This article runs in coalition to a video I made for the FlamingoIsland YouTube channel! I highly recommend that you watch the video so that you can hear my full argument and then subsequently add to the discussion.
Universal Studios are currently planning to reboot their classic line-up of Hammer Horror monsters, the twist however is that the monsters will be part of a shared cinematic universe (original right?). Alex Kurtzman (who is best known for his work on The Amazing Spiderman 2, Star Trek Into Darkness and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen) is set to oversee the monster-verse, alongside Fast and Furious writer and producer Chris Morgan. Kurtzman will be in the directing chair for the first instalment of this cinematic universe; The Mummy (2017). The film has already casted its title character in the form of Kingsman: Secret Service actress Sofia Boutella, and A-List action star Tom Cruise will also be involved, playing a member of The Navy SEAL’s.
The information that has been released seems to indicate that the Hammer Monster-verse will favour Action over Horror. In my Dear Universal video I talk about this style is ultimately damaging to the iconic Hammer Horror characters; little did I know however, that Deadline would report exclusively on The Rock’s involvement in this new cinematic universe. It has been reported that The Rock is (allegedly) Universal’s top choice to headline The Wolf Man reboot, but what does The Rock’s involvement tell us about the direction about these films? Well, I feel that we can now definitively state that these films are going to be big budget action flicks (Mr. Johnson doesn’t exactly scream small budget horror). The Rock has built a career on action whether that in San Andreas, G.I. Joe or Fast and Furious, Universal spotlighting him as their top pick shows that they are wanting these films to perform exceptionally at the box-office, possibly on a similar level to rival cinematic universes.
And of course these films could be entertaining and as a dedicated wrestling fan I have a certain fondness for Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, but do I believe that he is the right actor to play The Wolfman? Nope. But that largely because I want to see Horror return to its routes; it’s almost if these iconic movie monsters have descended into ‘circus freaks’ and ‘comic reliefs’. How many great Horror Villians/Monsters can you think of? Perhaps you think of Dracula, Michael Myers, Norman Bates, Freddy Krueger or even Gozilla. Now answer that same question but filter out any characters that haven’t appeared in a horror film cinematically in the last ten years, it’s instinctively harder. I the only real monster that has left me truly terrified over the last decade, would have to be The Babadook, consequently proving that Horror seems to be losing its monsters.
My full argument can viewed in the my video relating to this article; but as a summary I want to ask you if you feel that we are losing our classical horror stories and villains to other genres? Have Superhero epics trampled the once colossal genre? And is there still a place in today’s society for a serious take on the classical Hammer Horror monsters?