Audiences love Dracula. Or, a more accurate statement may be, Studios love Dracula. It seems every few years another iteration of the world’s most popular vampire is thrust upon movie goers whether they want it or not. The most recent culprit is The Last Voyage of the Demeter, a film with ambition I admire, but a deliver that failed it.
While Universal continues to draw from the Dracula well, there are a slew of other classic monsters from the golden era of their horror library to choose from. Let’s not forget that in 2020 they released a solid, modern adaptation of The Invisible Man that achieved critical acclaim as well as the approval of general audiences. So, what monster should they tackle next? Hint… it’s not Dracula.
The Gill-Man: The Creature From the Black Lagoon
My favorite of the classic Universal monsters is undoubtedly the Gill-Man, the fish monster from The Creature From the Black Lagoon. Though versions of the character have popped up in films like the cult-classic 1987 film The Monster Squad, and the Academy Award winning The Shape of Water, we’ve yet to get a modern take on the classic monster. I’d say it’s time.
The Phantom: The Phantom of the Opera
The Phantom of the Opera may be the longest running stage show in Broadway history, but in 1925 it was a part of Universal’s classic lineup of monster movies. Lon Chaney was terrifying a the disfigured Phantom with an obsession for the beautiful Christine. While we received a decent adaptation starring Gerard Butler in 2004, it’s time for a proper horror iteration to grace the screens once more.
Frankenstein’s Monster: Frankenstein
Frankenstein’s Monster is probably the most iconic and instantly recognizable of the the Universal Monsters, and while we’ve had more than one adaptation of the monster on screen (including one where Robert DeNiro played the beast) we’ve received nothing close to the mastery of the original or it’s sequel, Bride of Frankenstein.
Quasimodo: The Hunchback of Notre Dame
The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939) is a film that is mostly forgotten, primarily because the animated Disney film of the same name was so popular. And while it feels a bit wrong to refer to the misunderstood and disfigured Quasimodo as a “Monster,” his being haunted by that title is the entire point of the film. This one isn’t quite a horror and leans more into the romantic drama genre; however, a live-action adaptation is ripe for the making. Although we’ll undoubtedly get one from Disney as they continue to pull from their animated lineup.
The Wolf Man: The Wolf Man
Werewolves are an underused monster. Sure, we get movies like Dog Soldiers and Ginger Snaps from time to time, but they don’t get nearly the same level of attention as vampires or zombies these days. And that needs to change. What better place to start than the classic The Wolf Man? We received one remake attempt back in 2010, and despite having an amazing cast consisting of Benicio Del Toro, Anthony Hopkins and Emily Blunt, that film was massive swing and miss for the studio. Let’s give it another swing and hope we don’t strike out, shall we?