Hitting theaters this past weekend was the Tom Cruise-starring remake of The Mummy, which was a disappointment critically and financially, making the planned Dark Universe look even darker. The film attempted to capture some of the macabre mystery of the 1932 film, while also paying homage to the action-adventure film that came out in 1999. The version that was released in the '90s had a tone more similar to an Indiana Jones film, but Bloody Disgusting has uncovered information about two masters of horror who were originally tapped to revive the series with a terrifying tone back in the '90s.
After the success of Clive Barker's Hellraiser, the filmmaker was tapped to resurrect the Universal Monster with a much smaller budget than anything we've seen lately. When speaking with Fangoria in 2015, Barker revealed that his vision was far from what the studio had hoped he'd create.
"Looking back, our version of The Mummy was precisely what the powers that were at Universal did not want," Barker explained. "It made the Mummy story over for the late 20th century, not in terms of its effects—this was before CGI brought its dubious gifts to the process of horror filmmaking—but in terms of content. We had one particular narrative hook that we were very proud of. In the first scene, a strange boy-child is born, under circumstances—high howling winds and a ferocious thunderstorm—that suggest something unnatural is afoot. The narrative then jumps ahead 20 years or so, and we pick up the story of how sacred Egyptian artifacts are being brought to America for an exhibition that would put the Tutankhamen exhibit to shame."
He continued, "An uncommonly beautiful woman is threaded into the action, a seducer and murderer of mysterious origin. Of the boy-child, now presumably grown to adulthood, we get no sight. Meanwhile, our antiheroine is seducing her way through the male character, only to be revealed in the third act as the boy-child, now turned via surgery and hormones into a woman."
This sounds much more like the Clive Barker we all know, but sounds far more perverse than what Universal might have wanted.
Barker admitted, "Nobody in America, we were told, would accept such a ridiculous premise."
Additionally, Night of the Living Dead creator George Romero wrote a draft for an update to The Mummy, that embraced the romantic elements of the character, while also being creepy.
His script was reportedly a "fish-out-of-water story when Imhotep, having regained his youthful appearance, recognizes the need to adapt to a contemporary society that is three thousand years removed from the one he came from. Eventually, the character would be seen "escaping into the city sewer system, Karis embarks on a vengeful rampage against the various criminal fences and high society antiquarians who had acquired stolen relics from his tomb."
This version might have been more in line with what Universal wanted, but the themes of vengeance and retribution were reportedly too dark.