Horror fans have been getting very excited that Universal are rebooting their back catalogue of classic monsters into a Marvel style franchise, so we can look forward to monsters like Dracula, The Wolfman, Frankenstein’s monster and The Mummy (among all others) all appearing on the big screen in the distant future.
However, last November a spanner was thrown into the works, and something was said that really upset the horror community, and rightfully so. Universal Pictures Chairman Donna Langley stated in a round table discussion that:
“We’ve tried over the years to make monster movies — unsuccessfully, actually,” admits Langley. “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.”
Naturally her talk of removing horror from the films, and adding action and adventure had fans worrying that their beloved monsters would all be rebooted in the same style of Stephen Sommers’ 1999 Brendan Fraser starring Indiana Jones ripoff, The Mummy. We were all displeased, and angered by these comments, and all we’ve heard since is that the first film in the series to be made, which coincidentally is The Mummy, has been pushed back nine months to a new release date of 24th March 2017.
Thankfully Alex Kurtzman, who is producing, writing and playing a sort of Joss Whedon type boss by overseeing everything (he is also directing The Mummy), has revealed that horror is well and truly on the table for these films, and in fact it is part of the plan to create HORROR films, and NOT just action adventure films.
At the recent Television Critics Association Press Tour, when asked about the reaction to horror being removed from the classic monsters, he told Collider:
“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”
Kurtzman also said that while The Mummy has been delayed, there is no need to panic, things are coming together nicely:
“The monster universe is coming together very very quickly, we’re very excited. There will be announcements soon. We have actually started doing a lot of design work, we’re getting scripts in, everything is feeling really really good, so I don’t want to curse it by saying too much to you, but it’s going well”
He also spoke about the Writers Room, where a large team of writers are coming together to write these films, and its all working out perfectly. Most encouraging is that all the writers are keeping the identities of the Universal Monsters very familiar:
“Coming out of television and having come out of writers rooms, the thing that I got out of it, and that I learned so much from the experience of being in the writers room, is that there’s always sort of one or two singular voices to the show, but it’s great when you have a group of writers who are talented in their own right coming together to build a world. We very carefully selected writers who — each of them have their own incredible careers. All of them we admire hugely. Chris Morgan is my partner in this and we all picked people that we’ve worked with before, people that we really liked, people whose work we admired, people that we didn’t know, and really thought long and hard about which writers felt right for each monster. So our goal is to have each movie retain the identity and the individuality of the specific monster, but you’ll see how they start to fit into a larger universe as the movies unravel”
So it all sounds very positive indeed, no more need to panic or worry about horror being removed. I think we could be in for something very special here, so fingers crossed these announcements happen soon.