Posted on Tuesday, November 3rd, 2015 by Jack Giroux
Universal has had a little trouble bringing their classic monsters back to life. Neither The Wolfman nor Dracula Untold made kids excited about the return of these icons. But Universal’s current plan is to create a world similar to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and if that happens, there’s a few directors we’d like to see take a crack at these monsters.
Read more after the jump.
A year ago Donna Langley, the head of Universal, discussed the problems the studio has had making horror movies. Not many of them have been particularly good — which is part of the reason why they’ve failed to connect — but, to Langley, those missteps mean the Universe Monster franchise needs to go in a new, action-oriented direction.
We’ve tried over the years to make monster movies — unsuccessfully, actually. And we had an epiphany, which is that the horror genre has a ceiling; it’s not global. There’s a reason why monster characters are enduring, generation upon generation. So we took a good, hard look at it, and we settled upon an idea, which is to take it out of the horror genre, put it more in the action-adventure genre and make it present day, bringing these incredibly rich and complex characters into present day and reimagine them and reintroduce them to a contemporary audience.
Fans of the Universal classics weren’t exactly ecstatic about this quote. These characters aren’t action heroes, they’re monsters — generally sad, conflicted souls. Making these remakes action movies goes against the spirit of characters. It’s one thing to update these monsters, but if you want to make an action-adventure movie, why do it with these icons? Obviously for the name-recognition, but are modern audiences chomping at the bit to see Frankenstein and his bride kicking ass and taking names? If they were, maybe they would’ve seen I, Frankenstein. Good thing they didn’t.
Alex Kurtzman, the director of the upcoming Mummy reboot, responded to the criticisms regarding the quote above from Langley.
Yeah, I think it’s a fair response and it’s actually not — I think there was some lost in translation quality to the way it was received, because I promise you there will be horror in these movies. It is our life goal to make a horror movie. The tricky part is actually how you combine horror with either adventure or suspense or action and be true to all the genres together. In some way, Mummy, dating all the way back to the Karloff movie, was the first to do that. It was the first to combine horror with — I wouldn’t say action, but certainly a lot of suspense. So it’s more about how you blend the different elements and stay true to each one, but there will definitely be horror in the monster movies… We will hopefully serve it up good and plenty.
We’ll see if that’s the case. Horror movies that cost over $100 million aren’t getting made left and right, and Universal just had a horror pic (Crimson Peak) that cost half that and it didn’t perform well at the box office. Maybe Kurtzman will find that balance of horror and adventure with The Mummy, though, and get this Universal Monsters franchise on the right track. If that film is success, these remakes will keep coming.
To celebrate Halloween last week, I spent my time wisely by revisiting the classic monster movies, and came up with some directors I wouldn’t mind seeing direct some of Universal’s planned remakes. Hit the next page to see my Universal Monsters directors wishlist.