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Universal’s Shared Monster Universe

Universals Avengers

 

Universal has stated that they want to make a “Shared Universe” for their monsters.  This could be a good thing, or a very bad thing.  I really hope that they do not try to make some kind of Avengers style team up movie.  I think we remember the last time a movie like that was made…

Van_Helsing_poster

So, I would like to give a few pointers to the folks at Universal, in hopes that they can make a good series of movies:

Do remember the source material.  Go ahead and re-watch your old movies.  Maybe read some books.  It’s been a while since these guys were in a good movie, so make sure you are familiar with the characters before you start writing.

Do Not fuck with things too much.  Dracula doesn’t have to be anything other than a super powered Transylvanian lord.  He can be killed by a stake through the heart, beheading, or by sunlight.  You do not need to have a fallen angel turn into a werewolf and then bite him or any other such convoluted bullshit.

Do remember that the monsters aren’t always the real monsters of the movies.   Frankenstein’s monster wasn’t the bad guy of the book.  He was actually a pretty nice guy until the villagers enrage him.  Most of the monsters are supposed to be pitiable by humans.  Sure they do terrible things, but it’s generally because we are the ones that made them that way.

Do Not try to fill the movie with some kind of crazy high-tech sci-fi weapons.  We’ve seen several movies come out featuring Victorian era heroes wielding automatic crossbows and cartoonish firearms.  If it looks like it came from a mid 90’s action figure, then don’t put it in the movie.

Do feel free to take advantage of some of your newer movies.  Have Jake Busey reprise his role as Johnny Charles Bartlett.  Bring in the snake man from Sssssss.  Now, some monsters aren’t really going to fit into the new universe you are building.  I wouldn’t expect to see The Dark Overlords of the Universe from Howard the Duck (even if you had the rights) or the Grabboids from Tremors.  Don’t go crazy and just throw everything you’ve ever done into here, stick with what works with the story you are building.

Do keep things dark.  These are horror icons, so this should be a horror universe.  Humanity doesn’t win here.  There are too many ways for all the bad people to come back to life over and over.  Even if Van Helsing finally does get to kill Dracula, there are too many other monsters out there for him to celebrate.

Lastly, just remember that these guys aren’t happy heroes.  They are monsters.  So they aren’t going to be a team.  Dracula may use the Wolf-Man to kill some people, and Dr. Frankenstein may try to use parts from the Gill Man to make a new monster, but they aren’t the type of people to get together for some Shawarma after saving the world.  Hell, these aren’t they types of people who get together to save the world either.  This isn’t to say that they won’t work together or fight.  Imagine what Dr. Frankenstein could do with some of Dracula’s blood, or the ancient Egyptian Scroll of Life.  What would the Phantom of the Opera do if he found that one of the others could restore his face?

You have a lot of possibilities here.  A lot of good options for making a good shared horror universe.  Don’t fuck it up by trying to make some kind of Avengers with fangs.

  • cdogzilla

    All good points. I’m curious about these, but the monsters will have to speak to contemporary anxieties before I think they’ll have a chance of lasting impact. A super hero-style team up wouldn’t figure to have much chance of doing that, looking instead like a bald attempt to cash in on the shared universe team-up trend Marvel started and DC has started bandwagoning.