When director Breck Eisner parted ways with Universal’s remake of “Creature From the Black Lagoon” earlier this year, fans of the 1950s camp classic wondered if and when the new film would ever see the light of day.
But now the story of Gill-Man and his victims is getting a new director — and possibly some new momentum. Carl Rinsch, the hot commercials director who recently signed on to direct the samurai adventure “47 Ronin” for Universal, is now also in talks to direct “Creature From the Black Lagoon” for the studio.
The movie, which was originally shot and shown in 3D — a very primitive, 1950s kind of 3D — revolves around a mythic monster who spooks scientists (and the requisite beautiful damsel) in the Amazon.
Meanwhile, Eisner has signed on to a film that’s kind of new but kind of familiar (and scary): “The Brood.” That’s the David Cronenberg horror flick about a woman who telepathically communicates with her group of mutant children, instructing them to act out violently. Eisner’s on board to direct the new version, which is written by Cory Goodman for financier Spyglass Entertainment.
Cronenberg’s early film (it was released in 1979, part of his own brood of ’70s horror movies, two years before his landmark “Scanners“), is regarded as one of the scarier in the supernatural-horror genre. And Eisner knows scary: He just finished directing the remake of the George Romero military-experiment-gone-awry film “The Crazies,” which is coming out in February.
As for “Black Lagoon,” it wouldn’t be the first time the sea-monster movie was brought back to life. Universal has tried several times over the past three decades, with everyone from John Landis to Peter Jackson contemplating a stab. (Jackson chose “King Kong” instead. Hey, you can’t be right all the time.)
More recently, Gary Ross of “Seabiscuit” fame wrote a draft of the screenplay (in a nice bit of continuity, he’s the son of Arthur Ross, who co-wrote the original). And Eisner had done a rewrite. But the studio is apparently back to the drawing board on the script.
All of these movies are part of a new crop of horror films — Universal has “The Wolfman” with Benicio Del Toro set to come out early next year, and also is developing a new version of “Bride of Frankenstein.” The tagline for the original “The Brood” is “They’re waiting for you.” You could say the same for monster remakes.
— Steven Zeitchik
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Photo: Ben Chapman as the title character in “The Creature From the Black Lagoon.”