This is my Sunday with… The Future of the Universal Monsters Universe Part 2.
Ladies and gentleman, welcome back for my second installment of fan directing the new Universal Monsters Universe films. In this installment I am going to dig deeper into the classic monsters and films that helped seal the deal in establishing the “golden age of monsters” as one of the most beloved and successful periods in the history of Universal studios. This is my Sunday with… The Future of the Universal Monsters Universe Part 2.
Every day that passes marks another day closer to the highly anticipated release of The Mummy. Not only is this release highly sought after by us, the monster fans, but also by Universal themselves. Trying to recreate one of the most beloved genres in a studios history is no easy feat, and thus I believe Universal will do anything they can to make it successful. While I do have confidence in the studio, this is just some more of my opinions as to who would be a perfect candidate for recreating our beloved monsters.
The Bride of Frankenstein
Dream Director: Karyn Kusama
Notable Works: Jennifer’s Body, The Invitation
It seems like not a week can go by without me name dropping Karyn Kusama, and I have absolutely no issue with that! Kusama would be an absolutely perfect choice to helm a new Bride film for several reasons, but biggest of which would be her unique approach to actually building the character. This rendition of the character could, and probably should be a much deeper look at the woman becoming the bride instead of just a Frankenstein sequel. Aside from her filmography, Kusama has written and directed episodes of “The L Word”, “Halt and Catch Fire”, as well as “The Man in the High Castle”, all series that deal with great stakes and natural human emotion. I envision this project being approached in much of the same vein as “Penny Dreadful”, exploring how she wound up as the Bride and the aftershock that event has on the world. Aside from her mastery of writing and depicting emotion, she beautifully builds not only suspense, but horror in her works that always delivers a great pay-off. Aside from the depth of the actual story, Kusama could bring some very interesting character design to the project. In past films she has mixed sexy and scary to bring us truly subtle yet unique takes on demons, and I would love to see her run wild on The Bride.
The Wolf Man
Dream Directors: The Soska Sisters
Notable Works: Dead Hooker in a Trunk, American Mary
Ahh, the Twisted Twins! Since I started writing this piece I’ve wanted to include The Soska Sisters, and there is no better place to start than here. On my list of overdone monsters we have vampires, zombies, and then unfortunately werewolves. The Wolf Man being the granddaddy of all werewolf flicks deserves the utmost respect and reverence when being done not only to help build the success of the UMU, but to also kick start the werewolf genre again. Joe Johnston tried his hand at recreating The Wolf Man in 2010, following very closely to the original in making it a period film, and where as I enjoyed it, the film did not do that well. This is why I believe a new undertaking would benefit from a fresh look and direction. The Soska Sisters are a perfect mix of modern stylization, as well as gore. Fans of their cult hit American Mary can definitely attest to their perfection in body horror, and gore category, and those are two things that could absolutely be exploited in a Wolf Man film. With such an iconic transformation scene as in the original it would take a truly unique perspective to get audiences excited about that again, and they have all the skills to come through. The Soska’s also have a very keen eye for background and color, giving their films unique feels. Mixing all of these ingredients together I think you would have a can’t miss take on the beloved character.
Creature from the Black Lagoon
Dream Director: James Gunn
Notable Works: Guardians of the Galaxy (1, 2), Slither
James Gunn is a perfect storm of tongue in cheek humor, action, violence, horror that a project like Creature could benefit from. Aside from his name recognition, Gunn is more than qualified to bring the Creature back to the surface. With films like Guardians of the Galaxy, the upcoming Belko Experiment and even the Scooby Doo franchise, he has proven he is uniquely capable of writing for a large, talented ensemble cast. That is a technique that could only benefit this production as there are several pivotal roles not only to fill, but also to build. He is a proven commodity in giving everyone the spotlight which could only draw more big names towards his projects. Aside from this he also has a great eye not only in character development but also in setting. His scenery is big, bold, and beautifully colored, always grabbing the eye. His creatures are also not only unique, but highly memorable, and an updated take on the Gill Man would be very interesting to see. On top of all of that, Gunn is a master of nostalgia. The monster and horror films of the 50’s are all unique in the same over the top cheesiness they have become synonymous with. Gunn would have a field day with the throw backs and subtle humor he could inject into this film. The final product would be an approachable film that would get both newbies and monster lovers alike flocking to the theater.
Bonus: The Black Cat
Dream Director: David Fincher
Notable Works: Seven, Fight Club
Now this one is strictly a fantasy of mine, but for a few lines you are all going to be part of it! Aside from the obvious monster films of the 30’s and 40’s, The Black Cat is my favorite non-monster straight forward horror flick of that time period. It bolsters the two most synonymous actors with monster films (Karloff and Lugosi) in their first feature film together. It has a great, creepy backstory that would be a perfect slow burn of a thriller in today’s market. The obvious choice for me to direct this project would, of course, be David Fincher. Fincher is master of the story telling process. Each and every film he makes tells an intriguing story filled with realistic twists and turns that audiences cannot stop applauding. He would be the perfect man to delve deeper into the history of the rivalry between the two main characters, as well as expand upon the plot. His filmography establishes dark, almost satanic characters and motives and he delivers them in such a realistic light that the already unsettling plot is made even more terrifying. Add his beautifully dark, gritty visual presentation, it is tailor fit for both the train sequences as well as the Budapest scenes. To me it’s a no-brainer and a film that not only fits his style in tone and substance, but also something that he could masterfully expand on. One of my favorite films re done by one of my favorite directors, hey a guy can dream can’t he?!
So there you have it, my re-imagined Universal Monsters Universe films. You can catch up if you missed my part 1 here, and of course I would love to hear not only your feedback, but who would direct your dream Universal Monsters Universe films.
(Rob Texter – @GrundyXIII)