A proposed slate of interconnected films featuring Javier Bardem as Frankenstein’s monster, Johnny Depp as The Invisible Man, Russell Crowe as Dr. Jekyll (not originally a Universal property, but whatever) and even Angelina Jolie as the Bride of Frankenstein was quietly entombed in the studio’s development crypt after The Mummy unraveled like a…you get the idea.
Flash forward to 2020 and Universal took a tentative step back into the monster pool this past February with Leigh Whannell’s The Invisible Man, a modern take on the venerable tale that kept some of its key narrative and thematic aspects while smartly updating it for a post-#MeToo world — and making the idea of an invisible man thoroughly creepy again.
The movie was produced under the auspices of Blumhouse Films, the production company headed by Jason Blum that has garnered a sterling reputation for making all kinds of well-crafted, crowd-pleasing movies –especially horror — for a reasonable price.
So when it was announced just recently that Blumhouse had inked director Karyn Kusama (Destroyer, The Invitation) to helm a new version of Dracula — arguably the biggest name of all the Universal Monsters — the question naturally arose: has Universal entrusted Blumhouse with reviving that universe, possibly again as a shared canon of movies?
“We have no plans to do that,” said Blum when we posed that question to him during an online press junket for Blumhouse’s latest outing, You Should Have Left. “The way Universal is handling them is they’re just kind of looking at each one individually as one-offs. But I personally love them and we had a great experience on The Invisible Man, and I’d love to do more for sure.”
In fact, Blumhouse isn’t even necessarily involved with some of the other new Universal Monsters projects that are allegedly in the offing, including The Wolf Man with Ryan Gosling (“I don’t know anything about that one,” Blum says) and the still-simmering Bride of Frankenstein, which has already passed through the hands of filmmakers like Bill Condon and David Koepp.
“We only have Karyn Kusama, and I don’t have a script there,” says Blum. “So I’m sure there’ll be another one that goes first, but there’s a very good chance it won’t be one of ours.”
Whether it’s another Blumhouse effort or a take on a Universal Monster that we haven’t even heard anything about yet, it seems as if the future for these classic horror icons is getting back on track after almost being derailed entirely by the “Dark Universe” debacle. And yes, despite the fact that original Universal Monsters back in the 1930s and ‘40s were part of the very first shared cinematic universe, it might be better to first let them stand on their own this time.
Watch for more from Jason Blum on You Should Have Left, The Forever Purge and other Blumhouse projects soon!