If you thought that Universal’s attempt to make a new “Dark Universe” based on their classic monster properties had disintegrated into ash in the harsh light of The Mummy‘s failure, think again. Reports have emerged that Universal is looking into a remake of The Bride of Frankenstein as part of their new move to reimagine their classic horror properties in a newer, maybe cheaper ways.
The Dark Universe, if you recall, was—much like the DCEU—an attempt to create a shared universe of films out of whole cloth. Many films were announced, including a version of The Bride of Frankenstein with Angelina Jolie and Javier Bardem attached, with Bill Condon on to direct. But after the first attempt in the series—Tom Cruise’s The Mummy—bombed, Dark Universe plans were scrapped and those who dreamed of seeing Dracula fight the Wolfman … could just watch Van Helsing.
Now, however, as Universal looks down the road at smaller, different takes on their monsters like the upcoming The Invisible Man (which looks awesome), Variety reports that Universal is looking to revisit the Bride of Frankenstein with uber-producer Amy Pascal, who now has an overall deal with Universal. The reports include that they were looking at Sam Raimi as a director, but he’s now close to Dr. Strange and the Multiverse of Madness. Another rumored interested director is John Krasinski of A Quiet Place, and Jolie may still be attached.
Here are my concerns here. One … making a Bride of Frankenstein movie before you’ve made a Frankenstein movie is sorta like, I don’t know, making a Superman meets Batman movie before you’ve introduced Batman in his own film. It’s just silly and puts the cart before the horse. The Bride of Frankenstein is by its nature related to a version of Frankenstein … and we haven’t had a decent Frankenstein in a while.
The Bride herself is a peripheral part of the original novel, and she has been used in at least one version of Frankenstein: Kenneth Branagh’s 1994 adaptation Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein. In the climax of the film, we see the utter horror the bride endures at being resurrected and the way she’s hurt and manipulated by various men, and it’s a great finale to what I think is a pretty excellent film.
This is not to say that there couldn’t somehow be an interesting feminist take on The Bride of Frankenstein. It would be cool to examine a woman literally built to please a monstrous man or something like that, but I think that sort of film would need a clear female perspective and the director names swirling around this project are all male. (The Original Frankenstein and The Bride of Frankenstein from the 1930s were directed by a gay man, James Whale, by the way. The excellent movie Gods & Monsters, also directed by Bill Condon, is about Whale.)
Amy Pascal is a legend in Hollywood. She championed and produced Great Gerwig’s Little Women, so my hope is that she’ll continue on this project … but only if it’s done well and done by a woman in an interesting way. I hope the same goes for Angelina Jolie, who may still be attached. Otherwise, we’ll just get another loud, sodden remake that didn’t need to happen.
Oh, and Universal, if you want to remake Phantom of the Opera? Call me. I have thoughts there too.
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