Universal’s The Bride of Frankenstein Ain’t Dead Yet

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The Bride of Frankenstein will not go away quietly. Years ago, Universal had big plans for the character with Angelina Jolie set to star and Bill Condon (Beauty & The Beast) signed up to direct. Stages were built and roles were cast, including Javier Bardem as Frankenstein, but Universal pulled the plug on the big-budget film. They had budget concerns, especially after the colossal failure of The Mummy. Now, on the eve of The Invisible Man’s release, the studio may give the iconic character another try. 

The Latest on the Bride

Variety learned that producer Amy Pascal and John Krasinski have been quietly working on a new vision for The Bride of Frankenstein over the last year. The word is Pascal and Krasisnski are working on a version much, much cheaper than what Universal previously had in mind when they were plotting the ill-conceived Dark Universe. An insider at Universal confirmed Pascal’s involvement, but there’s no mention of Krasinski: 

“Amy expressed interest in being involved with The Bride of Frankenstein, and just as the studio has done with numerous other filmmakers, we empowered her to explore a new vision for the Universal monster character and come back with a new and inventive take. Nothing has been solidified in an official capacity.”

A Director That Would’ve Been Perfect

While it sounds like Krasinski is now steering the ship, one name stands out in the article: Sam Raimi. The director behind Spider-Man and the Evil Dead trilogy was apparently at one point in the mix for the Bride. Pascal and Raimi, at the very least, talked about the property. Few names would’ve been more perfect than Raimi, who hasn’t made a horror movie since the pitch perfect horror-comedy, Drag Me to Hell, released in 2009. He’s one of our great horror filmmakers alive, and yet, we rarely see horror movies from him anymore. 

A Dude Director, Huh?

Why a male director? Why Kranski or Condon over their female peers? Hotshot screenwriter David Koepp (Spider-Man), who’s still involved in the project, has described the movie as a “liberation tale.” To provide some movie history, The Bride was originally created to love Frankenstein, but when she rejected him at the end of the classic sequel, he destroyed himself, her, and the castle. It’s one of the greatest endings in cinema history. 

For the modern take on the character, she again rejects a life of companionship and goes off on her own journey. For a story about female liberation, why a male director? Elizabeth Banks (Charlie’s Angels) expressed interest but chose another Universal monster property. Given what the Bride story is about, someone who’s not a dude might naturally have more to say with their vision of the story. 

The Rest of the Monsters

The Universal monsters represent a groundbreaking time in horror cinema. They pushed the envelope in terms of special effects, but more than that, showed monsters in a new, more empathetic light. They’re groundbreaking stories and visual effects, which these new Universal movies must not forget. There’s a whole slew of them in the works at the moment, including an Invisible Woman movie from Elizabeth Banks and an original monster mash-up from director Paul Feig (Spy). 

Less is More 

Universal has learned its lesson from The Mummy and the upcoming remake of The Invisible Man, a smaller-budget horror movie on track to make $20 million or probably more its opening weekend. There’s no reason whatsoever these characters, like the Bride, need $150 million dollar movies about them. They were originally character-driven stories with spectacle, not all about spectacle.

After The Invisible Man, Universal now sees the benefits of keeping costs down on their monster movies. It’s a wise move, even if they should probably let the characters just stay in their place in the past. 

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