Atmosphere doesn't cost a lot of money. Budgets start to get out of control when extensive location shooting and elaborate effects sequences come into play. Personally, I think those are the least important things when it comes to this genre. A great script shot on the back lot always makes a better movie than a mindless, Michael Bay-type spectacular. Some of the most atmospheric "exterior" scenes in the golden age Universal flicks were shot on soundstages (like all of the werewolf scenes in The Wolf Man). Stars aren't necessary, either. Let's not forget, Lugosi was a Hollywood unknown when he made Dracula. Karloff was an unknown when he was cast as the monster. Claude Rains was unknown when he played The Invisible Man. ANYONE can play a bandaged mummy. I don't care about "a grander vision." In terms of scale, all of the Universal classics are modest undertakings. Why not stick to that blueprint? Universal decided to "go big" with both Van Helsing and The Wolfman--and look at the results. Once you decide to go in that direction you're forced to appeal to the masses. Romanek abandoned The Wolfman because of studio meddling. They wanted a safer, more commercial film. Johnston was happy to ride along with all of the studio-mandated changes. And what did he deliver? A $150 million pile of dung. With the right script and the right people involved, ANY of the classic Universal flicks could be effectively remade for $25-$50 million. And ironically enough, the stories would almost certainly be MORE interesting if the budgets were reduced. I don't think it's a double-edged sword at all. I'm not advocating for a $75,000 micro-budget version of one of these stories. $25-$50 mil is plenty--and far less strings would be attached.