As horror fans, you should hopefully already be aware that Universal have big plans for rebooting all their classic monsters. Expect new films featuring The Mummy, Frankenstein, Van Helsing and more coming over the next few years.
Alex Kurtzman and Chris Morgan are in charge of what they have described as a Marvel style universe of monster films, all of which will connect somehow. The series has already begun with Dracula: Untold (which was thrown in at the last minute), and it continues with The Mummy which is due in cinemas on 24th March 2o17. Van Helsing was also recently announced to have writers Jon Spaihts (Prometheus, Dr Strange) and Eric Heisserer (The Thing, A Nightmare on Elm Street remake) attached.
Now Variety have caught up with Kurtzman and Morgan, who have shed some light on what the plan is:
“The idea is that we have a deep bench of brains to consult with about how their monster fits into our world as we go forward,” Kurtzman explains. “We’re creating a mythology, so we’re looking at this canon and thinking, ‘What are the rules?’?What can we break, and what are the ones that are untouchable?”
“This is not a heightened world,” Morgan adds. “We’re exploring issues of family identity and questions of, ‘Where do I belong in the world?’”
“Heroes tend to be perfect, but most people in an audience aren’t ever going to know what it’s like to be the smartest, strongest, or fastest person alive,” he continues. “But there’s a darkness inside everybody. And everyone wants to be able to turn a curse into empowerment. The monsters have been in the shadows, and now it’s time to bring them out into the light.”
So this all sounds pretty interesting. Universal Pictures Chair Donna Langley reiterated the Marvel-like idea:
“The characters will interact with each other across movies. We’re incubating it at the moment, and we’re taking the time to get it right.”
The plan is for a new monster movie to come out every year. The first of these, based on the character of the Mummy, will begin shooting in early 2016, with other pictures centered on Dracula, Van Helsing, Bride of Frankenstein and the Wolfman following in short order. To prepare, Kurtzman and Morgan obsessively watched Universal monster films made with the likes of Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi, and to broaden the sense of genre, augmented that with a diet of Hammer Horror pictures and other creepy works.
“I was raised on monster movies,” Morgan says. “I used to make my own fake puke, so I wouldn’t have to go to school and could stay home and watch things like ‘Cat People’ on TV. I can still tell you what I used — orange juice, Saltines, Pepsi and milk.”