At various points in horror movie history, nothing was as successful as a compelling monster movie, a subgenre that isn't as often explored in contemporary cinema. Filmmaker Guillermo del Toro hopes to bring this trend back with his new film The Shape of Water and recently shared that he feels that irony and lack of authenticity is what monster movies have been lacking recently.
"I think that there is a postmodern attitude towards the genre that tries to disarm or disassemble the genre in a postmodern way and I think that when you approach characters with earnest love, it’s a lot less safe because you’re not above the material," del Toro shared. "You are high on your own supply and it’s easier to be ironic, so I think that’s part of it. But then you have ambivalent things like [Get Out director] Jordan Peele nailing it and making it not ironic, but reflexive. And he’s a fusion of reverence and intelligence. It’s a good year for the genre for sure."
Del Toro has tackled a variety of horror subgenres, from dark fantasies to ghost stories to comic book adaptations, injecting his love of all things that go bump in the night into these projects.
For decades, the Universal Monsters were the go-to icons of the horror genre, with the '80s and '90s ushering in new icons from the slasher world like Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees and Freddy Krueger. Earlier this year, however, Universal took another shot at breathing life into their most iconic characters with The Mummy, which was intended to kick off a "Dark Universe" featuring all of their iconic characters.
Sadly, The Mummy not only failed to impress critics, but also drew in dismal box office numbers, making audiences question the fate of this planned universe. The Bride of Frankenstein was slated to be the next film in this shared universe, aiming to head into production in February of 2018, only for the film to be put on an indefinite hiatus in recent months.
With The Shape of Water being praised in a variety of critic groups as one of the best films of the year of any genre, hopefully the Dark Universe can tap del Toro for advice on how to move forward with all of their monster movies to pay these creatures the respect they deserve.