31 Days of Spoooktacular: The Remade

Between 2007 and 2010, all three of the major slasher icons were featured in reboots of the old movies. Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees and Michael Myers stalked the silver screen again in “fresh” “re-imaginings” of the old movies. Halloween came first, followed shortly by Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street. The idea that this was even a profitable idea probably came from the success of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake, which grossed over $107 million dollars worldwide. And that’s in 2003 dollars!

Of the three remakes, Halloween is the only one that can be even remotely be called “good”, and I use that term loosely. It’s still a slasher movie; it’s extremely violent, has a fairly simple plot and the character development of water-logged cardboard. BUT, even though it’s the one remake that most closely followed the plot of its predecessor, it still brought a lot of new material and ideas to the table that helped to enhance, rather than detract, from the story of the character (the childhood of Michael Myers being the most notable addition). It has a lot of nice touches sprinkled throughout and has some of the best kid actors I’ve seen in a movie in a long time. In fact, the acting across the board is good, which is something you learn not to expect in a slasher movie. And, this is important here, it has some truly creepy moments.

Which cannot really be said of Friday the 13th or A Nightmare on Elm Street. They were boring, did nothing to add anything new or original to the characters, except for stuff you really didn’t want added (Jason the pot farmer! Freddy the goofy man-child pedophile gardener!). They could never have been made and the world would never have noticed the difference. And it’s telling that while Halloween managed to do well enough to warrant a (truly terrible) sequel, the same cannot be said of the other two, though it’s only a matter of time. 

The problem with any remake or sequel, and this is more true for the horror genre than others, is that you will never be surprised or shocked. You will never be scared. You’ve seen this monster’s moves and you know what can kill it and you know how things will proceed. They never change a franchise enough to make it interesting, because if they do they risk losing money and fan ire (see Halloween III: Season of the Witch or Friday the 13th: A New Beginning).

They remake and sequel until the money runs out, but long before then, the scares have dried up. It’s detrimental to the genre and just drives away the fans in droves to try new things like Japanese horror and giallo.

Let them die, so we can be scared again.

-D-

2 Comments

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2 responses to “31 Days of Spoooktacular: The Remade

  1. wang

    In my opinion if you’re going to do a reboot, reboot the damn thing! Of course the problem stems from the fact that people are putting money down and want to see a return on their investment. I imagine it’s a little difficult to pitch them a movie that departs too far from the original.

    I think an important question to be asked is who is the movie for? What audience are the filmmakers targeting? I saw Halloween, well many many years ago…but I’m not that interested in seeing a reboot, am I the target audience? Or are they trying to capture new folks to the brand? I think these filmmakers never really make up their minds and hence you end up with a hot mess of a movie.

    • Dylan Charles

      I think you’re right that it’s the indecision about what audiences they’re trying to reach that makes most of these reboots so boring and lackluster.

      I think the reboots that worked, like the Dark Knight series or the Star Trek movie, worked because the filmmakers took just the basic framework of the ideas and then just ran with it. They felt no need to get bogged down in what the previous movies had done and made their own movies, and they were the better for it.

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