Universal Rebooting Classic Monsters Into Shared Universe
Few movie studios have a legacy as clearly defined by horror movies as Universal, who made their name in the early days of cinema with films like ‘Dracula,’ ‘Frankenstein,’ ‘The Wolfman’ and ‘The Mummy.’ And no one seems to be more aware of the importance those icons have than the studio itself. Why else would they be launching a massive campaign to revive their classic monsters in a series of films over the next few years?
The news comes via Deadline, who report that Alex Kurtzman and Chris Morgan will the ones bringing the Universal monsters back to the land of the living. Kurtzman is the massively successful writer and producer behind films like the ‘Star Trek‘ reboot and TV shows like ‘Fringe’ while Morgan wrote five of the ‘Fast and Furious‘ movies. In other words, they’re big shots and the fact that Universal sought them out is evidence that they’re taking this whole thing fairly seriously.
The specific nature of Kurtzman and Morgan’s roles on any individual films is opaque at the moment, but Deadline says they will have a hand in everything moving forward, from selecting writers and directors to marketing. They’ll be the new godfather for the monsters, shepherding them forward and overseeing everything. Universal has already made a remake of ‘The Mummy’ its number one priority, claiming a release date of April 22, 2016. ‘Frankenstein,’ ‘The Wolfman’ and ‘Van Helsing’ are considered the next priorities. (It’s unclear how, or if, the upcoming ‘Dracula Untold’ fits into these plans.)
For fans of the classic monsters, this should stir up some mixed emotions. On one level, it’s great to see Universal resurrecting some of its greatest characters. It’s been far too long since these tragic and terrifying monsters have been on screen in the proper way. But that’s the other angle: will they understand the proper way? Kurtzman and Morgan have proven themselves adept at blockbuster screenwriting, but can they do justice to these horror characters, these misunderstood monsters, these titans of cinema? The last time Universal attempted a mass revival like this, we were cursed with Hugh Jackman’s ‘Van Helsing’ and the botched ‘Wolfman’ remake. Those were dark times to be a Universal monsters fan.
But surely (surely?) Universal has learned from those mistakes. Those movies were failures in every conceivable way and there’s no way they intend to even come close to replicating those disasters. They’re too smart, too aware of their legacy and too financially wise. Surely.
Well, we shall find out soon enough.