7 movies that you didn’t know came from comics, like ‘The Kitchen’

Marcus Goh

One of New York’s most famous (or infamous) areas is the Hell’s Kitchen neighbourhood – which is exactly where crime drama The Kitchen takes place. If Hell’s Kitchen sounds familiar to you – it should. it’s where Daredevil comes from, and it’s also a playable area in Grand Theft Auto IV (although it’s given the clever name “Purgatory” in that game). The Kitchen follows a trio of widows after their husbands get sent to jail – with the small caveat that their husbands were deadly Irish gangsters. So it’s up to these ladies to continue leading their Irish mobs, all while juggling their duties to family.

If it sounds like a comic book-y premise to you – that’s because it is! The film is adapted from the comic of the same name, published by Vertigo (and parent company DC Comics). The Kitchen isn’t the only comic book to have been turned into a hit movie though – many other cinematic classics also have their roots in the comics. Here are some movies that you never knew came from a comic.


1. Oldboy (2003, 2013)

As pretentious as it may be, you can’t deny that Oldboy (2003) smacks of much more originality than the other two films in the oh-so-grittily named “Vengeance Trilogy.” That’s because Oldboy (2003) was adapted from a manga, rather than being created whole cloth by director Park Chan-wook (generally speaking, his adaptations are much better than his original works). The story centred around a man seeking (what else?) vengeance, after being released from years of imprisonment.

It was so popular that a (terrible) American version was made in 2013 – a version that starred Samuel L Jackson, Josh Brolin, and Elizabeth Olsen. Sadly, it bombed – probably because Oldboy (2013) was probably a dated concept by then.

The original manga, however, had the sense to call it Old Boy (instead of joining the words in some attempt to be “hip”) (despite the fact that it’s a Japanese manga) – and it ran from 1996 to 1998. It saw a translated English release in 2006 – so if you want to know how the original story concluded, you should check out Old Boy.


2. Annie (1982, 1999, 2014)

Annie is a cultural phenomenon – not only does it have three movie adaptations, but it also has seen a Broadway adaptation, radio plays, and even some 1930’s film adaptations. It originally came from a comic strip that debuted in 1924 which was titled Little Orphan Annie. Being a daily comic strip, the title had to immediately convey the premise, hence the slightly longer title. What’s amazing is that it ran for a long time – in fact, it was cancelled only nine years ago! That’s a long time for anything, including a comic strip, to be running.

I’m pretty sure that there was no It’s A Hard Knock Life song in the comic strip itself, which is the most iconic musical number in the film.  But there’s a good reason for it too – the song is incredibly catchy, and it’s just so hilariously incongruous to see a group of make-believe orphans singing about being poor, especially when they live in a really, really clean orphanage.


3. Weird Science (1985)

Weird Science (1985) was basically every lonely, bullied child’s dream come true – a gorgeous mentor appears to save the day and solve their problems, teaching them a little bit about themselves in the process. It was popular enough that almost ten years later, a television series was created, also titled Weird Science. It ran for five seasons, and that’s probably why almost everyone can hum the Weird Science theme song – it was both in a movie and a popular TV series.

But the title of the film was actually taken from a comic book series, a science fiction anthology series (sort of like today’s Black Mirror) that showed insight into the human condition. When was it published? Well, you’ll be surprised to know that it first saw the light of day in 1950 – and proved so endearing that years later, a film would be named after it.


4. Blue is the Warmest Colour (2013)

The 2013 Palme d’Or winner was a touching and revealing exploration into sexuality (although it ran a little bit long, to be honest), which is probably why it fared so well at the Cannes Film Festival. The French coming-of-age story centered around a teenager’s quest and subsequent relationship with a woman with (you guessed it) blue hair.

The romance was based on a French graphic novel that was published in 2010. The title of the comic was originally Blue Angel, but it was later changed to Blue is the Warmest Colour. Set in the late 1990s, it gave the name Clémentine to the protagonist of the story (it was changed to Adèle for the film version) – but it had a very, very tragic ending.

Comparatively, the film ended on a (slightly) happier note.


5. The Mask (1994)

If you’re a fan of rubber-faced Jim Carrey (or you just like seeing Jim Carrey in green), then you most definitely would have caught The Mask. In the film, Stanley Ipkiss (Jim Carrey) finds a magical mask that basically gives him the powers of a god (since the mask was purportedly created by Loki) and goes around causing havoc and mayhem with it. You’d think that someone with the power to alter reality would be invincible, but no, he does have to fight his share of bad guys in the movie.

However, the comic version of The Mask was much, much darker. The comic debuted in 1987, and showed that the wearer of the mask would be anti-heroes at best – but psychotic murderers (like The Joker) most of the time. The mask would slowly drive the user insane, and removed all inhibitions that the user had. It was dark, it was violent, but it was also pretty fun.


6. Alien vs Predator (2004)

Long before we saw Aliens fighting Predators on the silver screen, a group of intrepid comic book artists had already pit these two extra-terrestrial species against each other in a 1989 comic book. Said comic book was so popular that it spawned many, many more comics, and it even pitted Aliens & Predators against the likes of Superman, Batman, Judge Dredd, and even the Terminator.

But there’s nothing quite like seeing the Aliens fighting Predators on screen. Although the dialogue was nothing to write home about (who goes to a movie about aliens for the dialogue?), it was exhilarating seeing the two monsters go at it on a cinema screen. There was a 2007 sequel, Alien vs Predator: Requiem, but nobody likes to talk about that because it was pretty bad.


7. The Kitchen (2019)

Upcoming film The Kitchen (2019) features Melissa McCarthy, Tiffany Haddish, and Elizabeth Moss as mobsters (well, they start off as the wives of Irish mobsters) who rule Hell’s Kitchen. If it sounds like a larger than life concept, then you’ve caught on to The Kitchen‘s biggest secret – which is that it came from a comic.

Set in 1978, the three powerful women face their fair share of challenges – ranging from discrimination to just the sheer fact that they have families to take care of as well. But there’s no underestimating this trio, and here’s hoping that they’ll be triumphant, just like in the comics.

The Kitchen. Credit: Golden Village Cinemas

The Kitchen. Credit: Golden Village Cinemas

So… what exactly do Irish mobsters have to do on a day-to-day basis? That’s what the three Hell’s Kitchen housewives find out in The Kitchen. Their duties span the gamut from running racketeering operations to taking down their rivals. In fact, they’re so good at it that they could possible be better than their husbands (who are imprisoned at the start of the film) when it comes to being mobsters. Plus, they also have to come home and run their own households at the end of the day.

Don’t mess with these mamas in The Kitchen.


Credits: Golden Village Cinemas


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