Monster of the Day #1581

Lots to discuss this weekend. There’s the entirely predictable bombing of Universal’s putative “Dark Universe” before it even left the crypt. Then there’s the end of Tim Lucas’ Video Watchdog after nearly 30 years of publication.

The saddest news, of course, was the passing of Adam West. There was a time when nerds largely disowned West’s Batman, as it might suggest to norms that comic books were (shock) goofy and childish. Well, comics have gotten a lot more literary since then, and nerd culture is triumphant now, so it seems like we can embrace the show again. I always liked it, and always thought there was room for both West’s and Nolan’s Batman. I’m glad West lived long enough to see that day too. RIP, Mr. West.

Ah, Gold Key. Even when the books were mediocre, as they generally were, the painted covers were fantastic.

  • Beckoning Chasm

    That’s an incredible image.

    When I saw the Batman TV shows as a kid, I took them absolutely seriously. I was really surprised to see them later in life–I ‘d had no idea how tongue-in-cheek and campy they were. Still lots of fun, though. RIP Mr. West.

  • bgbear_rnh

    Dem bones gonna’ rise agin’? Not on my watch!

  • Who is going to be the Mayor of Quahog????

  • Gamera977

    Yeah, sad to hear about West’s passing. Not really a superhero fan I find I remember him more for the ‘Outer Limits’ episode where he played the commander of a Mars expedition that were knocked off one-by-one by an unseen force.

    Seemed like a pretty good guy. I saw Yvonne Craig (Batgirl) at a con years ago and she had a story about them playing a scene where they were sneaking in somewhere. West was in the lead, her the middle, with Robin in the back. Batman was to throw his left hand up and his right hand behind him to tell them to stop. Well, when West put his right hand behind him he put it on her left breast. At which point she was thinking: ‘ok we can cut to a reaction shot of our faces and still save the scene. Except that the camera and lights guys were laughing their asses off.

    One of them yelled, ‘Adam, where is your right hand?’

    West replied, ‘On Yvonne’s shoulder.’

    And the guy yelled back, ‘That’s not her shoulder, you might want to turn around!’

    Yvonne told us West apologized every time he saw her for about a month after that!

  • Rock Baker

    Okay, that explains the clip I saw floating around from BACK TO THE BATCAVE. The story reflects quite well on Mr. West.

  • Rock Baker

    I was stunned to hear of West’s passing. It struck me that he was essentially America’s Roger Moore (though West might’ve been Canadian, so many actors of that era were). Both were fine actors who were always quick to poke fun at themselves, both iconic for playing human beings who were essentially super-human. Both will be greatly missed.

  • Flangepart

    “Ya don’t need to be Greek to clobber skeletons!”
    Yeah, Adam West. Nice guy, tried not to take himself too seriously…and how often in H-wood does THAT happen?

  • Beckoning Chasm

    Gamera77 – yeah, “The Invisible Enemy.” A pretty decent second season episode. He later played the commander of a Mars expedition where he didn’t survive, “Robinson Crusoe on Mars.”

    He had one of those great, unmistakable voices.

  • Eric Hinkle

    He was a gentleman to apologize.

    And Yvonne Craig’s Batgirl (sigh). Part of me will forever be a ten-year-old boy with a crush on her.

  • Eric Hinkle

    First time I’ve ever seen someone take down a walking skeleton with a right cross.

    And what’s this about Universal’s ‘Dark Universe’ bombing?

  • Gamera977

    The movie didn’t look that bad in the ads. I just don’t like Tom Cruise and tend to avoid anything with him in it. Which I guess is funny since they probably hired him thinking a big name actor would guarantee the film’s success. Can’t say I’m a big Brendon Frasier fan but I really liked him in the earlier mummy movies. He seems like a genuinely nice guy and has a more ordinary man sorta appeal which is the total opposite to Cruise for me at least.

  • Ken_Begg

    Cruise movies are generally pretty good, and recently he’s been in several just great action films, like the last two Mission: Impossible movies and Edge of Tomorrow. I expect he was merely a hired gun on this one, given the apparently quality of the film.

    Dark Universe was meant to be Universal’s Marvel-esque ‘expanded universe’ which all the other studios want but which none of them so far can pull off. The DU would be built around Dracula, the Frankenstein Monster and the Bride, the Wolf Man, Invisible Man (Johnny Depp hired for that one), Creature of the Black Lagoon, etc.

    The Mummy was meant to kick that off, and it’s a very bad start indeed. And it follows the misfires Van Helsing and Dracula Untold. The basic problem is that these monsters were never meant to have gigantic action-y movies built around them. Indeed, horror is traditionally a genre that doesn’t scale up very well; although zombie movies prove it can be done. (Even so, most of the classics feature characters besieged somewhere, reducing the scale.)

    So I really don’t see how this would work. They probably went with the Mummy first because that property has already successfully been made into tentpole films. The rest of the monsters, though? I don’t know.

    Still, the budget was very low for this sort of thing ($125 million, with Cruise presumably taking a piece of the DU as compensation), and it’s doing OK overseas. So maybe Universal is desperate enough to try again? We’ll see.

  • Gamera977

    As I said I kinda like the Frasier mummy movies but I never associated them with the Universal mummy movies. I always thought of them as more a ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’ adventure/action films that just happened to have a mummy as the villain.

  • Rock Baker

    Exactly. The first one really should’ve been titled RICK O’CONNELL AND THE CURSE OF THE MUMMY. That would’ve more accurately reflected what we were getting. I was hoping for further O’Connell adventures, but I guess they finally gave up after a pair of sequels which were only so-so.

  • kgb_san_diego

    Yup. The first O’Connell movie was true lightning in a bottle, not easily replicated, as the subsequent sequels proved.

  • Chris Lutz

    They made the mistake of adding a kid in the second one. The third one came way too late and had the “We’ll make it in China to reap the Chinese audience” feel to it. I like Frasier. He just seems to have made some bad movie choices.