Much has been written over the weekend about a recent roundtable discussion that was published within the
Hollywood Reporter recently. During the talk, Universal’s Donna Langley explained the studio’s vision for the upcoming reboot of the classic movie monsters. Needless to say, monster kids and horror fans were not happy.
“We don’t have any capes [in our film library],” Langley said. “But what we do have is an incredible legacy and history with the monster characters. We’ve tried over the years to make monster movies unsuccessfully, actually. So, we took a good, hard look at it, and we settled upon an idea, which is to take it out of the horror genre, put it more in the action-adventure genre and make it present day, bringing these incredibly rich and complex characters into present day and reimagine them and reintroduce them to a contemporary audience.”
So, as predicted in
Shock’s review of , a new era of “superhero monsters” is on the way. Dracula Untold
However, this isn’t the first time the classic monsters have been depicted in an adventurous, heroic light. Below, we break it down with six examples and, as you will see, it’s all kids fare which I suppose gives you an idea as to the demographic Universal is going to cater to with its upcoming shared monsterverse.
6 Instances of Superhero Movie Monsters
MONSTER SQUAD (1976)
Over a decade before the Fred Dekker film, the Frankenstein monster, a werewolf and Dracula teamed up to fight crime on the small in screen in
This is a pretty lackluster show on a lot of levels but I loved it as a kid. I even had the board game. The premise was odd to say the least.
Nerdy Walt is a criminology student who works as a guard (I use the term loosely) at a Wax Museum. While there he builds a “Crime Computer” inside a Sarcophagus. Well, when he turns it on, the vibrations from the machine bring the wax figures of Frankenstein’s monster, the werewolf and Dracula to life…with memories! Yes, they feel bad for being bad and want to help Walt fright crime to give back to society.
The show only lasted one season but, oh, what a silly season it was. It is available on DVD but is out of print so it may cost you a dreadful penny or two to pick up. Yep. I know that was a bad pun but, hey, it fits perfectly with this show.
One of my favorite all-time cartoons was
Fangface, the longest-running werewolf show on TV.
Four teens drive around and solve mysteries. Yes, it sounds like Scooby-Doo, but in a way, it was more fun. Biff, Kim, Puggsy and Sherman “Fangs” are regular teens except they have a secret, one of them is a werewolf!
The cool thing about Fangface is that he would change whenever he saw the moon, or a picture of a moon, or one in a movie, or hell, even something that looked like a moon (cheese for instance).
This was a fun show that had Fangface doing crazy things that would never happen today. He would constantly swallow Puggsy whole and just hold him in his mouth. Puggsy bullies Sherman endlessly so when he transforms, and sees food, he does this. What makes it weird is that Kim and Biff need to rub his belly to sooth him and allow Puggsy to escape. Another cool thing is that Fangface would lose his mind whenever he saw himself in the mirror, howling like crazy!
Fangface was a fun show that got even better when it became Fangface and Fangpuss. The group ends up with Sherman’s baby cousin who would also change into a werewolf called Fangpuss. Yes, four teens and a baby would drive around and get into adventures while the two most worthless, Sherman and the baby, became werewolves. That, my friends, was a show. - Christopher
DRAK PACK (1980)
This '80s toon focused on three teenagers who were able to transform into very familiar classic monsters to fight evil and "reversing the image of their forefathers."
When this trio needed to metamorphose into their creature counterparts - Frankie, Howler and Drak Jr. - they would touch hands and yell "Whack 'em!"
Their battle against the baddies was lead by none other than Dracula himself. More often than not, the Drak Pack clashed with O.G.R.E. - the Organization of Generally Rotten Enterprises.
The show had a 16-episode run thanks to Hanna-Barbera.
MONSTER IN MY POCKET (1990)
This long-running intellectual property has stretched across various mediums, but its roots began in toys.
Later, as the brand built, video games and comic books were brought in featuring many of the famous classic monsters...sometimes fighting against evil.
MONSTER FORCE (1994)
Okay, so Universal's classic monsters are still represented as the bad guys here...with a few exceptions.
Set against the backdrop of "the future" to account for all of the high-tech weaponry, the series focused on a task force that did battle with the "Creatures of the Night" (Dracula, the Mummy, the Creature from the Black Lagoon, et al.). On this task force, you had some generic folks, save for a descendent of the Talbot family (who transformed into a werewolf) and the Frankenstein monster.
Universal was directly involved in this series which only lasted 13-episodes.
MUMMIES ALIVE! (1997)
In the late 1990s, mummies were a thing. We hadn’t quite gotten Stephen Sommers big budget action hit yet, but we did get a series and action figure line called
Mummies Alive! Let’s face it, it’s a fun title to say.
The premise was cool as well. A sorcerer called Scarab kills the Pharaoh’s son, (the unfortunately-named) Rapses, in exchange for immortality.
The plan however, backfires and he is entombed alive for his crimes and the body of Rapses is never found.
Now in modern times, Scarab is revived and renews his search for Rapses who is reincarnated as a boy named Presley in San Francisco.
Rapses guards are also revived to protect him, each aligned with a god, whose powers they can summon. Their power is not unlimited though, so once exhausted, they must rest in their Sarcophagi to recharge their strength.
The show also lasted one season and was aimed at an older to adult audience but as ratings deteriorated, got dumbed down in order to attract more kids. In addition to Scarab, they fought all other evil doers because well, they were just good mummies. It was cool while it lasted!