Splatterpictures VS Remakes! (horror rant)
“No movie executive has ever been fired for greenlighting a sequel”. – Roger Ebert
I get asked a lot about my opinions on remakes and or sequels. I am usually hesitant to even comment because I have always believed that there is room enough in the world for everyone’s favourite movie. (be it original or remake) That being said, a recent conversation with a good friend of mine has made me decide to throw my two cents in on the subject of sequels and remakes.
Hollywood is in the business of making money and while that is pretty obvious to most people, what isn’t obvious is their perspective on how to make that money. You’re never going to convince a studio that if they have the opportunity to make money they should opt to deny that opportunity for the sake of creative integrity. For example, when you have a film that makes a huge profit when compared to the cost of production, any savvy media head will know that is a near automatic greenlight for a sequel, or even worst a franchise. So many films these days suffer because of this thought process. The first movie is a set up. It’s slower, and clunky, and we as an audience expect it. We apologize for inferior films and say “The sequel will be better, have more action, or have better characters or a better ending” How bankrupt of a concept is that? We’re making excuses for a movie that let us down, and keep hope that it will get better. It sounds like an abusive relationship, and it is.
The most puzzling thing is the sheer laziness and desperation of Hollywood. They have no lack of talent for going to the pop culture graveyard and digging up some dead franchise in hopes of cashing in on brand recognition. Since this a horror site, I’m going to keep things in the realm of horror.
First let’s realize one thing: Horror movies are profitable. They make studios huge amounts of money compared to the cost of their productions.
In the last few years we’ve seen remakes of Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th, Night of the Demons, Black Christmas. Fright Night. Down the pipeline there is Evil Dead, Hellraiser, The Ring, American Psycho and I just heard Suspira. (Oh and the Munsters coming back to TV as a serious horror drama?) Sequels are also coming. More Saw, more Paranormal Activity, more Human Centipede. Countless other films that I could just list on and on, the crazy thing is it seems every day this week, I have been hearing more and more.
Is that to say that we as horror fans dislike sequels and remakes? That can’t be true because they make money. Frankly, if nobody liked them and they didn’t make a profit, they wouldn’t be made. The casual audience has a lot to do with that, but so do we. Some of us are so grateful for a movie featuring our favourite icons that we’ll swallow just about anything they give us (myself included)
I think that Hollywood will do what it’s doing until something else catches its eye. It’s funny to me when I hear certain buzz-words about updating things for a new generation, or “giving the fans what they want” I promise you, Hollywood if you’re reading this (and I know you are) You’re not doing me any favours. The economy is down and nobody is taking risks and it’s extremely obvious when you look at the film industry. They want sure things, they want brand recognition and they want to relaunch series into dependable cash-cows. There is something to be said for thinking outside the box though.
I’ll take a step away from, horror for a second and mention that James Cameron made Avatar, and it wasn’t perfect but at least it was something new and interesting. Number one grossing movie in history and all Hollywood took away from that was “movies need to be in 3D now” and once again, people swallow it.
My friend pointed out to me that this generation has very little to call its own. Every big franchise, (in horror and out of horror) has been some dug up property from the 70’s-90’s. what does Hollywood have to show for itself? Jigsaw? That’s it? One iconic character, that breached genre films and became mainstream?
We shouldn’t have to look this hard for new ideas. See yah next time and thanks for reading!