Tired of horror movies featuring zombies and vampires? Long for an opportunity to get reacquainted with some of Universal’s other famous monsters? Then the future is looking at least a little bit brighter for you.
Frankenstein’s Monster is about to make a comeback in a big way – with the creature made famous in Mary Shelley’s 1818 horror novel serving as a focal point of five upcoming features. “It’s alive!” indeed.
To help you keep all this mad-scientist mayhem straight, we’ve put together a handy little primer on each of the five Frankenstein movies in development. Think of this as your cheat sheet for a science class in reanimating the dead, because with it you’ll not be totally confused about the differences between Frankenstein’s Army and Army of Frankensteins. That alone could be life-saving information.
So, without further ado, let’s get this article -- made up of the bits and pieces of countless Frankenstein flicks -- rolling.
Army of Frankensteins
What it’s about: This comes from the film’s official site:
“After a failed attempt to propose to his girlfriend, Alan Jones is beaten to within an inch of his life by a street gang and taken to a mysterious lab where Dr. Tanner Finski and his kid-genius assistant perform horrible experiments on him hoping to reanimate a Frankenstein. The experiments lead to a hole being ripped in space and time, manifesting an Army of Frankensteins from hundreds of parallel universes and sending them all back to the 19th century, directly into the heart of a bloody battle between the North and South.
History will never be the same.”
So… we’ve got Frankenstein’s monsters, in the plural. (I also love that the title is Army of Frankensteins – which would technically mean there was an army of Victor’s family members and not the monster, which was not a Frankenstein…), time travel, the Civil War, and an appearance from Abe Lincoln (who's become one of horror's best leading men all of the sudden). Director Ryan Bellgardt seems to be taking a “kitchen sink” approach to his low-budget feature, but we're okay with that.
When can I see it?: According to various sources, the Army of Frankensteins is set to invade in fall of 2013. Have a look at the trailer and see what you think.
What it’s about: In the final days of World War II, Russian soldiers discover that Nazi scientists are using Victor Frankenstein’s research to craft an army of reanimated supe-soldiers made up of the body parts of their fallen comrades. Talk about recycling...
Director Richard Raaphorst originally got a lot of buzz for his zombie film Worst Case Scenario – a movie that languished in development for years (going so far as to get a trailer before the plug was finally pulled in 2009, much to the chagrin of genre fanatics), but after that project disintegrated, he moved on to this terrifying tale of Nazi experiments gone horribly wrong.
This one won us over almost instantly, because we're suckers for any movie featuring military guys fighting supernatural monsters. Set it during WWII and add in Nazis and I’m in line on day one.
We’ll never know how cool Worst Case Scenario might have been, but Frankenstein’s Army looks like a pretty great consolation prize.
When can I see it?: Raaphorst’s army of reanimated corpses is set to report for limited release tour of duty on July 26. Watch the gory trailer below.
Sherlock Holmes vs. Frankenstein
What it’s about: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s master sleuth and his pal Watson wind up in Germany, investigating a series of grave robbings that inevitably lead back to Frankenstein’s famous monster.
This indie first blipped onto our radar back in 2012 – and we’ll be honest, we completely forgot about it until today. We’ve no clue how this all works legally, but apparently the guys behind Sherlock Holmes vs. Frankenstein have found a way to use not one, but two, iconic characters in a way that feels a lot like fanfiction.
This will not be the first time Holmes has squared off against an iconic horror figure. The detective has met up with Dracula previously, and went toe-to-toe with Jack the Ripper in a 2010 video game.
When can I see it? This is the $64,000 question. A quick perusal of the film’s Facebook page still lists a vague 2013 release date. However, digging through recent posts reveals an entry from this week stating:
“Going to Berlin next week, to finance all our films... It will be like Cannes, only more intense. Expect good news regarding Sherlock Holmes vs. Frankenstein very, VERY soon.”
There’s been no update since then, but the guys behind this one are starting a smaller crowd-funded film entitled House of VHS this August. It seems unlikely that we’ll see Sherlock meet Frankenstein this year, but stranger things have happened. At any rate, I wouldn’t start lining up for tickets just yet.
What it’s about: Frankenstein’s Monster (now named Adam Frankenstein) finds himself embroiled in a war between two immortal clans in an ancient city.
Lionsgate is handling the production duties on this feature – which was inspired by a graphic novel – so it’s the first legitimate mainstream feature in the upcoming slate of Frankenstein movies. On the plus side, it’s got a decent cast – including Aaron Eckhart in the lead, and genre vet Bill Nighy in a supporting role. On the downside, it’s a pretty niche graphic novel without a whole lot of name recognition and may be a bit of a tough sell. Writer and director Stuart Beattie has some impressive credits on his resume, so maybe it will all work out.
When can I see it?: I, Frankenstein will open in January 2014, which is a month where genre films have flourished over the past few years. Clearly, Lionsgate is giving this feature a shot at succeeding.
Untitled Frankenstein Project
What it’s about: Honestly? We're not really sure what Paul McGuigan’s updating of Mary Shelley’s novel is about at this point because the film is still in preproduction (the picture to the right is from Radcliffe's The Woman in Black). Here’s what we do know so far: McGuigan is directing based on a script by Max Landis, and Daniel Radcliffe is set to star as Igor. We like the sound of this already.
News also surfaced this week that Jack Huston and Toby Kebbel are apparently the frontrunners to play Victor Frankenstein in the film. Huston has appeared on Boardwalk Empire and Kebbel was involved in RocknRolla. That’s all we really know about this one at the moment.
When can I see it?: While everything is still in the early stages with this one, the still-untitled Frankenstein project has a release date set for October 2014.