Superhero and sci-fi films aren’t the only franchises with shared universes anymore. Monster films are getting in on the action. According to Deadline, Universal Studios is looking to revitalize their classic monster characters and unify them in a cinematic universe. These characters, which include Frankenstein, Dracula, The Wolf Man and The Mummy among others, have been staples at Universal since The Hunchback of Notre Dame was released in 1923. Recent monster flicks include Van Helsing, The Mummy series and 2010’s The Wolf Man, although these will never be the legends that the entries from the ’20s, ’30s and ’40s are.
Leading this relaunch campaign is Alex Kurtzman (Star Trek Into Darkness, The Amazing Spider-Man 2) and Chris Morgan (Fast & Furious 7, 47 Ronin). It’s unclear whether these two will write any of the films, but they will be looking for creative talent to jump on board. This initiative will begin with the Mummy reboot set for release in 2016, and other future films include the Van Helsing and Wolf Man reboots and Dracula Untold.
Universal has many successful franchises, like the Fast & Furious and Jurrasic Park movies, but they don’t have anything that puts them in real competition with the likes of Marvel, DC or Star Wars. Okay, realistically these films probably won’t reach those franchises’ levels of success, but it’s a waste to just let most of these properties collect dust. Cinematic universe are the new hot thing in movies right now, and if you have the characters to pull one off, go for it! Who doesn’t want to see Drac, Frank, Wolfy, Invisible Man and the rest of the gang team up Avengers-style? Don’t lie, you want it!
The question is how exactly they will pull off most of these films. Obviously these monsters will be villains, but what elements will allow for their world to be shared? A force (either mystical or scientific) connecting the monsters, or maybe a shared cast of humans in each flick? Oh, and by the way Universal, don’t make the same mistake that the Transformers movies made and have the focus be on the humans. Sure we like compelling characters, but people don’t go for the humans…they go for the creepy monsters! That’s like saying you’re seeing Muppet movie for the main human, or seeing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles primarily for April O’Neil…I really hope there’s no one out there who’s doing the latter.
And frankly, if we’re going to be creating monster movies, this is the way to do it. None of this sexy vampires or zombie overkill. These are the monsters that have been cinema classics for almost a century, and for good reason.
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