It’s Alive! It’s Aliiiiiive! IT’S ALIIIIIIIVE!!! (Probably)
So, apparently, the Universal Dark Universe isn’t wholly dead yeat. Ironic that it may be The Bride of Frankenstein to bring the franchise back from the grave. Oh, so many puns to be had! After the abysmal performance both critically and financially for the much-ballyhooed launch of the Mummy, the movie that was to bring in a connected universe of monster films for Universal, it appeared that the studio had indefinitely shelved their plans for multiple monster movies.
Now, according to Sandy Schaefer at Screen Rant, the production of one of the truly great horror movies from the Golden Age, The Bride of Frankenstein is being dusted off for production.
Bill Condon, fresh off his great success with the live adaptation of Beauty and the Beast, is set to direct the movie. Javier Bardem as Frankenstein’s Monster, an encouraging sign, but the titular character was initially slated to be Angelina Jolie. One could easily see Jolie and her stage presence embodying the Bride, but she has decided to pursue a returning role in a Maleficent sequel. Screen Rant noted that the second choice for Universal would be Gal Gadot, who after her triumphant turn as Wonder Woman is a very hot property, which would follow the pattern that the studio has been following so far. Universal has gone the route of trying to snag as many A-list actors as they can to boost their rebooted properties.
However, even Tom Cruise and Russell Crowe were unable to save the Mummy from its box office fate. Johnny Depp was pegged to be the Invisible Man, and that film also has been put into limbo due to the overreach of Universal’s first outing. Universal has some fantastic properties in their hands. By trying to interconnect all these stories, and by making the mummy an action film rather than a horror film, they lost what was great with their old monster movies in the first place. Self-contained horror films that relied upon a small story and a focus on the individual fable made these great.
Mike and I had a discussion that determined that an action movie was symmetrical. The heroes and protagonists and the villains are an even-up fight. A horror movie is asymmetrical, in that the monster is much more powerful than the protagonists, and the safety of the heroes is very much in doubt. The Mummy that was released last year was an action film. You never felt that Tom Cruise was in jeopardy. This is also where the casting of a Hollywood superstar spoils the tension. He’s Ethan Hunt! He’s Jack Reacher! He’s indestructible! And, the Mummy had no pathos. Frankenstein’s monster was a melancholy character, and as scary as he would be, you felt really bad for the Boris Karloff’s monster. Same with the Creature from the Black Lagoon, and the Wolfman. Scary? Yep. But also a little sad.
So, as much as I adore Gal Gadot, (she would look FANTASTIC), I would hope Universal casts somebody new. Somebody not associated with a superhero character. Let’s see what happens with the casting. So Universal, please don’t make this part of a shared Universe. Take what was great about the first movie and make it a great stand-alone. And, is it too much to ask for this movie to be filmed in black and white? Please!