belko Experiment" and merged horror with superheroes for 2019's "Brightburn." While Gunn brought the two genres back together for his final MCU installment, "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3" is a much more family-friendly outing than some of his previous works.