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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Let's Begin Again...

The past decade or so has seen a series of remakes and reboots shunted into theatres.  "Halloween", "Friday the 13th", "A Nightmare on Elm Street" being the biggest names put out there.  This overflow of remakes and reboots has caused a serious drop in faith when it comes to Hollywood's ability to produce original and exciting horror movies.

Personally, I'm not a big fan of remakes.  When I hear that a remake or a reboot of a franchise is being released, I'm automatically wary and sceptical.

I can understand WHY Hollywood would want to remake a horror classic- they hope that they can recapture the success of the original. They want to earn money.

The same goes for reboots.  Hollywood studio reps can say they "want to introduce a new audience" to the classic horror franchises, but ultimately what they mean is they want to feed younger people to the cash cow and milk the franchise for more money.

Do remakes really NEED to be made?  Not really.  Do they need to be hated by fans?  Not really, either.

As much as I enjoy the "Big Three" franchises, I'm not a rabid fan of them.  Rather, I'm a fan of the entire genre of horror.  My loyalty is to the great stories within it, not to a specific character.

I'm going to use Rob Zombie's "Halloween" for discussion here.  Did it really need to be made?  Not really.  Does it deserve to be called a "desecration" of the franchise, or an "blasphemy" towards John Carpenter?  Certainly not.

First of all, Carpenter himself TOLD Zombie to make the film "his own"- which he did, while staying as true to the original story as possible.  In fact, during an 2007 interview with SuicideGirls.com, he went so far as to say that he was "flattered that someone would want to take on" one of his old movies.  And let's not forget that Carpenter himself has done at least one remake- "The Thing" (1982) was a remake of the 1951 "The Thing From Another World".

As for Rob Zombie's "Hallween" itself?  It's a damn good movie, and tells a good story.

But "Halloween" fans seem to hate it for the same reason that fans of the "Friday the 13th", and "A Nightmare on Elm Street" franchises hate their reboots... change.  Hollywood dares to change the franchise.  Well, I hate to say this, but the reboots weren't made for the established fans.  If they were, they probably wouldn't have been reboots, but rather just a new installment in the series.  No, these movies are made for a NEW audience- a YOUNGER audience.  It's not people our age (I'm 38) that provide Hollywood with the largest source of income- it's the teenagers and people in their early 20's.  And let's face it- if a franchise is going to survive, it needs to adapt and change with the times.  The stuff that worked in the 50's didn't work in the 70's, and what worked in the 80's doesn't work so well now.

Although I'm wary of remakes, I'm willing to give them a chance... but if I'm to like it, it has to meet certain criteria.  First off, it HAS to bring something new to the franchise.  Zombie's "Halloween" did that by exploring the events in Michael Myers' life that made him what he was.  The "Friday the 13th" did the same thing by making Jason Vorhees faster and smarter than seen in most of his movies.  Even "A Nightmare on Elm Street" succeeded to an extent by linking Freddy Kreuger's past closer to the lives of the main characters.

Secondly, it has to tell the story well.  I felt that the "Halloween" and the "Friday the 13th" reboots did that quite well.  "Friday the 13th" actually managed to blend the first three movies into itself quite nicely, I thought.  "A Nightmare on Elm Street", unfortunately, had potential, but didn't tell the story very well in my opinion.

Finally, I have to enjoy the movie.  I found "Halloween" and "Friday the 13th" enjoyable and fun, while "A Nightmare on Elm Street" left me disappointed.

But I didn't like or dislike them because they were good or bad in regards to the franchise. No, I formed my opinions of them by watching them on their own terms as horror movies.  I dropped my baggage accrued during the years of watching those franchises, and entered into them and judged them as I would ANY movie- as a fan of horror movies in general.  Rather than hating movie because it's not the franchise you grew up with anymore, watch the movies with fresh eyes- and enjoy them for the stories they offer us.

Do remkes and reboots NEED to be made?  No, though I understand WHY they're made.  Do they deserve to be hated by fans?  No, because some of them still offer us an enjoyable movie experience- and that's what they should be judged on.

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