Friends, the other day Rockford Jay shared some rather interesting news that he came across on Collider. It appears that Universal Pictures has decided to let Director Paul Feig play in their sandbox of horror, working on an upcoming picture that is currently entitled Dark Army. From the Collider article the movie sounds like Feig, who you might know best from 2000’s Freaks and Geeks, 2011’s Bridesmaids, or 2016’s Ghostbusters, is planning on a bit of a monsterfest as it were. With an unannounced number of the iconic Universal Monsters pantheon squaring off against characters that Feig will have come up with. To be completely upfront, I also read an article about it on io9 that I think brings up a good point about with so very little information known about Dark Army – it could very well be a comedy or a legit horror film. At least we do know that we are getting the remake of The Invisible Man from Blumhouse Productions in February of 2020. Here is the reason though I’m sharing my talk with Rockford Jay with you all – he had a rather unique Universal Monsters idea – a suggestion to Feig perhaps and Universal Pictures itself. What… if… we actually had the Universal Monsters of old appear in the upcoming Dark Army?
Let me be more clear on Rockford’s unique Universal Monsters suggestion – he asked me how much excitement would be generated if the likes of Karloff, Lugosi, and Chaney Jr. to name the big three were to appear on the big screen again in Dark Army? His idea was to take… SPOILERS… the same technology used in 2016’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story that delivered a performance from Peter Cushing 39 years after he had appeared in the original Star Wars and use it in Dark Army – so that the digital likeness of Karloff’s Frankenstein’s Monster or Lugosi’s prince of the undead or even Chaney’s cursed character of Larry Talbot and his bestial alter-ego could thrill Universal Monsters fans once more.
Granted all of this was just two Universal Monsters fans just wiling away the work day with such talk. For one thing, we both realized that if Universal Pictures did decide to go this route they would have to pay the estates of Lugosi, Karloff, and Chaney – that may not be the largest hurdle to overcome for the studio though. While I believe with all of my soul that we Universal Monsters fanatics are about the most loyal group to a series of films that you will ever find – the delight at seeing some of our favorite monster movie actors back on the big screen… would still be aimed at a niche audience. I’m not sure that modern film audiences could be lured into the local theater by what might be considered by most as a technological gimmick.
In the end, I know that it was just pie in the sky, from two cinephiles who want to see the Universal Monster characters of old reclaim their rightful spot in horror films. Sure, it probably cannot be done but that doesn’t mean that Rockford’s unique Universal Monsters suggestion is not a valid one. I guess what all of us fans of those cinematic monsters want is filmmakers that share the same love and appreciation of the characters brought to life by the likes James Whale, Tod Browning, George Waggner, Jack P. Pierce, Karloff, Chaney, and Lugosi among so many others. Because hands down, Universal Pictures was founded on the legacy of the Universal Monsters – one that shows no signs of slowing down.