The Return of the Evil Remakes

hat follows is an updated version of something I had written a few years ago, while overwhelmed with frustration and anger over the desecration of something I hold dear-the horror film. I am curious to see what readers have to say about the subject?

When it comes to horror movies, filmmakers love to see people run screaming from the theater.

Screaming with laughter is not the response they are generally looking for. Screaming at the ticket counter for a refund isn?t the intended goal, either.

And still, the trend for several years now has been to make more expensive, yet vastly inferior remakes of classic horror films (mostly from the 1970s, it seems). Classics such as ?The Omen,? ?The Texas Chainsaw Massacre,? and ?The Hills Have Eyes? have been butchered by newer, flashier versions that excel at cheap scares. The list goes on. ?The Fog.? ?When a Stranger Calls.? ?Halloween.? ?The Amityville Horror.?

1974?s ?Black Christmas,? a groundbreaking movie about a deranged killer in a sorority house that was well ahead of its time, is chilling in its realism and makes the viewer believe this could be happening just down the street. (The phone calls the killer makes in that movie are among the most unnerving moments in any horror film.)
In contrast, the 2006 remake creates a lampoonish killer dropped in the center of a group of stereotypically vapid college ?shiny girls.? As a result, the viewer stops caring who dies next, as they find they are the ones in the most agony.

Come on. In the age of technology, haven?t we progressed beyond the teen who screams at the cheap ?Boo? tactic lurking around the corner?

One of the biggest mistakes the movie industry has made with this genre is to use computer animation to show as much of the ?boogeyman? as possible. 1963?s ?The Haunting? never even shows you the entity that inhabits the house, which is one of the reasons many people say this movie frightens them more than any other.
What you fear most is what you cannot see.
The 1999 remake uses CGI to turn the house and the ghost into a cartoon carnival ride, removing every trace of atmosphere and dread.

As the Halloween season approaches, there is hope among this wasteland for the truly loyal fan of the macabre. My suggestion is to rent 1968?s ?Rosemary?s Baby.? One of the few chillers that has NOT been redone (oh believe me, there were plans to; I think somebody got smart and pulled the plug), this movie about the devil?s child is almost flawless in its ability to slowly build suspense until you are ready to bite through your knuckles. (Plus, it has Ruth Gordon?ANY movie is good if Ruth Gordon is in it!)

And no, I am not even close to being finished with my venting and ranting. There will be a part two to this blog soon, and before Halloween 2010 arrives I am sure yet another sub-par horror film will be released that will send me throwing myself on the floor, kicking and screaming, all over again.

Stay tuned

8 Responses to “The Return of the Evil Remakes”
  1. Steve 14 September 2010 at 10:40 pm #

    Fred, Another horrible horror film, maybe like RATLINE!?! Anyway, am enjoying your rants, keep up the goodwork.

  2. Joann Pollard 15 September 2010 at 2:58 am #

    I’m biting my knuckles with anticipation waiting for part 2. This down hill slide of good movies applies to every genre.

  3. Shelley Ontis 17 September 2010 at 1:53 am #

    The remake of Stephen King’s “The Shining.” The hedge sculptures. *I like snow, la la la*. Oh, God.

    “Rosemary’s Baby” is completely awesome. A remake would probably star someone like Paris Hilton giving birth to a CGI Chucky-like child that strolls out whistling show-tunes and making smart-alecky remarks. And they’d probably show the birth as well as a long scene of the conception instead of the creepy flashes from the original.

    HORRORS.

    • freditorials 18 September 2010 at 12:33 am #

      Thanks so much for your input Laura! I really appreciate you checking out my blog and posting some of your own opinions; I would love love for this blog to invite different viewpoints. We’ll have to agree to disagree on “The Amityville Horror”, though lol…

  4. Laura 17 September 2010 at 8:03 pm #

    Fred, I just found this blog and I love the rant! I don’t agree completely though.

    1. Yes, Hollywood needs an original idea.
    2. True, remakes shouldn’t aim to replace the original idea, especially not just to make money off of it with CGI and names like Paris Hilton.

    However, I think they have their reasoning and their place when made in moderation.

    Some remakes open younger/more closed-minded viewers’ eyes to the classics we know and love using that evil CGI and a few familiar faces. I don’t see everything wrong with that.

    Other remakes act more as homages to/extensions of the original idea (like glorified/really expensive fan fiction), rather than a replacement or redol. You mentioned Rob Zombie’s Halloween – which I happen to love – not more than the originals, which are all in my collection, but as its own movie. The sequel may have been too much, but Zombie came out right in the beginning and let everyone know he wasn’t trying to be John Carpenter or to top the original. He was a fan writing his own take on the Michael Myers story. And when viewed as a separate entity, the film had its worth – it gave viewers another look at the monster and for some, actually made him more real by explaining how (in his vision) Michael became who he was. Some fans liked it, some didn’t. But it certainly didn’t hurt the original series.

    It should also be mentioned that what’s scary to some isn’t scary to others. In this era, with the popularity of shows like “Supernatural” and “CSI” and with teens’ obsession with vampires that make death, demons, ghosts and the macabre a normal, everyday thing – it’s no longer enough to suggest that there’s something scary going on – sometimes you need to show it. It might be sad, but it’s true. It takes a lot more to scare these days – and while I am a fan of older horror films, I can’t say I’m immune. I thought Poltergeist was terrifying as a child, but a little silly the last time I saw it about two years ago. For the same reasons, I am more scared of the new Amityville Horror than the original.

    Again, I shouldn’t defend them all, because some are terrible. But in the same respect, I don’t think you can label them all terrible either.

  5. Will 30 September 2010 at 12:25 pm #

    My two personal favorites are Harold and Maude and Psycho. Hitchcock of course was a real master of light, effects and composition. To think he did so much in all of his films without the aid of modern special effects is remarkable. Horror has never been my personal favorite, genre and it could well be that it seems to have been left behind in script, story line, effects and the other basic requirements for making an exceptional movie. So much of the industry has now lost itself in formula. Even a bad story, with reasonably good special effects, and at least one known actor, will sell. Is this a statement of the viewing public? We have never had much input in regards to the movies that are being made other than from ticket sales. This is a false indicator and always has been. We go see what is available, not necessary what we might prefer to see. Movie makers these days seem to me to be unaware that there is a rather large population of us who are more discerning and can not help criticizing what we are watching. It is easy to find fault as the flaws are many and obvious.

  6. Will 30 September 2010 at 12:30 pm #

    Additional comment:
    I totally agree with you in regards to Ruth. She has done so much in so many different genres and is one of those special hidden treasures. She was exceptional in “Silverado”.

  7. The return of the evil remakes.. Keen 🙂