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Directed by Mark A.Z. Dippé
Produced by Clint Goldman
Associate Producer:
Terry Fitzgerald
Executive Producer:
Todd McFarlane
Alan C. Blomquist
Co-Executive Producer:
Adrianna Cohen
Brian Witten
Written by Screenplay:
Alan B. McElroy
Alan B. McElroy
Mark A.Z. Dippé
Comic Book:
Todd McFarlane
Starring Michael Jai White
John Leguizamo
Martin Sheen
Theresa Randle
Melinda Clarke
Miko Hughes
Sydni Beaudoin
with Nicol Williamson
and D. B. Sweeney
Music by Graeme Revell
Cinematography Guillermo Navarro
Editing by Michael N. Knue
Todd Busch
Distributed by New Line Cinema
Release date(s) August 1, 1997
Running time 92 min. (94 min. Director's Cut)
Language English
Budget $40,000,000
Gross revenue $87,840,042

Spawn is a film adaptation of the comic book of the same name, Todd McFarlane's creator-owned comic, published by Image Comics. It was released in the United States on August 1, 1997. The film was directed and co-written by Mark A. Z. Dippé (a former animator at Industrial Light & Magic) and executive produced by McFarlane and Alan Blomquist. The movie starred Michael Jai White as Al Simmons/Spawn, John Leguizamo as Al's demonic guide and antagonist Clown/The Violator, Melinda Clarke as the assassin Jessica Priest, Nicol Williamson as Al's mentor Cogliostro, Theresa Randle as Al's widow Wanda Blake, D. B. Sweeney as Wanda's husband Terry Fitzgerald, Martin Sheen as Al's former government employee Jason Wynn, and veteran voice actor Frank Welker as the voice of Malebolgia.

Spawn is the first motion picture to feature an African American portraying a major comic book superhero.[1]



The premise of the movie is similar to the initial storyline of the original comics. Al Simmons, a military soldier/assassin, is betrayed by a covert government agency head, Jason Wynn. Wynn assigns Simmons a mission to take out a Bio-Chem plant in North Korea while ordering his top assassin, Jessica Priest, to assassinate him. After Simmons dies, he is taken to Hell, where Malebolgia, The Devil of various realms, offers him a Faustian deal. If Simmons becomes his eternal servant and leader of his army in Armageddon, he will be able to return to Earth to see his beloved fiancee, Wanda Blake. Simmons accepts the offer and is returned to Earth.

Upon his return, Simmons learns, much to his horror, that five years had passed. Wanda is now married to his best friend, Terry and living the life he had always longed for, including the daughter he never knew, Cyan. Along his journey in this new life, he encounters a strange clown-like demon called The Violator, who acts as a guide to set "Spawn" onto the path to evil, and a mysterious old man named Cogliostro, a fellow Hellspawn who freed his soul and now fights for Heaven. Jason Wynn is now a high-class weapons dealer and has created the ultimate bio-weapon, "Heat 16".

After Spawn kills Jessica Priest, The Violator convinces Wynn to have a device attached to his heart that will trigger the worldwide release of the deadly virus should his vital signs flatline. Spawn confronts The Violator, who turns into his demonic form and defeats him in battle. Cogliostro manages to help him recover and teaches him how to harness the power of his necroplasm before Spawn learns that Clown and Jason are heading over to Terry's house.

Meanwhile, Terry has just finished an online communications with a fellow newsman who sent him evidence that would expose Jason Wynn. After the transmission, Cyan enters the room with Jason being right behind her. He destroys his computer and holds the family hostage as Clown arrives. When Spawn arrives, he ends up nearly killing Jason Wynn, despite his warning that his death with launch the Heat 16 bombs. Only after realizing that Jason's death would ultimately mean the death of Cyan does he relent, choosing instead to use his power to extract the device from Wynn's body before destroying it. His plans foiled, Clown draws Spawn and Cogliostro into Hell, where Spawn tells Malebolgia that he will never lead his army. He escapes with Cogliostro just before the Army of Hell descends upon them and returns to the real world. The Violator follows them and a final battle ensues between him and Spawn, ending with Spawn severing the demon's head with his chains. Jason Wynn is arrested, and Spawn, realizing there is no place for him in Wanda's world anymore, dedicates himself to justice rather than succumbing to his lust for vengeance.



At the government-hosted gala, a red-headed sexy woman with the typical Spawn symbol on her earrings. This cameo, albeit brief, is generally considered to be a nod to the angelic Spawn-hunter Angela. Despite her popularity in the comic series, she may have been absent from the film because of ongoing legal disputes between Spawn creator Todd McFarlane and Neil Gaiman, who was hired as a guest writer for Angela's debut issue, Spawn #9. Also, two detectives resembling Sam and Twitch arrest Jason Wynn towards the end of the film.

McFarlane himself makes a cameo appearance as one of the bums running away during the alley fight between Spawn and the Violator.

Difference from comic

Although the film was based on the comic book series, some details were changed for the theatrical version of Spawn. Terry Fitzgerald, Al Simmons' best friend in his former life, a black man in the comic, was played by D. B. Sweeney, a white man, in the film. McFarlane has explained that this was done by the studio to avoid having too many black leads and creating a perception the film was aimed at just a black target audience.[citation needed] Also, in the comics Cyan is clearly Terry's daughter, introduced in the third issue as being roughly a year and a half old. As Al was in hell for five years, it is impossible for him to be Cyan's father. In the movie it is implied that the reverse is true. In the movie, Wanda was revealed to be engaged to Al prior to his death whereas in the comic the two were married. Lastly the comic had Al striking Wanda, however the movie did not.

It is also revealed in the film that Jessica Priest was Al Simmons' murderer. In the comic book series, however, Al Simmons' murderer was originally Chapel, character originally created by Rob Liefeld for the comic Youngblood. However, due to the eventual severing of professional ties between Liefeld and McFarlane, the story may have been altered for the purposes of the film. Chapel remained in the Spawn television series, which premiered on HBO months before the film was released. Additionally, it was later revealed in the comic book series, in a case of questionable retcon, that Jessica Priest was indeed Al Simmons' murderer after all. Also in the film, Simmons worked for an agency called A6, while in the comic book he worked for the CIA.

The nature of Spawn's powers and allies are also different. Cogliostro, for example, while revealed to be Cain in the comics, is here portrayed as an assassin for the church in the fifteenth century, who has forsaken most of his Spawn-based powers apart from a blade that comes from his right wrist and is his favored weapon in battle. Also, while Cogliostro does warn Spawn that he will die if his powers are drained, no reference is ever made to Spawn possessing a 'counter' like in the comics, which makes the precise limits of Spawn's powers unclear.


Roger Ebert praised the film, awarding it 3½ out of 4 stars, ending his review with, "As a visual experience, Spawn is unforgettable."[2] However, on television, his co-host (at the time), Gene Siskel, said the film lost him a mere 2 minutes after its introduction. The two had a rather heated debate over the film on screen.

According to Rotten Tomatoes, the film is rated at 21% on the Tomatometer, based on 33 reviews.[3]

Spawn featured, for its time, impressive special effects courtesy of Industrial Light and Magic. Though it received mixed reviews, it was considered a modest box-office success, earning $54.9 million domestically, a little over $87 million worldwide.

DVD release

There are two versions of the film, the PG-13 version and the R-rated Director's Cut.


A sequel, tentatively titled Spawn 2, has been in development hell since 1998.[4][5][6] Michael Jai White confirmed himself to be a part of the project in 2001, as did producer Don Murphy,[7][8] though their current involvement has not been confirmed. McFarlane has stated that the film will be primarily centered around the detective characters Sam and Twitch, leaving Spawn without a speaking part.[5][6] During a interview, Todd McFarlane confirmed that the sequel is a franchise reboot - not a direct sequel - similar to Batman Begins and both the 2004 version of The Punisher and 2008's Punisher: War Zone.[9] In 2007 plans were made for Todd McFarlane Funding to make a new Spawn movie, scheduled for release in 2008.[10] The movie may simply be called Spawn, according to Home Media Magazine.[11] While a guest on the Scott Ferrall show on Sirius radio, a caller asked if he had any plans to do the sequel. He said "It's coming out no matter what. Even if I have to produce, direct and finance it myself, it's going to come out."

It was announced in August 2009 that Todd McFarlane had officially begun writing the screenplay for a new movie based on the character. "The story has been in my head for 7 or 8 years," McFarlane said. "The movie idea is neither a recap or continuation. It is a standalone story that will be R-rated. Creepy and scary." He added that "the tone of this 'Spawn' movie will be for a more older audience. Like the film The Departed."[12]


Spawn: The Album
Soundtrack by Various
Released 29 July 1997
Genre Various
Label Sony
Producer Various
Professional reviews

Spawn: The Album was released in July 1997 and brought together popular rock bands at the time including Metallica, Korn, Slayer, Marilyn Manson and Silverchair with well known DJs and electronic producers such as The Crystal Method, Roni Size, and Atari Teenage Riot. A similar concept was previously implemented on the rock/hip-hop fused Judgment Night soundtrack. The album debuted at #7 on the U.S. Billboard 200 and stayed in the chart for 25 weeks. The album is certified Gold for selling over 500,000 copies in America.[citation needed]

There are several limited editions of the soundtrack.[citation needed] A US version featuring different cover artwork, an Australian version featuring yet another cover (with the same image as on Spawn #39) plus a bonus track "This Is Not A Dream (UK Mix)" by Apollo 440 & Morphine; and a Japanese version with identical cover as the Australian, including a bonus disc containing three remixes and the bonus track from Australian version. The McFarlane Collector's Club also made an LP release available to members featuring the standard album art and translucent red discs.

Track listing

  1. "(Can't You) Trip Like I Do" - Filter & The Crystal Method – 4:28
  2. "Long Hard Road out of Hell" - Marilyn Manson & Sneaker Pimps – 4:21
  3. "Satan" - Orbital & Kirk Hammett – 3:45
  4. "Kick the P.A." - KoЯn & The Dust Brothers – 3:21
  5. "Tiny Rubberband" - Butthole Surfers & Moby – 4:12
  6. "For Whom the Bell Tolls (The Irony of it All)" - Metallica & DJ Spooky – 4:39
  7. "Torn Apart" - Stabbing Westward & Wink – 4:53
  8. "Skin Up Pin Up" - Mansun & 808 State – 5:27
  9. "One Man Army" - Prodigy & Tom Morello – 4:14
  10. "Spawn" - Silverchair & Vitro – 4:28
  11. "T-4 Strain" - Henry Rollins & Goldie – 5:19
  12. "Familiar" - Incubus & DJ Greyboy – 3:22
  13. "No Remorse (I Wanna Die)" - Slayer & Atari Teenage Riot – 4:16
  14. "A Plane Scraped Its Belly On A Sooty Yellow Moon" - Soul Coughing & Roni Size – 5:26
Bonus tracks
  1. "This Is Not a Dream" (UK Mix) - Apollo 440 & Morphine


  1. ^ "Michael Jai White is first Black comic superhero to star on the movie screen in 'Spawn.'", JET, September 22, 1997. Retrieved 2010-02-14.
  2. ^ Ebert, Roger (August 1, 1997). "Spawn". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2007-07-28. 
  3. ^ Rotten - Spawn
  4. ^ Head, Steve (2001-03-12). "Michael Jai White Gives IGN FilmForce the Latest on Spawn 2". IGN. Retrieved 2007-03-21. 
  5. ^ a b "Spawn". Comics 2 Film. Retrieved 2007-03-21. 
  6. ^ a b Campea, John (2006-02-27). "Spawn 2". The Movie Blog. Retrieved 2007-03-21. 
  7. ^ Stax (2002-12-03). "Spawn 2 Update". IGN. Retrieved 2007-03-21. 
  8. ^ Stax (2003-07-10). "Who Might Direct Transformers?". IGN. Retrieved 2007-03-21. 
  9. ^ "Fanboy Radio #357 - Todd McFarlane LIVE" (MP3). 13 December 2006. Retrieved 2007-10-16. 
  10. ^ Weinberg, Scott (June 4, 2007). "Todd McFarlane Funding a New "Spawn" Movie?". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2007-10-16. 
  11. ^ "Todd McFarlane Begins Work on New 'Spawn' Film". May 31, 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-16. 
  12. ^ McFarlane Starts Writing New Spawn Movie

External links

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