In September, Paul Feig was announced as taking on a new film called ‘Dark Army’ (or ‘Monster Army’ as it was announced at the time), which would mix the classic Universal Monsters with new characters. Feig has a few projects in the works, including ‘Last Christmas’, the highly-publicized romantic comedy arriving next weekend, so it’s not clear when he will get around to this film. Feig did, however, offer some insights into ‘Dark Army’ and his words seem to indicate that this picture is part of Universal’s Dark Universe, a sprawling shared universe that the studio hoped to launch using its classic monster properties. But after first 2014’s ‘Dracula Untold’, then 2017’s ‘The Mummy’ bombed at the box office, the studio pulled the plug on its next installment, ‘Bride of Frankenstein,’ and it seemed as if the Dark Universe was dead. But could Feig be reviving the concept with his new project?
Speaking to Coming Soon, this is what Feig said:
“I’m a mega-fan of those old horror movies. 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.
“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.”
But it was his next comment that is raising eyebrows:
“I finished the first draft of the script and I’m so excited about it! 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.”
Yes, it certainly sounds as if the Dark Universe is still alive. It might be on life support, but there’s still a heartbeat.
After ‘The Mummy’ flamed out in such a high-profile manner, Universal decided to turn its monsters over to low-budget hit-makers Blumhouse. The first Blumhouse/Universal collaboration, ‘The Invisible Man’, is almost complete, and will hit theaters on February 28th. Maybe once that picture opens, Universal will make a definitive decision on which direction it wants to take its famous monsters.
‘The Mummy’ was a straight-up action movie, which ignored the horror roots of the concept. Feig is known as a comedy director. So his approach is also going to be something different, possibly something akin to the Brendan Fraser ‘Mummy’ series.
What would you like to see done with Universal’s monsters? Would you prefer some actual scary movies? Or action-comedies? Or something else? Comment below!