Monday, April 27, 2009

A Nightmare On Elm Street? Indeed.

Okay, lemme return to horror...

I was sitting watching Ben Cross embarass himself as Barnabas Collins, in reruns of the resurrected Dark Shadows (oh, and here is a link in case you aren't familiar with this daytime drama). [another aside: you might want to check out Stephen M. Rainey's Dark Shadow writings on Amazon. ] As I cringed at his scene chewing and the inability of his supporting staff to say something without making their eyes BIG, I started thinking about the current trend to revisit horror films from the 1970's and 1980's.  

In case you haven't been paying attention, and I certainly don't blame you if you haven't, such fare as
Black Christmas, Prom Night, Last House On The Left, The Hills Have Eyes, The Fog, Friday the 13th, and Halloween have all been redone. We're not talking about sequels, we're talking about virtual reboots. 

Why? It's not as though people were sitting around virtual campfires tossing out: "I wonder when we're going to see a new Last House on the Left?" Some of these films were'nt that wonderful when they were released, and updating them haven't made them much better. Trust me. Oddly enough, Rob Zombie, the force behind the pitiful remake of Halloween has been quoted as saying: 

 "I feel it's the worst thing any filmmaker can do. I actually got a call from my agent and they asked me if I wanted to be involved with the remake of Chain Saw. I said no f***ing way! Those movies are perfect - you're only going to make yourself look like an a**hole by remaking them. Go remake something that's a piece of s**t and make it good."

I agree with Rob, and still wonder why he didn't hold to his own philosophy and avoid the remake of Halloween, Carpenter's classic 'stalk and slash', which, along with Friday The 13th, jump started this genre. I don't mind people reinterpreting films, I do mind when it keeps the studios from being creative and giving new stories and ideas a start. 

I remember sitting through Turista and Hostel, and wishing for something that had story and character (sadly, Hostel actually had a germ of an interesting plot with a theme of class exploitation....which they never really developed). Horror should be more than gore. Horror has a chance to allow us a catharsis in this troubled time. It is a chance to see things about ourselves, some unattractive, that need reflection, even in a warped and twisted mirror.
So what do we have to look forward to? A reboot of a Wes Craven classic: Nightmare on Elm St.  It was such a perfect little film. Creative. Scary. Surprising. With Robert Englund and Johnn Depp for Chrissakes!!! And now? According to EW, they are remaking it, with Jackie Earl Haley as Freddy and Rooney Mara as Nancy. Why???
And also coming...The Wolfman. 

I know this is a trend and it will spend itself in time. Still, when one thinks of all the opportunities being missed.


Charles Gramlich said...

Look how many remakes they did of "The Body Snatchers!" Geeze. I too wish they'd leave these movies alone, and I hardly ever watch remakes. I did watch Prom night because I thought that one really sucked back in the day and figured they couldn't do worse.

SQT said...

I don't watch horror films, so I'm wading into the discussion without any firm knowledge. But it seems to me that horror has become synonymous with gore rather than suspense and when you're going to make a film that's based more on shock value than plot, you're going to end up with a pretty shallow movie. I guess that's why they go back to remakes. The teens who watch them don't care what came before because they're not looking for quality-- just something that makes them jump. I like suspense films without the blood of the slasher film. I'd love for some good cat-and-mouse films to come out.