Marvel isn’t exactly dead, but it’s on the decline. Each entry faces the weight of an audience that’s sick of the genre and the slow death of movie theaters as an institution. While Deadpool & Wolverine seems set to win the year’s box office, most of their other future projects draw sighs from audiences. Despite this gradual drop-off, Marvel films and TV shows generally still succeed. They only have a few flops, but their attempt at translating Adventure into Fear might be their worst. What went wrong, and could they try again?

Hulu barely exists as a standalone streaming service right now. A massive percentage of the people who pay for it do so as part of a deal with their Disney+ subscription. Disney recently dropped the pretense and made all of Hulu’s material available on their homepage. This leads to several hilarious scenarios in which viewers can scroll past the first seven Saw movies to get to The Nightmare Before Christmas or Iron Man 2. It also calls the mind back to the handful of Hulu Marvel projects, most of which slip easily from the mind.


The MCU Tried Horror Once: What Went Wrong?

Helstrom may be the single least successful project of the Marvel Universe. Why did the mixture of superhero and horror fail?

Marvel’s Adventure into Fear was a disaster

Adventure into Fear was a Marvel Comics series that ran during the early 1970s. It included stories about Man-Thing, Howard the Duck, Morbius, and other monstrous or monster-adjacent characters. 31 entries hit the shelves, but the first nine republished existing stories from several earlier runs. About 45 years later, Marvel Television attempted to use the name to launch a set of streaming series directly on Hulu. This was before Marvel Studios consumed Marvel Television and turned it into a brand name, rather than a distinct division of the brand. Disney used to want its projects all over the place, but it now consolidates projects exclusively on Disney+. The two announced projects sounded relatively promising, but they ran into trouble early.

Marvel Television announced a Ghost Rider series in May 2019. At the same time, they promised a series about Damion and Ana Helstrom. Though one of those ideas is far less appealing than the other, they both seem like decent pitches. Ghost Rider is one of those Marvel characters that fans constantly call for. His appearances in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. guaranteed attention, setting Gabriel Luna up for a solo project. It was set to focus on Luna’s Robbie Reyes but feature no connection to the existing series. That show never hit the screen. Jeph Loeb suggested that the Adventure into Fear block would include three or four terrifying heroes that would eventually come together to fight someone like Lilith. Those other projects were never announced. Helstrom did make it out the door.

Why did Marvel’s Adventure into Fear flop?


Paul Zbyszewski


Tom Austen, Sydney Lemmon, Elizabeth Marvel, Robert Wisdom



Release Date

October 16, 2020

Rotten Tomatoes Score

27% positive from 26 reviews

Helstrom is an unmitigated disaster. The sudden demise of the Adventure into Fear franchise might simply be due to the fact that the first and only show it ever produced was awful. It’s a shoddy pretender to Supernatural without any of the charm. The show isn’t scary, compelling, or fun to watch. It blends effortlessly into a thousand other forgettable horror series. It’s like a weak montage of horror moments from other shows. Marvel Studios shut down Marvel Television during the production of Helstrom, barely leaving enough staff to finish the project. Every aspect of Adventure into Fear became outdated before its first show came out. Then the first and only series hit the screen. Its failure proved that either Disney was right to lose faith or that they dealt a fatal wound when they pulled away. Either way, it doesn’t have to be the death knell of this idea.

Could Marvel try Adventure into Fear again?

It’s been four years since Adventure into Fear crashed and burned. Disney now only produces live-action Marvel shows on its in-house streaming service with explicit connections to the larger MCU. It’s an all-or-nothing strategy, diametrically opposed to their moves in the 2010s. However, they are clearly seeking an alternative. The Marvel Spotlight brand existed to promise fans something they could watch without knowing the ins and outs of the franchise. They’ve failed to deliver on that premise, but Adventure into Fear could be the perfect solution to that problem. The other suggestion of the Marvel Spotlight branding is that the franchise could play with new tones and genres. If Marvel picked up Ghost Rider and tried again with the more marketable name front and center, it could make Adventure into Fear a fascinating new corner of the MCU.

Marvel needs to try new things, but the franchise shouldn’t be afraid to look back on its failures. Adventure into Fear is one of the weakest showings Marvel has ever allowed to see daylight. It was a half-formed idea that produced a terrible series before slinking off into nonexistence. This sad fate doesn’t have to be the final word on Marvel as a horror franchise. Adventure into Fear’s fears were justified, but Marvel can still try again.


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The MCU Blade movie has hit numerous snags, and one Marvel movie OG has officially thrown some shade on it.

“}]] The fear was justified.  Read More