Ep 1.7: Prospects for the Dark Universe and Revisiting The Mummy (2017) – LIVE!

We bid you welcome to a New World of God’s and Monsters! This is Universal Monsters Cast, where your horror hosts – Gillman Joel, Dr. Shock and Wolfman Josh – regularly brave discussions of the monstrous side of cinema, with a special focus on the Universal Monsters, both the classic films and the emerging Dark Universe.

Season 1. Episode 7. In this episode, we enter The Bride’s lair to discuss the latest Dark Universe news and re-visit The Mummy (2017) on the occasion of the BluRay release. This was the first time that all of us met face-to-face and it was our first LIVE! recording, as well.

With Bill Condon’s The Bride of Frankenstein on hold and the exit of Kurtzman and Morgan, some are ready to call the Dark Universe dead, but if there is one thing we’ve learned from The Mummy’s many incarnations over the years, it is that Death is Only the Beginning!


[ 00:00:00 ] I. Intro

– Joel and Josh intro the show

[ 00:03:48 ] II. The latest (and last?) Dark Universe news

– Bill Condon’s The Bride of Frankenstein delayed
– Is Guillermo Del Toro’s The Shape of Water his Creature from the Black Lagoon
– Kurtzman and Morgan leave the Dark Universe

[ 0:40:43 ] III. Feature Review: THE MUMMY (2017) BluRay Release

Ratings and Recommendations
The Bride: 8 / Buy it
Wolfman Josh: Bumped up to a 7 / Buy it
Gillman Joel: Dropped to a 5.5 / Rent it
Dr. Shock: Stayed at a 5 / Rent it

Liz being a mommy in mummy pants.

[ 01:09:56 ] IV. Wrap up / Plugs


– Subscribe to Universal Monsters Cast on iTunes
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– Listen to the Horror Movie Podcast ep that inspired the creation of this show (HERE).
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Reference articles for this episode:

Universal’s ‘Monsterverse’ in Peril as Top Producers Exit (Exclusive)” – The Hollywood Reporter

Dark Universe May Be Dead” – Collider Movie Talk

Is Universal’s Dark Universe Dead? Kurtzman and Morgan Depart” – ComingSoon.net

The Bride’s Links:
Liz covers all things science fiction at The Sci-Fi Podcast
Liz recently appeared on Geek Cast Live
Follow Liz on Twitter @LizReadsComics

Gillman Joel’s links:
Joel covers retro movies at Retro Movie Geek
Follow @RetroMovieGeek on Twitter
Join the RMG Facebook Group
Joel used to cover forgotten flix at Forgotten Flix Remembers

Wolfman Josh’s links:
Follow Josh on TwitterInstagram and Facebook @IcarusArts
Josh covers horror movies on HorrorMoviePodcast.com
Josh covers streaming online movies on MovieStreamCast.com
Follow MSC on Twitter @MovieStreamCast
Like MSC on Facebook

Dr. Shock’s links:
Dave writes daily movie reviews on DVDinfatuation.com
Follow Dave on Twitter @DVDinfatuation
Like Dave’s DVD Infatuation on Facebook
Dave podcasts about horror movies on Horror Movie Podcast and Land of the Creeps
You can read all of Dave’s “Universal Horror” written reviews (HERE) at DVDinfatuation.com

UMC Producer and Composer Kagan Breitenbach’s links:
Check out Kagan’s music at KaganBreitenbach.com
Subscribe to Kagan’s YouTube Channel QuartetMacbre
Follow Kagan on Twitter @KRBrietenbach

20 thoughts on “Ep 1.7: Prospects for the Dark Universe and Revisiting The Mummy (2017) – LIVE!

  1. Despite Joel’s asserttion that he is the slowest to respond to comments on the various boards, there’s litle doubt that I’m much worse at it than he is. As with most things, I plan to change all that in the coming days, but whether that happens sooner or later, I did want to take a moment to express my thoughts on the meet-up that occurred just about a month ago (how time flies!)

    In short, the MPN meet-up was everything I hoped it would be, and more. I got to meet people I have known for years, some who have been long-time listeners (Juan, Mark, Gene, and many others), a few I’ve spoken with a handful of times (Karl from MPW and critic Cody Clark), and others I talk to on an almost weekly basis.

    Like many movie fans (horror and otherwise), I don’t get much of a chance to discuss this passion of mine with family and freinds, who have only a passing interest in film (if any interest at all; I had family members tell me when I started my 2,500 challenge that there would be very little interest in it, and it amounted to a waste of time). To have spent time in the company of people who share my love of movies was an absolute thrill, and I wouldn’t trade those 4 days for the world.

    So, to my co-hosts at the Universal Monsters Cast, Josh, Joel, and Liz, and it’s awesome producer, Kagen, as well as my good buddy Jay (who, along with Josh, was kind enough to act as a shuttle service for my wife and I), Matt, William, Tennessee Two-Guns T-Bob, er… (oh hell, Jason); to director Chris Peckover, who shared his amazing film BETTER WATCH OUT with us; and to everyone else who made these 4 days so special: You all did more than give me one of the best birthdays I ever had.. it was also one of my all-time great life experiences, and I am forever in your debt.

    And to all those out there who wanted to attend, of even thought about it for a minute or two, take my advice: start saving now for the next meet-up, whenever that might be, and plan to be there!

    If your experience is half as wondertful as mine was, it will undoubtedly change your life.

    • Beautiful sentiments, Dave. So glad you enjoyed yourself. As the locals, I think we were just concerned that everyone who paid to come out would have a good enough time to make it worth your money. Sounds like that was the case.

      As far as UMC, it was great getting the team together.I hope we can do it a lot more in the future. Although maybe we’ll have William mic it next time, for the listeners.

    • I second everything Dave said. Of course, the fact I’m commenting on this almost 3 weeks after Dave originally posted helps reinforce my assertion. 😉

      Seriously though, Dave’s right. It was a fantastic time and the best part was getting to meet all the amazing people I’ve come to know as friends. If you do a get a chance to attend next year, no matter where it is, do it! I know I will!

    • Hey, Tony! We are getting around to setting up voicemail, but for the time being, you can just record an audio message on your phone or computer and email it to me: thewolfmanjosh [at] gmail [dot] com.

  2. As someone who did not like the new Mummy film and had little interest in seeing more of this new Dark Universe, if they were going to continue down its current route, the news that the Dark Universe may be done didn’t upset me in the slightest. I’d rather be forced to only have the old Universe Monster films than to have the new Dark Universe, but have the movies all by more action/adventure than actual horror.

    With that being said, if this is the end of the Dark Universe (Which I realize it hasn’t been confirmed and they may very well just be re-grouping), the one thing I do care about is hearing if this podcast will continue. While I realize that the new Dark Universe made the launching of a UniverSal Monsters podcast even more logical, I do greatly hope that this podcast isn’t dependent on the Dark Universe for its survival.

    • You’re singing my song, Sal! Seriously, the further I get away from my initial viewing of The Mummy (2017), the less hope I have in the approach Universal is taking with the DU. Don’t get me wrong, I WANT it to be a wonderfully-macabre, mythologically-deep, dramatically-rich universe, but I don’t think that’s what we’re going to get. That said, I’m an optimist and I do hold out hope for standalone movies (like The Bride of Frankenstein, natch) and the potential of taking a more low-budget approach to certain properties.

      As far as the podcast’s future is concerned, I believe Josh, Kagan, Dave, and I have every intention of doing the show as long as the listeners want it. We all love the Universal Monsters and we want to continue exploring this rich, exciting period in cinema history. Obviously, the DU helps guide some of the choices we make as a show. For instance, we are trying to connect the monster we’re covering based on what DU monsters are coming soon to a theater near you. But other than that, and our desire to cover the new films, I think UMC can stand on its own. So fear not, my friend! We have much to discuss regarding these wonderful worlds of Gods and Monsters!

    • I definitely agree with you regarding the recent MUMMY film, but not to worry: this podcast isn’t going anywhere!

      There is a large back catalog of movies left for us to discuss (this far, we’ve only touched on the Mummy films), and as long as there are directors like Guillermo Del Toro out there, making their own versions of these classics, we’ll always have something to talk about.

    • I second the sentiment Dave and Joel are sharing, here. For me, I don’t have any issue with this podcast being finite, but it won’t be the Dark Universe that puts an end to it. I think our core audience is more interested in the classic films. Yes, the Dark Universe gave us a boost of listener ship, but people will trickle in forever to talk about the classic monster movies.

      Even if we just stick to Universal films, that’s 70+ movies to talk about. Add in the Hammer films and other movies that have a real connection to these classics from American Werewolf in London to The Monster Squad to The Shape of Water and we’re into this podcast a good five years, at our release schedule.

      Opening it up to the broader world of Gods & Monsters and covering King Kong and Godzilla and whatever else … I don’t see us going anywhere anytime soon. But again, I’d be content just covering the classic Universal Monsters movies and the films directly related to them—just as we have this season.

      As Joel pointed out, the Dark Universe is really only guiding our decision of which monster to tackle next. In that regard, I hope they make up their minds sooner rather than later.

  3. I’d be curious to hear about some of the most treasured items that Joel owns from his days of working at a movie theater. If these are the sort of amazing items that he’s willing to give away to friends, I can’t imagine what he’s holding for himself.

    • Well, Sal, I may have to bring this up on the show sometime! 🙂 I’ve definitely cleared out a lot of stuff over the years but I’ve kept some sweet ones too. The items I gave to my co-hosts that were from my theater days were trailers and the mylars they used to put above each theater (they were placed in a backlit box), with the movie’s title, art, ratiing etc. The other items (shown in the pictures above) are 3-D shadow box papercuttings for retro posters. I made those myself to give away as gifts.

      • You can see the trailer Joel gave me in the Monster Squad image above. So cool, I drool whenever I see it in my office. We should get Liz to post photos of the molars. She’s the only who who knows how to display those kinds of things, properly.

  4. *** Open Letter***
    I’m not sure who I can get this too and I’m not sure if anyone will read it, but if you would indulge me, I’m writing to you at novel length to inform you or anyone who may read this that we believe our Universal Monsters will be back and we believe in the studio to make good on their word and the legacy that is The Universal Monsters. You have in your library a franchise like no other: before Star Wars, Marvel Studios, Potterverse and the newly minted DC Comics Extended Universe, you (the studio that is) began THE FRANCHISE FILM SHARED UNIVERSE. We- your fan base have been loyal, faithful, and patient. We’ve seen the movies remade and always wanted them to meet up together in these films and have updated versions of them.

    I’ve always wanted to see Coppola’s vision on Dracula meet up with Branagh’s Frankenstein to greet Del Toro’s performance as The Wolfman and the thought of that is just pure glee. I understand why it couldn’t happen, but what a joy it would have been. Since the release of the recent origin seen in “Dracula Untold”, there has been a story that was dropped like a hot plate and it’s truly unfortunate that it couldn’t be continued. When the studio announced “The Mummy” and how it was to begin a shared universe, it sounded and felt new with promise, honesty, and earnest. I, as a fan loved the idea of it and began to play out in my head how this would look and the boldness of it. But not including ‘Dracula Untold” was a big opportunity missed on establishing the Dark Universe that Universal Pictures originated. The ideas were there- still are really, but as a fan, I myself would like to offer a few points to look at on how to fix this. It’s our dream as fans of and for this universe to exist- we want it and Universal Studios needs it.

    For starters- these movie universes have a large amount of logistical continuity involved… embedded actually into the DNA of their stories. The presentation comes off as singular, but includes hints of the multiple for the end goal. Look at the release dates of the future films as they should be attuned and catered to the subject matter: they’re monsters and why wouldn’t you capitalize on the release of these movies during the month that is synonymous with Halloween- OCTOBER? Look at the “Star Wars” and “The Hobbit/ Lord of the Rings” movies from the last several years. The studios were able to release these movies in such an anticipated way that you counted down their release month- December. Take advantage of such an opportunity to present these movies of classic horror during the month that is traditionally associated with horror. Summer blockbusters bring in money, but this seems counter to the subject matter.

    Next, form a spearhead to stab into the logistical continuity of these films where the scripts/ stories are cohesive and will allow reference to the other movies leading to the END GOAL. For example, an idea for an end credit scene in 2017’s “The Mummy” could have ended with Dr. Jekyll speaking with a “unseen” Prodigium colleague who appears aloof, distant, harried, and almost seems to be rushing Henry. Henry is then called away to answer a call from “Abraham” and as he leaves, the camera pans up to reveal who Henry was speaking to- a cameo of Johnny Depp as Prodigium colleague Dr. Jack Griffin is the punch one. Griffins pulls in hits camera view a translucent hand- Jack smiles slightly and looks into the camera, breaking the 4th wall: punch two! See… a “one two punch” for the fans. In this end credit scene, we get references to “Dracula” AND “The Invisible Man”. Now the seeds are sown for two movies.

    Also, keeping in logistical continuity, the stories and scripts should all be worked on, written or at least approved of at the same time (As the “Star Wars” movies are done), with shooting schedules set up, actors selected, and score themes discussed. One thing that Marvel Studios does is ensure characters appearances and themes are present, even in cameo roles. Two examples: Captain America’s theme in “Thor: The Dark World” (Loki shapeshifting as he walks with Thor), and with DC’s Wonder Woman theme in “Dawn of Justice”, in her own movie, and heading into the “Justice League” movie Danny Elfman has taken cautious care to introduce her theme, as well as revisit John Williams’ “Superman March”, and using his own composition for Batman. The planning and logistics of these examples show continuity no matter if the character has a cameo or full starring role. The actors would be aware of their appearances because all the stories will work themselves out due to continuity logistics.

    Again, Marvel Studios, Star Wars, Harry Potter, and the DCEU has great films because the directors know of the story the studio wants to tell and know what they want to bring to fruition in their vision. Both studio and director get on board with each other because there is a overarching bigger story that is waiting to be told and the stories are being geared toward that END GOAL- hence the end credit scenes. They really do help bring goal closer to its final realization. In “Dracula Untold”, the old vampire from Broken Tooth Mountain remarks “Let The Games Begin…” at the end of the movie and now our attention is at alert because we want to know what the hell does that mean?!?! With that, If you really want to restructure and get these movies to the place they deserve to be seen, the consideration of bringing in Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless to not only continue what was started in the movie, but to expand the Dark Universe. What’s needed is a bigger story- again an END GOAL for the story of this universe. Separate movies have to be told, but the neck we want to sink our fans in is the presentation of these characters with the intention of facing whatever these “games” the old vampire spoke of. The history of that character, him being cursed to Broken Tooth Mountain, and these “games” he mentioned deserve to be elaborated on.

    The mantra for these stories need a theme. A reasoning for us to see them. So I believe Vlad said it best when he stated “…Sometimes the world no longer needs a hero. Sometimes what it needs is a monster” . For years our creatures have been feared and hated, so when working on these movies, don’t be so quick to end their lives, thereby close ending the movie. A shared (and cohesive) universe means stories to be told and to continue while interacting with others. Drawing on “Dracula Untold” or even on “The Mummy” (or both) , we know they’re redeemable, but a moment of inspiration that could head the direction of some to redemption should be seen, felt, and given. That they’re feared characters isn’t enough- but an event or story where they become the saviors- thankless, but all the same real heroes- should be seen. I say three films per character is a lot, but one story per character with cameos that lead to a grand finale – “The Games”- as it were, or calling on “the sense of adventure” is good.

    I’m a comic book fan, so continuity, cameo appearances, multi layered stories is what I’m used to and its what the general public has now gotten used to. For example- Prodigium… seriously?!? What a beautiful and wonderful organization that has been created for this universe. This shouldn’t be forgotten or put to the wayside at all!!!! The stories that could be told on this organization alone is enough give background, pre credit, and post credit a run for its money. I would also like to state to not be afraid of what you have given us before. Universal Studios has a legacy with these characters, so why not embrace them. Idea: Prodigium may have started in the Vatican as a means to purge evil throughout Christianity and the world. It could have moved further to London and be chaired by an older Abraham Van Helsing (Hugh Jackman can come in and reprise his role, albeit aged). It continues on with financing not only through the Vatican, but also through The O’Connells and The Talbots during the Mid 50’s, with Alex taking on the role of agent/ archeologist with partner Lawrence Talbot I. See- that right there is a story I’d be engrossed in. Seriously, the movie paid homage to the 1999 version with showing us The Book of Dead… if you have such a grand nod and gesture to that version with an EASTER EGG, Prodigium’s story demands to be told of why it exists.

    Your recent announcement gave hope that you’re not giving up as a studio on the legacies of these characters. You are taking opportunities to restructure, rebuild and make this universe sound and vibrant. I understand as a fan you want to give the best versions of these characters and I may come off as a raging fan (for the record, I did give forewarning I was going to write at novel length) giving their own feedback to no one who may or may not reply or forward this to anyone of interest or in decision making positions. Maybe some it makes sense or none of it makes any and there are copyrights to other things that can’t be done in what I laid out in thought- again, the rantings of a mad lunatic. But I am indeed a fan who cares and I see what is missing and wish to help, if only by projecting words on a screen as a keyboard warrior does. I… we as fans of Universal Pictures and Universal Monsters can see what you need, so please take your time and present these moves at their best. Get them made with detail and precision in care because you, as a studio deserve it and we the fans want it.

    Just don’t give up.
    This can be fixed.
    We’ll be waiting.

    Tony Longshore

    • Love it. Thanks for sharing here, Tony. I hope you’re listening to the podcast. I’d like to go through your left and break down some of your points next time we discuss the Dark Universe on the show.

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