Itís inevitable. When ever Iím discussing
horror with a fellow co-worker or some horror junkie waiting in-line to
meet Doug Bradley for the sixth time the subject of remakes always rears
its ugly head. I honestly thought the topic was deader than Fred Krueger
after being pulled out of a dream, but I'm constantly proven wrong. After
three (maybe four) long years of remake nirvana the subject matter is
still considered a hot topic, which is why I finally decided to go ahead
and write this article. The funny thing is I could care less about remakes
either way; I look forward to some and avoid others like the t-virus.
But horror fans in general are rather passionate creatures (to say the
least) about the subject matter so I thought it would be fun to ruffle
From my observations I see several stances when it comes to remakes.
Youíll find the younger crowd who donít even realize that
most of the films theyíre going to see are indeed remakes. I mean
can you blame them? In most cases the films are older then they are. So
they'll skip off to the theater, walk into that darkened room with no
preconceptions whatsoever and absorb the experience. Some may even try
to stick their penis through the bottom of the popcorn bucket, but that's
a whole other article. But I think some kids do recognize The Texas Chainsaw
Massacre and probably The Amityville Horror as remakes, but Iím
guessing not so much with The Hitcher and Black Christmas. Remember people,
weíre talking about the general public here. Not some kid that watched
Dawn of the Dead with his dad before bedtime.
Then you have the diehard horror junkies who grew up watching Friday
the 13th, Dawn of the Dead, Halloween, The Exorcist, A Nightmare on Elm
Street, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Evil Dead, The Hills Have Eyes.
I mean the list could go on for days. This crowd seems to be a little
annoyed with the idea of remakes. OK, fine. They pretty much loathe them.
Some might be a little ravenous with their reasoning but I can see their
point. I mean, they grew up with these films, watched them daily and then
some up-and-coming Hollywood hotshot rips the thing to shreds, probably
changing everything that made the film great in the first place. Itíd
be like if you spent two years sculpting a masterpiece of a statue and
then some retard from the YMCA wipes his diaper all over it.
I also think horror fans in general are very passionate people and they
want to see horror be great again. They want original horror films with
original ideas thriving on the big screen. Makes sense right? I mean with
films like Halloween (remake), The Hitcher, (remake), Saw 4 (sequel),
Hostel: Part 2 (sequel), 28 Weeks Later (sequel) dominating theaters this
year (and the past three at least) itís hard to not see where theyíre
coming from. But in general I think these guys would like to see independent
horror films get more attention such as by making the cover of Fangoria
Magazine, or generating a lead story on Bloody-Disgusting.com, as apposed
to another remake such as The Fog.
Then you have yet another group of people who either grew up watching
these films or saw them when they were originally released. They see ads
for such films as The Hills Have Eyes, When a Stranger Calls, The Hitcher,
The Fog, Black Christmas and they'll venture out to the theater on a film-by-film
basis. If the films sucked then they'll say it sucked. If the film was
good then they'll say it was good. The experience lasts only a few hours.
Thereís no bitterness towards the experience. Theyíre far
easier going with the process.
The idea of remaking a film has always been around, and not even specifically
in the horror genre either. Everything from Titanic to Night of the Living
Dead has had some sort of face lift in recent years. So the fact that
remakes are happening now doesnít surprise me in the least. Yeah
horror has blown up, but when remakes like The Amityville Horror and The
Texas Chainsaw Massacre double their initial investment on opening weekend
does this really come as a surprise to anyone? The second those box office
numbers were released Hollywood producers began selling their children
on the black market for the latest remake script. We should have all seen
this coming like a 500 mile wide comet heading towards Earth, right?
And this goes for every genre. Remember the smash hit Thereís Something
About Mary? When that hit big every summer after that you'd see some new
comedy starring either Ben Stiller, Vince Vaugn, Owen Wilson, or if they
were busy, we got Luke Wilson. Then you have X-Men. That does huge business
and since then we've had Superman, Spiderman, Hulk, Batman, Ghost Rider,
The Punisher and Fantastic Four. How about the natural disaster craze
in the late nineties? I mean, Hollywood investors are literally like lemmings.
Are they making money? Hell yeah! Are they losing every shred of integrity
along the way? Absolutely. Do they care? No fucking way. Of course I'm
speaking in general terms here, but what really sucks is that there are
far more people who enjoy these films than don't. Take Saw 3 for instance.
I thought that film was average at best yet it has one of the highest
user averages on my site. So we can bitch about these money maker trends
but there is definitely an audience for them.
But in general I hear much disappointment from horror fans today. The
general consensus is that horror today sucks because there's nothing original
anymore. Well I couldn't disagree with this argument more. I think we
have a handful of "heroes" in the horror industry who are working
their asses off to bring you the horror fan specifically original quality
content. And yes, remakes included. Take director Alex Aja for instance.
He hits big with High Tension, which was very original in my opinion and
then immediately moves to the states where he's quickly snatched up by
Wes Craven to direct The Hills Have Eyes remake. Yeah it's not an original
piece but he's working his balls of to make sure the film is the best
it can be. We know this because this film is his big chance to solidify
himself as a money making director and not some one hit wonder. He succeeded
because The Hills Have Eyes was very well received by the general public
and critics with only small exception.
Then we have Eli Roth, the man responsible for Cabin Fever, Hostel and
Hostel Part 2. Some people dislike his films while others consider them
amongst their favorites, but an honest horror fan can't argue that the
guy isn't trying his hardest to bring you high quality original horror
films. Or at least what he believes to be. This guy literally stays awake
at night worrying that fans wonít like his work. Plus heís
great to the fans. His DVDs are always loaded with extra content and on
one commentary track he even talks in great length on how one can break
into the film business. Now thatís pretty cool!
We also have Neil Marshall who was responsible for The Descent, which
made critics top ten lists all over the globe. We have Guillermo del Toro
who wrote and directed Panís Labyrinth, which was insanely awesome
and went on to win several Academy Awards. Rob Zombie, a personal favorite
of mine, kicked ass with The Devil's Rejects and will mostly likely kick
even more ass with the Halloween remake. Rob even took the initiative
to film a ninety-minute documentary on the making of The Devil's Rejects
for the DVD. How sweet is that? And of course I have to mention Grindhouse,
which was honestly the most fun I've had in a theater in my life.
The point is we have a handful of horror directors who make a huge effort
to bring high quality original horror to the masses. They even take the
time to create Myspace pages and run them themselves. They'll post news
on the production written personally, they'll comment on press releases,
write personal notes to the fans and even take interviews with small horror
sites like mine. I respect these guys a great deal and thank them for
everything they do.
Another point I want to make is that I'm truly exhausted with watching
older classics like Halloween, A Nightmare on Elm Street, The Exorcist,
Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Dawn of the Dead, Day of the Dead, The Shining
and every other horror flick I watched everyday after school for the majority
of my childhood. It's inevitable, every Halloween someone I know will
be hosting a living room movie festival and The Exorcist or The Shining
always makes its way into the play list and unfortunately I have to decline
the invite because I can't possibly watch those films again. Now this
is not to say that I donít pull out an oldie every once-in-a awhile.
Just last week I watched The Dead Zone, The Gate and Hellraiser. And I
had a good time doing so. But in general, I have a hard time watching
older movies at this point, which brings me to my next point.
For me, remakes bring new life to the franchises that I once loved. Take
Amityville Horror for instance. I think the original is a decent film
but it's slow, older then Mosesí sandals and is just not scary.
I mean, walls bleeding chocolate syrup? What's next, flying cupcakes?
I can remember seeing the remake and being genuinely scared for the first
time ever in a movie theater. That movie kicked my ass on the scare factor.
Plus it expanded the story, which I really enjoyed. We actually learn
about the history of the home. We get to see what's beyond the basement
walls. We get to see a newer fresher take on classic scenes like the babysitter
trapped in the closet or the "Get Out!" moment with the priest.
I mean, how cool is that to watch The Amityville Horror as a kid and then
years later see what's beyond the basement walls or actually getting details
on the presence in the house.
Another scene that comes to mind is in The Hills Have Eyes remake. The
whole final act is an addition to the original story and I think it made
all the difference. I mean, mongaloids living amongst mannequins in a
fake town designed to replicate realistic conditions during nuclear attack.
That's such a good idea to me. Then you have the holy grail of horror
flicks The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The original pretty much consisted
of a girl being chased by a maniac wielding a chainsaw and eventually
she is caught and proceeds to scream bloody murder for the remainder of
the film. Yeah that works for me and you, but what about the other ninety-percent
of the population who want plot, dynamic characters and some relevance
of a script. That remake took the original idea and fleshed it out, and
even till this day I still hear people talking about how much they enjoyed
Plus look at where all these franchises ended up. Jason Voorhees went
to space, FUCKING SPACE!!!, Rosanne and Tom Arnold somehow ended up on
Elm Street, Busta Rhymes found himself kung-fu fighting Michael Myers,
and in Leatherface (Chainsaw III) you had the main character of Benny
coming back to life after having his head sawed in half, literally. And
I'm not even sure where the Amityville franchise ended, but I'd bet my
signed Chucky doll that it's far scarier than the demon living in the
house. Point is people, these franchises had to die. Someone should have
killed them, before they killed themselves. Itís time to rebirth
these modern classics and I am one-hundred percent on board. I mean either
these films get remade and start fresh or we never see these iconic character
again and if we do, their films will be unbearable. Jason Vs. Freddy Vs.
Michael Myers, seriously folks? I'd rather watch Sponge Head Bob take
on the Soap Bubbles from Beyond.
Take the Friday the 13th remake for instance. I've heard people bitch
about this film from day one and I just don't get that. I mean, what is
there to fuck up? It's going to be at Crystal Lake featuring a masked
Jason Voorhees running around killing everyone he possibly can within
a 90 minutes time frame. Plus the chicks will be hotter, the death scenes
will be better and it will look and sound better. Yeah, I can see why
people would complain. It always makes me laugh when horror fans rip apart
films like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning or the House of
Wax remake and then go watch Friday the 13th part 6 or Silent Night Deadline
Night for the hundredth time. Iím not saying these films are great
by any means but I think theyíre on par with older films that we,
as horror fans, tend to hold dear.
The thing is I donít even care much about remakes. There are a
handful that I like and a bigger handful that I donít. And honestly
itís really not my place to bitch about remakes. Some people go
out of their way, posting on message board after message board bitching
about remakes. But really folks, if the person who owns the rights to
the original film is on board, and someone wants to produce the film,
and someone wants to put that film in their theater and people want to
pay money to go see the film then how the fuck is it your business to
discourage that? I get the impression that some horror fans feel like
it's their film, like they own stock in The Evil Dead or Halloween. Well
guess what. You donít so quit your bitching. If you donít
like the movie then just donít so see it. Doesnít that make
sense? How would you like it if you were in a rock band and someone didn't
like your music? Then that person spends three hours a day on the internet
trolling sites to let everyone know how much they disliked you and your
band. I'm guessing you'd be pretty pissed. I mean find more productive
ways to spend your time.
But if the slate of theatrical releases leaves you begging for a chainsaw
to the face then just look for films in other places. No joke, the best
films I see each year are not raking in the millions at the box office.
Theyíre lucky if they make limited release. They're the little indie
films that people don't mention in mainstream media, films like Mad Cowgirl,
Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon, The Living and the Dead and
Headspace are all far better films than eighty- percent of what I see
in theaters. So start looking into these smaller titles. Find a handful
of websites that you like and see what they they're watching, what they
recommend. Because I can assure you, there are gems to be found amongst
all the crap. Crap being the plethora of straight to DVD titles from Lions
Gate. Easy boys! You won the Guinness Book of World Records for most shitty
films being released in a one week period two years ago.
So in wrapping up I say this. Take each remake as it comes and just understand
that itís a business and that people are trying to make money. Yeah
it sucks but thatís the way it is. And if you see a new remake like
Halloween or Friday the 13th try to have fun with it. Itís all supposed
to be fun, remember that. Horror is fun and thatís why we all love
watching it. And if you want to check out some of the smaller budget indie
flicks then dig in a little. Trust me, there is some awesome horror at
your finger tips thatís waiting to be seen. But most importantly,
remember that these remakes arenít replacing the originals. Weíll
always have that original version of Halloween to pull out when times
get tough. So be well and weíll see you at the movies!
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