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Handling The ‘Remake’ Issue…

A remake or re-imagining of a classic old horror film hits cinemas, as well as a remake of a film not many people know about. The DVD charts in your local store are sprinkled with straight-to-DVD scary movies, featuring a cameo from Robert Englund or another, similar classic horror icon. You look around and wonder…

what happened to horror cinema?

The biggest area of criticism is the idea of the remake, or reboot, or re-imagining. Taking a classic horror film, or maybe a lesser known flick, and updating it for a modern audience. Recent examples include The Thing, A Nightmare On Elm Street, Friday The 13th and Halloween. There’s many more that spring to mind, and the list could go on and on. But are these revisions worth making?

Personally, I say yes. Why? Because it keeps the legacy of the original films alive. Take Halloween for example. Some fans of the series love Rob Zombie’s two part take on the 1978 genre classic. Some absolutely hate it. Some are somewhere in the middle. But the debate caused between them keeps people talking about the original, and brings attention to it, which can only be a good thing.

Another argument in favor of the remakes is that we, as horror fans, love a good horror series. But when a series becomes too contrived to survive, like Halloween (reality TV Michael Myers?), Friday The 13th (Jason in space?) or A Nightmare… (I can’t even explain…), the remakes give horror fans the chance to look forward to a new series of films, knowing how to make these new films avoid the clichés and dated aspects of their predecessors. Friday The 13th did an amazing job in my opinion of taking elements from the first four Paramount Friday chapters and making a new and exciting start that still felt familiar to me.

Whilst the first film in a horror series is usually hailed as a classic in years to come (Halloween, Friday, Nightmare, Texas Chainsaw, Hellraiser, Psycho, Scream…), the sequels, no matter how good or bad, won’t keep coming forever, because they naturally begin to fall apart, be it from a lack of ideas, or even an overflow of ideas (*cough* Halloween 5 …), they can’t keep the stories consistent, entertaining and true to the source material forever, so the only way to keep the classic horror characters and killers alive is to bring them back with a new bag of tricks. It doesn’t always work, but when it does, it’s good.

But that’s just my two cents. Leave a comment below and share your views!

  • micktheawesome

    Thanks man this was a good read. I also enjoy remake horror movies, because once the original is old and outdated, it loses it’s fear and scare tactics, if you will. But with a remake brings the newest technology and computer editing skills, and a fresh wave of horror, while having a little bit of nostalgia at the same time.

  • kiss78

    Great read, I enjoy the remakes as well for all of the reasons stated above, I would also like to add that it introduces our boogeymen to a new generation who might otherwise never watch a horror movie that came out in the 70’s.
    I know that some horror fans get upset over the remakes,
    but I think about the horror icons of the 50’s Dracula, Frankenstein, The Wolf Man, ect and how many times since then movies have been made retelling their stories and it makes me smile to think that our favorite bad guys have become icons and legends whose stories will probably continue to be retold for years to come.

  • jdash10

    Whilst I disagree that the originals become ‘outdated’, just because I saw these films as a young kid (I’m 17 now, so I arrived late to the party myself) and even though compared to films at the time they felt older and maybe dated, it made everything scarier to me, that there wasn’t a CGI monster jumping around and so on. But I respect your opinion, and I see where you’re coming from. I know lots of people think that way too, that’s why I like the remakes, because people who don’t feel comfortable watching an ‘old’ film can still enjoy what made these characters and this genre so popular.

  • jdash10

    Ignore the ‘Whilst’ up there, bad bad grammar on my part 😛

  • robertw

    Honestly, I don’t think these remakes are even worth mentioning. They are, to put it charitably, absolute crap and their very existences are an insult to all those those who worked on the originals.

    I do make one exception, and that is for Carpenter’s remake of the Thing, which I thought was brilliant.

  • micktheawesome

    robertw says:
    December 6, 2011 at 9:49 pm
    Honestly, I don’t think these remakes are even worth mentioning. They are, to put it charitably, absolute crap and their very existences are an insult to all those those who worked on the originals.

    I honestly don’t think that this is this case. The remake’s can never be greater than the original, but they can still bring something new to a franchise, by telling the same tale through a different light, or introducing old horror movies to a new generation of kids, that otherwise would never have seen them.

  • jdash10

    robertw, I think you should still have some respect for the movie heads, that they’re keeping the characters alive rather than leaving them to fall into obscurity. The Texas Chainsaw remakes didn’t seem to make much of a lasting impact over here in England, but newer films like Halloween and A Nightmare… have. In fact, in Film Studies (I’m taking it as an A level at college) we’re studying the original and the remake of Nightmare and comparing and contrasting them. 😀

  • robertw

    micktheawesome wrote,
    “I honestly don’t think that this is this case. The remake’s can never be greater than the original, but they can still bring something new to a franchise, by telling the same tale through a different light, or introducing old horror movies to a new generation of kids, that otherwise would never have seen them.”

    Aside from Carpenter’s remake of the Thing or Cronenberg’s T Fly flick, name one other remake that wasn’t an absolute piece of crap.

  • robertw

    jdash10 wrote,
    “robertw, I think you should still have some respect for the movie heads, that they’re keeping the characters alive rather than leaving them to fall into obscurity. The Texas Chainsaw remakes didn’t seem to make much of a lasting impact over here in England, but newer films like Halloween and A Nightmare… have. In fact, in Film Studies (I’m taking it as an A level at college) we’re studying the original and the remake of Nightmare and comparing and contrasting them.”

    Respect for studio heads? You mean the money grubbing leeches that keep pumping out one unwatchable cinematic abortion after another?

    As for having to watch the Elm St. remake, you have my sincerest condolences.

  • jdash10

    The Blair Witch Project.
    Dawn Of The Dead.
    The Hills Have Eyes.
    Last House On The Left.

  • jdash10

    And, in my opinion, Friday The 13th.

  • jdash10

    And nergh, it’s a touchy subject Robert.

    See, they care about money, we know this. But at least they’re keeping the legacy of these films alive. I mean, almost every remake is better than one of the last sequels. It’s a given fact. Rob Zombie’s Halloween was better than Resurrection, Friday The 13th was better than Jason X, and I imagine Nightmare On Elm Street will be better than Freddy’s Dead.

    These are just my opinions man, let’s keep this debate friendly 😛

  • robertw

    I wasn’t aware that the Blair Witch film got remade. One can only imagine the depths of suck that turd must have fathomed.

    Dawn of the Dead: Running zombies and cgi are not a substitute for good filmmaking, imho.

    Hills: Well at least Craven picked up a paycheck for this stinker.

    Last house: See above.

    F13th: This one stunk so bad that I think I defensible argument can be made that the entire cast and crew should be permanently blacklisted from every making another film again as punishment for inflicting this steaming pile of crap into a theater.

  • robertw

    jdash10 wrote,
    “And nergh, it’s a touchy subject Robert.

    See, they care about money, we know this. But at least they’re keeping the legacy of these films alive. I mean, almost every remake is better than one of the last sequels. It’s a given fact. Rob Zombie’s Halloween was better than Resurrection, Friday The 13th was better than Jason X, and I imagine Nightmare On Elm Street will be better than Freddy’s Dead.

    These are just my opinions man, let’s keep this debate friendly.”

    I respectfully beg to differ with your conclusions. Execs do not keep the cinematic flames alive, the people who watch the and still enjoy the films do. All studio execs do is greenlight crap for a quick buck.

    As for RZ’s Halloween.. well less that’s said about the better. 🙂 As for Jason X, it was at least more creative than the F13th remake, which, as I previously opined, should have criminal penalties imposed on the cast and crew responsible for making it.

    Now as for the argument that these remakes have some merit, in that they help introduce younger generations into the genre, what’s wrong with them watching the originals?

  • jdash10

    Actually in the article I said that the remakes encourage younger generations into watching the originals 😉

    In fact, my friend Charlotte started watching horror films with me recently, and after seeing the remake, really wanted to see Halloween, and she loved it 🙂

  • jdash10

    I was wrong about Blair Witch, I’d heard that it was remade from a German film, I was wrong it seems 😛

  • robertw

    I wonder if showing some kid RZ’s Halloween films qualifies as child abuse? 🙂

  • wiggles

    Robert I so agree with you man! However… I do see these remakes as a gateway drug to the originals. You see this in any form of media such as music. Disturbed will lead to slayer, blink 182 will lead to nofx and rz s Halloween will lead to our beloved 1978 classic.
    For the record I do not condone the brutal hacking of Michael’s character by turning him into an atmospherically affected wwf wrestler in a mask so awfull that it needed to be weathered beyond reason to salvage.

  • robertw

    Why what someone’s time showing them a crappy remake when you can show them the superior original?

    As for RZ, he’s just the product of marketing hype. His House Of A Thousand Corpses films were terrible, imo. The first one played like a fifth rate TCM ripoff and the second one was full of so much pretentious bs! Motherf*cker this, motherf*cker that.. This is supposed to be a script? Sounds more like a bunch of middle school kids trying to impress each other at recess with their stock of profanity. As for Halloween, what complete and utter garbage that film was. The whole idea of fleshing out MM’s back story by turning him into some animal torturing emo loser. Tbh though, I didn’t think Tyler Mane was bad as MM in the film, given how horrible the script was. I mean turning the character into what was essentially a mask wearing hobo certainly ranks as one of the stupidest “reimagings” to date.

    There’s an interview vid with RZ up on Youtube where he recounts his telephone conversation with Carpenter concerning his remake plans. It’s pretty funny. You can see from the expression on RZ’s face as recounts the story that he knows his Halloween film is complete sh*t too.

  • jdash10

    Zombie should’ve been behind the TCM remake in my opinion.
    It would’ve been genius.
    Alexandre Aja should’ve done Friday The 13th (based on his Hills Have Eyes remake), and James Wan should’ve done Halloween or Nightmare (he’s the guy behind Saw 1 and Insidious, visually they would make very good Halloween films in my opinion).

  • robertw

    RZ should stick to making music vids and stop inflicting his rotten movies on the world.

    As for who should of or shouldn’t of made this or that remake, maybe the better question to ask is why do any of these films need to be remade at all? Not that I’m dead set against remakes per se, I do think the The Thing, Nosferatu, The Fly, and Last House On The Left were certainly as good as the originals, it’s just that I hate this whole “lets make a quick buck by knocking off some p.o.s. remake” thing that’s been going on for the last five or so years.

    I mean have you seen the trailer for the Howling remake? This has to be the single worst looking remake yet. Honestly, I’ve never seen anything as bad looking as this.

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