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Biography

Darkman is a 1990 superhero action film directed by Sam Raimi. It is based on a short story Raimi wrote that paid homage to Universal's horror films of the 1930s. The film stars Liam Neeson as Peyton Westlake, a scientist who is attacked and left for dead by a ruthless mobster, Durant (played by Larry Drake) after his girlfriend, an attorney (played by Frances McDormand) runs afoul of a corrupt developer (played by Colin Friels). Westlake survives, but is left with burns over most of his body. While hospitalized as a comatose John Doe, he is unwittingly subjected to a radical treatment that destroys the nerve endings connected to his skin, causing him to lose his ability to feel any tactile sensation. This causes adrenaline to run unchecked through his body, and increases his brain's emotional output, to compensate. Now half-crazed, Westlake escapes the hospital and decides to get revenge on the criminals who took his life away, but now as a masked vigilante, known as Darkman.

Unable to secure the rights to either The Shadow or Batman, Raimi decided to create his own superhero and struck a deal with Universal Studios to make his first Hollywood studio film. He was subjected to a grueling screenwriting process and equally difficult post-production battle with the studio.

Darkman was generally well received by critics and performed well at the box office, grossing almost $49 million worldwide, well above its $16 million budget. This financial success spawned two direct-to-video sequels, Darkman II: The Return of Durant and Darkman III: Die, Darkman, Die, as well as comic books, video games and action figures. Over the years, Darkman has become regarded as a cult film.