July 17, 2014

The Universal Monsters Will Get A Shared Universe Because Of Course


Shared universes!  They're all the rage now that The Avengers became Marvel's personal money printing machine.  They suddenly feel like the instant solution to revitalize a worn out character or franchise.  Starting in 2016, DC is throwing every character they can think of at the wall to see who sticks.  Sony wants to spin Spider-Man, their lone superhero, into an expanded world consisting primarily of villains because those are the only characters they own the rights to.  There are even rumors that Fox is looking to leave the door open to future X-Men/Fantastic Four crossovers.

Now Universal is looking to apply that same conventional wisdom (which seemed outright ludicrous a mere decade ago) to their classic stable of monsters, which have been languishing for decades.  The Joss Whedon of this endeavor will be Chris Morgan, the mastermind behind the second half of the Fast & Furious franchise a.k.a. the unlikeliest franchise success story of the 21st century.  Alex Kurtzman, ex-partner of imminent Star Trek destroyer Bob Orci, will also be involved.  Hopefully in a minimal capacity.  After the horrendous 2 Fast, 2 Furious, the racing franchise seemed destined for the Hollywood scrapyard, but Morgan was able to not just revitalize the franchise, but elevate it into something both viscerally exciting and emotionally resonant.  Imagine what he could do with material that's already great?

I must admit to my own ignorance when it comes to the Universal Monster classics, despite having purchased the recently remastered box set last year.  I've still only gotten around to watching Boris Karloff as The Mummy, the same character which is scheduled to kick off this new effort.  We'll also be getting new versions of Dracula, the Wolf Man, Frankenstein's Monster, Bride Of Frankenstein, the Invisible Man and Gill-Man from Creature From The Black Lagoon.  In other words, assuming this whole thing doesn't collapse with a few quick duds, it's possible these guys will be invading cinemas for at least a decade.  As to the logistical questions, like when will these movies be set, will there be some Brendan Fraser/Nick Fury-esque human hero that serves as the connecting tissue, and will we get the classic character designs (we fucking better), well...who knows right now.

I should amend my previous statement.  I've also seen Abbot & Costello Meet Frankenstein, which features a bunch of the Classic Monsters as farce, and Shane Black & Fred Dekker's Monster Squad, which pairs the old ghoulies with some shit-talking 80's kids.  They're both pretty great.  But I'm really looking forward to digging into the rest of the Monsters this October, when I'll be mainlining all kinds of fun horror films once again.

If they shoot these new movies in black and white, I'll be in heaven.