Back in 1930 Universal Studios released a horror movie titled Dracula and starring Bela Lugosi. This film began the Universal Monster Franchise which spawned a slew of creepy and gothic horror films all starring a now iconic horror monster. In 1944 Universal decided to combine a bunch of these monsters into one film called House of Frankenstein. The film included Frankenstein, Dracula, and the Wolfman. This type of film was extremely popular came to be known as a “Monster Rally” film. Future similar films were produced by Universal Studios including House of Dracula (1945) and Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948).
Nowadays there are many film monsters that could be considered the modern equivalent of the Universal Monsters. Some of these monsters have been paired up in similar styles to the Universal Monster Rally films in Freddy Vs. Jason (2003) and Alien Vs. Predator (2004). However, many of these monsters are owned by different film companies and therefore have never been grouped up in a true Monster Rally film.
However, if such a film were to be made which equivalent monsters would be placed in one location together to fight for the chance to kill? And what would it be called? House of Jigsaw? House of Freddy?
Well, by comparing Universal’s Monsters with their modern equivalents we can begin to see what a Monster Rally may look like for us today.
Dracula – Freddy (Nightmare on Elm Street)
Dracula was probably the most outright evil and vicious villain among the Universal Monsters. He hunts his prey in the dark of night, while they are asleep, and steals their life. And once Dracula has killed someone their soul is lost, they are damned, and they become one of the undead themselves. And those around the victim are left wondering what is wrong, wondering why the victim is acting so deranged and irrational.
Similarly, Freddy Kruger comes in the night to attack his victims in their sleep. He is one evil SOB and enjoys tormenting his victims before they die. And as he kills them he also collects their soul, therefore damning them to eternal torment. And the victims who survive the dream are seen as deranged and their family and friends can’t seem to figure out how to help them.
Freddy is our modern Dracula and is an obvious addition to the modern Monster Rally film.
Frankenstein’s Monster – Chucky (Child’s Play)
Frankenstein’s Monster is made up of many parts, many human parts, including the brain of a serial killer. Doctor Frankenstein was a mad doctor who took the scientific effort to piece the creature together. But the unstable brain of a serial killer in a stitched together body proves to be fatal for many people, including the doctor.
Similarly, Chucky from Child’s Play is a body sewn together by random body parts. His just happen to be synthetic doll body parts. And similar to Frankenstein, Chucky has the mind of a serial killer inside. And he just wants to kill!
Even though Chucky turns out to be far more evil than Frankenstein’s Monster, he is still a perfect fit for a Monster Rally film.
The Wolfman – Regan (The Exorcist)
The werewolf is a creature of legend, a man who can turn into a wolf. Universal’s Wolfman practically invented the modern werewolf lore as we know it today. A normal man is possessed of a evil curse that causes him to change when the moon is full and to kill!
Regan from The Exorcist may not sprout fur at a full moon but she sure does transform once possessed by a demonic force. Regan’s face and demeanor complete change over time and she ultimately becomes an evil machine, hell-bent on murder and desecration.
Regan’s evil transformation—or even any demonically possessed monster—could easily take its rightful place in a Monster Rally movie.
The Mummy – Jason (Friday the 13th)
The Mummy lived a cursed life and was sentenced to be mummified alive in his tomb. That is a pretty horrible fate. But what is worse is when The Mummy comes back to life, back from the past, to seek vengeance on any who enter his lair.
Jason from the Friday the 13th series also is out for revenge. He was picked on at Camp Crystal Lake, almost drowned, and even watched his own mother beheaded. When he gets older, and much larger, he wants nothing more than to take revenge on anyone who enters his backwoods territory.
Jason and his mask are the ultimate icons of modern horror and is almost a requirement in any modern Monster Rally film.
The Invisible Man – Jigsaw (Saw)
The Invisible Man is another mad doctor type. When he figures out a serum to make himself invisible he begins his journey into insanity. At first he is fascinated by the power he has to do whatever he wants and not get caught—sneak into homes, rob banks, even murder. But then the serum begins to change him, to drive him completely mad. And then all he wants is to kill others.
Jigsaw from the Saw series may not be a mad doctor or have a rare serum, but an event in his life—when he almost dies—changes the way he thinks, makes him go insane. Then he wants to teach others the same lesson, and he does it in the most diabolical way possible.
Jigsaw’s sense of justice would add a truly interesting dynamic to any modern Monster Rally film.
The Creature from the Black Lagoon – Pinhead (Hellraiser)
The Creature from the Black Lagoon came at the tail end of Universal’s Monster phase. However, it is a strange and dangerous specimen that is worthy of mention. The Creature is from a strange and unknown world—the deepest sector of the Amazon. The Creature wouldn’t necessarily leave its world and seek out victims. However, when curious and nosy humans come lurking in The Creature’s world it doesn’t hesitate to kill.
Pinhead from Clive Barker’s Hellraiser is also a strange and evil persona. Pinhead and the other Cenobites don’t come out of their hellish dimension to seek victims, but once called, once someone has solved the puzzle box, they come out and claim their reward. And no one can truly understand their sense of “pleasure.”
Pinhead is an evil creature that would be an interesting contrast to Jigsaw and the other monsters in a modern Monster Rally movie.
The Phantom of the Opera – Ghostface (Scream)
Finally, and probably the least known of the Universal Monsters, is The Phantom from The Phantom of the Opera. Although he is a normal man he is a vengeful genius. When his face is burned with acid and his music stolen he creates a plan of murder and vengeance in the basement of the Paris Opera House.
Ghostface from the original scream isn’t one man but two. The two decide to mask themselves in white masks and work together on a plan of murder and vengeance against Sydney and her friends.
Ghostface and the mask are icons of horror and belong in the Monster Rally with all the other creatures of darkness.
Feature by Noah C. Patterson