Brow Beat

Tom Hardy Gets Symbiotic In the Trailer for Venom

If there’s one thing the Marvel Cinematic Universe—known for dutifully imitating every genre from heist comedies to paranoid thrillers of the 1970s—has conspicuously lacked so far, it’s body horror. Despite a focus on transformations and newly-discovered superpowers that would seem to make the Cronenberg treatment a natural fit, the franchise has mostly steered clear of anything too disgusting. Of course, there’s only so much anyone can do while maintaining a PG-13 rating. But Venom, the upcoming film from Zombieland director Ruben Fleischer, isn’t quite an official Marvel Cinematic Universe product—it’s a spin-off from Spider Man: Homecoming, and part of Sony’s Marvel Universe instead of Marvel Studios’. As such, it’s allowed to aim for an R rating. So what does a Marvel film look like when it’s allowed to embrace body horror?

In a word: gross. Tom Hardy plays journalist Eddie Brock, who falls victim to an alien symbiote that gives him great powers while simultaneously being really disgusting. Hardy’s nemesis, Riz Ahmed’s Carlton Drake, is a Silicon Valley bioresearch scientist who’s a really big fan of Alien, if you see what I mean (I mean he keeps feeding people to these gross slimy alien things). Whatever Drake does to Hardy’s character, it causes really unpleasant-looking black tentacles to sprout from Hardy’s arms and spine, while wreaking even more havoc on Hardy’s face. Venom looks too transparently evil to support much of a Jekyll and Hyde-style moral dilemma on Eddie Brock’s part, but the film looks fun in a low-budget sort of way, and if everything’s got to be a superhero movie now, some of them may as well be icky. Venom will be in theaters on Oct. 5.