For other uses, see Darkman (disambiguation). 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, neutralizing his ability to sense physical pain but increasing 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 numerous comic books, video games and action figures. Over the years, Darkman has become regarded as a cult film.