While COVID-19 has halted and delayed many productions, Universal Studios is hard at work planning for the future. Recently, the studio announced an original creature feature titled “Don’t Go in the Water.” Before that, Blumhouse, who has a first-look deal with Universal, announced a new “Dracula” movie with Karyn Kusama directing. After Leigh Whannell successfully rebooted Universal’s monster movies with “The Invisible Man,” the studio has been hard at work, bringing more classic creatures to the big screen from filmmakers such as James Wan, Elizabeth Banks, John Krasinski, and Paul Feig. Now, Universal is heading back to the vault to revamp another classic for a modern audience.
According to Variety, Universal is green-lighting a remake of the 1955 classic film “Night of the Hunter” based on Davis Grubbs’ book of the same name. Plot details are being kept under wraps, but the film is taking a page out of “The Invisible Man’s” handbook and adapting the thriller for modern times. “Operation Finale” screenwriter Matt Orton is penning the script with Peter Gethers and Amy Pascal producing.
Both the novel and Charles Laughton’s controversial 1955 film starring Robert Mitchum follows Rev. Harry Powell, a religious fanatic, con man, and serial killer who use their sexuality to attract men. After serving time in prison, Powell marries a widow upon discovering her deceased husband hid $10,000 following a bank robbery. Suspicious of ulterior motives, the widow’s two children are reluctant to disclose the location of the hidden loot, resulting in Powell scheming a sinister plan.
It’s easy to see how a contemporary adaptation of this classic could prove timely and effective. After Leigh Whannell brought the social issues of today to the forefront of his “Invisible Man” and “The Hunt” caused a political uproar before its release, it’s clear that Universal is interested in continuing its run of social thrillers. The film is incredibly influential and considered a favorite among directors such as Guillermo del Toro. If adapted properly, “Night of the Hunter” could prove a chilling reimagining.