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Punisher War Zone

Graphic Fiction

10 Most Extreme Comic Book Movies and TV Shows

Catch The Punisher this month on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Lions Gate/Courtesy Everett Collection

Comic books were once whitewashed tales of good and evil. Vanilla heroes would take down silly villains, and always save the day. Those days are long gone. Now, comics and graphic novels are filled with brutal violence, graphic sex, and some of the best writing and artwork around. Hollywood has started to notice, adapting more than the same three superheroes over and over again. With The Punisher airing this month on IFC (and AMC’s adaptation of Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon’s Preacher comics gaining buzz), we got to thinking: what other ultra-violent comics have successfully made the leap from the page to the screen? Be sure to put your splatter guard up before digging in, because this one is going to get bloody.

10. Kingsman: The Secret Service

Kingsmen
20th Century Fox

While the film adaptation of Kingsman: The Secret Service took a fair amount of liberties with the comic that inspired it, what remained was the playful tone mixed with unrelenting violence. Director Matthew Vaughn (Kick-Ass) was clearly inspired by the particular brand of lunacy creators Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons offered in the comic, crafting inspired bits of carnage like a church brawl that turns into an all-out orgy of brutality.


9. Daredevil

Daredevil
Marvel Television/Netflix

The show that launched Marvel’s brand on Netflix, Daredevil changed the game for TV adaptations of comic books. Inspired by Frank Miller’s darker, more Catholic take on the “Devil of Hell’s Kitchen,” the show mixes heavy themes with some of the best fight choreography the small screen has ever seen. Jessica Jones gets honorable mention for picking up the mantle and running with it, doubling down on the dark corners of this universe without ever losing its pop sensibilities.


8. Sin City

Sin City
Miramax

A “translation, not an adaptation” according to director Robert Rodriguez, this hit 2005 film used Frank Miller’s original comic artwork as a bible, recreating panels on the big screen with precise detail. With stark visuals and a plot that involved serial killers and talking severed heads, this graphic ode to film noir changed the game for comic book movies. Now lets all agree to forget that the 2014 sequel ever happened.


7. Punisher: War Zone

Punisher War Zone
Lionsgate Films

2008’s big screen Punisher outing isn’t the most famous Marvel movie, but it’s without a doubt the most violent. The filmmakers seem to take glee in trying to make each successive scene more brutal than the last. With Frank Castle literally punching through a bad guy’s head, and villain Jigsaw sewing his face back onto his skull, this movie doles out some serious punishment.


6. Kick-Ass

Kick Ass
Lionsgate

When Nic Cage spends a whole movie doing a second rate Adam West impression, and that’s only the second most bananas thing in your movie, you’ve hit the crazy comic adaptation motherload. While there are so many amazing details to pick apart here — from a great concept about a regular guy who decides to become a superhero, to a hero pretending to be gay to get the girl — it’s Chloe Grace Moretz as Hit-Girl, the pigtail wearing assassin who’s been trained to kill from birth, who steals the show.


5. Deadpool

Deadpool
20th Century Fox

Deadpool just blew up the movie world, becoming the highest grossing R-rated film in history. With its sarcastic lead, schoolboy humor and over-the-top violence, this was the movie for the 13-year-old inside of us all. Star Ryan Reynolds spent a decade trying to get it made, and with a potty-mouthed sequel being fast-tracked, it looks like everyone can just pretend that whole Green Lantern thing never happened.


4. Oldboy

Old Boy
Tartan Films

The story of a man trapped in a room by unknown captors for 15 years and the hunt for vengeance once he’s released, this 2003 Japanese film is the definition of hardcore. Roger Ebert called it a “powerful film not because of what it depicts, but because of the depths of the human heart which it strips bare.” And boy does it strip it bare, with righteous violence and a sick sensibility that saw lead Min-sik Choi, a Buddhist and vegetarian, eating a live octopus in one scene. When director Chan-wook Park was asked if he felt sorry for his star, he said he felt sorry for the octopus.


3. The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead
AMC

The Walking Dead was a cult comic with a dedicated following when the AMC adaptation premiered in 2010. Since then, the story of Sheriff Rick Grimes and his makeshift family of zombie killing survivalists has become a sensation. No one would have guessed that this brutally violent, unrelentingly bleak look at humanity at its darkest moment would become the number one show on TV, but that’s just what its done. With ratings network TV would kill for, and its own spin-off to boot, this bloody blockbuster looks like it will be creeping out our Sunday nights for years to come.


2. Tales From the Crypt

Tales from the crypt
HBO

With a love of puns and a face only a mortician could love, the Cryptkeeper presided over one of the most ridiculously horrific series in the history of television. Like The Twilight Zone‘s creepy cousin, this adaptation of the legendary EC Comics title always took delight in presenting high camp and blood-soaked horror with a dark twist. A “who’s who” of ’90s stars, from Jon Lovitz to Corey Feldman, popped in over the years to tell stories about ghouls, ghosts and zombies, and the oversexed, egotistical humans who fell prey to them.


1. Ichi The Killer

Ichi the Killer
Media Blasters

We’re not even sure “extreme” does this movie justice. Based on the manga of the same name, Ichi the Killer follows a mutilated man who is manipulated into killing rival street gangs, and just about everyone else. Full of insanely brutal violence, and a sadistic streak that teeters between cinematic and just plain sick, this movie has been banned in several countries.

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SO EXCITED!!!

Reminders that the ’90s were a thing

"The Place We Live" is available for a Jessie Spano-level binge on Comedy Crib.

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GIFs via Giphy

Unless you stopped paying attention to the world at large in 1989, you are of course aware that the ’90s are having their pop cultural second coming. Nobody is more acutely aware of this than Dara Katz and Betsy Kenney, two comedians who met doing improv comedy and have just made their Comedy Crib debut with the hilarious ’90s TV throwback series, The Place We Live.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Dara: It’s everything you loved–or loved to hate—from Melrose Place and 90210 but condensed to five minutes, funny (on purpose) and totally absurd.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Betsy: “Hey Todd, why don’t you have a sip of water. Also, I think you’ll love The Place We Live because everyone has issues…just like you, Todd.”

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IFC: When you were living through the ’90s, did you think it was television’s golden age or the pop culture apocalypse?


Betsy: I wasn’t sure I knew what it was, I just knew I loved it!


Dara: Same. Was just happy that my parents let me watch. But looking back, the ’90s honored The Teen. And for that, it’s the golden age of pop culture. 

IFC: Which ’90s shows did you mine for the series, and why?

Betsy: Melrose and 90210 for the most part. If you watch an episode of either of those shows you’ll see they’re a comedic gold mine. In one single episode, they cover serious crimes, drug problems, sex and working in a law firm and/or gallery, all while being young, hot and skinny.


Dara: And almost any series we were watching in the ’90s, Full House, Saved By the Bell, My So Called Life has very similar themes, archetypes and really stupid-intense drama. We took from a lot of places. 

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IFC: How would you describe each of the show’s characters in terms of their ’90s TV stereotype?

Dara: Autumn (Sunita Mani) is the femme fatale. Robin (Dara Katz) is the book worm (because she wears glasses). Candace (Betsy Kenney) is Corey’s twin and gives great advice and has really great hair. Corey (Casey Jost) is the boy next door/popular guy. Candace and Corey’s parents decided to live in a car so the gang can live in their house. 
Lee (Jonathan Braylock) is the jock.

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Dara: Because everyone’s feeling major ’90s nostalgia right now, and this is that, on steroids while also being a totally new, silly thing.

Delight in the whole season of The Place We Live right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. It’ll take you back in all the right ways.

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New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

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Jenny Jaffe has a lot going on: She’s writing for Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6: The Series, developing comedy projects with pals at Devastator Press, and she’s straddling the line between S&M and OCD as the creator and star of the sexyish new series Neurotica, which has just made its debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib. Jenny gave us some extremely intimate insight into what makes Neurotica (safely) sizzle…

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IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon.

IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. You’re great. We should get coffee sometime. I’m not just saying that. I know other people just say that sometimes but I really feel like we’re going to be friends, you know? Here, what’s your number, I’ll call you so you can have my number!

IFC: What’s your comedy origin story?

Jenny: Since I was a kid I’ve dealt with severe OCD and anxiety. Comedy has always been one of the ways I’ve dealt with that. I honestly just want to help make people feel happy for a few minutes at a time.

IFC: What was the genesis of Neurotica?

Jenny: I’m pretty sure it was a title-first situation. I was coming up with ideas to pitch to a production company a million years ago (this isn’t hyperbole; I am VERY old) and just wrote down “Neurotica”; then it just sort of appeared fully formed. “Neurotica? Oh it’s an over-the-top romantic comedy about a Dominatrix with OCD, of course.” And that just happened to hit the buttons of everything I’m fascinated by.

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IFC: How would you describe Ivy?

Jenny: Ivy is everything I love in a comedy character – she’s tenacious, she’s confident, she’s sweet, she’s a big wonderful weirdo.

IFC: How would Ivy’s clientele describe her?

Jenny:  Open-minded, caring, excellent aim.

IFC: Why don’t more small towns have local dungeons?

Jenny: How do you know they don’t?

IFC: What are the pros and cons of joining a chain mega dungeon?

Jenny: You can use any of their locations but you’ll always forget you have a membership and in a year you’ll be like “jeez why won’t they let me just cancel?”

IFC: Mouths are gross! Why is that?

Jenny: If you had never seen a mouth before and I was like “it’s a wet flesh cave with sharp parts that lives in your face”, it would sound like Cronenberg-ian body horror. All body parts are horrifying. I’m kind of rooting for the singularity, I’d feel way better if I was just a consciousness in a cloud.

See the whole season of Neurotica right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

The-Craft

The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

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Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”

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Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).

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Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.

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And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.