The ‘Avengers’ of Horror? ‘Van Helsing’ Producer Talks Creating a Universe of Monsters
Early last year, we learned that the screenwriting team of Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman were tasked with bringing ‘Van Helsing‘ and ‘The Mummy‘ back to the big screen for Universal Studios. And since then … silence. But now Orci, while on the road promoting the upcoming film adaptation of ‘Ender’s Game‘ (on which he’s a producer), spoke more about the projects. Turns out, it seems that what Universal is planning may be bigger than we thought.
Based on Orci’s statements to IGN (via Coming Soon), if taken literally, the plan may be less about making individual movies and more about building a larger cinematic universe of Universal’s monsters, Marvel style:
There’s an interesting thing that could happen at Universal where they have this amazing library of their old monsters and these kinds of heroes, and the idea of trying to create a universe. Van Helsing, and we’re also producing The Mummy for them. We’re kind of imagining updating these kinds of things. You don’t want to just make remakes when you’re doing a thing, unless it’s worthy of being a remake, but when you have an idea for something that can actually be made different and yet be true to what it was. We just had a notion of how to make it modern and have a slightly different tone. It’s not going to be just a remake.
As you probably know, Universal Studios created the gold standard for horror filmmaking in the ’20s through the ’50s, cranking out instant classics like ‘Frankenstein,’ ‘Dracula,’ ‘The Mummy,’ ‘The Invisible Man,’ ‘The Wolfman,’ ‘Bride of Frankenstein’ and ‘The Creature From the Black Lagoon.’ It’s no exaggeration to say that Universal was built on the legacy of these monsters, so they’ve been trying to bring them back to the silver screen for some time. They had mixed success with the ‘Mummy’ trilogy, barely left an impression with the remake of ‘The Wolfman,’ and fell flat on their face with the truly embarrassing ‘Van Helsing,’ which saw Hugh Jackman transform the iconic vampire hunter into a generic superhero.
In short, Universal wants to try their hand at resurrecting the monsters yet again and they seem to think Orci and Kurtzman are the men to do it. Since all of these classic monsters live under the same roof (and have met and fought on screen countless times), the temptation to make a “Horror Avengers” must be overwhelming.
But is this a good idea? And are these the right guys for the job? We’re definitely not opposed to bringing Frankenstein, Dracula and the rest of that crew back to theaters, and we can totally see how a “shared universe” could work out brilliantly — just perhaps not with Orci and Kurtzman running the show. The duo has never shown any real affinity for horror in their previous work, not to mention they wrote the arguably disastrous screenplays for ‘Star Trek Into Darkness‘ and the first two ‘Transformers‘ movies. If they can surprise us, all power to ’em, but this is a case where our hesitation is more than earned.
Naturally, IGN also took a moment to ask Orci about his favorite monster and he answered correctly:
I love Frankenstein just cause it’s such a twisted, complicated monster. A monster that’s not really a monster.
Well, that’s step one.