The classic Universal Monsters are about to be reborn with some very interesting creative architects behind the scenes.
In recent years, Universal Studios has been living off the successes of the Bourne, Jurassic Park, Despicable Me, and The Fast and the Furious franchises, but their roots have always been about horror, namely, the Universal Monster movies. The Universal cache of monsters are timeless: Dracula, the Mummy, Frankenstein, the Wolfman, the Invisible Man, the Bride of Frankenstein, and the Creature from the Black Lagoon. According to Deadline, Universal is about to go old-school in a very big way, dedicating themselves to reinvigorating their classic monster movie heritage.
How will Universal go about this? Word is that they are currently developing a long range plan to expand and unify a series of monster films utilizing their classic Universal Monster characters.
Assisting Kurtzman on the Universal Monster reboots will be Chris Morgan, the writer behind five installments of The Fast and the Furious films.
Apparently it's not set in stone as to whether or not either Kurtzman or Morgan will actually write any of the Universal Monster reboots, but they will certainly be overseeing them. They've already begun production meetings, and are putting together a slate of interconnecting Universal Monster films, starting with The Mummy.
Variety reports that the first Universal Monster movie installment, The Mummy, is set for an April 22, 2016. In addition to outlining the entire project, Kurtzman and Morgan will be working closely with production, marketing, promotions, and consumer product departments to support the Universal Monster reboot. They will also re-examine projects that have pre-existing attachments to the Universal Monsters, and make sure that they all fall into one cohesive, all-encompassing element.
Why the studio is bringing the Universal Monsters under one giant umbrella is fairly obvious; the success that Marvel and Disney have had linking their classic characters from one film to the next has been highly profitable, and it's clear that Universal would love to reproduce that success. Universal has already enjoyed success in this department when it first introduced the Universal Monster characters in the 1940's with films like Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman. It seems that to really make the Universal Monster universe work cohesively, some characters will have to play through all the productions to link them. A strong possibility could be Abraham Van Helsing, a character from Bram Stoker's original novel, Dracula. The Dutch doctor has a strong knowledge of the supernatural, and could provide a link between the Universal Monster films.
Another question is, will Universal update its monster films? The gothic, foreign settings of the original Universal Monster films from the 30s, 40s, and 50s were characters unto themselves. Would the Universal Monster movies work if they were set in the present? Could we find Dracula's castle in Northern California? Or Dr. Frankenstein's lab near Milwaukee?
What do you think?