You can see them all over the internet, on every major news site. Halloween is getting one, The Exorcist is getting one. Hell, even Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors is getting one. Remakes have been all the rage the last few years, and it needs to stop.
You can’t blame all the studio executives who have no intent for artistic integrity whatsoever for jumping on the remake bandwagon. It’s an established franchise with established fan base, the money practically makes itself. But what is it doing to our industry? The reason films like Halloween and The Exorcist were great is because there were never any films like it before, at the time.
A perfect example would be the Evil Dead series. No one here is criticizing the epicness of Bruce Campbell’s chin, but just trust and follow me. The first one was amazing, timeless, a work of art. From it we got two great sequels (one of which was in fact a remake, but we still love it, don’t we). Then a few years ago we got a remake of the original. Why wasn’t it as good as the first one? Well Bruce Campbell wasn’t in it (SPOILERS: Not counting the after credit scene) for one, but really think about it. Why wasn’t it as good? It was by no means a bad film, but it is still ranked 62% on Rotten Tomatoes, while the original is at a 93%. The reason for this is simple. Nobody had seen anything like Evil Dead the first time around. When people first filled up theaters in 1981 and saw those five kids go into that cabin, they had no idea what was going to happen. By 2013, we had a pretty good idea. We knew what was lurking in the darkness and around the corner and under the floor boards, therefore we were not surprised or scared. It didn’t matter that Fede Alvarez did a phenomenal job directing. It didn’t matter that there were different twists and that awesome raining blood scene at the end.
We’ve been there, we’ve done it, we don’t care.
What did the people at Fox think when they remade Poltergeist? Sure, the original was terrifying, some of you may still have nightmares from the first time you saw it. That sequel is not one to love. How can you top one of the most iconic horror films ever? You don’t. You get that incredibly creative writing team and you write something new. Something we’ve never seen before. The fact is that studios seemed to never be in touch with the horror audience. So many films that were box office flops have come back in a huge way. Yes, horror fans are loyal creatures, but we are also bored. Films like It Follows and Babadook might not have made a super killing in the box office, but every single one of you couldn’t stop talking about them, all because they were new, they were something fresh. It’s not always easy being a horror fan, but it can sometimes be rewarding. The news that Dream Warriors may get remade is down right appalling. Please leave that work of art alone and tell us a new story! The best possible outcome of this would be if they just re-release the original Dream Warriors and let that sleeping dog lie.
It may be hard sometimes for these studio heads. It’s a huge risk telling a new story with no guaranteed money back, but you know what, that’s exactly what they need to do. If they don’t then there is going to be a huge problem for them, not us. The thing about horror, it is really a living organism. Every day someone new realizes they can make a movie on their own, and every time that happens, a studio intern loses his or her job. The fact that independent movies like It Follows or Tales of Halloween or Turbo Kid are out there and being noticed is not a good sign for the folks over in the big studios. Their model of “Eat. Sleep. Remake. Repeat.” is getting stale, and every day it’s getting easier and easier to make good movies without them. If the studios do not change, pretty soon these studios will be just like the milk man or the Dodo bird. Extinct.
There is hope though. They can still scrap their plans for remaking (and quite possibly ruining) all of our favorite scary movies, and instead make new ones. If you follow our website, then you know the world is filled with incredibly talented filmmakers trying to get noticed. These people like Hamish Downie and Cameron Thrower, just to name a couple are out there making great original art, and are keeping our beloved past time alive and thriving. The independent filmmaker is the blood that pulses through the veins of this gigantic beast we call horror.
I bet you’re asking yourself “What can I do about it?” Well there’s a lot. First off, GO WATCH NEW HORROR!!!!! It’s so simple, but so true. Netflix is great, but the real difference happens in theaters. Check your local listings for what’s playing and go see it. Is there a film festival in town? Go! Midnight screening? Go! As Kevin Smith said, “It takes nothing to support an artist.” All they need is your support. If you’ve never been to a festival or a special screening of a smaller indie film, you are missing out. These events are your chance to not only see what you’d otherwise miss entirely, but it’s a great opportunity to meet the filmmakers and cast, talk with them, befriend them. They are great people who want to entertain you, and talk with you too. Let them know you loved their movie, then sit back and wait for the next one. Your pat on the back could mean the world to that filmmaker, and help them become the new John Carpenter or Guillermo Del Toro.
So if you are a studio exec and are reading this, FIRE WHOEVER TOLD YOU TO REMAKE ANYTHING!!! If you are not, then help us reclaim our wonderful genre, and go out there and support your favorite new filmmakers. It’s the only thing we can do to ensure that great horror will be available for years to come.