John Landis knows a thing or two about monster movies.
Since he directed An American Werewolf in London, considered by many to be the very best werewolf film ever made, you may be wondering what John Landis thinks about Universal’s Dark Universe, just launched this past weekend with The Mummy. No, you weren’t wondering? Well fine, but we’re going to tell you anyway.
Speaking with the website Entertainment.ie, Landis basically just echoed what we’ve all been saying since we saw the first trailer for The Mummy – a film that oddly apes a key plot element from Landis’ own American Werewolf!
“First of all, it’s not a new idea,” Landis said of the Dark Universe. “If you remember with Universal back in the ’40s, once they made all their classics, they started cross-pollinating. House of Dracula, House of Frankenstein, Frankenstein Meets The Wolf-Man – you know what they used to call those? Monster rallies! (laugh) And then of course, one of the great ironies is what was considered… OK – it’s over now!… was Abbot & Costello Meets Frankenstein, which is actually a very funny movie and very respectful of the monsters. I think, y’know, maybe that’s one of the problems with Universal’s Dark Universe is that it isn’t respectful of the monsters.”
Landis continued, “What’s happening is the studios now will make a film for $150, $200 million but they’re afraid to take risks. You asked me about the Dark Universe, if you’re gonna make a movie of The Mummy, why the fuck do you need Tom Cruise and Russell Crowe?! As soon as you announce that Tom Cruise is in The Mummy, you know you’re not going to see a horror picture! It’s not gonna be The Mummy, it’s going to be the Tom Cruise Show. I don’t know. What no one understands, ideas are a dime a dozen. An idea has no real value. It’s all about the execution of the idea.”
“Y’know, when they want to reinvent and sometimes it works great – look at David Cronenberg’s The Fly or John Carpenter’s The Thing. It can be done.”