Why Horror Remakes Need To Stop Immediately.
Picture the scene it’s the year 2017 and a death is occurring, this death is not untimely, in fact it’s long overdue. The Saw Franchise has dragged its bloated 3D manipulated body into a dark cold corner to die. It no longer remembers why it exists, who created it or who will even mourn it’s passing. With its last dying breath it rasps out the words “ Dear God..please..please don’t remake me.”
2015 is set to bring us a remake of one of the greatest horror films of all time..Poltergeist..and the contempt being felt towards this new abomination is not being well hidden by anyone. Fans of the original film are outraged, which is the reaction that almost every horror remake has faced. Why are fans so angry? Why is the entire populace of the planet joining together in unified voices to beg Hollywood to “Stop with the Goddamn remakes already!!” I have given this a lot of thought, mostly because Horror remakes have the capability to ruin my entire day.
First of all, a film enters into and exists in a certain moment in time and if it is popular and enjoyed by many then it rightfully earns its place in history and becomes iconic. Halloween, Friday The 13th, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Evil Dead, Carrie and many, many more fall into this category, yet they are no longer being treated like icons, they are being treated like blueprints.
All of these films brought together people from the film industry that were trying something new, developing their talent and experimenting, whether it was with special effects, acting or directing, they were visionaries. The most insulting and ironic joke of all is that at the time when they were pioneering new techniques and ideas, the studio bosses were standing in their way every step of the way. Sean. S. Cunningham who conceptualised and directed the original Friday the 13th initially wanted to distribute the film independently (which was nearly unheard of at the time) because he felt a studio wouldn’t touch it because they were busy commissioning handpicked scripts which they felt were ‘viewer friendly’ but also because of the trauma that he experienced when releasing ‘Last House on the Left’ with Wes Craven. Projectionists had been instructed to ‘cut and tape’ certain parts of the film of ‘Last House on the Left’ and Cunningham felt unsupported by his studio when accused of being a ‘peddler of filth’. In the late 70’s and early 80’s there was a tentative union between horror directors, horror producers and studio bosses. Those directors and producers fought for their vision and years later everything they fought for is being watered down and neatly packaged, while the studio bosses heap praise on films they were previously unsupportive towards and claim that they are remaking these films because they deserve a new audience. I’m calling bullshit on that, BULL.SHIT. These remakes are an insult to their original counterparts; Brian Depalma has recalled how Sissy Spacek insisted she be buried under ground, just so it could be her hand that bursts through the ground in the last iconic scene of Carrie. There was a complete faith, belief and commitment that all those involved in these movies at the time had, that doesn’t seem to exist in the remakes of these films.
Perhaps the most important reason of all that these remakes are so unwanted is because of how it makes us, the fans of the original film feel. We are clearly not the ‘new audience’ that the new incarnation of one of our favourite films is being aimed at. The fact that we watched the original film, loved it, bought it and then bought the 20th anniversary edition means nothing, we are not given a voice. We are not asked whether we want other people to watch a mangled misshapen version of something that we love, rather than the brilliant original. Instead we are used as proof that the original film was a ‘cult favourite’ and deserves retooling.
The hardest truth of all to swallow though is the truth that viewing figures equal money and almost every decision to remake a classic film seems to be driven by money.