George Romero And Clive Barker Originally Flirted With The Idea Of Resurrecting The Mummy


Long before Alex Kurtzman signed on to reanimate The Mummy, spearheading a newly-formed vision that would go on to seed the creation of the Dark Universe franchise, Universal reportedly met with a range of directors that included Clive Barker, Mick Garris, Joe Dante, Wes Craven, and horror maestro George A. Romero.

Bloody Disgusting has compiled an exhaustive report that traces The Mummy‘s history back to the early ’90s – 1994, to be specific – when Romero turned in a spec script that was purportedly “creepier and more romantic” than the Stephen Sommers-directed adventure pic of ’99. For the record, Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz headlined the fantasy flick.

Not unlike Barker and Dante’s respective pitches, though, George A. Romero encountered some resistance from Universal, after the studio deemed his vision too dark, and therefore not palatable, for a worldwide audience. The pendulum then swung toward Wes Craven, who flirted with the director’s seat before ultimately passing up the opportunity. Ditto for Clive Barker, who recounted his own all-too-brief experience with The Mummy while chatting to Fangoria.

Looking back, our version of The Mummy was precisely what the powers that were at Universal did not want. It made the Mummy story over for the late 20th century, not in terms of its effects—this was before CGI brought its dubious gifts to the process of horror filmmaking—but in terms of content. We had one particular narrative hook that we were very proud of. In the first scene, a strange boy-child is born, under circumstances—high howling winds and a ferocious thunderstorm—that suggest something unnatural is afoot. The narrative then jumps ahead 20 years or so, and we pick up the story of how sacred Egyptian artifacts are being brought to America for an exhibition that would put the Tutankhamen exhibit to shame.

We loved the idea, so much so that we put the mystery surrounding this ambiguous creature and her extraordinary secret at the heart of our story. Our creation was not welcomed at Universal, needless to say. The script, which Mick had labored hard over, working in a diminutive hotel room in London, which I visited daily for story conferences, was eviscerated by the script readers and our producers. How could we expect to get away with something so weird? Nobody in America, we were told, would accept such a ridiculous premise.

Alas, that vision never coalesced and Universal ultimately sided with Alex Kurtzman to helm The Mummy. That decision stemmed from the studio’s desire for a splashy, mega-budget blockbuster big enough to attract the likes of Tom Cruise and Russell Crowe, but at least based on those scathing first reviews, their Dark Universe is off to a rocky start.

Source: Fangoria

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