Saturday, November 18, 2017


After Tom Cruise's critically maimed THE MUMMY unraveled at the box office and was dusted up by reviewers, Universal is reconsidering a reboot of their "Dark Universe" reboot. Despite a worldwide gross of over $407 million, most of the proceeds came from overseas, and that is not a desirable financial outcome for a film made in Hollywood.

Now, under the pretense of "not rushing" into the next film (if you can call a projected released date of February, 2019 rushing), and with the script already being overhauled, I suspect that whatever idea they thought was going to work well with audiences has been trashed.

Also being reconsidered is the role of the Bride. While not fully committing, Angelina Jolie was the first choice, but now Gal "Wonder Woman" Gadot is rumored as her replacement.

Let's hope that the extra time will produce a film that will keep the Universal monster legacy from being nailed in the coffin.

MONSTER MAGAZINE WORLD'S version of the Bride of Frankenjolie.
Dark Universe in Trouble, Bride of Frankenstein Indefinitely Delayed
By Ryan Scott| 10.05.2017|
It looks like Universal's very lofty plans for the Dark Universe may have been a bit premature. Bride of Frankenstein is, or possibly was, intended to be the next movie in the studio's interconnected Dark Universe series of monster movies, following Tom Cruise's The Mummy, which arrived with a critical thud over the summer. Now we have word that Universal has, at least temporarily, pulled the plug on Bride of Frankenstein.

According to Deadline, pre-production was already taking place on the remake of the 1935 classic, which is set to be directed by Bill Condon (Beauty and the Beast). Universal had pre-production stopped, with "the crew has just been told to go home for the time being." Despite the stoppage, Universal released a statement saying that they are still intending to make Bride of Frankenstein, but they don't want to be rushed to "meet a release date." Here's what they had to say about it:

"After thoughtful consideration, Universal Pictures and director Bill Condon have decided to postpone Bride of Frankenstein. None of us want to move too quickly to meet a release date when we know this special movie needs more time to come together. Bill is a director whose enormous talent has been proven time and again, and we all look forward to continuing to work on this film together."

Originally, Bride of Frankenstein was supposed to start shooting on February 1 in order to meet the previously announced February 14, 2019, release date. That isn't going to happen now, as David Koepp is reportedly doing rewrites on the script. It is also being reported that Javier Bardem, who is signed up to play Frankenstein's monster, and Angelina Jolie, who is in talks to play his reanimated bride, are both waiting in the wings and aren't leaving the project as of yet. Bill Condon also seems committed, as he recently spoke with Collider about his vision for the movie:

"This is Eve before Adam; the bride comes first. So in its own way, you know, we all know the Bride only exists for 10 minutes in the Whale movie. She's there and the movie's over. So I keep thinking [it's], in a way, at least a tribute to what Whale might have done if he'd made a third Frankenstein movie and he'd done it in the 21st Century,"

The Mummy was intended to launch the Dark Universe in epic fashion. That didn't go so well. The movie had a very troubled production, which resulted in a critical disaster. Currently, The Mummy, which did a lot of world building for the Dark Universe, has an ugly 16 percent approval rating from critics on Rotten Tomatoes, with an absolutely terrible 35 percent audience rating. Despite that, the movie managed to pull in $407.7 million worldwide. Though, more than 80 percent of that came from overseas. Certainly not what Universal was hoping for.

Can Universal's Dark Universe be saved?
Johnny Depp is also starring in The Invisible Man remake and there is a script being written for a Van Helsing reboot, among other projects. With Bride of Frankenstein put on pause, the future of at least some of these projects is in doubt, but Deadline didn't make any mention of what's going on with those projects in their report. It's probably best that Universal doesn't rush into something until it's right, given what happened with The Mummy. Still, this isn't the best way to kick off a new cinematic universe. Not by a long shot.

Bride of Frankenstein Wants Gal Gadot to Replace Angelina Jolie
By Brian Gallagher| 10.06.2017|
Yesterday [October 5], Universal Pictures yanked Bride of Frankenstein from its February 14, 2019 release date and off its release schedule entirely, which lead some to speculate that the studio's nascent Dark Universe is already in big trouble. Now we have word that Angelina Jolie, who has been rumored for some time as the title character but never officially confirmed, may be backing away from the project, but if she does, director Bill Condon reportedly wants to bring on Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman) to take her place. While nothing is official quite yet, it could mark quite the interesting development for this project, and the Dark Universe as a whole.

Shortly before the release of the first Dark Universe movie, The Mummy, Universal released a photo featuring The Mummy stars Tom Cruise (Nick Morton), Sofia Boutella (Ahmanet) and Russell Crowe (Dr. Henry Jekyl) but it also confirmed Javier Bardem as Frankenstein's monster in Bride of Frankenstein, and Johnny Depp as the title character in The Invisible Man. This new report from The Wrap claims that Javier Bardem's deal isn't finalized, and neither was Angelina Jolie's deal either. The report claims that the project has been in a "holding pattern," as director Bill Condon and the studio keep waiting to see whether or not Angelina Jolie will sign on or drop out of the project. Here's what an unidentified insider had to say about the project:

"This is fairly out of nowhere given how deep they were into prep over there, but not really surprising. Their mandate has more or less been that they wanted these to work as PG-rated action movies/theme-park rides, not horror movies. Basically, Fast and the Furious meets The Avengers, but with super monsters."

Another source stated they were surprised Universal is still moving forward with their Dark Universe, given how The Mummy flopped at the box office, which we reported in late June could result in losses of $95 million, despite a strong box office showing overseas. Still, it seems the studio is moving forward with this Dark Universe, which The Mummy helped set the table for. The entire universe will revolve around the mysterious corporation Prodigium, run by Dr. Henry Jekyl that has a mission to protect the world from supernatural creatures and beings. Director Bill Condon stated in an interview this week that he is not worried at all about how his movie connects to the Dark Universe, he's only concerned with making a great monster movie. Here's what the filmmaker had to say about the script that was written by David Koepp (Jurassic Park), which is much different than the original 1935 classic, directed by James Whale.

"What I love about David Koepp's script is he turns everything on its head. This is Eve before Adam, the bride comes first. So in its own way, you know, we all know the Bride only exists for 10 minutes in the Whale movie; she's there and the movie's over. So I keep thinking [it's], in a way, at least a tribute to what Whale might have done if he'd made a third Frankenstein movie and he'd done it in the 21st Century. I think there are just things about the sensibility of that movie. Also his genius in solving that basic problem you still see when people approach monster movies now, which is you've got to create a monster that you're afraid of, that you're terrified of, but you can still identify with, and that line was never walked better than by James Whale."

As for Gal Gadot, her reps wouldn't comment on the story, and there is no indication of whether or not she would be interested in taking on this iconic role. The actress is most certainly in demand, after starring in Warner Bros.' first DCEU hit, Wonder Woman, which became the highest-grossing movie of the summer, and she will next be seen reprising that heroic role next month when Justice League hits theaters. Gal Gadot will almost certainly come back for the Justice League sequel, and Warner Bros. already set a December 13, 2019 release date for Wonder Woman 2. Since Bride of Frankenstein has already been pushed out of its 2019 date, it's possible that Gal Gadot could fit this into her schedule after making the Justice League sequel and Wonder Woman 2, that is, if she's even interested in the role. This report from The Wrap has not yet been confirmed, so hopefully we'll find out more soon.

Thursday, November 16, 2017


Studio Photographer Preston Duncan was mentioned earlier this week. As the head of Universal Pictures' stills photography department, Mr. Duncan had the distinct fortune of having the world's most famous horror actor available to his creative lens. The example of his photograph of Bela Lugosi taken in the 1930's, is all the proof needed.


The wispy and ethereal Helen Chandler appeared in this photo as a featured actress in the October, 1931 issue of the NEW MOVIE MAGAZINE. By that time she had already gained notoriety as Mina Harker in Universal's DRACULA, released earlier, in February.

NOTE: This photo also appeared in the January, 1932 issue of SCREENLAND and posted at MONSTER MAGAZINE WORLD HERE. The photographer was identified as Preston Duncan.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017


Fay Wray had no trouble finding work in the 1930's. As a freelance actress, she was in demand by numerous Hollywood movie studios.

This lovely picture is from the October, 1931 issue of the NEW MOVIE MAGAZINE and was taken by Ray Jones, the head of still photography at Universal in the 1920's and 1930's.

Miss Wray starred in 7 (!) films in 1931, but this photograph, taken by Universal's Jones, was probably for her role in STOWAWAY, which was released in March, 1932.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017


Joan Bennett is most widely known today as playing Elizabeth Collins Stoddard, the matriarch of Collinwood, in the TV series, DARK SHADOWS.

Ms. Bennett got her start in Hollywood years earlier at the age of only 6 when she played "An Unborn Soul" in the 1916 silent film, THE VALLEY OF DECISION.

In the 1930's, she starred in films for studios such as Fox and Universal. The photos shown here are from the NEW MOVIE MAGAZINE in the January and February, 1931 issues. The pictures are by Preston Duncan, a studio photographer for Warners and Fox.


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