The world is no stranger to studios clawing back the dirt on the coffins of dead films, exhuming the corpse in an effort to reanimate the ragged flesh with a lightning bolt of CGI. Universal has dug beyond the dependable graveyard of its fellow studios' superhero patches into monster territory, an area in which Dracula was first buried in 1931.
A monster movie will be stumbling around with arms outstretched on President's Day weekend 2019, February 15th.
The untitled horror is the third in the line for monster films slowly but surely approaching from the resurrected Universal Monster Universe. The mad scientists cackling at the controls as producers are horror lovers Alex Kurtzman (Transformers) and Chris Morgan (Fast & Furious 7).
The first to flesh out the beast army is The Mummy starring Tom Cruise, directed by Kurtzman, which will be clambering from the ground (or pyramid) on June 9, 2017. Following close behind is probably an untitled picture about The Wolf Man on April 13, 2018, written by Aaron Guzikowski (The Red Road).
There's a string of the untitled spawn of Satan also getting a makeover. These include Invisible Man with Johnny Depp, Bride of Frankenstein, Creature from the Black Lagoon, and Van Helsing. The 2019 movie will probably be one of these.
The Universal Family
What is Universal going to do with these walking dead? In an interview with Variety in November last year, the filmmakers Kurtzman and Morgan explained their monster strategy. Morgan said:
“We’re exploring issues of family identity and questions of, ‘Where do I belong in the world?’”
The Addams family perhaps. They are creating a universe that takes the best of the originals and aims to update them for the 21st century with sparkling new ideas and costumes. Kurtzman added:
“We’re creating a mythology, so we’re looking at this canon and thinking, ‘What are the rules? What can we break and what are the ones that are untouchable?”
The shared universe means, as with the MCU and DCEU, characters exist in the same world inter-films. To be fair, the upcoming incarnations are not that long dead — The Mummy was reimagined in 1999 as an action series in three movies. The Wolf Man was released only six years ago, in a remake of the 1941 original.
Watch the transformation in Wolf Man (1941):
They plan to drag a new monster back from the dead every year. Kurtzman and Morgan watched classics obsessively in preparation, according to Variety, and have a personal history with horror. Morgan explained:
“I was raised on monster movies. I used to make my own fake puke, so I wouldn’t have to go to school and could stay home and watch things like ‘Cat People’ on TV. I can still tell you what I used — orange juice, Saltines, Pepsi and milk.”
The other originals include such horror classics as Dracula and Frankenstein (both 1931) with multiple offshoots: Bride of Frankenstein (1935), The Ghost of Frankenstein (1942), Son of Dracula (1943) and House of Dracula (1945). Universal created the first shared universe in film history with Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man in 1943.
"There’s a darkness inside everybody. And everyone wants to be able to turn a curse into empowerment. The monsters have been in the shadows, and now it’s time to bring them out into the light.”