Universal Pictures relaunched its Monster movie library with THE INVISIBLE MAN, which was a big critical and financial hit for the studio, and now that have set their sights on continuing to build up the IP with a brand new project. According to “Deadline“, Universal Pictures is developing an original horror/thriller based on their own classic monster legacy set in the world of VAN HELSING. James Wan is on board as a producer through his Atomic Monster banner and they have tapped OVERLORD director, Julius Avery, to helm the project.
The script details are being kept under wraps but “Deadline” reports that the film will be set in the world of the famous monster hunter. Van Helsing first appeared in Bram Stoker’s novel “Dracula” and has had a run in various projects over the years through film and television adaptations. Anthony Hopkins played the character in 1992’s BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA and Universal attempted to launch a franchise with the character back in 2004 with the film VAN HELSING. Starring Hugh Jackman, the movie wasn’t a hit with critics, and the movie underwhelmed at the box office considering its hefty budget. Despite the failed attempt, it’s said that Universal has continued to view the character as a top priority in its monster movie library.
Avery, who is also rewriting the script that was penned by Eric Pearson, tends to have very R-rated tendencies which means Universal could be very open to his R-rated take on the project. Originally the studio wanted to avoid R-rated angles on their monster properties in order to make as much of a killing at the box office as possible but, after the success of THE INVISIBLE MAN which was rated R, they are more open to the idea of exploring that avenue. If you’ve seen OVERLORD, Avery has a no-holds-barred approach to his filmmaking but that film proved to be a hit with critics, scoring an 81% fresh score on Rotten Tomatoes. That’s a rare feat for horror and this is likely why Avery’s pitch for the Van Helsing project worked for Universal.
What route would YOU like to see the new Van Helsing adaptation take? Do YOU think Julius Avery was the right choice?