All I Want For Christmas . . . Is Some Original Horror Flicks!


So here I am, bored at work, surfing the internet in search of some good horror flicks to catch in 2015.   Searching through Google News, I came across a Yahoo! list of 13 must-see horror films for the new year, and the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) list of upcoming horror films for 2015 and beyond.

Of course, I clicked on the links to check them out.  What I saw left me somewhat excited, but more than a little disappointed, too.

The films that have me the most excited are the ones that sound as if they are going to breathe some fresh air, or at least ideas, into the horror genre.  Spring. 31.  Abattoir. It Follows.  

Yet, for every interesting and seemingly-fresh movie I came across, there were probably 4-5 sequels, reboots, or retreads that made me realize why horror typically gets dismissed as an inferior genre of story-telling.   For starters, just check out all of the sequels (or in some cases, prequels) that are slated to be released in 2015.

The Woman in Black 2 Angel of Death.  Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension.  Insidious Chapter 3.  Sinister 2.  Amityville The Awakening. Friday the 13th Part 13.  Chucky 7.  Evil Dead 2.  Halloween 3.  Jeepers Creepers 3.  Resident Evil: The Final Chapter.  Rings.  Saw VIII.  The Conjuring 2: The Enfield Poltergeist.  The Purge 3.  The Strangers 2.  

Seriously – not one of these movies will offer us anything different than what we got from previous installments.  That doesn’t mean that all of these sequels will be terrible, just more of the same.  And while an extra helping of “more of the same” is welcome here and there, there are 16 sequels listed above – an average of just over one sequel per month next year.

Whereas sequels make me shrug and say, “Sure, why not?” remakes generally fill me with the sort of homicidal tendencies that are best left unsaid, lest the FBI begin red-flagging my writing.

But sequels are a way of life, and while they usually offer more of the same, at the very least you are treated to a (somewhat) new plot with (somewhat) new characters.  The same cannot be said for remakes, however, and there is a healthy does of these spawns of Satan set to insult their source material in the next year or two, as well.

Audition.  Cabin Fever.  Crimson Peak.  Day of the Dead.  Gremlins.  I Know What You Did Last Summer.   It.  Poltergeist.  Sleepaway Camp.  Suspira.

If you are at this site, and can honestly say that you have not seen at least 2-3 of the films listed above, then you have some homework over the holidays, my friend.  Half of those movies should be found on any credible “Top _____ Horror Movies of All Time,” which automatically means they don’t need to be remade: they are already that good.   As much as I like Rob Zombie, if you asked me which version of Halloween should be allowed to presented to future generations for their viewing pleasure, I sure as hell am not going to go with Zombie’s remake.  (I don’t know if I can say the same for Zac Snyder’s reboot of Dawn of the Dead, though – but there are always exceptions to the rules!)

Whereas sequels make me shrug and say, “Sure, why not?” remakes (or reboots, if you prefer) generally fill me with the sort of homicidal tendencies that are best left unsaid, lest the FBI begin red-flagging my writing.   Classic films don’t need to be remade: they’re classics.  And shitty films don’t need to be remade, either – ‘cuz they’re shitty.  Either way, my question is always, “What are the filmmakers hoping to accomplish?”

What can Sam Raimi add to Poltergeist that could trump what Tobe Hooper and Steven Spielberg did?  How can a modern director hope to recreate the nightmarish look that Dario Argento infused his film with?  And how likely is it that a remake of Audition will retain the slow pace of Takashi Miike’s original, which was absolutely essential in building the sense of dread that we felt as we watched the story unfold?

Of all the remakes that are listed, it is the one of Audition that has me disappointed the most .  I just don’t see a modern director having the patience to allow the plot to develop as gradually as Miike did – I can already see some the big reveals that were saved for the final third of Miike’s film being revealed during flashbacks at much earlier points in the remake.

The fact that there are so many horror films being made right now is a testament to the popularity of the genre, but my enthusiasm is tempered by the fear that a string of lazy sequels and unnecessary at best (downright embarrassing at worst) reboots will kill the momentum that the horror industry has built for itself.  There are too many talented writers and directors working within the genre today to have it reduced to such derivative efforts, which is why my Christmas wish for this is to see the industry become less reliant on resurrecting plots from the dead.

Sadly, I may have to wait until 2106 or beyond to see whether or not my wish came true.