The Wolf Man

What Makes the Monster Special: Lycanthropy – better known as a werewolf’s curse – is passed when such a hairy shapeshifter bites into unturned flesh. In Universal’s 1941 film, Lawrence Talbot finds himself transforming into his “Wolf Man” form at night and prowling the countryside for victims. When the beast takes over, no human morality remains. Commence bloodthirsty killings.

The Director: David Bruckner

Why This Director is a Perfect Fit: There are more straightforward answers than the one I’ve chosen. Neil Marshall, for example, whose Dog Soldiers is the most prolific modern werewolf movie of the 2000s (at least). Lowell Dean, responsible for my favorite pulpy werewolf franchise WolfCop (which features truly nasty transformation sequences amidst beer chugging). These are, for classification purposes, obvious choices – but what’s the fun in that? Give The Wolf Man to someone who’s never dabbled in full moon howls but has also served creature treatments justice, like David Bruckner. Uh huh, mister The Signal, V/H/S, and Southbound.

Oh right, and a little Netflix horror flick titled The Ritual.

Multiple factors jump out at me. First off, Bruckner’s V/H/S segment “Amateur Night” establishes creature mythos expansive enough to spawn feature treatment within a short film’s condensed length. In his Southbound segment “Accident,” gore drips from a woman’s mangled body as she’s carried around desolate hospital rooms. In The Ritual, Bruckner’s command of his demonic Helldeer amalgamation’s physical form boasts confidence that’d serve The Wolf Man so undeniably well. Double points if Blumhouse reunites Bruckner with concept artist Keith Thompson and effects duo Josh and Sierra Russell. What a vicious, delicious, deadly The Wolf Man that’d be.

Jonathan Barkan – James Cameron: Imagine Aliens but with werewolves. It’s been a long time since werewolves were genuinely scary and Cameron is the perfect director to make these nearly-unstoppable creatures terrify audiences once again.

Anya Stanley – Timo Tjahjanto: Imagine Timo Tjahjanto, the man who brought The Raid band back together for The Night Comes For Us, bringing that white-hot energy and kinetic camerawork to the classic Wolf Man narrative with a hard look at masculinity to boot.

Ariel Fisher – Issa López: Her deeply human horror story with fantastical flare (Tigers Are Not Afraid) is reminiscent of Guillermo del Toro’s earlier work, lending itself to profound emotional resonance that goes hand-in-hand with her depiction of the horrific. There’s no better sensibility to capture the tragedy of Lawrence Talbot and the curse of the Wolf Man.  

Matt Barone – Josh and Benny Safdie: Heaven Knows What and Good Time are masterworks of on-the-ground immediacy and in-your-face tension, which could serve the Wolf Man’s story so well. I’m picturing a werewolf transformation scene and all of the wolf attack sequences done with the frantic energy and boldness of Good Time’s opening robbery, and now I’m dying to see them for real.

Chris Evangelista – Jordan Peele: Why Jordan Peele? Honestly, I want to see Jordan Peele’s The Wolfman. Don’t you? With Get Out, Peele revealed he has an eye for horror. He could go two ways with this: turn The Wolf Man into a story with social commentary edges, or make a balls-to-the-wall horror flick. I’d be excited either way.

Marisa Mirabal – Julia Ducournau: The Wolf Man contains elements of gaslighting, elitist entitlement, and, of course, the dual nature of man. I think these topics would be interesting to view through a female lens, and Raws Julia Ducournau has dipped into similar territory. Her seductive style and affinity for practical effects would be an interesting approach to depict both man and beast.

Haleigh Foutch – Julia Ducournau: Ducournau’s feature film debut Raw was a firestorm of grotesque transformation and fleshy frights — just the kind of sensibilities you’d want for a new take on The Wolf Man. Her coming-of-age cannibal film was ferocious and tragic, with a clever spin on inherited blood lust, not to mention gorgeously shot with a flourish of primal sexuality and hunger. Doesn’t that scream “give me a high profile werewolf movie?”

Kalyn Corrigan – Steven Piet: I was blown away by Piet’s work on season two of Channel Zero: No End House. The idea that he can take an innocent looking suburb and twist it into a nightmare where a person’s ghouls are her kin makes me very curious to see what Piet could do in an environment where a man’s worst enemy is the one staring back at him in the mirror.

Phantom Of The Opera

What Makes the Monster Special: Paris Opera House has a “phantom” problem, and his name is Erik. Universal’s first depiction stays true to book descriptions of Erik having a “face resembles a skull with an elongated nose slit and protruding, crooked teeth.” The “Opera Ghost” – as management dubs Erik – makes demands during production, sneaks around catacombs, and attempts to hold a performer hostage/make her his bride. The highest form of culture snob, if you will.

The Director: Agnieszka Smoczynska

Why This Director is a Perfect Fit: If you haven’t seen The Lure yet we can’t be friends (jk, I’ll judge you silently). What Smoczynska achieves with Polish pixie-punk mermaids and Europop musical performances is the most addicting fortunes-and-fame uprise I’ve seen in quite some time. Endless energy on Chernobyl levels. Style designs like a disco ball piñata exploded all over Bowie-era glam but also fishpeople fetishes and savage sisterly pangs of hunger. It’s weird, it’s ambitious, and it’s effervescently enjoyable. Oh right, how does that help Phantom Of The Opera?

It’s true Brian De Palma already cornered the market on bizarro Phantom reimaginings with Phantom Of The Paradise, but that was 1974. It’s now 2019. I’d want Smoczynska to go full Eurotrash pop-punk-party-perversion to the best (worst) of her abilities. Genderswap “Erik” (like Todd And The Book Of Pure Evil) and let electric guitars rev in a modernist theatrical update of some heralded playwright classic. I can’t explain my pick any better than urging you to watch The Lure. That’s all the convincing you should need.

Jonathan Barkan – John McPhail: McPhail stunned audiences with his musical horror/comedy Anna and the Apocalypse, where he delightfully crafted a wonderfully charming, gory, romantic, violent experience. While Phantom certainly doesn’t need any comedy, I believe McPhail could take the other aspects of the story and adapt it into something truly special and memorable.

Anya Stanley – Mike Flanagan: Mike Flanagan has made his bread and butter in amplifying the simple plot with gravitas; give this man an epic-level budget and let. Him. Work.

Ariel Fisher – Mike Flanagan: Flanagan lures his viewers deep into a warm world that quickly turns cold while playing with negative space and constantly keeping you on edge. Meanwhile, he imbues every film with humanity, the one element at the heart of each Universal monster film. “The Phantom” could use a facelift, and Flanagan’s just the filmmaker to give it to him.

Matt Barone – Sean Byrne: This one is selfish on my part: I love both The Loved Ones and The Devil’s Candy so much that I want Byrne to work as much as possible; the six-year gap between those films was too long. But also, The Devil’s Candy’s reliance on music, albeit metal, makes me think that Byrne could do something fascinating with Phantom’s own music-rooted story. I’m not saying it could be some kind of rock opera, but I’m not *not* saying that either.

Chris Evangelista – Nicolas Winding Refn: Phantom of the Opera should be something gaudy and over-stylized – which is Refn’s trademark. I almost went with Brian De Palma for this, but of course, he already made Phantom of the Paradise. So instead, picture this as a neon-drenched freak-show with synth-wave music.

Marisa MirabalLuca Guadagnino: Theres always a sense of formal tradition with The Phantom of the Opera remakes. For that reason, Id pick Luca Guadagnino. As seen in Suspiria, hes able to enhance a classic narrative while capturing dance sequences on camera extremely well. His understanding and execution of artistic rendition is palpable.

Haleigh Foutch – Mike Flanagan: Nobody blends melancholy with terror quite like Mike Flanagan, and his brand of heartbreaking horror would be a perfect fit for a classic spin on the “awe-inspiring mystery and beauteous romance” of The Phantom of the Opera. Flanagan is coming off the best work of his career with the double whammy of Gerald’s Game and The House on Haunted Hill; a series that was as poignant as it was terrifying. Phantom would also be a nice fit for his stylistic sensibilities — just look at the way he lovingly shot the splendor and rot of Hill House, not to mention his penchant for gaunt, ghastly figures.

Kalyn Corrigan – Jodie Foster: After its many iterations, myriad copycat films, and renowned reputation, here’s a film that’s long overdue for a woman’s perspective. This movie has been done so many times, how could one possibly change it up other than letting it be seen through a fresh pair of eyes? And what better eyes to gaze upon this beaten path than those of Jodie Foster? If you’re new to her work, check out her Black Mirror episode “Arkangel.”

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