Alex Kurtzman and Chris Morgan have been tapped by Universal, to serve as the architects on a rebooted classic monsters universe which would include Universal’s most revered movie monsters like Frankenstein, Dracula, The Wolf Man, Creature Of The Black Lagoon, The Invisible Man, Bride Of Frankenstein and The Mummy.
Films made between 1930 to 1934 are collectively known as the Hollywood ‘Pre-Code’ era in film history. Today, we’ll take a closer look at what made these films, in particular, the slew of horror films, classics of the genre as we continue our Countdown to Halloween!
Quick history lesson: This era in American film was between the introduction of sound in the late 1920′s and the enforcement of the Hays Code (Motion Picture Production Code) in July of 1934. From 1930 to 1934, compliance with any Code was merely a verbal agreement; which in Hollywood means close to nothing. Therefore, Hollywood experimented further than it had before; showcasing the loosest of morals, and newfound freedom of expression.
In 2010 first time director Gareth Edwards crept up on the world and released the indie spectacular that was Monsters. Having now moved on to direct Godzilla for Warner Brothers, Gareth Edwards has handed the reigns for the sequel over to another first-time feature film Tom Green of Misfits fame.
Empire magazine recently released an exclusive first look at Monsters: Dark Continent, which Edwards is co-producing. The footage reveals very little in terms of story but does a great job at setting up the tone of the film and certainly creates an atmosphere which is reassuringly close to what Edwards established in Monsters.
Monsters: Dark Continent expands the world that Edwards created and moves the setting to a different Infected Zone, this time the Middle-East, which the U.S. military have now taken control of. Green is aiming to stick to the theme of intimate, human story telling that Monsters captured by piecing together over 100 hours of footage which he shot on hand held cameras as he travelled across North America with stars Whitney Able and Scoot McNairy.
Green has said, in terms of creating the same mood for the sequel:
[quote]“As soon as I watched Monsters I completely identified with the idea of using real locations as a foundation on which to build a world of limitless scale. From my first visit to the location shown here, in Jordan, it was somewhere I felt was key to making Dark Continent work. The moonscape-like environment was the perfect basis for an ‘alien’ landscape. The quarry trucks you see here became ‘buggies’ to transport the remains of firebombed monster herds to be incinerated, with all the leading characters emerging from the dust to witness the scale of the death toll for the first time — and for one character maybe too many times…”[/quote]
Monsters: Dark Continent stars Joe Dempsie (Game Of Thrones), Sam Keeley (What Richard Did) and Johnny Harris (Welcome To The Punch) and will be released in 2014.
Monsters are one of the most popular mainstays in all of fiction. Nearly every child has a universal connection with monsters in one way or another. From childhood it can manifest as a fear, typically of the quintessential “monster in the closet”, or simply just a fascination with them after conquering your fear of them. I think in a way, children can relate to monsters. When you’re young, by the virtue of being younger and less knowledgable, you tend to feel like an outsider. In much the same way that only children can relate to other children at that age, monsters only really get along with other monsters, and there’s a mixture of empathy there that children feel for monsters. For example, who didn’t feel remorse after seeing King Kong die? Not all monsters are as relatable as others, but we know that our fear of them only stems from our misunderstanding of them, and ourselves. So what am I getting at?
The VHS Vault opens to deliver a bizarre tale of tiny terrors on an island of death!
A while back you may remember that we reported on the return of The Munsters to tv. If you were lucky enough to be at the Q & A session at Comic-Con you will have seen the 4 minute teaser for the new pilot. For all of us that weren’t there here is the first image of the whole Munster clan (also from Comic-Con and via io9). As you can see they are surprisingly…well, ‘normal’.
I must admit to being slightly let down by it. I was hoping for them to look a little more monstery. Jerry O’Connell looks less Herman Munster and more Jerry O’Connell.
However, Bryan Fuller (Pushing Daises creator and producer/writer of Mockingbird Lane) told The Hollywood Reporter that they were still very much monsters:
“The Munsters actually do what monsters do: they eat people and they have to live with the ramifications of being monstrous. It’s like grounding it in a reality because the half-hour was a sitcom, we saw the monsters: they were monsters on the outside and weren’t monsters on the inside. For us, they’re monsters outside and inside, and we get to double our story.”
NBC has ordered additional scripts and a decision on whether to order a full series should come soon. If they do we can expect to see other Universal monsters – including The Phantom of The Opera, The Wolfman and The Creature From The Black Lagoon.
I’m still not sure about all this. It feels like an unnecessary remake. They could just have easily renamed the family and not even pretend that they were remaking The Munsters. I’m still waiting to be convinced.
I have two things to say before I delve into this article. Number one, I love Halloween. I love the spooky creatures, the crisp air, the jack-o-lanterns, the candy. Number two, I hate horror films. I really, really do. I was one of those kids that had nightmares from anything scarier than a Goosebumps book. Even in adulthood, the films are either too scary and the images haunt me for months, or too cheesy which just bores me. I’m the weirdo watching the History Channel specials about werewolves or reading Dracula for the 254,235th time. (A brief side note: if they ever decide to make a decent film adaptation of the Bram Stoker novel, I would most likely love it.)