. Going for an R rating is fine, but doing it for gore would be a huge mistake. The best horror movies have very little gore in them
I guess you've never seen John Carpenter's The Thing, House Of 1000 Corpses, the original Nightmare On Elm Street, the Hammer Dracula movies starring Christopher Lee, Dawn Of The Dead (both the original, sequels, and the remake), Dead By Dawn, Evil Dead, Army Of Darkness, ANYTHING BY CROENENBERG? (okay, Croenenberg doesn't use much gore until the finales of his movies, but when he does he uses A LOT, rewatch the finale of the Fly.)
All of these movies are considered some of the best in their genre , and they feature MOUNTAINS of blood and gore.
Horror movies these days are way too clean and slick. If Universal want to differentiate itself from other horror movies out there? They need to make them a little more grungy and raw. You don't have to go as far as to make them Evil Dead style people blenders, but part of the fun of horror (at least from the 80's) is the novelty of blood and gore.
movies that inspired the current franchise certainly didn't need it.
They didn't need it. They couldn't have it because things like the Hayes code, and conservative lobbyists kept them from having anything really explicit or extreme in them. They've stood the test of time more through pop culture osmosis, and camp charm than they have through actually being great movies (with maybe the exception of the Frankenstein movies).
Have you watched the original Dracula with Bela Lugosi? It's TERRIBLE.
playing around with the power these creatures possess is a big part of what inspires audiences to show up.
The box office to Dracula Untold says otherwise.
In 1999 there was still 'novelty' in seeing a giant sandstorm monster with the bad guys face. Today? I don't care how many times you destroy a major city, I don't feel anything. I feel much more from a smaller movie with smaller stakes, than I do from a movie where the city is consumed by a sandstorm. I feel much more from a movie about a single person trying to get away from a monster than I do from a movie about a generic city, with generic people they don't bother fleshing out, getting killed by a generic monster.
Deadpool was a smaller movie compared to Avengers and BVS, and look how well that movie did!
Take a look at all of your examples: they've not only been done, they've been done to death, and another rehash of the same boring shit won't impress.
There's nothing wrong with retreading ground that's been tread before to set the stage for bigger things down the road. You don't want to make a movie with a divisive plot and character that alienates the audience and then spend the next 5-6 movies retconning it/apologizing for it instead of commiting to your original creative vision, before just saying 'screw it' and reboot/soft-reboot the whole thing.
Start small. You HAVE to make sure the first few movies in your cinematic universe have at least some broad appeal. THEN you can afford to do something fresh with these characters that's never been done, but not before. You need to introduce the characters and have greater context to the world before you try new things.
Horror fans loved Dracula Untold,
The box office, and Universals decision to junk it says otherwise.
Side rant. I didn't like Dracula Untold. Y'know why? DRACULA IS NOT SUPPOSED TO BE SYMPATHETIC. DRACULA IS NOT SUPPOSED TO BE A HERO. Oh sure, you can give him a sympathetic backstory. But the audience isn't supposed to see him as anything but an irredeemable monster that needs to be taken down by the heroes.
Both the character in the original Bram Stoker novel, and the historical figure he was based upon (Vlad Tepes) are not meant to be heroes. Making a Dracula a heroic likeable character, is akin to making a movie about a good guy Pol Pot. Dracula was a man who was so evil he killed a priest with his bare hands in front of two other members of the clergy when the priest told him his hatred and cruelty would damn him to hell. This was a man whos own men left him to die on the battlefield despite his nearly universal military successes against the invading Ottoman forces, because he was JUST THAT EVIL.
My ideal Dracula would be a character like Ramsey Bolton from Game Of Thrones. He should have a lust for life that he puts into his cruelty, he shouldn't care about others, his sole purpose in life should be being terrible to others to bring himself up.
Your demands would make the characters dull and one-dimensional, and horror fans these days want more -- twenty years of World of Darkness have seen to that.
The core of who these characters are IS one dimensional. They're physical embodiments of the deepest fears of the human Id. FEAR isn't rational. FEAR isn't sympathetic. FEAR isn't understandable as anything but an obstacle to overcome.
Dracula is about the Victorian fear of sex and foreigners, Frankenstein is about our fears about the ethical abuse of science, Jekyll/Hyde is about the fear of being mentally unsound, the Mummy is about our fears of the past coming back to haunt our present, Wolfman is about a teens fear of puberty, The Creature is about the nihilistic implications of evolutionary theory.
I understand it's a trend, and trends come in cycles. Absolute forces of evil are out, sympathetic villains with heroic backstories are in. For some of these characters the sympathetic backstory works. Jekyll/Hyde, Wolfman, Frankenstein? Sure? Dracula, Creature, the Mummy? Not so much.