Here’s an fascinating curio, a short but oh so tantalizing film clip of a Frankenstein film that might have been.
The project, known as CGI Frankenstein, caused a brief but intense buzz on the Net in 1998. The film, incredibly, would have been a straight, serious throwback to the classic Universal Frankenstein — in fact, a direct sequel picking up right where the original 1931 film left off — and done entirely in realistic computer animation. In October 1998, The Hollywood Reporter announced that Universal head Casey Silver had greenlighted the film for release in 2000.
The project, budgeted at 80 million dollars, was to be ILM’s first full-length animated feature, under the direction of Brett Maddock and Dave Carson, with a script by Maddock and S.S.Wilson, who had previously collaborated on Tremors (1990).
The project seems to have fizzled almost as soon as the word broke. The movie gossip site Ain’t It Cool News posted a fannish but comprehensive post-mortem here. Be sure you click through to see the actual, eye-popping 17-second animation test for the Frankenstein Monster. The circa 1930's tower set and the Monster’s Karloffian walk are pitch perfect.
Ain’t It Cool News also posted pictures of maquettes for the Frankenstein Monster and a redesigned Wolfman here.
The project was canned, but Universal didn’t quite give up on the concept, eventually rebooting its stable of classic monsters with the addle-brained, overblown Van Helsing of 2004, a critical and box-office failure.