The current state of horror: Sequels and remakes are still in
July 20, 2013 2 Comments
Despite the occasional flash of inspiration, the horror genre still seems reliant upon countless remakes and sequels.
The horror genre is one I could talk about for days on end; the iconic characters we have seen through the years, the classic films and the cornerstone actors who have stuck to their chosen traits. It’s one genre that certainly has a rich history but in its recent years is suffering from an overabundance of sequels and remakes.
So much so that the genre is indeed oversaturated with these entries. Admittedly you could look back at the likes of ‘Friday The 13th’, ‘Halloween’ and ‘A Nightmare On Elm Street’ to find copious sequels but you would have thought by now that this would have become a thing of the past – wrong.
You only have to look as far as the ‘Saw’ franchise, hitting seven films and the ‘Final Destination’ series racking up five films to see that this certainly isn’t something that is going away soon. Similar could also be said with remakes. Horror classics should rarely be touched, Zack Snyder’s ‘Dawn Of The Dead’ is a recent example of a remake done right but quite simply some classics should not be touched.
You could easily produce a list of remakes that simply didn’t work and for the most you can look towards Michael Bay’s Platinum Dunes. Bay’s production company rehashed a series of horror classics and garnered little positive reception from the decision.
Whilst my previous statements may appear entirely negative towards the current state of horror, there are pluses to sequels and remakes appearing on the scene. The fact that some horror classics are re-emerging on the film circuit means that those who have not experienced the original film do tend to head back to the source material. This can only be a good thing and will hopefully make people realise just how coveted and important some of these films really are.
It now poses the question, where has the originality and creativity gone in the horror genre?
It seems that original ideas when it comes to horror are difficult to find. Is James Wan (‘Saw’, ‘Insidious’, The Conjuring’) working alone? In 2012 we saw the re-inventing of already familiar stories on screen – ‘The Woman in Black’ and ‘The Collection’, sequel to ‘The Collector’ – not too dissimilar to ‘Saw’. I think there are a number of reasons why they are re-making and inventing sequels for horror films in particular. Well, isn’t it the same reason why they are re-making and providing sequels for the Spider-Man, Super-Man, Batman Series? – These are great stories – same thing with ‘Child’s Play’, ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street’, ‘The Silence of the Lambs’, ‘Jaws’, ‘Alien’, etc. It is easier to go wrong with a new horror film than with any other genre. Funny elements to the classical spin hardly work nowadays (e.g. ‘Dark Shadows’), and the zombie theme has been done to death. Perhaps the scriptwriters/directors should start thinking outside the box? – spiritual/body horror combination or a new spin on the ‘disease’ theme (‘Contagion’), perhaps? And I don’t think there is quite enough psychological horror films: surely the imagination can run wild with this theme. ‘Mama’ (2013) came very close to such thinking already this year, perhaps it’s time to take this further?