WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Sony’s Venom, in theaters now.
Much like the trailers promised, Venom is filled with amorphous, alien symbiotes and brutalized thugs, but the fun doesn’t stop there. The mid-credits scene depicts a visit by Tom Hardy’s Eddie Brock to San Quentin State Prison to interview its most-feared inmate. The red-haired figure welcomes the reporter with a message written in blood, and a chilling declaration: “When I get out of here — and I will — there will be carnage.” To any fan of Venom, it’s clear who Woody Harrelson plays, even if his role isn’t explicitly stated: serial killer Cletus Kasaday, who in the comics bonds with the terrifying symbiote Carnage.
Kasady is a horrifying character, in that he’s, simply put, pure evil. Violence is an important part of Carnage, and Marvel Comics fans might assume that when he’s inevitably introduced in a sequel, it will require an R rating to properly portray the murderous antagonist. However, it’s probable that Venom 2 will be PG-13, just like the original. Still, there’s no reason why Carnage can’t be depicted as monstrous as his comic book counterpart.
In the comics, Eddie was imprisoned until Venom returned to bond with him again, permitting him to escape Ryker’s Island. In the process, the symbiote unwittingly left behind its offspring, which merged with Eddie’s cellmate, the crazed Cletus Kasaday, and immediately embarked on a killing spree. It required the combined strength of Spider-Man and Venom to defeat Carnage, but that only left the symbiote stronger. The alien bonded to Kasady’s bloodstream and, in the 1993 crossover “Maximum Carnage,” they broke free again.
That storyline gave us more than just a rampaging, murderous psychopath. It also depicted Carnage as more complex than your average monster. Cletus was a sadist from an early age who, as a child, murdered his grandmother, tried to kill his mother, and tortured and killed the family dog. Abused and abandoned, Cletus continued his homicidal streak through adolescence, going so far as to burn down the orphanage on his way to becoming a full-fledged serial killer. It’s an intense, blood-spattered backstory that seems almost impossible to do justice within a PG-13 rating, but the key word is almost.
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