The Spill on Spook

Waking the Dead – Why Most Horror Movie Remakes Don’t Work

December 29, 2012 by   | Category: Articles

When it comes to remaking movies, a touch-and-go topic in itself, the genre of horror is the biggest casualty. The fact that horror movies rely on scares makes it easier for directors to take extreme “cinematic liberties”. Iconic moments that terrified entire generations are rehashed as badly made copies of the original. The end result is not unlike a genetic experiment gone awry in its attempt to replicate life.

 Old is gold and can’t be resold

 Bad ad libs aside, there’s a reason why original movies worked so well and why their remakes didn’t. Every film is a product of its times. When a film is both critically and/or commercially successful, it means that its central theme has struck a chord with the audience of that era. A good horror/thriller movie brings out the deepest fears of the average cinema-goer. A good example is the second “Friday the 13th” movie. It showed Jason making quick work of hormonal teenagers at Camp Crystal Lake and spooked an entire generation of young boys and girls who swarmed the beaches and lakes at spring break.

 Another big reason why some films went on to become iconic movies, is the fact that they drew first blood; so to speak. When “The Exorcist” released, it was the first movie that depicted demonic possession. After its release, there was reportedly a phenomenal increase in the number of phone calls made to Catholic institutions around the world about reported “possessions”. This unprecedented impact was mainly because the subject hadn’t been dealt with before. So when it came along, audiences discovered to their horror that there was a whole new realm of the paranormal that they had no knowledge of.

 Most remakes also suffer from a lack of imagination on the part of the writer/director. Glossy production quality and special effects are poor substitutes for a gripping screenplay. This is why remakes like “Psycho” and “Quarantine” failed to grip the audience’s imagination unlike their superlative originals.

 But enough about the film-makers. What about us; the audience? The slew of bad remakes is no one-way street. If studios continue to churn out terrible remakes, it’s because there is a thriving market for these monstrosities. Many cinema-goers enjoy the overdose of gore that is passed off as horror. This is a major reason for the dumbing down of the genre.

 Let the Dead Rest in Peace

 Lack of originality and imagination to present a classic in a new light, besides poor performances, is why most movie enthusiasts reject remakes. Given that only a handful of film-makers and actors are able to breathe new life into remakes, studios should wise up and look for new ideas. Our old monsters have done their job and admirably so. It’s now time to let them rest in peace.

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