The Opening Credits of 'Chilling Adventures of Sabrina' Are a Creepy, Clue-Filled Gem
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina deals in resurrections, both in some actual resurrections that take place in the context of the new witchy series, and in reviving the beloved character, Sabrina Spellman. On top of that, Netflix's new show is breathing new life into the opening credits sequence. Before each episode, viewers are treated to a gloriously macabre symphony of comic book imagery. Netflix will ask if you want to skip them -- you probably won't.
It's not the theme music that stands out, which is pleasantly creepy with its howling theremin than especially memorable; rather, it's the standout visuals. The credits showcase the work and aesthetic of Robert Hack, the co-creator of the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina comics. Like the physical media before them, they have a wonderfully hand-drawn, retro feel, and are filled with creatures and creepy crawlies that hover at the edge of the action.
Hack tells Thrillist that the credits were already underway when he was asked to draw the likenesses of the actors now inhabiting the characters he put on the page. So while you see his version of Sabrina, you also see Kiernan Shipka as the budding half-witch. You've also got the nefarious Father Blackwood (Richard Coyle) brooding in a chair, the creepy leader of the Weird Sisters Prudence (Tati Gabrielle) blinking, and our heroine's pals, like Harvey (Ross Lynch) and Roz (Jaz Sinclair), biding their time in the mortal world.
"Richard Coyle, I was a huge fan of, from Coupling and all these other things, so it was super cool to get a chance to draw these actors that I've dug for a while and the new cast," Hacks says. "Jaz Sinclair, I think, was one one of the best illustrations I did for the new set."
Meanwhile, the designers took the background art straight from the first eight issues of the comics. So those creepy jellyfish-looking things? Those are the original Sabrina versions of psychopomps -- afterlife guides usually represented as birds that take on a gelatinous form here. As the series goes on, it's clear that some of the designs are not just for added spookiness. (The one connected to Michelle Gomez's credit, with its undead skeleton face, is positively revelatory, for instance.) "There are things that, as they play out across the series, you will see the titles in a new light, and then there's stuff that I think will pay off way down the road," Hack says.
So interpret away -- at your own risk. When I asked if the baby and father head bubbling away in a cauldron is meant to represent Sabrina and her father, Edward, Hack says that could be, but that was not the original intention. "I believe that child and father were a meal served to the high witch council in a flashback," he says. "Our comic is very, very weird."
The show is not quite that gross -- though there is cannibalism involved -- but it still has a dark soul that doesn't skirt around the fact that these witches are serious Satan worshippers. Just before the credits end, there's a glimpse at the original Sabrina, courtesy of artist Dan DeCarlo. Clearly, she's grown up a lot since then.
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Esther Zuckerman is a senior entertainment writer at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter @ezwrites.