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There are bad sequels and worse remakes, but one shouldn’t forget there are also a whole lot of shocking original horror movies being churned out of the advertising corporation that is studio film-making in general. It could be argued these re-treads alone are tarnishing cinema’s oldest genre to a point of complete insignificance, but more-so than the likes of Platinum Dunes stand-alone and similar cash-ins? It’s all to do with thematic and socialistic relevance, and the will to translate the dark trends of a period of time truthfully and with raw emotion.
Fear is universal and no discerner of age, and an experience both oft avoided and excitedly pursued, so if a horror movie scares or shocks us shouldn’t it be considered a success no matter its origins? Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978) and The Thing (1982) are remakes that taught us Paranoia and subversion are threats the human race reacts violently to no matter the time or cause, Dawn of the Dead (1978) and Evil Dead II (1987) are sequels that remain two of the most beloved horror films of all time (the consumerism and self-cannibalising of Western culture themes that run rampant through Dawn of the Dead still retain their punch) and Scre4m (2011) and Wes Craven’s New Nightmare (1994) enthusiastically and successfully exist as dissections of the series that precede them and their subsequent effects on popular culture.
If the fear, or threat, is no longer present or in the forefront of peoples thoughts, or if it is but the original still retains its power, a horror remake or sequel is as unnecessary as logic in a David Lynch film (see Carrie, Halloween, The Exorcist, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre); if however a talented creative team can re-introduce an old favourite to both a new and existing audience because it again has the possibility to terrify, I say good luck.
Ultimately, if we wanted every film to be completely and utterly original, then actors would star in only one and directors have very short filmographies; it’s a ludicrous and unachievable, although quite honourable, ideal.
Opinion piece by Eddie
Remakes are the easy option and Sequel-itis is bad for everyone
Film lovers in recent years have been treated to some truly memorable and unique films that reinstate how important films are to those that have artistic vision and to stories that deserve to be told in the visual medium. As I write this piece a film of original daring vision is still taking the world by storm with over 500 million worldwide in box office booty and audience and critical appreciation Alfonso Cauron’s Gravity is a prime example of how grand it is when someone takes on a daring project, a project that quite easily could of fallen rather than sored to great heights. It’s in this last sentence that we must focus on when we think about why remakes and sequels have taken over Hollywood and our Cinema screens and perhaps threatened the very existence of such unique projects.
Hollywood’s increasing obsession with finding the next big franchise (see Beautiful Creatures or Mortal Instruments of tried and failed attempts) reinforces that there is and will continue to be an increasing gulf with films being made for a low budget where there is little to no risk (budget between 1 – 10 million) or those tent pole features that are looking to clean the pockets of the population dry (budget over 80 million). This gulf that plagues Hollywood now encourages studios to back sure bets, the films that seemingly have an inbuilt audience or an incarnation that is easily merely updated which leads to the ever growing popularity and plundering of films that have succeed already, the films that are known as sequels or remakes.
Whilst it would be somewhat justifiable to solely blame Hollywood executives for there ever growing lazy outlook blame for the scourge of remakes/sequels must sadly fall equally onto cinema going audiences who blazingly support these films upon release. The age we live in seems to be at a more frenetic and oversaturated entertainment point than ever before and it is quite likely that many children of the 90’s and 2000’s just don’t have the time or have the will to partake in cinema classics of bygone eras and therefore opening them up to not even knowing a new blockbuster is in fact a rehash on an already adequate product. If I were to ask the everyday 20 – 25 year old if they have seen any number of films such as the original Robocop/Total Recall it would be interesting to note just what percentage would say yes. This is a blight on movie watching audiences and Hollywood is merely exploiting that fact that many are to caught up to notice that what they in fact are watching is a lesser work of someone’s once unique vision.
Concerning sequels it’s now more abundant than ever that Hollywood and it’s players are un-afraid and un-ashamed of milking a franchise to its knees, turning a product that was once original and lively into mere imitations of itself (see Iron Man 3 or A Good Day to Die Hard) and leaving it barely breathing by the end of it. This hammering of sequal-itis must again be sadly blamed somewhat on audiences who will forgo a low budget character study for the latest chance to catch a city being destructed by an other-worldly force or to see Jennifer (please don’t get me wrong I love America’s sweetheart as much as the next guy) Lawrence draped in bad CGI flames. Movies are undoubtedly for escapism and no one should be condemned for enjoying such things but when this forgettable escapism is getting in the way and shunning works of true power and meaning it becomes a blot on the landscape of the industry.
One hopes that the current course that the Hollywood ship is sailing on at some stage comes to a screeching and abrupt halt, where those on the inside will decide to look for that film that looks to shake things up and mess with the formula, the film like Gravity that could fly or fail. For this to happen audiences to will have to be shaken out of there comfort zone and be willing to lean away from the next Marvel jaunt or pillage of the 80’s and it’s sad to say but this may be to much to ask for and all I can do is ask a question that really answers itself – Do we really need a sequel to It’s a Wonderful Life?
How do you feel about sequels and the increasing pillaging of old movies? Let us know in the comments below!