So I don’t usually cover trailers. Sure, I did a huge shot-by-shot breakdown for the Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker trailer, but that’s because the franchise is my great love. Now it’s time to talk about one of my other great loves – the Universal Monster movies. Since my teen years I’ve been in love with these wacky, half-baked movies that began as classics and landed at entertaining mishaps. They’ve tried to jump-start this stuff in the modern age several times but they always make the mistake of trying to turn it into something sexy. Frankenstein’s monster can’t be a beast, he has to be something arousing. Dracula must drip with sexual charisma, and not in a mysterious way but more of a…well…CW way.
Enter The Mummy, an absolutely unfortunate misfire that was basically supposed to jump-start a shared universe that starred Tom Cruise as an undead, immortal action star (which is probably too close to the truth for comfort). It was an absolutely abysmal piece of garbage that hurt to watch, from visionless director Alex Kurtzman, and it killed a Dark Universe franchise that was supposed to continue with Russell Crowe as Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde, Johnny Depp as the Invisible Man, Javier Bardem as Frankenstein’s Monster (an admittedly brilliant decision), and would eventually feature the rest of the monsters as well. It crashed and wound up being absolutely painful, derailing something I was hopeful about. The Universal Monsters are the original cinematic universe, the most successful until the MCU in my opinion, and I wanted to see them return.
In their desperation they turned to a man they could neither control or understand – Leigh Whannell. Co-produced with Blumhouse, the companies decided that The Invisible Man would move forward but rather than being the action bullshit Universal had been trying they were to attempt something that actually felt like horror. They cast Elizabeth Moss, known for her talent and her status as a brainwashed member of the vile cult of Scientology (hail Xenu), and then moved forward.
Here’s the first trailer.
So…uh…that’ looks pretty damn good. It doesn’t look fun, but that’s not the point. This looks more like something in the vein of Jordan Peele’s social justice horror films (which I adore) and takes advantage of the premise to discuss ideas like gaslighting, domestic abuse, and psychiatric health care. I’m psyched about this, despite my hesitance to give Moss and her Scientology cult any of my money, and I kind of can’t believe this is happening. The original films are charming but this looks downright eerie. If the rest of their new universe can exist in this tone then I’m so down for it. This looks ugly, mean, intense, and poignant in a way the Universal monsters haven’t been in a while. If they can keep up the quality this seems to be I’m all-in.