Dear Dark Universe

Matt Reeves
Photo by Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America, Wikimedia Commons

I’m not trying to kick you while you’re down because I didn’t hate the new MUMMY movie. But I know that the critical drubbing and reports of a massive write-off has to hurt.

So if you decide that a course correction is already in order, I’d like to suggest putting Matt Reeves and Andy Serkis in charge. Matt Reeves took a dodgy idea — remaking Let the Right One In — and made a high quality film. Andy Serkis, of course, is the master of performance capture acting.

But it’s their combined talents on Dawn of the Planet of the Apes that demonstrates that these two “get” creatures. While Serkis’ Caesar is not a monster, he embodies much of what made the original Universal monsters great. He’s sympathetic, but increasingly pushed to a breaking point. Reeves can pull off character moments without skimping on the “blockbuster” elements.

These are qualities that the planned Dark Universe needs. Imagine how great Serkis would be as the Gill-Man, for example. While you’re at it, throw Doug Jones in the mix. I don’t know if these guys are available or even interested, but hopefully it’s something to think about.

Still hoping for the best from your endeavors,

Derek

 

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Cradle of Filth exhume Cryptoriana

British heavy metal heretics Cradle of Filth will release their next album on September 22. Band leader Dani Filth has said that this album, titled Cryptoriana — The Seductiveness of Decay, will draw heavily from the aesthetics of Victorian horror—

Record scratch.

Mentioning that a Cradle of Filth album will bear a Victorian horror influence is kind of like saying that it will also feature electric guitars and Filth’s high-pitched shrieks. It just goes with this band’s territory.

I realize that Cradle of Filth isn’t for everyone, and it’s fashionable to dump on them in some quarters. But shock value aside, I like some of their albums, with Cruelty and the Beast being a particular favorite.

One of my mantras is “classic horror doesn’t mean ‘quaint’ horror,” and Cradle of Filth has long embodied that attitude. They explore the dark undercurrents running through imagery that we horror fans may feel overly familiar with.

Artūrs Bērziņš’ cover art for Cryptoriana has been unveiled, but I’ll hide the larger image behind the jump since it’s NSFW. Hey, I’m conscientious. To a degree.

Click here to see blood and nudity!

Dreadpunk: The Playlist

A couple of weeks ago I came up with a playlist of mood music including selections from movie and television scores, Nox Arcana, and, of course, dreadpunk’s house band Valentine Wolfe. 3+ hours of creepy musical goodness!

Dracula returns from the dead and back to TV

Mark Gattis and Steven Moffat
Photograph by Gage Skidmore

Variety broke the news earlier that Mark Gattis and Steven Moffat will be writing a prospective new series based on Dracula. I’m generally a fan of these two gents’ work on Sherlock, so I’m curious what they’ll bring to the table.

I don’t watch Doctor Who but I know that Moffat has a checkered reputation amongst some fans. But it’s Gattis whose presence gives me hope since his love of the horror genre is well-known.

Variety reports that Dracula will be similar to Sherlock in that each series (seasons to us Americans) will be short but comprised of feature-length episodes.  Details about the show’s content is unknown at this time — who knows, maybe even Gattis and Moffat are still working on their approach to the material. My bet is that it will take a contemporary approach a la Sherlock or Moffat’s Jekyll.

The chance that Gattis or Moffat is reading this is slim to none, but if one of them is… please, I beg of you, MAKE DRACULA EVIL. Presenting Dracula as a romantic, misunderstood figure is every bit as cliche as a bad Bela Lugosi impersonation. I don’t mind that approach from time to time, but that characterization should be the exception rather than the default.

If you want to be innovative, go back to Bram Stoker’s book. Don’t feel that Dracula has to be the central character; he’s more ominous when he’s off-screen but his presence is felt. Present Jonathan Harker and his friends as noble heroes instead of obstacles standing between Dracula and Mina. Don’t overemphasize Van Helsing to the detriment of other characters. Buck the trends and give us something different than what we’ve seen for 25 years.

Oh, and welcome back, readers!

Dreadpunk Resurrected

TBR

I know that I haven’t updated this blog in awhile, but I plan to get it going again in a few weeks. I’ve had to deal with a number of personal things as well as — being honest with myself here — my indecision over what form I wanted this blog to take.

Things are clearing up on the personal front, so I’m going to reboot dreadpunk.com sometime next month. AND I’m just going to do what comes naturally instead of overthink it. And while I love “Horror, Mystery, and Suspense from a Bygone Age,” I still don’t take the word “dreadpunk” very seriously.

See you in a few weeks.