'Mummy' Curse? 10 Bad Movies Featuring Classic Movie Monster Characters

Nick Schager
Writer

Universal‘s classic movie monsters dating back to the 1920s and ’30s have stood the test of time, but resurrecting them in recent years has been tricky — as the studio was reminded again this past weekend with the critical and U.S. box office disappointment of The Mummy starring Tom Cruise. Here are 10 previous attempts to put a new spin on classic villains from the studio’s golden age of horror — Dracula, Frankenstein’s monster, the Invisible Man — cursed to dwell in the shadows of Hollywood memory. (For a better binge, see our picks of six movies derived from The Mummy that got it right.)

Memoirs of an Invisible Man (1992)

Chevy Chase (pictured, left) turns invisible and then flees from Sam Neill’s nefarious CIA agent — all while trying to continue his affair with Daryl Hannah (pictured, right) — in this equally unfunny and unexciting dud, which (save for some decent effects) is all the more disappointing for not letting director John Carpenter give it any of his trademark malevolent style. (Photo: Everett)

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Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1994)

So bombastic that it negates any sense of wonder or terror, Kenneth Branagh’s adaptation of Mary Shelley’s novel is an operatically in-your-face endurance test, marked by uniformly over-the-top performances from the director himself, Robert De Niro (pictured), Helena Bonham Carter, Ian Holm, Tom Hulce, and more. (Photo: Everett)

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Hollow Man (2000)

RoboCop director Paul Verhoeven’s Invisible Man thriller stars Kevin Bacon (pictured, with Elizabeth Shue) as a mad scientist who figures out how to make himself undetectable — and then uses his power to kill people. It’s a deviant approach to the material, but the resulting film too often feels like a one-note slasher film in need of greater substance. (Photo: Everett)

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Dracula 2000 (2000)

At the turn of the new century, Dracula shows up in New Orleans looking to wed the daughter of Van Helsing (Christopher Plummer) in this schlocky update to the legend, which stars Gerard Butler (pictured) as the undead bloodsucker, and Jonny Lee Miller as one of the hip twentysomethings determined to stop him. (Photo: Everett)

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Van Helsing (2004)

Having found success with his Indiana Jones-ish take on The Mummy (1999), director Stephen Sommers sought to revive the Dracula franchise by building a new series around vampire-killer Van Helsing, here conceived as a swashbuckler played by Hugh Jackman (pictured, with Kate Beckinsale). The garish production design, terrible CGI, cartoony performances, and endless quips quickly killed that plan. (Photo: Everett)

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The Wolfman (2010)

Directed by Joe Johnston (Captain America: The First Avenger) and starring Benicio Del Toro (pictured), Anthony Hopkins, Emily Blunt, and Hugo Weaving, this big-budget re-do of the werewolf myth should have been a slam-dunk. Alas, endless production problems turned it into an atmospheric but disjointed mess. (Photo: Everett)

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The Frankenstein Theory (2013)

A film crew joins a professor on an expedition to the Arctic to find Frankenstein’s long-lost monster, and discovers…well, the usual found-footage mix of chaotic cinematography, amateurish acting, and poor monster-mash action. Transforming the iconic creature into a Jason Voorhees-style slaughtering stalker was, let’s just say, unwise. (Photo: Image Entertainment)

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Dracula Untold (2014)

Universal originally intended this 2014 venture to be the first entry in its “Dark Universe” (which is now being initiated by Cruise’s The Mummy), only to later drop that idea. That’s just as well, given that the film starring Luke Evans (pictured, with Sarah Gadon) was a slog that ludicrously attempted to turn Dracula into a noble hero. (Photo: Everett)

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I, Frankenstein (2014)

Imagine if Frankenstein’s monster outlived his creator, and then spent centuries battling demons with a giant baton like some sort of supernatural Batman. That’s the basic premise of this misbegotten Underworld-style saga, starring Aaron Eckhart (pictured) as the evil-combatting monster and Bill Nighy as his hellish adversary. (Photo: Everett)

image

Victor Frankenstein (2015)

James McAvoy is the good doctor and Daniel Radcliffe is his sidekick Igor in this Max Landis-penned flop, which reimagines Frankenstein as an insecurity-wracked petulant hotshot, and his assistant as a genius with pretty-boy long locks. With no empathy for its creature, but plenty of ugly CGI sound and fury, it’s a truly unsightly beast. (Photo: Everett)

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1994)

So bombastic that it negates any sense of wonder or terror, Kenneth Branagh’s adaptation of Mary Shelley’s novel is an operatically in-your-face endurance test, marked by uniformly over-the-top performances from the director himself, Robert De Niro (pictured), Helena Bonham Carter, Ian Holm, Tom Hulce, and more. (Photo: Everett)

image

Hollow Man (2000)

RoboCop director Paul Verhoeven’s Invisible Man thriller stars Kevin Bacon (pictured, with Elizabeth Shue) as a mad scientist who figures out how to make himself undetectable — and then uses his power to kill people. It’s a deviant approach to the material, but the resulting film too often feels like a one-note slasher film in need of greater substance. (Photo: Everett)

image

Dracula 2000 (2000)

At the turn of the new century, Dracula shows up in New Orleans looking to wed the daughter of Van Helsing (Christopher Plummer) in this schlocky update to the legend, which stars Gerard Butler (pictured) as the undead bloodsucker, and Jonny Lee Miller as one of the hip twentysomethings determined to stop him. (Photo: Everett)

image

Van Helsing (2004)

Having found success with his Indiana Jones-ish take on The Mummy (1999), director Stephen Sommers sought to revive the Dracula franchise by building a new series around vampire-killer Van Helsing, here conceived as a swashbuckler played by Hugh Jackman (pictured, with Kate Beckinsale). The garish production design, terrible CGI, cartoony performances, and endless quips quickly killed that plan. (Photo: Everett)

image

The Wolfman (2010)

Directed by Joe Johnston (Captain America: The First Avenger) and starring Benicio Del Toro (pictured), Anthony Hopkins, Emily Blunt, and Hugo Weaving, this big-budget re-do of the werewolf myth should have been a slam-dunk. Alas, endless production problems turned it into an atmospheric but disjointed mess. (Photo: Everett)

image

The Frankenstein Theory (2013)

A film crew joins a professor on an expedition to the Arctic to find Frankenstein’s long-lost monster, and discovers…well, the usual found-footage mix of chaotic cinematography, amateurish acting, and poor monster-mash action. Transforming the iconic creature into a Jason Voorhees-style slaughtering stalker was, let’s just say, unwise. (Photo: Image Entertainment)

image

Dracula Untold (2014)

Universal originally intended this 2014 venture to be the first entry in its “Dark Universe” (which is now being initiated by Cruise’s The Mummy), only to later drop that idea. That’s just as well, given that the film starring Luke Evans (pictured, with Sarah Gadon) was a slog that ludicrously attempted to turn Dracula into a noble hero. (Photo: Everett)

image

I, Frankenstein (2014)

Imagine if Frankenstein’s monster outlived his creator, and then spent centuries battling demons with a giant baton like some sort of supernatural Batman. That’s the basic premise of this misbegotten Underworld-style saga, starring Aaron Eckhart (pictured) as the evil-combatting monster and Bill Nighy as his hellish adversary. (Photo: Everett)

image

Victor Frankenstein (2015)

James McAvoy is the good doctor and Daniel Radcliffe is his sidekick Igor in this Max Landis-penned flop, which reimagines Frankenstein as an insecurity-wracked petulant hotshot, and his assistant as a genius with pretty-boy long locks. With no empathy for its creature, but plenty of ugly CGI sound and fury, it’s a truly unsightly beast. (Photo: Everett)

Hollow Man (2000)

RoboCop director Paul Verhoeven’s Invisible Man thriller stars Kevin Bacon (pictured, with Elizabeth Shue) as a mad scientist who figures out how to make himself undetectable — and then uses his power to kill people. It’s a deviant approach to the material, but the resulting film too often feels like a one-note slasher film in need of greater substance. (Photo: Everett)

image

Dracula 2000 (2000)

At the turn of the new century, Dracula shows up in New Orleans looking to wed the daughter of Van Helsing (Christopher Plummer) in this schlocky update to the legend, which stars Gerard Butler (pictured) as the undead bloodsucker, and Jonny Lee Miller as one of the hip twentysomethings determined to stop him. (Photo: Everett)

image

Van Helsing (2004)

Having found success with his Indiana Jones-ish take on The Mummy (1999), director Stephen Sommers sought to revive the Dracula franchise by building a new series around vampire-killer Van Helsing, here conceived as a swashbuckler played by Hugh Jackman (pictured, with Kate Beckinsale). The garish production design, terrible CGI, cartoony performances, and endless quips quickly killed that plan. (Photo: Everett)

image

The Wolfman (2010)

Directed by Joe Johnston (Captain America: The First Avenger) and starring Benicio Del Toro (pictured), Anthony Hopkins, Emily Blunt, and Hugo Weaving, this big-budget re-do of the werewolf myth should have been a slam-dunk. Alas, endless production problems turned it into an atmospheric but disjointed mess. (Photo: Everett)

image

The Frankenstein Theory (2013)

A film crew joins a professor on an expedition to the Arctic to find Frankenstein’s long-lost monster, and discovers…well, the usual found-footage mix of chaotic cinematography, amateurish acting, and poor monster-mash action. Transforming the iconic creature into a Jason Voorhees-style slaughtering stalker was, let’s just say, unwise. (Photo: Image Entertainment)

image

Dracula Untold (2014)

Universal originally intended this 2014 venture to be the first entry in its “Dark Universe” (which is now being initiated by Cruise’s The Mummy), only to later drop that idea. That’s just as well, given that the film starring Luke Evans (pictured, with Sarah Gadon) was a slog that ludicrously attempted to turn Dracula into a noble hero. (Photo: Everett)

image

I, Frankenstein (2014)

Imagine if Frankenstein’s monster outlived his creator, and then spent centuries battling demons with a giant baton like some sort of supernatural Batman. That’s the basic premise of this misbegotten Underworld-style saga, starring Aaron Eckhart (pictured) as the evil-combatting monster and Bill Nighy as his hellish adversary. (Photo: Everett)

image

Victor Frankenstein (2015)

James McAvoy is the good doctor and Daniel Radcliffe is his sidekick Igor in this Max Landis-penned flop, which reimagines Frankenstein as an insecurity-wracked petulant hotshot, and his assistant as a genius with pretty-boy long locks. With no empathy for its creature, but plenty of ugly CGI sound and fury, it’s a truly unsightly beast. (Photo: Everett)

Dracula 2000 (2000)

At the turn of the new century, Dracula shows up in New Orleans looking to wed the daughter of Van Helsing (Christopher Plummer) in this schlocky update to the legend, which stars Gerard Butler (pictured) as the undead bloodsucker, and Jonny Lee Miller as one of the hip twentysomethings determined to stop him. (Photo: Everett)

image

Van Helsing (2004)

Having found success with his Indiana Jones-ish take on The Mummy (1999), director Stephen Sommers sought to revive the Dracula franchise by building a new series around vampire-killer Van Helsing, here conceived as a swashbuckler played by Hugh Jackman (pictured, with Kate Beckinsale). The garish production design, terrible CGI, cartoony performances, and endless quips quickly killed that plan. (Photo: Everett)

image

The Wolfman (2010)

Directed by Joe Johnston (Captain America: The First Avenger) and starring Benicio Del Toro (pictured), Anthony Hopkins, Emily Blunt, and Hugo Weaving, this big-budget re-do of the werewolf myth should have been a slam-dunk. Alas, endless production problems turned it into an atmospheric but disjointed mess. (Photo: Everett)

image

The Frankenstein Theory (2013)

A film crew joins a professor on an expedition to the Arctic to find Frankenstein’s long-lost monster, and discovers…well, the usual found-footage mix of chaotic cinematography, amateurish acting, and poor monster-mash action. Transforming the iconic creature into a Jason Voorhees-style slaughtering stalker was, let’s just say, unwise. (Photo: Image Entertainment)

image

Dracula Untold (2014)

Universal originally intended this 2014 venture to be the first entry in its “Dark Universe” (which is now being initiated by Cruise’s The Mummy), only to later drop that idea. That’s just as well, given that the film starring Luke Evans (pictured, with Sarah Gadon) was a slog that ludicrously attempted to turn Dracula into a noble hero. (Photo: Everett)

image

I, Frankenstein (2014)

Imagine if Frankenstein’s monster outlived his creator, and then spent centuries battling demons with a giant baton like some sort of supernatural Batman. That’s the basic premise of this misbegotten Underworld-style saga, starring Aaron Eckhart (pictured) as the evil-combatting monster and Bill Nighy as his hellish adversary. (Photo: Everett)

image

Victor Frankenstein (2015)

James McAvoy is the good doctor and Daniel Radcliffe is his sidekick Igor in this Max Landis-penned flop, which reimagines Frankenstein as an insecurity-wracked petulant hotshot, and his assistant as a genius with pretty-boy long locks. With no empathy for its creature, but plenty of ugly CGI sound and fury, it’s a truly unsightly beast. (Photo: Everett)

Van Helsing (2004)

Having found success with his Indiana Jones-ish take on The Mummy (1999), director Stephen Sommers sought to revive the Dracula franchise by building a new series around vampire-killer Van Helsing, here conceived as a swashbuckler played by Hugh Jackman (pictured, with Kate Beckinsale). The garish production design, terrible CGI, cartoony performances, and endless quips quickly killed that plan. (Photo: Everett)

image

The Wolfman (2010)

Directed by Joe Johnston (Captain America: The First Avenger) and starring Benicio Del Toro (pictured), Anthony Hopkins, Emily Blunt, and Hugo Weaving, this big-budget re-do of the werewolf myth should have been a slam-dunk. Alas, endless production problems turned it into an atmospheric but disjointed mess. (Photo: Everett)

image

The Frankenstein Theory (2013)

A film crew joins a professor on an expedition to the Arctic to find Frankenstein’s long-lost monster, and discovers…well, the usual found-footage mix of chaotic cinematography, amateurish acting, and poor monster-mash action. Transforming the iconic creature into a Jason Voorhees-style slaughtering stalker was, let’s just say, unwise. (Photo: Image Entertainment)

image

Dracula Untold (2014)

Universal originally intended this 2014 venture to be the first entry in its “Dark Universe” (which is now being initiated by Cruise’s The Mummy), only to later drop that idea. That’s just as well, given that the film starring Luke Evans (pictured, with Sarah Gadon) was a slog that ludicrously attempted to turn Dracula into a noble hero. (Photo: Everett)

image

I, Frankenstein (2014)

Imagine if Frankenstein’s monster outlived his creator, and then spent centuries battling demons with a giant baton like some sort of supernatural Batman. That’s the basic premise of this misbegotten Underworld-style saga, starring Aaron Eckhart (pictured) as the evil-combatting monster and Bill Nighy as his hellish adversary. (Photo: Everett)

image

Victor Frankenstein (2015)

James McAvoy is the good doctor and Daniel Radcliffe is his sidekick Igor in this Max Landis-penned flop, which reimagines Frankenstein as an insecurity-wracked petulant hotshot, and his assistant as a genius with pretty-boy long locks. With no empathy for its creature, but plenty of ugly CGI sound and fury, it’s a truly unsightly beast. (Photo: Everett)

The Wolfman (2010)

Directed by Joe Johnston (Captain America: The First Avenger) and starring Benicio Del Toro (pictured), Anthony Hopkins, Emily Blunt, and Hugo Weaving, this big-budget re-do of the werewolf myth should have been a slam-dunk. Alas, endless production problems turned it into an atmospheric but disjointed mess. (Photo: Everett)

image

The Frankenstein Theory (2013)

A film crew joins a professor on an expedition to the Arctic to find Frankenstein’s long-lost monster, and discovers…well, the usual found-footage mix of chaotic cinematography, amateurish acting, and poor monster-mash action. Transforming the iconic creature into a Jason Voorhees-style slaughtering stalker was, let’s just say, unwise. (Photo: Image Entertainment)

image

Dracula Untold (2014)

Universal originally intended this 2014 venture to be the first entry in its “Dark Universe” (which is now being initiated by Cruise’s The Mummy), only to later drop that idea. That’s just as well, given that the film starring Luke Evans (pictured, with Sarah Gadon) was a slog that ludicrously attempted to turn Dracula into a noble hero. (Photo: Everett)

image

I, Frankenstein (2014)

Imagine if Frankenstein’s monster outlived his creator, and then spent centuries battling demons with a giant baton like some sort of supernatural Batman. That’s the basic premise of this misbegotten Underworld-style saga, starring Aaron Eckhart (pictured) as the evil-combatting monster and Bill Nighy as his hellish adversary. (Photo: Everett)

image

Victor Frankenstein (2015)

James McAvoy is the good doctor and Daniel Radcliffe is his sidekick Igor in this Max Landis-penned flop, which reimagines Frankenstein as an insecurity-wracked petulant hotshot, and his assistant as a genius with pretty-boy long locks. With no empathy for its creature, but plenty of ugly CGI sound and fury, it’s a truly unsightly beast. (Photo: Everett)

The Frankenstein Theory (2013)

A film crew joins a professor on an expedition to the Arctic to find Frankenstein’s long-lost monster, and discovers…well, the usual found-footage mix of chaotic cinematography, amateurish acting, and poor monster-mash action. Transforming the iconic creature into a Jason Voorhees-style slaughtering stalker was, let’s just say, unwise. (Photo: Image Entertainment)

image

Dracula Untold (2014)

Universal originally intended this 2014 venture to be the first entry in its “Dark Universe” (which is now being initiated by Cruise’s The Mummy), only to later drop that idea. That’s just as well, given that the film starring Luke Evans (pictured, with Sarah Gadon) was a slog that ludicrously attempted to turn Dracula into a noble hero. (Photo: Everett)

image

I, Frankenstein (2014)

Imagine if Frankenstein’s monster outlived his creator, and then spent centuries battling demons with a giant baton like some sort of supernatural Batman. That’s the basic premise of this misbegotten Underworld-style saga, starring Aaron Eckhart (pictured) as the evil-combatting monster and Bill Nighy as his hellish adversary. (Photo: Everett)

image

Victor Frankenstein (2015)

James McAvoy is the good doctor and Daniel Radcliffe is his sidekick Igor in this Max Landis-penned flop, which reimagines Frankenstein as an insecurity-wracked petulant hotshot, and his assistant as a genius with pretty-boy long locks. With no empathy for its creature, but plenty of ugly CGI sound and fury, it’s a truly unsightly beast. (Photo: Everett)

Dracula Untold (2014)

Universal originally intended this 2014 venture to be the first entry in its “Dark Universe” (which is now being initiated by Cruise’s The Mummy), only to later drop that idea. That’s just as well, given that the film starring Luke Evans (pictured, with Sarah Gadon) was a slog that ludicrously attempted to turn Dracula into a noble hero. (Photo: Everett)

image

I, Frankenstein (2014)

Imagine if Frankenstein’s monster outlived his creator, and then spent centuries battling demons with a giant baton like some sort of supernatural Batman. That’s the basic premise of this misbegotten Underworld-style saga, starring Aaron Eckhart (pictured) as the evil-combatting monster and Bill Nighy as his hellish adversary. (Photo: Everett)

image

Victor Frankenstein (2015)

James McAvoy is the good doctor and Daniel Radcliffe is his sidekick Igor in this Max Landis-penned flop, which reimagines Frankenstein as an insecurity-wracked petulant hotshot, and his assistant as a genius with pretty-boy long locks. With no empathy for its creature, but plenty of ugly CGI sound and fury, it’s a truly unsightly beast. (Photo: Everett)

I, Frankenstein (2014)

Imagine if Frankenstein’s monster outlived his creator, and then spent centuries battling demons with a giant baton like some sort of supernatural Batman. That’s the basic premise of this misbegotten Underworld-style saga, starring Aaron Eckhart (pictured) as the evil-combatting monster and Bill Nighy as his hellish adversary. (Photo: Everett)

image

Victor Frankenstein (2015)

James McAvoy is the good doctor and Daniel Radcliffe is his sidekick Igor in this Max Landis-penned flop, which reimagines Frankenstein as an insecurity-wracked petulant hotshot, and his assistant as a genius with pretty-boy long locks. With no empathy for its creature, but plenty of ugly CGI sound and fury, it’s a truly unsightly beast. (Photo: Everett)

Victor Frankenstein (2015)

James McAvoy is the good doctor and Daniel Radcliffe is his sidekick Igor in this Max Landis-penned flop, which reimagines Frankenstein as an insecurity-wracked petulant hotshot, and his assistant as a genius with pretty-boy long locks. With no empathy for its creature, but plenty of ugly CGI sound and fury, it’s a truly unsightly beast. (Photo: Everett)