How Universal Should Try To Reboot Its Monster Movies

Every month, it seems like studios push out a new cinematic universe hoping to bank off of the success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. For the most part, they fail for reasons varying from trying to rush into the big team-up epic or just being a terrible movie to start off the universe. One that has been forgotten about by fans and even seems to have been forgotten by the studio is Universal Studios’ The Dark Universe.

The goal was for future movies to revive Universal’s classic monster movies from the grave, starting with 2017’s The Mummy starring Tom Cruise. This would very soon after bomb critically and commercially, thusly burying the future of what the Dark Universe would have been.


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Bring the horror back

Bram Stoker's Dracula movie, Dracula and Jonathan Harker

One of the main problems with past adaptations of monsters like Frankenstein’s monster and Dracula is the genre in which the characters are presented. In the nineties, they were dramas that were intent on remaining faithful to the original source material, with mixed results. Francis Ford Coppola’s Dracula was very eccentric and fun at times but does fall flat at moments.

The 2000s saw monster movies like I, Frankenstein, and Van Helsing that were, for the most part, just action movies. Both ways have their audiences and could work, but the problem is how audiences remember and see these characters. To many fans, they are horror movies like their early Universal adaptations. In a world where almost every movie is an action movie and everyone is trying to make a drama that is Oscar-worthy, nobody is really presenting the monster movies to their target audience of horror lovers. But there could be a happy medium with past adaptations, especially from those in the nineties.

Most of the horror in these movies would come from the atmosphere. One of the greatest aspects of these classics is the amazing settings that with the technology and budgets of today’s movies, can truly excel and thrive creating a great atmosphere and mood within these stories. When you think of iconic horror movies like Halloween and A Nightmare on Elm St., they almost all have iconic and memorable settings and Universal Monsters would have even more iconic settings with castles, lagoons, and villages.

Focus on the Monsters


Many Western monster movies focus heavily on human characters, which is understandable. You need the heart of the movie to be someone or something that the audience can connect to. No matter how hard you try there’s a limit to how much the audience can relate to monsters like Godzilla or Zombies. But with that said, the Universal monster movies feature monsters that aren’t impossible to relate to-although recent attempts at these same monsters mostly still focus on the human characters.

Monsters can be relatable and very much human, especially Frankenstein’s monster. There are so many movie villains anymore that are relatable that it isn’t a stretch to see a relatable monster in a horror movie and in a Universal horror movie, focusing on the title monster would greatly benefit the franchise instead of focusing on expendable and boring human characters that are often at the center of horror movies.

A medium between source material and originality

Finally, the movies would have to be somewhat original, while still being faithful to their original source material. The original Universal horror movies did this already by changing up the source material, but to create freshness, Universal would have to change it up even further from what it already did. They could be gothic much like the source material, but can also be campy like the original adaptations.

One of the biggest critics of modern film sequels like Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Ghostbusters: Afterlife is that they are mostly the same as the original films with only a new skin over the same skeleton, and bringing in some breath of originality could prevent that trend haunting the new franchise.

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