Do you remember Universal's post-Millennium monster movies? Do you remember The Mummy and its increasingly naff sequels? How about Van Helsing, Dracula Untold or The Wolfman – which even Universal's president admitted was "one of the worst movies we made". For me, though, the decisive scuppering factor was Benicio Del Toro's uncanny resemblance to Frankie Howerd.
Another problem is that upmarket film-makers (...) just don't "get" horror,(...). Take the late Mike Nichols, who saw Wolf as "transcending the horror genre" and apparently imagined, rather endearingly, that he was the first director ever to portray the wolfman as a metaphor for modern masculinity and the beast within. Or Robert De Niro, agreeing to play the creature in Kenneth Branagh's Frankenstein, "because I knew that Ken was going to make more than just another horror film, that he was going to give it a deeper meaning." You idiots! The "deeper meaning" is already there. It always has been.
Perhaps the new Universal franchise will give us thrill-a-minute fun-rides, souped-up Monster Squads for our times, in which case hurrah for them, and for us. But one thing they won't be is proper monster movies.I have nothing to add to that. Again, I urge you to read the piece. So much good horror is made by small, unflashy film-makers with limited resources. There is really no need for big-budget stuff, as all the things that require a big budget take us away from the horror (or supernatural) genre and into the world of franchising. But since 'reimagining' is all about grabbing cash with both hands, I suppose we'll be getting Wolfman action figures and a spin-off Frankenstein game, whether we like it or not.