Universal's Monster-Verse Movies Aren't Even Going To Try To Be Scary

Illustration for article titled Universals Monster-Verse Movies Arent Even Going To emTry/em To Be Scary

On Friday we mentioned how Universal was hiring a stable of writers to help build their Marvel-style cinematic universe based on their classic monsters. Apparently that was the good news. Now here's the bad news: Universal has abandoned any pretense that these will be horror movies.

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Instead of horror, these movies — which I should again are based entirely on monsters, monsters who starred in some of the greatest horror movies of all time — will be straight-up action-adventure flicks. Here's Universal chairman Donna Langley in a roundtable with The Hollywood Reporter:

We don't have any capes [in our film library]. But what we do have is an incredible legacy and history with the monster characters. We've tried over the years to make monster movies — unsuccessfully, actually. So, we took a good, hard look at it, and we settled upon an idea, which is to take it out of the horror genre, put it more in the action-adventure genre and make it present day, bringing these incredibly rich and complex characters into present day and reimagine them and reintroduce them to a contemporary audience.

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The really tragic thing is that she's probably not wrong. Audiences don't want classic monster movies any more, because they don't find them scary — although one could argue that Universal just hasn't figured out how to make them scary for modern audiences yet. Either way, they've clearly given up trying.

Still, this is Dracula, Frankenstein's monster, the Mummy, the Invisible Man... can you really take the horror out of them entirely? Well, I guess you can, but should you? Will modern audiences be any more excited to see someone battle the Mummy on a moving train than they would be watching him slowly creep out of a crypt to murder an unsuspecting museum guard? I have my doubts.

[Via /Film]

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DISCUSSION

Sorry, other than The Wolf-man re-make (which mostly fell flat in its clunky human drama, not its scare scenes), when was the last time Universal actually tried to make one of these things scary? Did they think Van Helsing was a serious attempt at a scary movie?

If you don't know how to make a scary Frankenstein movie, the problem isn't that Frankenstein isn't scary, it's that you aren't hiring anyone who knows scary.

And, of course, "horror" and "scary" aren't even synonymous. These characters belong to the realm of the abject and uneheimlich. You make a Frankenstein movie that isn't abject, and you've just flat-out failed to make a Frankenstein movie.