Other Old-School Villains Who Need a Makeover, from Gremlins to the Phantom

Other Old-School Villains Who Need a Makeover, from Gremlins to the Phantom

Oct 10, 2014

Earlier this year we got a new ab-heavy take on Frankenstein’s monster with I, Frankenstein. Now we’re about to lay eyes on a new, somewhat heroic take on Dracula with Dracula Untold. With these two examples in mind, perhaps the time has come to put a new coat of paint on some of our older movie monsters. Variety, after all, is the spice of life, and some of these icons need all the spice they can get.


Gill Man

Gill Man, the monster from The Creature from the Black Lagoon movies, is pretty simple overall. He’s just a man-shaped fish with a decidedly inhuman face. This simplicity means filmmakers have a lot of freedom when it comes to a redesign. He could look more human and attractive. Or they could go the other way and make him more monstrous and scary. Either way, there’s a lot of opportunity to create something new and special from this monster.


The Phantom of the Opera

We already have an incredible and probably difficult to top reinterpretation of the Phantom thanks to Brian De Palma’s The Phantom of the Paradise. But that was 1974. The time has come for a new radical interpretation of this character. Scarred, lonely and filled with rage, the Phantom is as much pathetic and sad as terrifying. It shouldn’t be too hard to update his look without softening his edge.


The Mummy

In a cultural landscape filled with zombies, it’s hard to make a mummy interesting. That’s why Stephen Sommers’ 1999 reboot focused more on roguish Brendan Fraser than its titular villain. But it doesn’t have to be this way. With the right makeup effects, a good actor and some new additions to mummy lore, this monster could finally make a comeback. They’re working on another reboot right now, so hopefully this ends up being the case.


The Invisible Man

What do you do with an Invisible Man? Well, lately movies seem satisfied to just throw stuff on him. Few seem interested in filling the character with real pathos, humanity and motivation. While there’s not much you can do about this guy visually, a lot can be gained from focusing more on who he is and what happens to someone emotionally when the whole world ceases to be able to tell they even exist.



Now, now. No one’s talking about remaking Joe Dante’s classic Gremlin movies (actually, last year there was some talk about this). It’s just that gremlins have been around for a long time. They are essentially little mischievous spirits from old-school folklore. Without disrespecting the gremlins we already know, there is a lot of room for someone to take this myth and doing something new with it.



Martians used to be in all kinds of movies. They had many different looks, and a wide variety of intentions. Even though we have a piece of human hardware rolling on the face of Mars this very second, that doesn’t mean we have to totally give up the idea of Martians as cool movie villains (or good guys!). John Carter gave this a try, but failed to set the box office on fire. That’s no reason to stop trying, though. Because Martians are cool.



How do you top a lady with snake hair whose very stare can turn men to stone? You can’t! Medusa is an incredible monster and should be in way more movies. We have a fairly incredible version of her in the original Clash of the Titans, but the world needs more Medusa, a new Medusa for modern audiences.



The term “makeover” might not apply to Cthulhu since we’ve never really had a satisfying version on the big screen. What a shame. While cinema has given us some unofficial almost-Cthulhus (like the one seen in The Mist, for instance) this giant, evil man/dragon/octopus is just crying out for a killer scene on the big screen. Make him big, and make him terrifying.


Mr. Hyde

Even though Marvel appears to have already given Mr. Hyde a pretty well-loved makeover with its newest cinematic iteration of the Hulk, there’s still room for a new Mr. Hyde out there. This is especially true if our new hypothetical Hyde distinguishes himself in some way. Say, by dishing as much horror film-level violence as possible. Marvel can have its PG-13 Hulk. Some other studio gets their super R-rated Mr. Hyde. Everyone wins.



Godzilla has enjoyed his big revamp. The time has come for Gamera to take another swing. This mostly turtle-shaped kaiju has a lot to offer that poor Godzilla can’t touch. He can fly, he always tends to protect children, and his movies seem to have a lot more kaiju gore than one would expect. A nice redesign and a somewhat campy plot could get this guy back on the big screen in no time.




Categories: Features, Horror
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