‘The Mummy’ Screenwriter Says His Is the First ‘Mummy’ Movie With the ‘Power to Terrify’
Since screenwriters are often the most overlooked part of any Hollywood production, you probably aren’t familiar with the name Jon Spaihts, but odds are good that you have pretty strong feelings about his work. Spaihts broke onto the scene back in 2007 when his script for Passengers was named to that year’s Black List; while that film is just now finding its way into theaters, Spaihts is also one of the writers behind Doctor Strange, Ridley Scott’s Prometheus series, and the upcoming cinematic universe of monsters at Universal Pictures. In other words, Spaihts is a name to remember.
As part of the publicity for Doctor Strange, Spaihts recently sat down with The Hollywood Reporter (via Screenrant) and discussed his script for the upcoming Tom Cruise-led reboot of The Mummy. Spaihts explained why his version of The Mummy might be the first mummy movie at Universal Pictures that truly has the ‘power to terrify’:
In The Mummy, I think we’re going to see the first Mummy film in the entire Universal canon with the true power to terrify. The earliest [Boris] Karloff and Bela Lugosi Mummy movies were scary in a small way, perhaps a dated way. They were almost parlor movies. Subsequent movies have been more swashbuckling. This one is going to have all of that action and adventure, but a legitimate power to terrify.
While I understand the point that Spaihts is trying to make here — it’s reassuring to hear that a new generation of monster movies won’t forget their roots and set aside horror entirely — I can’t help but feel like he’s hurting his own cause by throwing the original films under the bus. Of course a movie from 1932 is going to be viewed as less frightening to audiences in 2016; the technology and restrictions placed on filmmakers have both changed dramatically in the intervening years, and it’s important to think of The Mummy in its original context when talking about its effectiveness as a horror film. Fans want their filmmakers to share their enthusiasm for the original movies; here’s hoping Spaihts doesn’t catch too much flack for his comments.
Here is the plot synopsis for the latest version of The Mummy:
Thought safely entombed in a crypt deep beneath the unforgiving desert, an ancient queen whose destiny was unjustly taken from her is awakened in our current day, bringing with her malevolence grown over millennia and terrors that defy human comprehension.
From the sweeping sands of the Middle East through hidden labyrinths under modern-day London, The Mummy brings a surprising intensity and balance of wonder and thrills in an imaginative new take that ushers in a new world of gods and monsters.
The Mummy will shuffle its way into theaters on June 9, 2017.