Thursday, 4 December 2014

Anne Billson nails it

From the Daily Telegraph comes what I must agree is bad news: Universal is 'reimagining' its classic monsters. In an article that I'd urge you to read, Anne Billson points out that this is almost certain to produce some crappy films that can't hold a candle to the horror classics. A few quotes:
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.


knobgobbler said...

Monstersploitation! I expect big (indecipherable) action sequences and 'epic' storylines that suck all the horror out of the room in favor of eye-candy and goshwow.
I'm trying hard to think of any decent horror movie that suffered because of it's budget and would have been improved by having a lot of money thrown at it... not coming up with anything.

Oscar Solis said...

Not a fan of the action oriented approach but I'd give it a wait and see. I'll never say never, especially since I actually enjoyed the new Godzilla movie. Still, the nice thing is that I still have my collection of the classic Universal movies so I'll always be able to enjoy Son of Dracula when I want. I would venture to say that the last Universal Monster movie that worked was the 1979 version of Dracula starring Langella and Olivier.

I had written more about box office and returns vs profit but that's a discussion for another time.

valdemar said...

Agree about Langella! Tremendous fun.