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James Wan Revealed A Surprising Influence On Aquaman And The Lost Kingdom

James Wan's first "Aquaman" film, released in late 2018, was a stylistic departure from the DCEU films that had preceded it. He traded in the muted tones that had come to dominate DC's films, opting instead for a vibrant explosion of color. A veteran of the horror genre, Wan brought a gonzo sense of spectacle to the "Aquaman" proceedings that had been his signature on such cult classics as "Saw" and "The Conjuring." Those left-field sensibilities served him well on "Aquaman," which saw its titular character (now with a big, bushy beard as opposed to the dolphin-smooth hero of the golden age comics) fighting to find his identity and having important dialogue interrupted by explosions in no fewer than five scenes.

Any movie featuring a gigantic octopus playing drums during an underwater cage match is going to be hard to top, but for the upcoming "Aquaman and The Lost Kingdom," Wan seems determined to do so. In an interview with Total Film, the director opened up about one of the zanier influences on his upcoming sequel.

Aquaman 2 is heavily inspired by Planet of The Vampires

"Aquaman" is chock full of good-natured schlock, so it makes perfect sense that James Wan would draw on the pulpy sci-fi horror films of decades past as part of his vision for this line of films. Speaking to Total Film, the director said, "Aquaman 2 is very heavily inspired by 'Planet of the Vampires'."

For the unfamiliar, "Planet of The Vampires" is a 1965 film that follows two spaceships that land on a strange planet and, while trapped there under the influence of the planet's heavy gravitational force, they begin to mysteriously slaughter each other. The movie is pure camp from the costuming to the scoring, and the performances in it have inspired such films as the Ridley Scott classics "Alien" and "Prometheus."

It's clear to see why Wan would want to emulate "Planet of The Vampires" in some form for the "Aquaman" sequel. The ornate costumes in the former film, especially the flight suits worn by the spaceship crews, are nearly as over-the-top as Wan's designs for the Men of War and Black Manta costumes in the Jason Momoa vehicle — to say nothing of the fish-themed armor worn by Atlantis royalty. Further, the bizarro tone of the pulp classic is something Wan dives into enthusiastically for his saltwater superhero. "You can take the boy out of horror," Wan remarked, "but you can never take the horror out of the boy."

"Aquaman and The Lost Kingdom" is currently in production and expected for worldwide release in December of 2022.