Warner Bros. is developing a feature film based on long-running Archie comics. The series has been around since 1941, but has never been adapted into a feature film. It’s a bit of a tough sell since the comics are inoffensive and fairly static but perhaps—oh wait. They’re adding zombies. Never mind. According to Deadline, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (Glee) will adapt his comic Afterlife with Archie, “which ponders a zombie apocalypse in suburban New York and isn’t replacing the usual Archie Comics, just supplementing them.” The idea is to put Archie, Jughead, and the rest of the Riverdale gang into horror situations like The Stand or Evil Dead. Jason Moore (Pitch Perfect) is set to direct with Roy Lee and Dan Lin (Sherlock Holmes) producing.
Hit the jump for more. [Update: Variety has refuted Deadline’s report, noting that the Archie movie will not involve zombies, and will instead be a coming-of-age comedy in which Archie faces a “teenage midlife crisis” and must find his purpose in life before graduation. Our original story follows after the jump.]
The concept is to balance the gore with “elements that are quintessentially Archie,” according to Archie creator/publisher/editor John L. Goldwater. Aguirre-Sacasa is no stranger to tweaking premises and updating properties. He was brought in to help fix the Broadway musical Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark, and he wrote the screenplay for the upcoming remake of Carrie. However, I’m wary of this take on Archie.
It’s not matter of being an Archie “purist” or anything like that. I personally have no attachment to the comics, and I’m not opposed to mixing goofy elements with horror. I love Mystery Team and that movie is PG characters in an R-rated film. What irritates me about Afterlife with Archie is that it looks like it’s going for the zombie crutch. Zombies have become an increasingly pointless go-to because they allow for horror with easy gore and violence even though there’s always potential for the undead to transcend their physical traits and become a potent symbol. But they can also function as a complete gimmick, and I’m worried we’re basically seeing Pride and Prejudice and Zombies but with Archie instead of Jane Austen. Shouldn’t entertaining stories be more than “Just Add Zombies”? However, I haven’t read Afterlife with Archie, so I’ll give Aguirre-Sacasa the benefit of the doubt. Plus, Pitch Perfect was a welcome surprise, so I’m curious to see Moore’s take on the material.