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Alex Kurtzman says Universal's Monsters franchise will "definitely" be scary

08.11.2015

When it was announced that Universal would be rebooting their Universal Monsters franchise into a shared universe akin to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Universal Studio chairman Donna Langley had the swell idea to take these iconic characters out of their horror settings and instead place them in the present day under the action-adventure genre. It's probably safe to say that this announcement did not go over well.

Alex Kurtzman, who will be overseeing the rebooted Universal Monsters franchise alongside Chris Morgan, spoke with Collider recently where he commented on the backlash that the "action-adventure" remark had provoked and promised that there will be horror in the new films:

Yeah, I think it’s a fair response and it’s actually not — I think there was some lost in translation quality to the way it was received, because I promise you there will be horror in these movies. It is our life goal to make a horror movie. The tricky part is actually how you combine horror with either adventure or suspense or action and be true to all the genres together. In some way, Mummy, dating all the way back to the Karloff movie, was the first to do that. It was the first to combine horror with — I wouldn’t say action, but certainly a lot of suspense. So it’s more about how you blend the different elements and stay true to each one, but there will definitely be horror in the monster movies…We will hopefully serve it up good and plenty.

Kurtzman, who is also directing THE MUMMY, mentions that pre-production on the Universal Monsters franchise is coming together:

The monster universe is coming together very very quickly, we’re very excited. There will be announcements soon. We have actually started doing a lot of design work, we’re getting scripts in, everything is feeling really really good, so I don’t want to curse it by saying too much to you, but it’s going well.

While I'm relieved to know that these films won't be completely abandoning their horror roots, I'm still not entirely sold on the concept of rebooting these classic characters. I grew up watching these films and, while they aren't overly frightening to modern eyes, their characters deserve more than to be turned into Universal's own brand of superheroes. In addition to Alex Kurtzman and Chris Morgan, other members of the rebooted Universal Monsters writers room include Noah Hawley (FX’s Fargo), Aaron Guzikowski (PRISONERS), and Ed Solomon (NOW YOU SEE ME). Kurtzman's THE MUMMY is set to open on March 27, 2017

Does knowing that horror will still play a part in the rebooted franchise make you feel any better? Or is this whole enterprise doomed for failure?

Extra Tidbit: Which Universal Monster is your favourite?
Source: Collider

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7:15PM on 08/12/2015
Not sure why people are so down on this. Universal Monsters had the first shared universe, so it's not as if this is a completely foreign concept. At this point we don't know if it will be good or bad as a whole. I'm all for some fun, scary movies to break up the monotony of superhero films. Just another instance of fanboys being negative for the sake of being negative [link].
Not sure why people are so down on this. Universal Monsters had the first shared universe, so it's not as if this is a completely foreign concept. At this point we don't know if it will be good or bad as a whole. I'm all for some fun, scary movies to break up the monotony of superhero films. Just another instance of fanboys being negative for the sake of being negative [link].
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5:12PM on 08/12/2015

Wait a minute...

This is still a thing? Why is this still a thing? I thought we were all in agreement to let this be some half-assed idea that was never properly fleshed out and would go away until they made a documentary about it 15 years later a la Superman Lives. No? Dammit.
This is still a thing? Why is this still a thing? I thought we were all in agreement to let this be some half-assed idea that was never properly fleshed out and would go away until they made a documentary about it 15 years later a la Superman Lives. No? Dammit.
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12:14PM on 08/12/2015

Lies. Nothing but lies.

We already got the plot for The Mummy (Mummy vs The freakin Army...) and Dracula already started the action trend with 0% horror. They are just backtracking (a year later...) after someone let it leak that the upcoming movies would be more like I, Frankenstein and less like actual horror movies. They want big budgets, big action scenes and no horror. That is what they have been selling for over a year now.
We already got the plot for The Mummy (Mummy vs The freakin Army...) and Dracula already started the action trend with 0% horror. They are just backtracking (a year later...) after someone let it leak that the upcoming movies would be more like I, Frankenstein and less like actual horror movies. They want big budgets, big action scenes and no horror. That is what they have been selling for over a year now.
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11:35AM on 08/12/2015
I hated the Brendan Fraser Mummy films because the tone was silly. The same story, without the jokes, and creepy would be perfectly fine by me. I can even live with a PG-13 rating if the other elements work.
I hated the Brendan Fraser Mummy films because the tone was silly. The same story, without the jokes, and creepy would be perfectly fine by me. I can even live with a PG-13 rating if the other elements work.
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10:17AM on 08/12/2015

If they are going to be as scary as the latest crappy Dracula movie...

I wont watch them, Chris Evans as a Dracula who goes to church, asks god for help and isn't evil looking is not what I wanted from a Dracula film. I hope they get back to the "horror" of things or else I'm out.
I wont watch them, Chris Evans as a Dracula who goes to church, asks god for help and isn't evil looking is not what I wanted from a Dracula film. I hope they get back to the "horror" of things or else I'm out.
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12:10PM on 08/12/2015
You mean Luke Evans dont you?
You mean Luke Evans dont you?
12:10PM on 08/12/2015
You mean Luke Evans dont you?
You mean Luke Evans dont you?
8:55AM on 08/12/2015
Jesus, this thing is still an idea in Hollywood? Regardless if there turning the Universal Monsters into an action adventure franchise akin to Marvel or making them into horror movies in a shared universe, it's just a bad idea! Not everything needs to mimic Marvel, their plan works only because they have a framework already set for how everything fits together (50+ years of comic history to draw from). I'm all for rebooting the Universal Monsters into a modern day stories, but there's no
Jesus, this thing is still an idea in Hollywood? Regardless if there turning the Universal Monsters into an action adventure franchise akin to Marvel or making them into horror movies in a shared universe, it's just a bad idea! Not everything needs to mimic Marvel, their plan works only because they have a framework already set for how everything fits together (50+ years of comic history to draw from). I'm all for rebooting the Universal Monsters into a modern day stories, but there's no need for a shared universe. It's reaching on Universal's part.
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4:43PM on 08/13/2015
"there's no need for a shared universe"

The Universal Monsters practically invented the shared cinematic universe back in the 1940s.
"there's no need for a shared universe"

The Universal Monsters practically invented the shared cinematic universe back in the 1940s.
8:47AM on 08/12/2015
I'm not sure how you'd do a great version of The Mummy without it being a period piece, but I guess the same could be said for many of the Universal Monsters. Also one of their problems is that there's been a vast array of werewolf and vampire movies since the classic Universal movies, and even Frankenstein's monster has shown up fairly regularly. So it's a tough job to make these characters feel special and relevant again. The strength of a great version of The Mummy should be atmosphere,
I'm not sure how you'd do a great version of The Mummy without it being a period piece, but I guess the same could be said for many of the Universal Monsters. Also one of their problems is that there's been a vast array of werewolf and vampire movies since the classic Universal movies, and even Frankenstein's monster has shown up fairly regularly. So it's a tough job to make these characters feel special and relevant again. The strength of a great version of The Mummy should be atmosphere, psychological terror, the invocation of dread, and it's a tougher sell than it ever was because there's less mystery and exoticism surrounding ancient Egypt than there was when Karloff played the role.
I'm interested to see where they go with this, how effectively they can bring the threads and settings together, but I think they have an uphill struggle to make a serious impact on a modern audience - Dracula must be their easiest sell, but even that has to be well handled.
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7:41AM on 08/12/2015
Scary for the right reasons or scary for the wrong reasons?
Scary for the right reasons or scary for the wrong reasons?
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1:17AM on 08/12/2015
But I have never found any of those movies scary, great but never scary at least not the characters.
But I have never found any of those movies scary, great but never scary at least not the characters.
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12:01AM on 08/12/2015
As long as they keep making Universal monster movies I will keep watching no matter what century. I actually think a modern Creature would be awesome in the vein of Predator where some men on a mission to the heart of the amazon maybe in search of lost civilizations get caught up in the black lagoon.
As long as they keep making Universal monster movies I will keep watching no matter what century. I actually think a modern Creature would be awesome in the vein of Predator where some men on a mission to the heart of the amazon maybe in search of lost civilizations get caught up in the black lagoon.
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11:44PM on 08/11/2015

As a MAJOR fan of the Originals...

The only positive vibes I'm getting associated with this concept is the fact that the Universal Monsters are in present-day film news; and that you shared a beautiful clip from Creature from the Black Lagoon. I'm all for reintroducing the style of these classic stories, just maybe begin with ones that haven't already been way attempted (The Mummy is first?).
The only positive vibes I'm getting associated with this concept is the fact that the Universal Monsters are in present-day film news; and that you shared a beautiful clip from Creature from the Black Lagoon. I'm all for reintroducing the style of these classic stories, just maybe begin with ones that haven't already been way attempted (The Mummy is first?).
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10:34PM on 08/11/2015
If that Dracula Untold was any indication of what direction this is heading then....
If that Dracula Untold was any indication of what direction this is heading then....
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