Reboots and remakes have long been a big part of the horror film genre. Whilst some film fanatics often argue that remaking a fans’ favorite can ruin the lasting legacy of a movie, others argue that a reboot can open the original up to a brand new audience that may not have been aware of it before the remake. Nevertheless, whether you’re firmly entrenched in the “you can never top the originals” camp or enjoy seeing your favorite films being brought back to the big screen with a modern twist, it’s fair to say that there have been some mixed efforts in recent years.
Universal Monsters is the umbrella term which is used to describe the horror and science fictions films that were released by Universal Studios from the 1920s through to the 1950s. Under their Dark Universe franchise, Universal have recently decided to remake a selection of their own horror movie classics, including Frankenstein, Dracula and The Mummy.
Brendan Fraser versus Tom Cruise. Who did it better? According to most reviews, it was the former who remains the best option when it comes to battling a three-thousand-year-old mummy. Some critics have even gone as far as to say that The Mummy Demastered video game that came out earlier in the year is better than the movie itself. Ouch.
The ‘original’ film (which is ironically also a reboot in itself) hit our screens back in 1999 and was fairly well-received upon release, holding a respectable 57% rating on movie review site Rotten Tomatoes. Conversely, the 2017 reboot holds a dire 16% approval rate, leading most critics to believe that The Mummy should have stayed well and truly buried.
The original 1931 version of Frankenstein is pretty much the perfect example of the quintessential horror film and left an indelible mark on popular culture. Based on Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel of the same name, the movie was selected for preservation in the US National Film Registry in 1991 by the Library of Congress owing to its historical and cultural significance.
An updated version of the film was released in 2015, which is told from the monster’s point of view and documents his escape into the real world. Unsurprisingly, the reboot fell fairly flat with both critics and fans alike but Universal’s answer to Marvel’s cinematic universe, Dark Universe, are planning a further reboot touted for release in February 2019 under the guise of Oscar-winning director Bill Condon. Whilst this sounds promising but the original will be hard to top.
Christopher Lee’s mammoth portrayal of Dracula in the 1958 classic is firmly entombed in the annals of horror movie history and the film is considered by many to be one of the finest horror movies ever made. The success of the film spawned a number of sequels, with Lee reprising the titular role in six of the eight that were released.
Universal’s Dark Universe once again had a stab at remaking the movie back in 2014 in the shape of Dracula Untold. Whilst measuring up the original was bound to be a mammoth task, it was considered a respectable effort by the large majority and Luke Evans performance, in particular, was widely praised as the eponymous blood-sucking vampire.
Source: Dracula via Facebook
All three characters are considered some of the most iconic in the genre’s history and have been grouped together in a number of different arenas over the years, including joint merchandise relating to the films such as POP! vinyl figurines as well as crossover video games such as Monster Cash over at Slots Online at William Hill Games, where users can play as their favorite character whilst negotiating the world of the undead.
Should the Classics Be Left Alone?
There are without a doubt some successful efforts out there if you search hard enough but when it comes to the remaking of what can be considered the ultimate horror classics, you could argue that reboots risk ruining the legacy built by the originals. Universal’s Dark Universe, in particular, may need to rethink their strategy with regards to their upcoming projects because so far, their efforts have fallen pretty flat.