Universal Pictures is re-introducing us to the world of monster movies. Starting with the release of The Mummy in theaters this weekend, Universal's Dark Universe will officially be born. The basis for the Dark Universe stems from the legendary Universal monster movies beginning in the 1920s. These films are responsible for the classic monsters, like Frankenstein and Dracula, as we know them today.
In this new incarnation of The Mummy, Dr. Henry Jekyll’s (Russell Crowe) Prodigium, “a mysterious multi-national organization” with a mission to “track, study and – when necessary – destroy evil embodied in the form of monsters” will connect the Universe. Check out some of the big bads making a resurgence in the Dark Universe and where they got their start below!
Originally released in 1932, the titular Mummy, discovered by archaeologists, was the Egyptian Imhotep, who was mummified for attempting to resurrect his forbidden lover. After the archaeologists bring him back to life, Imhotep goes on a mission to find, kill, and resurrect a modern day woman whom he believes to be a reincarnation of his one true love.
The story will be slightly different in the remake! The Mummy reboot will feature Tom Cruise as an archaeologist that comes across a female who was mummified for trying to kill her father and his family. When she comes back to life, she’s on a mission to be the all-powerful Pharaoh she always wished to be.
Bride of Frankenstein
Bride of Frankenstein was a 1935 sequel to 1931's Frankenstein movie, in which Boris Karloff's legendary performance became the default image of The Monster we still think of to this day. In the sequel, Frankenstein’s Monster is on the run, hoping to stay away from all of the people in town that want him dead. Meanwhile, Dr. Victor Frankenstein and Dr. Pretorius work on creating a partner for The Monster – a reanimated wife. Many film buffs consider this sequel to be superior to its predecessor. Although it hasn’t been confirmed, Angelina Jolie has been linked to the role of Frankenstein’s better half for the remake. We can expect the release of Universal’s Bride of Frankenstein for their Dark Universe on, appropriately enough, Valentine’s Day in 2019!
The Invisible Man
When Dr. Jack Griffin discovers a potion that can make him invisible, he believes he has stumbled upon something magnificent. However, all goes awry when he and those close to him discover that a side effect of taking the invisibility potion is turning mad! This special effects in this 1933 film were the cutting edge for its time and still hold up even today! The remake does not have an official release date yet, but we do know that Johnny Depp has signed on to be the film's leading man.
The 1931 classic follows Dr. Victor Frankenstein as he tries to create living things out of various body parts of the deceased. He succeeds at creating life in the form of a monster (can be referred to as The Monster, Frankenstein’s Monster, and Frankenstein). But Frankenstein is so confused he escapes Dr. Frankenstein’s lab and heads for the city, where he causes mayhem. We’re unsure when we’ll see a standalone Frankenstein film on the big screen, but we do know that actor Javier Bardem has been confirmed to star as the famous monster. Things are getting spooky!
We’re all pretty familiar with vampires at this point, but Universal is planning to take us back to the beginning with the most iconic vampire of all time – Dracula! In 1931, Dracula came to life on the big screen thanks to Bela Lugosi, reeling in women and sucking their blood all at the once. Universal did release a movie about the famed vamp in 2014 titled Dracula Untold, but they are assuring audiences that there is more to come from Count Dracula in the Dark Universe era.
Creature From The Black Lagoon
The classic Creature from the Black Lagoon is said to make a comeback in the Dark Universe. The 1954 film featured a group of scientists on a mission to find an unknown animal which they’ve discovered remnants and traces of. The scientists venture into the unknown, secluded terrain of South America in search of more evidence to lead them to the mysterious creature. They never imagined the horror that they would find lurking amongst them! Yikes!
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
In 1923, during the Silent Era, Universal Pictures brought The Hunchback of Notre Dame to life, and now they plan to do it again soon -- this time with dialogue! Now, if you’re thinking, “but I’ve seen the Disney version and it’s not a horror film,” you’re not wrong. However, I think it’s safe to bet that we can expect this version to adhere more to the source material and a whole lot more gore. The story of Quasimodo begins in Paris when an evil man desires a Gypsy so much he commands Quasimodo to capture her. Esmeralda and Quasimodo form an unexpected connection that prevails through murder, scandal, and more!
Phantom of the Opera
Possibly the creepiest of them all is “Phantom of the Opera”! In the classic 1925 film, actor Lon Chaney famously transformed himself into the hideous Phantom who haunts the Paris Opera House and stalks the singer Christine Daae. Most folks are already familiar with the super creepy story, thanks to the musical, but in all likelihood the Dark Universe version is going to scrap the musical numbers and stick more closely to Gaston Leroux's original 1910 novel. Universal has not released a date for Phantom of the Opera, but we will be anxiously waiting for more news!
Which monster(s) are you most excited to see reappear on the big screen?