Universal’s plans to reboot their classic monsters into a shared franchise universe are certainly ambitious, to say the least. In addition to casting Tom Cruise and Russell Crowe in The Mummy, the studio has Johnny Depp lined up to play The Invisible Man, and there have been talks of getting Dwayne Johnson for The Wolf Man and Angelina Jolie for Bride of Frankenstein. You can add another great actor to that list, as Javier Bardem is reportedly in talks to play Frankenstein’s monster in Universal’s reboot of Frankenstein.
In the tradition of ScreenCrush series like You Think You Know Movies and You Think You Know TV comes a new YouTube series: Top Five! Each week (or so; we’ve got a lot of other stuff going on), ScreenCrush editor and critic Matt Singer will count down a particular topic from the world of movies (and probably write these introductory posts in the third person).
We’re winding down Best Of 2014 Week here at ScreenCrush with today’s lists of the best TV shows and movie posters (to go along with our already completed lists of the best movies and trailers). But in this time of celebration, let’s not lose sight of what’s really important: Making jokes about terrible movies. 2014 was jammed with exceptional films, but those great movies were surrounded (and often crowded-out of multiplexes) by plenty of stinkers as well. As we bid a fond farewell to the year in movies, ScreenCrush Editor-In-Chief Mike Sampson and I decided to take one final look back at the flops that nearly destroyed us. But like that old expression says: That which does not kill us makes us write strongly-worded listicles.
The likes of Dracula, Frankenstein and the Wolf Man have no business aping the Marvel “shared universe” structure in the first place. They're monsters! Let them monster! Any of our well-intentioned blogging-into-the-wind was too little, too late because the head of Universal has pretty much come and out said that they're taking the horror out of their horror icons.
Few cinematic legacies are as strong as that of the Universal Monsters, whose films have spent the past 80 years aging from B-movies into genre masterpieces. These aren't just movies; they're the foundation of an entire genre, the roots of an entire cinematic language. These aren't just great movies -- they're vital components of human culture, touchstones whose reverberations can still be felt today.
And Universal has no idea what to do with them.
Few movie studios have a legacy as clearly defined by horror movies as Universal, who made their name in the early days of cinema with films like 'Dracula,' 'Frankenstein,' 'The Wolfman' and 'The Mummy.' And no one seems to be more aware of the importance those icons have than the studio itself. Why else would they be launching a massive campaign to revive their classic monsters in a series of films over the next few years?
Ah, a week at the box office where the new release flies completely under the radar and everything else feels like it's just hanging out because there's nothing else to push it off the charts. Welcome to January. Welcome to the home of movies like 'I Frankenstein,' which was dead on arrival this weekend and will vanish into dollar theaters within the next week or so.
Quite frankly as misguided and problematic as the forlorn romanticism of Kenneth Branagh’s 1994 adaptation, not to mention as ridiculously self-serious, Stuart Beattie’s ‘I, Frankenstein’ isn’t even campy enough to be fun. Cut from the mold of the films in the ‘Underworld’ series, Beattie’s film similarly eschews the natural intrigue of the original mythology to pump it full of steroids and Hot To