I was working in the lab late one night when my eyes beheld an eerie sight, for my monster from his slab began to rise and suddenly, to my surprise, he began to… make a movie musical about the Monster Mash! That’s right big Bobby “Boris” Pickett fans, a novelty Halloween song from 1962 is about to be the basis of the latest iteration of Universal Monsters. Because… why the hell not?
The news, which was confirmed by The Hollywood Reporter, reveals that Matt Stawski has been tapped to helm and adapt a movie version of the hit song for Universal Pictures, which presumably is going to include all your favorite fanged and furry ghouls. Little else is known about the film other than screenwriter Will Widger (who penned the upcoming animated movie Wish) will be handling the screenplay that will draw direct inspiration from ol’ Boris!
This is an odd, albeit not entirely crazy move by Universal. The studio has rather notoriously struggled at turning their classic monster franchises of the early and mid-20th century into a viable intellectual property in the 21st. This must be all the more frustrating since the Universal Monsters technically created the “shared cinematic universe concept” that Marvel Studios has taken off to the races.
Nevertheless, an attempt at Gothic horror adaptations aimed at adults (The Wolfman of 2010) have proven as anemic for modern audiences as attempts to turn the famed monsters into the stars of run of the mill blockbuster formulae in the last decade (Dracula Untold and Tom Cruise’s misbegotten The Mummy movie).
Universal is currently pursuing serious horror again, albeit with a more modern sensibility, via Jason Blum’s Blumhouse Productions. The first classic monster adaptation under that banner gets the big screen treatment later this month when The Invisible Man hits theaters. However, Universal appears still intent on cultivating the popularity of characters as well-known as Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster, The Wolf Man, the Mummy, and the Creature from the Black Lagoon for some kind of crossover.
After all, even with the Cats debacle, musicals are still big business in modern Hollywood if handled correctly, as seen with Universal’s own Les Miserables. Additionally, jukebox musicals such as Mamma Mia! (also Universal) do even more reliable business. So enters Bobby Pickett’s camp classic.
The song was released in 1962 and climbed the charts, becoming No. 1 just in time for Halloween of that year. Ever since it has been a classic staple for families who want to groove in a ghoulish good time. So are you ready to see Dracula boogey with the Bride of Frankenstein while a possible collection of early ‘60s pop plays on? Well, grab a pair of fangs and get ready to hit the dance floor!
(As of press time, there is no word on if there’ll also be a Transylvanian Twist in the movie).
David Crow is the Film Section Editor at Den of Geek. He’s also a member of both the Critics Choice Association and the Online Film Critics Society. Read more of his work here. You can follow him on Twitter @DCrowsNest.