Wicked Wednesday: What’s the point of the Universal Monsterverse?

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I’m not going to be cynical.

I’m going to try not to be cynical.

Oooooh but I’m going to be cynical.

A few months ago, it was confirmed that there will indeed be a “Universal Monsterverse.” This is a project that has probably been something a long time coming after the success of the Marvel Universe. As each Halloween goes by, there seems to be less horror films to be excited about – let alone anything of substance (remember when horror films could be the occasional Oscar contender?). Where has all the horror gone?

Could the Monsterverse be the resurgence in suspense that horror fans have been waiting for?

More importantly, is there an audience waiting for this? The first film to begin the ‘universe’ was October’s Dracula Untold. So far, the film has made $212.7 million on a $70 million budget and that’s nothing to scoff at. It’s no surprise that the studio is seeing dollar signs. No matter that it was not a terribly interesting or inventive vampire movie, it’s always money that speaks. The film had a quick re-shoot at the end where the ending was given a more “open” ending, meaning (cynically, sorry) that the Dracula story will be worked into future projects.

Claiming that Dracula Untold was a part of the ‘verse seems lazy and very much an after-thought, but vampires are easy to sell to a modern crowd. How will a 21-century Creature from the Black Lagoon look? Will audiences still care about an invisible man? Will we have to sit through another shit-show like 2010’s Wolfman? The most intriguing aspect will be how they will proceed with directors and what style will be chosen.

There is definitely a major cult following for the original Universal Monster films going strong, but I’m not convinced that there will be one in this decade for a new batch. Most of the original monsters in the Universal films had origins dating beyond film, so why brand this as a “Monsterverse”? Will be seeing some those famous tropes? Or is this just another way to cash in on an ignorant and bored audience?

It has been easy to be cynical, but any positive movement in horror films is a welcome one – fingers crossed that this might be the moment.

The Monsterverse is coming whether we’re ready or not. If I may have one humble request: please, PLEASE stop with the origin stories! PLEASE.

The horror! The HORROR! 

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