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The universal cinema’s attempt at a ‘Dark universe’ didn’t go that well. But there was a lot of potential there. It extended further than people normally think, and when we start breaking things down, it was pretty damn good.
The first movie that comes to mind when we think about the ‘Dark universe’ is normally the 2017 remake of, The Mummy. Not a great film but we have all sat through worse. In this film we are exposed to, Anubis. A powerful god with a few bad plans for the planet. Including, Anubis with an actual on-screen presence shows us that mankind is nowhere near top of the ladder when it comes to gods and monsters. This film also showed a brief glimpse of a book no one should ever read—The Book of the Dead. This book was the key trouble maker in the 1999 movie of the same name. Yes, that awesome film staring, Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz is part of the Dark Universe.
This means that the horrifying protagonist, Imhotep, who was running around in 1930s was just one in a long line of monsters trying to end the world as we know it.
This also means that the, Scorpion King movies are in the same universe. I know I know, they… well they just weren’t good. But! They revealed the Scorpion God—and this is important later, because now there are two confirmed gods roaming around.
Let’s look at Dracula—or Dracula Untold. Dracula has always been a cool character. There have been plenty of TV shows and movies with vampires’ but Dracula is not the average vampire. Dracula Untold showed us a world where vampires’ were something to be truly terrified of. While Vlad wasn’t portrayed as a monster, and we were all cheering for him, by the end of the film we saw very clearly how the power of the vampire could warp the minds of almost everyone.
In this movie we also saw that Vlad, was not the first vampire. In fact, the one that made him was not even the first, but rather a cursed victim of a god or devil that bestowed great power with an incredible cost—and a slight trap in a cave for some reason.
But this introduction of a darker entity that can create vampires’ is a clear sign that whatever this thing is—it could end the world by making a handful of vampires and letting them run free. Yet that hasn’t happened. So not all of these god or godly beings want the same thing.
I also want to point out that in the oldest tails of vampires there are strong ties to Egypt. Honestly don’t know if there is a connection in the Dark universe, but I wanted to point it out.
The same year we got Dracula Untold we got, I Frankenstein… this was a hard film to like. But for the lore of the universe, it is an important one.
We have already established that there are a pantheon of gods out there. There are monsters and demons, and it was this film that revealed a war between them—or at least some of them.
Bill Nighy portrayed the leader of 666 demons, Naberius. Wanting to bring life to the dead as a ploy to take over the world (probably) it showed that in this diverse mix of monsters, they have their own objectives that could have led onto a number of connective monsters. In Chronicles of Riddick (2004) it shows and ‘Under-verse’. The Lord Marshall traveled there and came back with supernatural powers. Not on the same level as a vampire, demon or mummy, yet more than enough to be a serious threat that originated from another realm.
The Dark Universe had a lot of potential, and there were already a lot of movies that could have been thrown into this collection. Not all good—and some quite frankly so bad the only reason you should watch them is to laugh at how daft the story is.
There are a number of characters thrown into these films that I haven’t touched on, but there were so many options and story directions as to where they could have gone with all these relating films. Would Tom Cruise’s character turn evil? Would Charles Dance’s character raise a demon army of his own? I wish they had gone ahead with their plans, because if nothing else, it would have made a great, ‘bad movie marathoner.’
This was a great idea that sadly was poorly carried out. A true Dark Universe.
A few great writers, and who knows what could have happened. But I liked these films. And more than anything else, I really love stand alone films that share a universe.