ByKit Simpson Browne, writer at
Writer-at-large. Bad jokes aplenty. Can be gently prodded on Twitter at @kitsb1
Kit Simpson Browne

Now, with the impending(ish) arrival of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and the Deadpool solo movie growing more-and-more likely to actually have an R rating, it seems that the gradual progression of the superhero movie industry away from the dark, gritty likes of Blade and The Punisher, and towards the more universal entertainment of Marvel Studios, may finally have come to something of an end.

After all, The Dark Knight trilogy and Man of Steel's grim, largely humorless approach - one very much in line with the darker, more adult comic-books that grew in popularity throughout the 1980's, and remain hugely influential today - seems to be the way that the entire DC movie-line is planning on going, giving the grim side of super-heroism a substantial boost.

This is what that boost looks like.
This is what that boost looks like.

For the hardcore fan of adult-leaning, brutally violent superhero movies (and series), however, there still isn't a whole lot out there - and so here, just in case Batman v Superman turns up with a whole lot of comic-relief in it, is a look at six of the greatest - and, as it happens, grittiest - fan-made superhero films ever made.

First up (though in no particular order):

6. Dirty Laundry

In which The Punisher - actually played by Thomas Jane, who played the anti-hero back in the 2004 movie adaptation - kicks a whole bunch of (absolutely brutal) ass. Now, admittedly, it was made by Adi Shankar, who also produced high-level action movies, as part of his 'Bootleg Universe' - but since it's completely un-official, and awesome, it definitely deserves a place on the list...

5. Truth in Journalism

As, in fact, does Shankar's Truth in Journalism, which proves that there really is a way to put long-time Spider-Man foe Venom into a movie without Topher Grace having to be involved.

4. Batman: Puppet Master

Now, while Shankar has been doing a lot of the work when it comes to gritty Marvel adaptations, a whole lot of fans have been chipping in when it comes to DC comics getting the dark and gloomy big-screen treatment. Like, for instance, in Bryan Nest's Batman: Puppet Master, which imagines a world in which Christopher Nolan's Batman took a very different turn...

3. Nightwing: The Series

Batman, of course, isn't the only DC hero to get the fan-made treatment - his one-time sidekick Nightwing has even managed to get his own (almost ridiculously high-quality) fan-made series, directed by Adam Zielinski. Which is more than any TV network has managed to give him up till now...

2. Batman: Dead End

One of the greatest superhero fan films of all time, however, is still Batman: Dead End, directed by Sandy Collora way back in 2003. In it, Batman not only faces off against The Joker, but also, in brutal fashion, against an Alien...and a Predator. It's one of those fan-made achievements you just have to see to believe - or, if you've already seen it, to watch again to remind yourself that yes, it really was that good.

1. Ace the Bathound

My final pick may not seem like the grittiest option - inspired as it is by Batman: The Animated Series, but honestly, I defy you to watch Leo Tierney's Ace the Bathound and its (classic story-line) Death in the Family inspired events without getting all emotional - and desperately wanting to see a full series version...

What do you reckon, though?



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