Fans love the Marvel Cinematic Universe. However, they may not know that Universal’s classic monsters invented techniques that the MCU uses even today.
In the last decade, almost every major studio has tried to create their own connected movie franchise to compete with the MCU. While some have worked, most have not. This applies doubly to Universal’s failed Dark Universe. While his attempt to create a world of Universal monsters hesitated after a movie, the studio has found a new foundation with The invisible man.
Today’s moviegoers are used to seeing characters from various movie franchises meet. However, in the 1930s, no one would have expected characters like Dracula and Frankenstein’s Monster to meet in their movies. Many love to poke fun at the failed efforts of the Dark Universe, but the classic monsters actually perfected the connected franchises nearly 100 years ago. Even after all this time Universal classic monster legacy has remained intact and has featured many franchise tropes that are still in use today.
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A perfect example can be found in a character inspired by the Frankenstein Monster and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, The incredible Hulk. In the MCU, his story begins with his first movie and continues throughout other movies in the universe. Long before Banner set out on that journey, Lon Chaney Jr. would do the same as The Wolf Man. His first film was largely self-contained, but he kept coming back to take on other monsters in films like Frankenstein meets the werewolf. Meanwhile, the story of Larry Talbot and his curse of becoming a werewolf continues.
One thing that would come decades later, but still reflects how connected movies are being praised today, is merchandising. While the films stopped being made at one point, their re-releases led to a new generation of fans buying merchandise from the properties and ended up creating a whole fandom around the monsters. To this day, companies are still releasing film products that are nearly a century old.
While appearances by other monsters were common in these movies, cameos were not. However, Easter eggs would still play a role in the world of Universal’s monsters. They were very subtle, but they always managed to remind the viewer of a bigger world. Like the Captain America shield that appeared in 2008. Iron Man, references to vampires and events from previous movies can be found scattered throughout the Universal Monster Series movie. Meanwhile, other Easter eggs were more behind the scenes, like Lon Chaney Jr., playing both the Werewolf and Dracula’s son.
Just as the Avengers will band together to face a threat no human could bear, the Universal classic monsters They were also known for teaming up for ensemble movies. Both Frankenstein House Y Dracula’s house celebrated some of the best creations in the franchise by having them team up or face off against each other. The movies typically featured classic horror battles and tropes like mad scientists and damsels in distress. In Dracula’s house, the Universal Monsters were destined to all be together one last time to end their story. However, Hollywood had other plans and even brought in Dracula and The Wolf Man for more comedy games with Abbot and Costello.
Ultimately, the Universal classic monsters helped inspire a new era of cinema that was picked up and expanded with the MCU. His most recent films included deep ups and downs and massive ups and downs, but the classic monsters have still endured for decades and will continue to do so. The only thing left to wonder is what this new era of gods and monsters will mean for cinema in the future.
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