Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Horror Sequels Are Better Than Reboots

Hollywood is creatively bankrupt.

As a horror fan, I've watched franchise after beloved franchise be "rebooted" (I really dislike that buzzword) into generally hollow recreations in an attempt to cash in on nostalgia or draw younger audiences into a scene that they don't have historical knowledge of. What is more upsetting to me than rehash after stale rehash being churned out, is that the energy and money put into these projects is diverting important resources away from one of this genres greatest strengths; sequels.

Horror sequels have been a mainstay for decades, and are far superior to reboots for a number of reasons. Unlike other genres, horror has a number of franchises where the sequels are excellent and in some cases considered better than the original. I'll argue the merits of Evil Dead 2 all day long, and Jason Voorhees didn't even come into his own until Friday The 13th posted a few entries.
Horror fans are always heavily suspending disbelief, so no matter how absurd a situation gets, we're OK with Pinhead and Leprechaun murdering people in outer space. Lep evolving from chasing Jennifer Aniston to exploding out of a dude's crotch in orbit within the span of 3 films is a major achievement.

My issue with reboots is that most of them are simply retreading old territory with some minor alterations. With a few notable exceptions like Dawn of The Dead, that Evil Dead remake, and Piranha 3D they don't shake things up enough to warrant existence. The Nightmare on Elm Street remake featured minor story tweaks and one of the Watchmen as Freddy, which pales in comparison to the creative leaps taken by Jesse's possession in Nightmare 2 or the insanity of the Dream Warriors in part 3. Sequels take horror franchises to new heights, like tremors running around above ground!

It's also a time honored tradition to see a fright franchise reach certain milestones. Back in the 1950's and 1960's, a monster had a Return or their Revenge, and in the 1970's they either spawned a child or met their African American counterpart. There's also the whole issue of crossovers that brought us superstar face-offs like Freddy vs. Jason and Dollman vs. Demonic Toys. In that sense, reboots are stymieing the natural progression of a series by trying to restart it in a different way. I think we can all agree we'd rather see Pumpkinhead terrorize people in the old west than start over in a modern, Lance Henriksen-less scenario.

Even worse in my opinion is the idea of SEQUELS TO REBOOTS, that get us into situations like Leatherface battling Trey Songz in Texas Chainsaw 3D instead of Leatherface battling Matthew Mcconaughey and a plucky young Renee Zellweger in TCM:The Next Generation. There's simply no need to perpetuate a whole new beginning to a film series when you can just name a sequel "A New Beginning" and have your protagonist live in a halfway house.

So there's my rant fellow fright fans. I think we need more VHS vs. REC and SAW MXVII: Jigsaw's Retirement. Which do you prefer, reboots or sequels? Or do you hate both and want more original content like we see coming out of the indie scene? All I know is I don't want to live in a world where I have to re-live Tremors without Kevin Bacon and Michael Gross.


  1. I couldn't agree more; in all the history of moviemaking, I don't know that I can point to a single instance in which the reboot/remake was better, or even as good as the original. With a sequel, you're continuing the story. With a reboot, you've admitted you have no ideas.

    Thing is, if reboots didn't make money, studios wouldn't make them. It's easier and potentially more profitable to CGI up a Freddy Krueger remake with Rorschach than it is to risk capital on a new idea. And now that people no longer seem to know the difference between a truly bad movie and an enjoyably bad movie, there's no reason to believe that the big studios will change their tune.

  2. Did you just call a Graboid a "Tremor?"

  3. Never. But while we're on the subject, here's some interesting facts on the Graboid life cycle via WIkipedia! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graboid

  4. This is a solid argument... Great post!!!

  5. Thanks! Yeah, there have been some decent reboots, so I didn't want to over-generalize and totally slam them. However, over on Reddit and Moviepilot this article saw a lot of folks slamming anything made by Platinum Dunes (Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm St, etc)