Moviegoers look at Marvel Studios and see a company that creates films, while other studios look at Marvel and see a hulking pile of dollar bills that aren’t theirs. While there have been some murmurings in the past, Universal Pictures has now officially announced they’ll be creating an Marvel-like interconnected cinematic universe based solely on the horror monsters that helped turn the studio into a powerhouse back in the 1930s. Exciting news, to be sure, but only if they hold off on making the Frankenstein movie until we’re at least five years past pop culture’s current fascination with the cobbled-together creature.
To usher in this new era of spooktacular monsters, Universal is bringing in franchise-familiar writer/producers Alex Kurtzman and Chris Morgan. Kurtzman’s name is probably more familiar, as he’s worked with former partner Roberto Orci on the first two Transformers films and The Amazing Spider-Man 2, as well as Universal’s under-performing Cowboys and Aliens. In case you’re thinking, gee, none of those movies were particularly good and wondering if we just cherry-picked bad projects from Kurtzman’s career, you should know that his Rotten Tomatoes page looks like this. It’s not pretty.
Morgan, on the other hand, wrote the last five Fast & Furious movies, including the upcoming seventh one, and 47 Ronin, and created the recent Fox series Gang Related.
Does that mean they have what it takes to bring Hollywood’s most beloved horror icons back to life? I’d rather not give my true opinions right here. Suffice to say, their work is cut out for them. Beyond Frankenstein, the duo will be working with Dracula, the Creature from the Black Lagoon, the Wolf Man, the Invisible Man, the Bride of Frankenstein, and the Mummy. The big-screen initiative will formally take its first step with the reboot of The Mummy that’s coming on April 22, 2016. There’s no word on what or when the next installment will be, but there are a few problems with this whole connected scenario not starting until then.
Beyond the fairly bland Wolfman movie from a few years back, we already sat through a Frankenstein movie this year with I, Frankenstein, even though his name was Adam. Paul McGuigan’s Frankenstein, with Daniel Radcliffe, is set to hit theaters next October, just six months before the Mummy reboot. And Gary Shore’s Dracula Untold, with Luke Evans in the titular role, will sink its teeth into audiences in October. Is there no way to start this cinematic universe off with the films that still haven’t been released yet?
Kurtzman, already a producer on The Mummy, also has a Van Helsing project in the works, though there’s no telling whether that will be a part of this world or not. (The first Van Helsing movie should have been the start of all this, and also a lot better.) Maybe, if we’re extremely lucky, this project will be successful enough that we’ll one day see a Phase 4 comedy crossover, like Key and Peele Meet Frankenstein. Somebody start writing that!