Why are horror fans still getting short changed? After years of amazing films like Here Comes The Devil, Starry Eyes, American Mary, House of the Devil, The Conjuring, and Stake Land we still get one remake after another shoved down our throats as if anyone ever wanted them. Regardless of the fact that there have been many successful remakes of classic films (Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Thing, The Fly, and The Blob for starters) the slasher genre has not had as many wins. Rob Zombie polarized fans with his two Halloween films, the Derek Mears/Jared Padalecki starring Friday the 13th did a good job of cutting away the fat of the first three Fridays and gave us a faster, meaner Jason film, Texas Chainsaw Massacre added nothing to the conversation, and Nightmare on Elm Street was just bad. It's not that these five movies were good or bad, after all they each have a franchise history with at least one stinker, it's that no one wanted them. I've never met a single fan of any of these series that wanted a restart, just a better sequel or at least a good ending.
I was a kid in the 80's and grew up exposed to the slasher boom. I regard the Halloween, Nightmare, and Friday films with the same sense of nostalgia I hold for the Claremont era X-Men comics. Some sequels are flawed, some are garbage, but I'm happy to have them on my DVD shelf and revisit them ever so often. And to that end, if there was ever Friday part 11, Nightmare part 7, or a Halloween that didn't ignore parts 4-6, I'd be at the theatre opening day. But for some strange reason the keepers of the franchises seem to believe fans want to watch the exact same stories with modern hair cuts. The box office returns and critical response tell a different story.
So why would New Line green light another remake of Nightmare on Elm Street? Especially after the last one crashed and burned. Nightmare does not need a remake. It needs a really good part 7 to redeem the franchise from three lack luster sequels, a meta-reboot that was good, but pointless, a fun but silly crossover with Jason, and a remake that wasted a very good actor as Robert Englund's replacement.
Where all these franchises fail is when they refuse to up the ante or evolve the story beyond their formula. Sure Jason Goes To Hell and Jason X tried to be different, but the half assed results alienated fans. And when Michael Meyers returned in Halloween part 4, the filmmakers introduced The Thorn cult story line to explain Michael, which was interesting, even while the three films still had a paint by numbers feel. Then the whole storyline was junked unresolved with H2O and Resurrection. To quote myself on Twitter (@holyrooster) "...with horror we don't get a new piece of gum, we just get the same chewed piece, chewed by someone else and handed to us like we won't notice." It doesn't take much digging online to see that all these films still have a strong fan base and that all we want is a good movie.
Look at it this way; did the Bond franchise reboot after one of the less than successful sequels or did the producers just release a better film the next time around? Exactly. And Bond has been around far longer than Jason Vorhees.
So as a fan, I say to the gate keepers of these franchises; We don't want a remake. You can recast all day, that's fine and understandable, but look at the modern films that are connecting with horror fans and listen to what the fans are saying. If you don't want to just let these series die then evolve them. Give us quality storytelling, give us something that doesn't insult our intelligence, and don't underestimate or take for granted our love and devotion to these characters.
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