Director John Landis has been stepping up on his soapbox a lot as of late. Last week he trashed the Marvel Cinematic Universe and now he's set his crotchety sights on Universal Picture's Dark Universe. Landis has directed some of the most iconic movies in recent history including Animal House, American Werewolf in London, and The Blues Brothers, just to name a few. In addition, he also directed Michael Jackson's groundbreaking Thriller and wrote a book called Monsters in the Movies in 2011, making him the go to monster aficionado.
Jonathon Landis' passion for monsters was brought up when Entertainment.ie asked him for his thoughts on Universal's new The Mummy movie, which is also the first movie for the Dark Universe. Landis did not hold back and let his monster passion take over him. First, Landis drops some knowledge on the subject of monster movies. Read Landis' comments below.
"(The Dark Universe is) not a new idea. 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! (laughs)"
Now Landis wants to talk about the unfair treatment of monsters in Hollywood over the last handful of years. He explains.
"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."
The director is informed and on point, especially when it comes to The Mummy, though I'm not sure if he has the Dark Universe mixed up with Warner Bros.' Monsterverse. Landis had this to say.
"What's happening is the studios now will make a film for $150, $200 million but they're afraid to take risks. You asked me about the Dark Universe, if you're gonna make a movie of The Mummy, why the f@#$ 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."
It's refreshing to see someone so knowledgeable and passionate about monsters step up to the plate and advocate for said monsters. It is rumored that Tom Cruise had his role expanded in The Mummy because he didn't want to share the spotlight with a monster. Now Landis is out leading the crusade to get the monsters the respect that they deserve.
Dark Universe might want to sit down for a meeting with Jonathon Landis after the dismal box office figures that The Mummy brought in and figure out a plan of attack to make the Dark Universe dark again. Make the movies about the monsters again, not some subpar comedy with action stars choking up the screen. But it appears it may be too late for the Dark Universe as Cruise is on board for more action/comedy blandness. Who would have thought that people would long for a time when Brendan Frasier played the lead in a movie?
Jonathon Landis is not only a respected director, but also a monster expert so his thoughts and feelings are very relevant. He may have been a little brash, but he's passionate about the subject and can see when something is going down the wrong path when it involves the respect that monsters so desperately deserve. So the next obvious question has to be: Why doesn't Landis step up and make some god damn monster movies of his own? Make up some new monsters to advocate for.