Nicolas Cage’s New Horror Movie Has Monsters Inspired By Goofy, And I Don’t Know Whether To Be Amused Or Terrified

 Nic Cage starring in RLJE films' "Arcadian," Goofy in 'An Extremely Goofy Movie." .
Nic Cage starring in RLJE films' "Arcadian," Goofy in 'An Extremely Goofy Movie." .

When we consider the pantheon of the best horror movie monsters, icons like the Xenomorph from Alien or The Thing come to mind — creatures that have haunted filmgoers' dreams for decades. However, a new contender has entered the ring, borrowing its eerie traits from an unlikely source: Disney’s loveable anthropomorphic dog in a turtleneck, Goofy. That’s right, Nicolas Cage’s 2024 movie release, Arcadian, is set to redefine what makes our skin crawl, courtesy of a surprising influence that blends childhood memories with nightmare fuel.

Ben Brewer, the director of Arcadian, revealed to IGN that his monstrous vision was inspired by Goofy, particularly a scene from A Goofy Movie where Max was haunted by a nightmare of transforming into his goofy (pun intended), bucktoothed father. While the scene might appear comical, it possesses an unsettling undertone, which the filmmaker has amplified to form the backbone of his upcoming horror movie. He elaborated on this eerie inspiration:

From the beginning, I had this idea of big nocturnal eyes and massive spaced-out teeth. Teeth way too big for the creature’s mouth. Goofy, the Disney character, was a big inspiration. That's where the Goofy thing comes in, because in that film, that dream sequence or even like the way Bigfoot is depicted [in A Goofy Movie], it's terrifying. It's too much personality. We gave our creatures too much personality because it would be freaky for people.

Sometimes, the most effective horror can arise from the least expected places, turning familiar, even endearing, figures into sources of profound fear – think of all the great scary clowns of cinema! So, a terrifying anthropomorphic doglike creature makes all the sense in the world to me.

Nic Cage’s involvement in the flick went beyond his on-screen role; he actively contributed to the final design of the monster, pushing for a creature that was not just a nightmarish vision but something believably adapted to its environment. According to the director, the Face/Off star reacted to the initial designs of the villains in a less than enthusiastic way, saying:

I can't kill that. It's like a Goofy plush toy.

Cage’s feedback led to a creature design that incorporates elements of real-world biology, like the communal survival strategies of ants, adding a layer of plausible terror to the fantastical horror. The final monster design in Arcadian features an amalgamation of limbs and features that defy easy categorization, designed to spark fear through its unfamiliarity and eerie semblance to known animal aspects.

The Renfield star, known for his eclectic choice of roles, has mentioned that a few of his more recent films are some of his favorites. While it remains to be seen whether Arcadian will earn a place among his favorites, the film certainly presents a compelling draw. Even if driven by nothing more than a morbid curiosity to behold the odd creature designs,  the creature feature promises to be an intriguing watch.

Arcadian opened in theaters on April 12 and is still playing in select theaters. Later in the year, it will be available for streaming with a Shudder plan or an AMC+ subscription. Also, consider checking out the actor’s five favorite Nic Cage films, with Face/Off being available with an Amazon Prime subscription or  Paramount+ subscription.