When the first poster for Horns , Daniel Radcliffe's new horror movie, came out earlier this month, Harry Potter fans quickly jumped on its resemblance to the actor's famous franchise. The newspaper-like ad, emblazoned with a haunting image of the possibly murderous Ig (Radcliffe), was eerily reminiscent of the Daily Prophet cover featuring "mass killer" Sirius Black, a character who, like Ig, was accused of a heinous crime he swore he didn't commit. Yet despite the poster, the actual movie is as unlike the fantasy series as it gets; in fact, judging by the Horns trailer, released on Monday, what happens to Ig is pretty much Harry Potter's worst nightmare.
Let's break it down. First, there's the main issue at hand: the dead girlfriend. Over the course of the series, Harry lost many of the most important people in his life — his parents, his godfather, his mentor, his friends. Despite this, though, the women he loved managed to prevail, first Cho and then Ginny. Losing either of them, but especially Ginny, would've crushed him, and even more so if he was the one getting blamed for their deaths. Harry already feels guilty for the deaths of Cedric and Fred, among others, and adding on yet another person — his girlfriend, no less — would be the worst it could get.
Then, there's the issue of the horns. Thanks to his scar, Harry's been easily identifiable by the public for his entire life, but horns would be a whole other story. It'd mark him as a murderer, or at least a suspect, and color his interactions with everyone he meets. There'd be no more hiding out for Harry, or acting like a normal guy; because of the horns, he'd forever be Harry Potter, the Boy Who Killed.
Next: the self-doubt. Ig, like Harry, knows he's innocent, but the amount of people telling him he's not and pressuring him to confess causes him to question his own truths. And with self-doubt comes self-pity, and the whole angsty, why-does-everyone-hate-me-just-leave-me-alone attitude that was familiar to anyone who encountered Harry at 15. Now that he's older, Harry surely realizes how embarrassing that was, and would certainly not want to relive it, like Ig is in Horns.
And then there's the snakes. Nothing screams Harry Potter nightmare more than a bunch of snakes he can communicate with. Being a Parseltongue may have come in handy over the course of the series, but its reputation as a dangerous, dark skill was uncomfortable enough for Harry that he was very relieved when he discovered the talent had been lost. In Horns, though, Ig forms a bond with snakes, using them for intimidation and, most likely, violence.
Basically, Ig in Horns is what Harry Potter always feared he would become: a lonely, violent man forever guilty for the deaths of his loved ones. It's easy to imagine his future turning out very differently than it did, with Horns-like events being the norm. Thankfully, as Potter readers know, the actual outcome was nothing like that; at the end of the books, Harry ended up surrounded by family and love, not anger and isolation — and definitely no snakes.
Horns, directed by Joe Hill, will be released on, fittingly, Oct. 31. Check out the trailer below:
Image: Dimension Films; Warner Bros.