'Monsters who aren't meant to be scary.' That's Universal's pitch for their latest batch of movies united under their newly formed Monster Universe banner. But if they're not scary, then what?!
During a THR roundtable discussion Universal chairman Donna Langley revealed that the studio plans to take a rather unorthodox approach with their otherworldly cinematic creatures:
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.
So instead of horror, we're more likely to see Frankenstein, Dracula, and The Wolf Man gallivanting around in action-adventure capers! I hope Universal isn't chasing Marvel money to the detriment of their source material. After seeing the exceptional success of comic book blockbusters set in a shared universe, it would be hard not to mimic the same strategy.
The news may be a little disappointing for horror fans expecting their fair share of creepy beasts and jump scares, but it does at least sound intriguing. The idea of exploring the nature of monstrous characters in more grounded, contemporary environments could be a winner, and I'm certainly interested in seeing what they come up with.
This year's Dracula Untold was the first of Universal's monster movies that will take place in the new shared universe, with Alex Kurtzman's reboot of The Mummy set to continue the franchise in 2016. Universal's action-focused approach may not be so surprising for The Mummy, which was always an adventure-filled globe-trotting romp. However, we will have to wait and see if the new strategy will pay off for the studio's other monster movies.