The Mummy Returns and its superb CGI

Universal made the announcement several months ago that its reboot of The Mummy—which will now be a shared universe, as is the law of the land—will be delayed until 2017, as the studio apparently needs a little more time to perfect the state-of-the-art CGI magic captured in the above image. Unsurprisingly, this news generated few complaints, perhaps because no one’s in a big hurry to see yet more films badly replicating Indiana Jones-style adventures but with wobbly Egyptian folklore. However, what did generate irritation was the claim from Universal that this new shared universe of classic Hollywood monsters would be defined by “epic action-adventure,” with nary a word about “horror”—you know, the ostensible purpose of monsters.

Now, screenwriter Alex Kurtzman (Star Trek, Transformers), who is producing the new Mummy reboot, has hurried to reassure fans these classic characters will indeed be defined by their horror, or at least partial horror. Collider reports Kurtzman insisted the whole lack of “horror” in the description was just a mistake, even if the inclusion of the “epic action-adventure” tag was not.

I think there was some lost-in-translation quality to the way it was received, because I promise you there will be horror in these movies. It is our life goal to make a horror movie. The tricky part is actually how you combine horror with either adventure or suspense or action and be true to all the genres together. In some way, Mummy, dating all the way back to the Karloff movie, was the first to do that. It was the first to combine horror with — I wouldn’t say action, but certainly a lot of suspense. So it’s more about how you blend the different elements and stay true to each one, but there will definitely be horror in the monster movies… We will hopefully serve it up good and plenty.

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Lending credence to the possibility this new Mummy iteration might actually be good is the reveal of who’s in the writers’ room for this shared universe of Universal Studios’ stable of classic monsters: It includes Noah Hawley, creator of FX’s Fargo, and Aaron Guzikowski, creator of Sundance’s The Red Road and writer of the thriller Prisoners. And sure, maybe Kurtzman himself has a hit-or-miss track record, but he stressed that for these films, he and producer Chris Morgan “picked people that we’ve worked with before, people that we really liked, people whose work we admired, people that we didn’t know, and really thought long and hard about which writers felt right for each monster. So our goal is to have each movie retain the identity and the individuality of the specific monster, but you’ll see how they start to fit into a larger universe as the movies unravel.” It’s going to be really exciting when we finally get that Creature From The Black Lagoon movie in the form of a meditative, Altman-esque travelogue.