Over the next two weeks I will be doing something different with these articles. Instead of looking back at the great monsters and horror, I instead would like to look at the future and lay my own blue prints on what I would love to see in the upcoming UMU. This is my Sunday with…The Future of the UMU (part 1)!
This change of pace is inspired by several things, first of which is my ever growing excitement over the launch of the new UMU with The Mummy (102 days I believe!). I also borrow inspiration from the XX screening the team viewed last week. It was a great reminder of just how important and special a film could be when it has the right director. As fans it is always fun to think about, and often debate, who would fit the role of one of our beloved characters the best. Many nice pieces have already been dedicated to this fan casting, so instead I will be going a step further and pick who my ideal directors for the re-visioning of these beloved classics would be. This also brings me to my last inspiration for writing this and that is you, the readers. I would love to hear from you with some of your thoughts. So without further ado lets jump into it.
Dream Director: Guillermo del Toro
Notable Works: Pans Labryinth, Pacific Rim, Crimson Peak
I kick off my fandom with the original, and personal favorite, Frankenstein. In my opinion del Toro more than fits the bill in adding a unique, but close, to home re-interpretation of the monster. Looking back at del Toro’s filmography he has a history of making grand and sprawling films, both in look and in style. His movies feel like events and Frankenstein deserves the same treatment. This can also lend itself to what kind of interpretation he would like to adapt, as it could work for the 1931 original or the more globetrotting Mary Shelley novel. I would also love to see his creature design for the monster. Guillermo del Toro is not only known, but also hailed for his creatures, from the vampires in Blade II to the mischievous Pan, I would love to see what he could cook up for this. He also has the ability to combine a truly scary image and through development make the audience feel sympathetic for it, and that to me is the biggest draw to the Frankenstein monster.
Dream Director: Robert Eggers
Notable Works: The VVitch
Over the past few years no monster has suffered or been overdone more than the vampire. The once majestic and vicious vampire has become so neutered and watered down that the once nightmare inducing thought has become more or less a scoffed at and parodied joke. Enter Robert Eggers! Robert Eggers is more than equipped to bring the scary and more or less horror back to not only the vampire game, but also the count himself, Dracula. As The VVitch proved, Eggers gives incredible attention to detail with his projects and has lovingly and carefully adapted beloved mythology. It is that attention to detail which could help differentiate a new Dracula from everything that has come before it. The feel that Eggers gives off in his films is one of realism, as the audience feels they are a few feet away from what is going on, and that can be and usually is a very uncomfortable feeling. His visuals are visceral and stomach churning without being overly gory or over the top. All of this can harken back to the glory days of Dracula. Aside from the great work he could do for Dracula, he has also proven his efficiency in writing very strong female characters, something that a new Mina Harker could benefit from. Out of all my fan casting this one lends itself more to a dark horror background but that is what I think the vampire genre as well as Dracula needs. #makevampiresgreatagain!
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Dream Director: James Wan
Notable Works: The Conjuring (1,2), Insidious (1,2)
James Wan, in my humble opinion, is probably the best horror director today. He combines beautiful and thought out story telling with truly unique and horrifying visions of demons and monsters. Out of all the monsters and franchises mentioned, Jekyll will already be established in this universe. He is promoted in The Mummy so we will already have a gauge on his motives and what stage, if any, he is in towards becoming Hyde. That is why we would need an experienced and successful director to build upon the already established narrative. Aside from that imagine how incredible the “inner turmoil” between Jekyll and Hyde could be on screen. Picture the further scenes from Insidious, but only inside Russell Crowe’s head. Wan could easily dive into the psychological aspect of his transformation which would provide a much deeper understanding of the character. We could also come to expect a good ole fashioned jump scare or two, which let’s be honest, we all enjoy. I would also love to see his design on Hyde himself, as well as the transformation process. As with all his designs, it has the potential to be both unique and scary which could only help to bolster the depth and mythology around this new UMU.
The Invisible Man
Dream Director: Wes Anderson
Notable Works: Moonrise Kingdom, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Out of all my choices this is the most out of the box one, so please bear with me! Out of all the classic monsters, The Invisible Man is most fitting of a “black comedy” mantra. The original especially was not only over the top in acting and violence, but also in humor. If you have ever seen a Wes Anderson film you immediately notice how absolutely unique they are not only in visuals, but also in tone. He has an amazing way of crafting his characters in either a dry matter of fact humor, or a theatrical big type of humor, either would fit The Invisible Man. Anderson’s films all have an odd quirky feel about them that would perfectly translate to the world of The Invisible Man. Another large part of the original film was his off the handle anger and violence, something that Anderson excels at. Without showing too much or relying on gore the violence in his films are both humorous as well as over the top, again perfectly fitting the style of The Invisible Man. Aside from his tone and characterizations the most striking thing about a Wes Anderson film is his amazing visuals and use of practical effects (models, etc.). Again, this is something Anderson and the original have in common. In a film where the main character is invisible, the attention to detail about the area surrounding that character becomes that much more important, and this is something Anderson is more than capable of handling. Add the fact that Johnny Depp’s name has been rumored to play the titular character we could have an amazing “Burton-esque” film. Aside from Anderson being one of my favorite directors in Hollywood, his style seems tailor made for The Invisible Man, and I would be more than interested in seeing the film he came up with.
Next week I will continue on with my dream directors for the UMU, but don’t let the conversation end here. I would love to hear your feedback as well as whom you would think would be the perfect fit to direct the new visions of our favorite monsters.
(Rob Texter – @GrundyXIII)