Hey, remember that time you heard Universal were trying to reboot their classic monsters franchise of the golden age into a Marvel style interconnected cinematic universe, and your response was “That seems like a good idea”? Nope? You too? Yeah, I struggle to think of anyone who thought this would be anything other than an expensive and dishearteningly dull train-wreck. The icons of early horror cinema are good for some things, but as the players in an Avengers-style epic saga? Not so much.
Now, following a grand total of one movie, it seems like Universal way be on the verge of shutting up shop on this very costly experiment. A mere five months after they released the hilarious photo of the universe’s future cast, the Hollywood Reporter revealed that writer-producers Alex Kurtzman and Chris Morgan, who were supposed to be the Kevin Feige of this universe, have left the franchise. This follows news that pre-production on the second film in the franchise, Bill Condon’s take on Bride of Frankenstein, had been shut down. So our apologies to all of you who were simply dying to see Javier Bardem as Frankenstein’s monster and wife-beating hat man Johnny Depp as the invisible man.
I could talk for years about the Dark Universe, a folly that fascinates and aggravates me in equal measure as someone who loves both classic horror and massive industry fuck-ups. The Mummy was a truly abysmal offering that couldn’t overcome Tom Cruise’s ego, but even though that film made me angry, I kind of wanted more. I just wanted to see how deep this hole went and how much worse it could possibly become. Think about the endless potential of bullshit - a modern day Phantom of the Opera where a hunky EDM DJ Erik terrorises the set of Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Shot (corporate synergy!) and drops a stage-light on Fallon’s head! The Hunchback of Notre Dame reimagined as a Channing Tatum vehicle! More of Russell Crowe playing Jekyll/Hyde as a cross between Steve Bannon and Phil Daniels from the Parklife video! The Creature From the Black Lagoon where the fish-man fucks! Okay, Guillermo Del Toro’s got us covered on the last one, but still, if those alleged talks with Blumhouse don’t work, call me!