I’m just going to reel off some titles for you HALLOWEEN, FRIDAY THE 13TH, NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE these aforementioned films are probably the most well known and most milked films in horror overall.
How many times have we (collectively as both film makers – which I am not and audiences – which I am) gone back to these staples time, time and time again? I’ll tell you – Combined it’s a whopping 33 times!
8* Halloween films (plus another in the works)
8 Nightmare on Elm Street
11 Friday the 13th (plus another on the way)
7 Chainsaw Massacres (plus one more in the chamber)
* – This is not including Halloween III as it is a Halloween film in name only with a separate story.
Whilst I can understand the sequels that were made at the time give or take a few years from when the original was created but why is that we feel we can’t give new monsters, new legends a chance to form their own legacy? Yes all these original films are bloody fantastic and clearly made stab marks on horror (and in some cases mainstream) audiences but honestly sequels and reboots and re-imagings 20, 30 and sometimes 40 years down the track? Come on. Since the year 2000 there have been 11 sequels to films that the key demographic for these sequels 75% wouldn’t have seen, so who are they making these films for? For money and money only. The consideration for timeline, plot or just making a good horror all come a very distant second.
These original stories clearly scared us, the question is why? The answer more often than not is – you’d never seen anything like it before or it was a different spin on something. However, when is enough, enough? With yet another Friday the 13th on the way making it number 12, it seems there is no limit and no boundaries. Occasionally yes a sequel will further enhance the series but what about when certain sequels make a mockery of the original film? How many times does the original films vision have to sullied before we say stop? Are film studios so scared that anything original gets squashed? Are we so bereft of ideas that this is all we can come up with?
When a film series then becomes a franchise its a sign that the films are not seen as anything but easy money, living off the title and the goodwill the original film created. So the question is how do we stop it? Demand better quality? The answer is fairly simple. Support the films that think outside the box, that are original and better yet – don’t go and see yet another prequel of film that was made three decades ago. It’s time to be a smarter audience and not hand over our cash to the cliche ridden, paint by numbers films, that – (and let’s be honest wouldn’t even be regarded as ‘average’ or better still not even get made if they weren’t even tenuously linked to the better original film ) are lazy, poorly written, superfluously plotted, loads of rubbish.
Yes some of these sequels have rabid fans willing to defend them until the death but seriously is cinema or horror better or worse for these sequels, I mean of these 33 sequels/reboots – How many are actually and genuinely good? 5 or 6 maybe. That’s not a great strike rate.
So enough with the prequels, the 8th, 9th, 10th or 11th sequel to a film. Enough with franchises. I hope a new era of horror begins with the eschewing of the old, leaving the classics where they are and that the original, the exciting and the boundary pushing films become supported heavily by audiences only then can we hope to see any change.
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