In mid-2017, a new edition of numerous universal horror classics was announced as part of the planned Dark Universe film series . However, after the intellectual fathers of the project, Alex Kurtzman and Chris Morgan , recently left the project, the realization of the film series is currently uncertain. The only film released so far is The Mummy (2017), which fell short of expectations.
Universal's first steps into the horror genre began in 1925 with the film adaptation of Gaston Leroux 's horror novel The Phantom of the Opera , in which Lon Chaney , known as " The Man of 1000 Faces ", played the leading role. As in The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923), Chaney designed his own make-up - in this case an extremely painful mask, because in order to depict the skull-like face of the title character, the silent film star had to pull his nose up with a gauzy wire which led to severe nosebleeds during the filming.
In 1931, with the death of Browning's Dracula , based on Bram Stoker 's novel of the same name and the play by Hamilton Deane and John L. Balderston, the heyday of so-called "Gothic horror" began. The film made the main actor Bela Lugosi , who had already successfully played the role of Count Dracula on stage, a star. The remarkable success of Dracula encouraged the studio bosses at Universal to bring more literary classics to the screen. It was followed in the same year by Frankenstein based on the novel by Mary Shelley and in 1932 The Mummy and 1933 The Invisible One based on the story of the same name by HG Wells . Due to the great success of the films, it was also decided to continue some of the stories about Universal's popular monsters. In 1935, Frankenstein's Bride appeared, the first of a series of sequels. A year later, Dracula's daughter came into the cinemas, but this film was unsuccessful at the time, which is why it was only seven years later that a Dracula sequel was ventured again. In 1941, Der Wolfsmensch, a new monster appeared on the big screen. This was played by Lon Chaney Jr. , the son of the legendary silent film star. Unlike his father, he didn't do his own makeup. For the mask of the werewolf, like most of the universal monsters, the make- up artist Jack P. Pierce was responsible. In the course of the 1940s, Universal also began combining the various monsters to attract audiences, for example in Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman (1943). In the same year, the Phantom of the Opera, the first and only horror film by Universal that was shot in Technicolor , was released. For this remake, the scenery of the opera house was used, which was originally built for silent films and can still be viewed on the studio premises today. In the mid-1940s, general interest was waning, not least because of the real horrors of World War II , and Universal was sending its most popular monsters into the running at the same time. In Frankenstein's house (1944) and Dracula's house (1945), in addition to the mad scientist and hunchbacked assistant, Count Dracula, the Wolf Man and Frankenstein's monster met each other.
By the mid-1950s, Universal had resorted to a different concept. The classic monsters were parodied in the Abbott & Costello comedies . In the first film in the series Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948), the original cast of the monsters played and mocked their own characters. Bela Lugosi, whose fame was already falling considerably at that time, appeared again as Dracula in a film for the first time since 1931, Lon Chaney Jr. played the wolf man and Glenn Strange took over the part of the Frankenstein monster. In 1954, the universal horror series experienced a renaissance with The Horror of the Amazon . The so-called gill man (Engl. Gill-Man ) should be the last and simultaneously one of the most popular monsters in the history of Universal. The animal horror film filmed in 3-D was followed by two sequels in 1955 and 1956.
The following list gives an overview of the various universal horror films between 1923 and 1958.
In May 2017, Universal Studios announced that they would re-film a large number of their monster films and publish them in the context of the so-called Dark Universe (English for "dark universe"). The new monster universe was created by Alex Kurtzman and Chris Morgan in order to inspire both a younger audience for the all time favorites of the horror genre, as well as the older audience with new variants of the characters they are familiar with. The mummy from 2017 should form the start of this series.
On May 22, 2017, Universal Pictures already had the video Dark Universe - Monsters Legacy on YouTube , which presented an overview of possible remakes of Universal Studios classics. The music for this was composed by Danny Elfman .
After The Mummy had not met the box office expectations, Alex Kurtzman and Christian Morgan left the project to devote themselves to other tasks. In this context, Universal had also stopped the preparations for the new edition of Frankenstein's bride for the time being. In January 2019, Universal announced that it would completely drop the Dark Universe and instead implement individual films. It starts with a reboot of The Invisible Man , directed by Leigh Whannell .
- Movie posters, movie posters and trailers for universal films
- Classic Universal Monsters ( Memento from August 16, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) (in English)
- Universal Monsters Legacy (English speaking)
- FrankensteinFilms.com - Comprehensive site on Shelley's novel Frankenstein , films, comics, theater (in English)
- Universals Dark Universe about to end? In: mediabiz.de. Blickpunkt: Film , November 8, 2017, archived from the original on November 8, 2017 ; Retrieved November 9, 2017 .
- Universal presents a new series of films: "Dark Universe". diepresse.com, May 24, 2017, accessed May 31, 2017 .
- Annika Kassler: Welcome to the world of monsters: This is the Dark Universe In: PC Games, June 2, 2017.
- Universal Puts a Stake in the Monsterverse Vanity Fair
- Justin Kroll: 'Invisible Man' Finds Director, Sets New Course for Universal's Monster Legacy (EXCLUSIVE) . Variety. January 24, 2019. Retrieved January 28, 2019.