Universal Studios has been talking up their plan to create a shared universe, ala Marvel, with all their classic monsters for a while now. They’ve stated that Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster, The Wolfman, The Mummy, The Invisible Man and maybe even Gill-man will all be sharing the screen in some capacity. I didn’t think this was the worst idea in the world when I first heard about it but then things began to smell. First, they announced that Dracula Untold was the starting point and everybody in the world cried ‘Bullshit’. They obviously made that decision after shooting the movie and tacked on a lame post credits teaser to justify it. Then, just last week, they announced that all subsequent monster films will be action adventures without any horror elements at all.
Now, I understand this method has worked before. The Brendan Fraser Mummy films were successful and well-received but you can’t say the same for Van Helsing (though I remain one of that ludicrous film’s sole defenders). But even if Van Helsing had been a success, why not at least try to make the monsters scary again? I’m aware that nobody wants to see these characters the same way they were portrayed 50 years ago but isn’t there some other way to reboot them? And if you want them to share the screen, why not just remake The Monster Squad? Also, are they going to be the heroes or villains of these films? Dracula could work as an action hero and maybe The Wolfman and Frankenstein’s monster could too (though I, Frankenstein would suggest otherwise) but come on, would The Mummy make a compelling hero? Or the Invisible Man? Just what the hell are you guys planning over there? How far up your collective asses are all of your heads? I need answers damnit! Thank goodness Universal’s chairman, Donna Langley, is here to explain things. Here’s what she said to the Hollywood Reporter:
We don’t have any capes [in our film library]. But what we do have is an incredible legacy and history with the monster characters. We’ve tried over the years to make monster movies — unsuccessfully, actually. 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.
Oh boy Donna, you’ve got your head shoved all the way up your ass don’t ya? Let’s break this thing down line by line:
We don’t have any capes [in our film library].
Huh? What do you mean you don’t have any capes? Is that supposed to be funny? The only character who ever had a cape is Dracula so what is that statement supposed to signify? Oh wait, I’m sorry, are you referring to superheroes? Of course you are, gotcha. SO WHY NOT JUST SAY THAT THEN? Stop trying to be hip Donna, it doesn’t suit ya.
But what we do have is an incredible legacy and history with the monster characters.
Well, bully for you. Give yourself a pat on the back. But you do realize that’s the equivalent of saying, “look, the studio made tons of good films 50 years ago and even though everyone who worked on them is as dead as Dillinger, they’re still ours so show us some respect.” HAHAHA. No.
We’ve tried over the years to make monster movies — unsuccessfully, actually.
Ok, I’ll give you that one. Does anyone even remember the Bencio Del Toro Wolfman movie? Did that really happen or did I just dream it up? Then again, Jurassic Park is a pretty great monster movie. You do know what films your studio has put out right?
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.
Really? How hard did you look? Cuz if you just had a series of meetings catered by pimps and hookers where executives kept throwing up their hands to say, “Fuck I don’t know, people like action right?”, that isn’t really a good hard look. That’s a sign of desperation. A pathetic attempt to cash in on the superhero model. And geez Donna, you really want to make it clear that these films will be in present day don’t ya? You mention it twice in the same damn sentence. Let’s hope you don’t write any of these movies. I also love how you want to reimagine and reintroduce them. You should have gone full walrus with that last sentence by saying something like, “we want to reboot, remake, redo, reimagine, reinvent, reintroduce, recreate, and refry these characters so that dipshit teenagers will think they’re cool.” Finally there’s the way that you “settled” upon an idea. That fills me with such confidence!
Sometimes I get mad at the Marvel Universe. They’ve done a terrific job but too many other studios are looking at their success and mindlessly saying “OHHHHHH, why don’t we do that?” If I’m dubious about DC’s plans, unsure of Sony’s Spiderman plans, and a little concerned about Fox’s X-Men plans, I’m downright mortified by Universal’s plans. They’re like a stupid kid who sees an expert baton twirler, tries to copy them, and winds up in the hospital with a broken nose. Or an amateur Chef who tries to copy a great recipe and burns the damn house down. It’s just a terrible idea. But who the hell am I to say that? What do you think about the whole matter Frank?
Yeah, that’s what I thought.