Monster of the Day #1503

This is going to sound like an absurd statement, but something I think Marvel/Disney doesn’t get enough credit for the success of its cinematic universe. One obvious benchmark–even with Marvel there to copy–is the fact that no one else yet has managed to pull it off. DC/Warners has managed to avoid losing any money yet, but they perennially seem to be one bomb away from blowing the whole thing. I have to say, either Justice League or Wonder Woman better be an actually terrific movie. That’s what they need more than a big hit, really.

Meanwhile, Fox can’t get the Fantastic Four off the ground. This means they have nothing to merge with the various X-Men properties, including Deadpool, who really isn’t conducive to appearing in their more mainstream films anyway. Hugh Jackman is going to stop playing Wolverine. There’s a lot of problems there, including the fact that most of the X-Men movies have been OK instead of really good.

And, of course, there’s Universal. Horror is a hard sell these days, and no one’s ever managed to pull off tent pole horror, probably because size and money don’t mean much (or actually hurt) where horror is concerned.One reason monster movies have died, I think, is that there’s almost nobody doing medium-sized movies anymore. You have cheapie TV or DTV flicks, like the woeful Syfy movies, or attempts to make gigantic blockbuster films. Monsters probably work best in that middle ground. Maybe following the success of Stranger Things somebody like Netflix will start tilling that field.

The Mummy has already proved workable as Indiana Jones-style action/horror, so Universal’s trying again but upping the straight action action. Getting Tom Cruise to star in this is probably the best thing they could do, but is it what audiences want? And does that mean action-inflected Dracula, Frankenstein Monster and Wolfman films? I remain dubious.

  • KeithB

    “And does that mean action-inflected Dracula, Frankenstein Monster and Wolfman films? I remain dubious. ”
    Isn’t that what “Van Helsing” was?

  • I don’t have a hard time picturing Action Movie versions of the Universal Monster movies. Dracula as a novel had a lot more shooting and running around that most of his films portray, for instance. Plus I think Horror of Dracula works quite well as an Action flick, especially in its final minutes.

    My problem is that I’m not sure I want more Action movies. Especially out of characters that work well in Horror films.

    That said, what I’ve seen of Cruise’s Mummy (I am not even going there) looks like it might be interesting. Not interesting enough to go to the theater to see, mind, but something to watch when it comes to the Netflix.

  • Gamera977

    Yeah, that’s what I was thinking. ‘Van Helsing’ was okay but that’s about it. Personally I liked the Brendan Fraiser ‘Mummy’ movies but never really thought of them as horror though. And honestly though I’m not a big Fraiser fan I much prefer him over Cruise.

  • bgbear_rnh

    A modern Frankenstein could be dressed up by making more of the story based on the brain donor. How about the brain coming from a person framed for murder (maybe not executed but shot by police) and after getting his new body goes after the true murderer. His various struggles to get to the truth looks from the outside as a mad monster attacking at random.

  • KeithB

    I can’t link to it, but that is pretty much what Karloff’s “The Walking Dead” is. Check out Lyz’ review.

  • I’ve been pondering a possible TV series where the vampire is the good guy. After decades (even centuries) of living in the shadows, he’s tired of being hunted and perhaps bored with the immortality. So he approaches the city’s police department, and offers his services as a sort of special agent (all those special vampiric powers) in exchange for the authorities getting off his back (and maybe supplying him with whatever blood the local hospitals need to dispose of)….

  • bgbear_rnh

    I’ll have to look that one up. Sounds like a perfect place to start when creating an outline for a movie/series.

  • Wade Harrell

    Dracula the novel basically ends with a swordfight when the heroes catch up to Dracula’s servants transporting him in his coffin back to his castle. If I remember correctly Dracula is killed in his coffin and doesn’t even participate in the fight. Understandably, most film versions prefer a more dramatic climax at the castle. Still, has there ever been a version with the original ending?

  • Wade Harrell

    I hate that the sarcophagus seen in the trailer doesn’t look remotely Egyptian, it looks like a typical over-designed Hollywood prop. For a movie like this to work the filmmakers have to tap into the mystique of ancient Egypt, and that means making the stuff LOOK right. It doesn’t have to actually be accurate of course, but it does need to have a certain feel, something that thing did not have.

  • Eric Balzer

    They’ve done variations on that with Forever Knight, Blood Ties and Moonlight.

  • KeithB

    Weber’s “Out of the Dark” novel has
    Dracula fighting invading aliens with a good dose of weapon porn.

  • Eric Hinkle

    ‘Bram Stoker’s Dracula’ actually ended with the big gun/swordfight between the vampire hunters and Dracula’s Szigany, though there Dracula gets into it himself at the end.

  • The Rev.

    Heartily seconding The Walking Dead. If you can, see it before reading the review. It is fantastic, easily one of Karloff’s better movies. Hell, one of his better performances; he’s able to out-act people with just his eyes in that one. I don’t want to say much more or risk over-selling it, but frankly, in my opinion, I wouldn’t be able to oversell it if I tried.

  • Wade Harrell

    But he ends up ultimately back at the castle right? I also remember the ending being kind vague as to what actually happens to Dracula, some kind of mystical thing happens? It’s been awhile since I’ve seen it, but the whole “reincarnated lost love” angle that turns up in so many versions (that is completely absent from the novel) was a central theme in this movie, which is totally inappropriate for a film bragging about being so true to the source! I did like the the repellent Dracula shown in the earlier scenes though.

  • Eric Hinkle

    Yeah, in the end it’s implied Dracula gets forgiveness and absolution because True Luv and all that. In the original book he died with a look of relief on his face. And he does drag himself into the castle where Mina of all people finishes him off because of her great love for Dracula — hell, in the book Drac *BLEEP*ing raped her!

  • Rodford Smith

    Except for the aliens part that’s a lot like the _Helsing_ manga and anime.