Universal is sitting on a horror goldmine: the Universal Monsters. Sadly, they haven’t been able to figure out what the hell to do with them. Their initial attempt to launch the Dark Universe with The Mummy failed immediately. Now, they’re taking a different approach. They have Leigh Whannell’s Invisible Man on the horizon. And then there’s the mysterious Dark Army, a film from Paul Feig. Feig’s movie will feature both classic Universal Monsters and new characters, but details on the project have been vague at best.
Feig opened up in a new interview about what he’s trying to do with the movie, and to a Universal Monsters fan like myself, it sounds exciting.
Paul Feig spoke with Coming Soon about his Universal Monsters movie Dark Army, which will apparently revive the presumed-dead Dark Universe. One of the biggest problems with the Dark Universe was that Universal was approaching their classic monsters from an action-adventure standpoint. The Tom Cruise Mummy was an action movie that had nothing resembling horror in it, which was a major goof. The Universal Monster movies were moody, gothic stories, and trying to turn them into blockbusters makes no sense. Thankfully, Paul Feig is aware of that, and from the looks of things, he’s committed to delivering something in the same spirit as the classic Universal Monsters movies.
“I’m a mega-fan of those old horror movies,” Feig says. “I loved those old movies like Frankenstein. Bride of Frankenstein is probably one of the greatest movies of all-time. I love that movie so much, and there are some things from that movie that I’m using in this new movie Dark Army. But I really want to do a James Whale-ish, modern-day version of a monster movie that is about these characters.”
Sounds perfect. Feig goes on to add:
“What I love about monsters is they’re outsiders, it’s just the most extreme version of outsiders. Frankenstein is one of the most sympathetic characters ever to be put on the screen, even though he does terrible things. He’s just looking for acceptance and love. If you read Mary Shelley’s book he’s a pure spirit who becomes evil because he just gets shit on constantly. Everybody just can’t get past the way he looks, and it turns him murderous. (laughs) That’s the extreme version of that kind of thing, but I love that feel. I want to bring that ookie spookie feel back to movies, but with these monsters you root for and understand at the same time.”
One particularly interesting tidbit from Feig’s interview comes when he reveals the state of the project. “I finished the first draft of the script and I’m so excited about it!” he says, adding: I turned it into the Dark Universe people last week and they loved it. Now it’s going over to the heads of Universal, so we’ll see.”
The fact Feig flat-out says he turned the script into the “Dark Universe people” will raise a few eyebrows. It was assumed and all-but-confirmed that the Dark Universe was dead, but…I guess not? To be clear, whatever the Dark Universe is now, it’s different than what Universal was initially planning. Still, I’m surprised that Universal would want to use the Dark Universe brand at this point after what happened with The Mummy. Perhaps that’s just a term they’re still using internally, and when Dark Army arrives, a new form of branding will be in place.
In any case, everything that Feig sounds great to me. If the filmmaker can truly recapture the vibe of a James Whale movie, we’ll be in for a treat.
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