The stigma associated with the word "remake" has a tendency to hurt movies, particularly those with popular originals, before they are even released. Now, I'm not saying every remake ever made is better than the original, and for this article we can ignore reboots, or sequels 20 years later since they have problems of their own. Instead we can focus on how a remake can help the brand already created by a popular franchise.
A Nightmare on Elm Street
The Nightmare remake from 2010 is considered one of, if not the worst remake of all time. The mere idea of someone other than Robert Englund portraying the iconic Freddy Krueger was blasphemous. I personally prefer this version and think it is one of the best remakes out there. Here's why:
- First off, I loved the mystery brought to the character. Many people didn't enjoy the aspect of child pedophilia forced in our faces, but the idea that he may have been innocent added a new twist to a character that has long been established.
- Dreams vs. Reality. In this version, micro-naps were introduced, and for the first time in Nightmare history, it wasn't blatantly obvious every time we were in a dream. Also, the blend of reality and dream (I'm looking at you, drug store scene) was done to perfection.
- Freddy was creepy again. I use the word "creepy" very carefully, because Freddy has only been scary twice, and that's in the original and the first sequel. By the end of the Englund era, Freddy had become a joke. Quick one liners took precedent over torturing and exacting revenge on his victims. It was for this reason I was so ready for Freddy to be recast. While Englund is good, I feel in the later sequels he phoned it in, focusing on getting a quick laugh. Jackie Earle Hayley took the role seriously, and for that I was thankful.
Friday the 13th
Jason Voorhees is the slasher king. With the highest body count, the most sequels, and the best Blu-ray box set, it's hard to deny the love for this machete-wielding psycho. The episodic formula the series took, made the transition to remake very easy. In a modern take on '80s slashers, this remake had everything a Friday the 13th fan could ask for.
- The original Friday started, and Pamela Voorhees was a freak in the fullest, but Jason is the true star of the series. This remake respectfully touched on the story of the original, and showed us what had been discussed in many sequels: Jason seeing his mother die. Within the first 1/3 of the movie the transition was made from the first three sequels, getting us all to the Jason we know and love.
- Jason wasn't completely mindless. It's pretty clear that Jason isn't all there, but this remake gave him the proper survival skills that made his vanishing, survival, and overall presence more terrifying.
- They upped the ante. The kills in this movie were pretty gruesome. Without touching foot into the realm of "torture porn," this film had a Jason sprinting after his victims and attacking full force, made this Jason more menacing then EVER before.
Never have fans been as divided as they were when Rob Zombie's iteration of the boogeyman hit theaters. His gritty version of this classic was either loved or hated. This film actually tops my all-time horror list.
- The backstory filled us in. Many say that the backstory took away from the appeal of Myers. What many often forget is, this movie was made first and foremost to reintroduce a NEW audience to this character, and the audiences of today need more than they did in the 1970s.
- Myers's brutality and size. I had never been afraid of Michael Myers until this film. He had always been a slow stalker, and to me that didn't do it. While still slow and methodical, this Myers had much more intent behind his movement, saving his energy for when he finally struck.
These three remakes serve to prove a point. These and all remakes are to usher in the next generation of horror fans. Many fans of the franchise had the opportunity to see these films in theaters, to get the full experience. For me, my first Nightmare on Elm Street experience was seeing the remake in theaters. Of course, I'd seen all the others, but going with my friends to see Freddy didn't happen until then. Same goes for the others. My movie-going experiences for many franchises happened with the remakes. So these remakes hold the same place for me as the originals do for others. So the next time you don't care for a remake remember:even if it's part of the franchise, audiences change, and so do movies.