Showing posts with label horror remakes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label horror remakes. Show all posts

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Why I Love Horror Movies, and What's Wrong with So Many of them Today

Note: If you read my Nightmare on Elm Street Blog you will recognize some of this, as a portion of this is a copy paste job from that one. The reason I did so is because I had been thinking about what I'd said, and I wanted to expand on it, so I needed to repost it in order to do that. If you're one of my three readers (lol) and you're astute enough to catch this, rest assured that less than halfway in, it stitches to all new material, and even the copy paste job isn't just that as I have edited some things.

So, if you do recognize some stuff, keep reading, the last 60% or more is totally new.


Moving on with the blog....

It all began with three little words. 

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

My Thoughts: A Nightmare on Elm Street Remake and The ANOES Series

NOTE: I don't get many comments on this blog, but I am going to come right out and request that anyone reading who has anything to add, either positive or negative, please, feel free to leave me a comment. You can choose anonymous if you so desire, I do not block anonymous comments on this blog. I put quite a lot of time and effort into this one, so any and all feedback would be greatly appreciated. Help me feel as though I can't hear the echo of my own voice in here for once :)

Alright, so, on to the Nightmare on Elm Street Series!

So, A Nightmare on Elm Street has been remade. Like many of the fans of the original series, I'm not entirely thrilled. I wasn't particularly thrilled when I heard about it, and then when I saw who was involved (and who was not) well.....let's get to that later. First, I want to talk about the series as a whole, and then I will get into the remake and my thoughts on it. Be prepared, this is a lengthy blog, but I think.....well....hope, that it will prove to be a pleasant read to anyone interested in the subject matter.

I LOVE the Nightmare on Elm Street Series. I love them all, from the suspense filled, serious in tone, scary original, to the silly and humour driven, campy (but somewhat stupid, granted) later iterations. And that's one of the great things about the series. It wasn't your typical slasher. The original, A Nightmare on Elm Street (ANOES for short) was great because it had a fantastic antagonist in Freddy Krueger, suspense, intrigue, an amazing musical score, some really great effects for the day (which were pulled off with a slim budget), a very unique concept, and, perhaps most importantly (maybe not most, but quite), the characters had depth and were very likeable, ensuring that you cared about the protagonists, which is very important if you want the murders in a slasher movie to be horrifying as opposed to entertaining.

When the teens died in the first Nightmare, I wasn't cheering (and still do not). In the typical slasher film, I, and almost everyone else watching, does just that. We can't wait for the bodies to start dropping, and we cheer it when it happens. We revel in it. The "villain" is the frigging good guy! But not in ANOES, oh no. When the teens die you're horrified. You don't want anything unfortunate to befall them. None of what was happening was their fault, and they weren't acting in ways that made you desire for them to be killed.

Now, the later sequels (especially 5 and 6) were really silly, and quite campy, but even then, they were not your typical slasher films. And why was that, you ask? Well, they still had the unique concept. The villain, while he started to become the hero after part 4 ( a typical slasher feature), was very unique in that he talked, and made jokes. His few, evil one liners early on turned into full on zany comedy later on (riding a skateboard, anyone?) which, while it changed the tone of the series, and made it very campy, still differentiated it from may other slasher movies/series in that the killers in those weren't cracking jokes. Also, again, the concept was really very unique. A demonic entity possessed human, killing teenagers in their dreams from beyond the grave? Does that sound like a typical slasher to you?

Didn't think so ;)

The series started out incredibly strong. And then Bob Shaye, the executive producer and genius (sarcasm) responsible for the stupid rule breaking ending of the original ANOES (Wes Craven fought him tooth and nail on that but ultimately lost.....the money prevailed I guess, since Shaye was the one who was coughing up and taking the chance on Craven and co.) got his mitts on the sequel (which by all accounts, Craven did NOT want to happen, and was ultimately not involved in) and delivered to us his ideas in the form of A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge.

This was a shitty (comparatively) sequel. It's probably my least favourite of the series (although A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child is also up there) because, while Freddy was an evil, sadistic, demonic, scary fuck in this one (even darker than in the original) there were some signs of things to come contained within, and there was also the problem of a shitty and annoying protagonist, and cast of characters, some really insipid scenes, and of course, the biggest problem of all: Mr. Bob Shaye, rule breaker, continued to break the rules! Big time. Now, all of a sudden, Freddy could operate outside of the dream world?

Huh? What the....? What the fuck?

What a damn travesty! He SHIT all over Craven's work. Now, despite all this, I still do like the film. For one, it's a Nightmare movie, and I love Nightmare movies. Freddy is beyond awesome, and that alone is enough to at least get me in front of the screen. And by the way, before I continue on, as an aside, I just want to say that


Okay, I got that off my chest and now I feel a bit better.

Anyways, as I was saying, besides Freddy being in it, it did feature some great moments, some awesome lines from Freddy, and a really, dark, sinister iteration of Krueger is something we fans can all appreciate. One particularly memorable scene is when Freddy is standing outside after fucking up the pool party (during, I might add, absolutely no one's dream, Mr. Shaye, you moron) and he waves his arms over his head, in front of a light source, casting this brilliant shadow in the light, razor glove and all, as he says the chilling line

you are all my children now
(emphasis on all)

So awesome. Such a great visual, and I loved when they replicated this many years later in Wes Craven's New Nightmare.

So, what are my favourite entries in the Nightmare on Elm Street series?

A Nightmare on Elm Street , A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: The Dream Warriors, A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master, and Wes Craven's New Nightmare.

Things were getting a bit silly by the time the A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: Dream Master rolled around, but it retained some aspects of the better ones, and I still enjoy it greatly. Some pretty ridiculous, but awesome scenes contained within this one. I won't spoil anything, but bench pressing, anyone?

As I said, I love them all, even Freddy's Dead: The Final (lol) Nightmare and A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child, despite the fact that they sort of....suck. Seriously, that staircase scene near the end of A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child.......what the fuck. And again, like in Freddy's Revenge, they really fucked with the canon in that one. I mean, as the series went on, the rules were bent and changed seemingly at will, arbitrarily and for no reason, but 5 took it to a whole new level. Sure, they were in uncharted waters with the whole pregnancy thing, but it still didn't fit. They might objectively suck but I still love them. It's hard work, though :)

Actually, come to think of it, part six, Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare, doesn't suc- ah, ya, I guess it does, but I'm actually very partial to that one, compared to 2 and 5 (the other 2 iterations of the nightmare saga which are in my ya, they basically suck but I still like them camp). Freddy's Dead s really, really fun, and it's got some absolutely hilarious moments. One in particular that sticks out is Freddy toying with the deaf kid, removing his hearing aid, creeping around behind him making faces at And then, he takes the hearing aid and....modifies it, turning improved hearing into improved hearing, which he then has some fun with, in typical late series Freddy fashion. Let's just say he puts a whole new spin on the phrase "like nails on a chalkboard."

To those of you reading this you have not done so, A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: The Dream Warriors is one you have to see. I suggest, if you have not seen it, watching the original A Nightmare on Elm Street before you do. Heather Langenkamp, who played Nancy in part one, returns, and the moment when Freddy and Nancy encounter eachother for the first time since the events in A Nightmare on Elm Street is AWESOME, and Freddy's in an.....interesting form. I won't say what, but he does some very interesting things to himself in that one. I highly suggest watching it. Not only for those reasons of course.

Again, like the original A Nightmare on Elm Street, this movie had a great cast of teenagers. The movie took place in a mental health facility, full of teenagers with sleeping and psychiatric (supposedly) disorders. Of course, we know what's really going on, and we watch it wondering if the kids will die before any incompetent adult figures out that they aren't delusional and they aren't making up this burned man with a razor filled glove on his hand stalking them in their sleep.

*whew* Try saying that five times fast!


Of course, many of the teenagers aren't very fortunate, and they meet an early demise at the hand of this burned dream demon.

This sequel introduces a few new concepts while sticking to the rules established in the first, the return of (an older) Nancy is very much appreciated, and you once again sympathize with the kids trying to reach the adults around them as they endure being stalked by some dream stalking psychopath who's slowly killing their peers in horribly gruesome ways. Now, this sequel did have Freddy getting a bit more liberal with the jokes, and the silliness started to show, but the balance was still reasonable between the serious tone/horror
and the humour, and the humour was steeped in that horror as opposed to at the expense of it, as it was in later sequels.

Oh, to quickly speak to one of the things I mentioned earlier, A Nightmare on Elm Street 3 introduced some new concepts, one of them being Freddy's ability to take on entirely new forms. They had played with the notion of him altering his form in the previous movies, but not like this. He does some pretty awesome and interesting this in this one, really showcasing the power afforded him by the fact that he exists only in dreams.

My second favourite entry into the A Nightmare on Elm Street series is Wes Craven's New Nightmare....what a movie. If there was one way to perfectly describe the reaction/reception this movie received, at least as I see it, it would be Loved by a few, hated by a few, misunderstood by most.

I personally LOVE it. Wes Craven's New Nightmare and the original A Nightmare on Elm Street are the two best in the series in my opinion. Speaking of Wes Craven, Wes Craven's New Nightmare was a risky move for Craven. I don't want to say much about this one, as it needs to be seen, and I feel the less one knows going in the better. I will say that the originality I spoke of boils down to the fact that it's a movie within a movie. This meta-movie idea (a meta-movie, or a metafilm), is a film which is a metaphor for the production of said film. Essentially, the events of the film are the events of the film within the film actually happening).

This was off putting to many but I personally thought it to be brilliant and very fitting. Basically, to surmise it really quickly, in the movie, Freddy Krueger is a movie icon, and fans are clamouring for more. Wes Craven is secretly writing a new Nightmare script, spurred on by some nightmares that he has been having. As he writes, ominous things start happening in real life, mostly centred on Heather Langenkamp, the actress who portrayed Nancy Thompson in the first and third Nightmare on Elm Street films.

In his script, he writes that evil, if it is captured in art, can be defeated, but if it is not captured in art, is is free to accumulate power in the real world. Freddy was kept out of the real world by being written about in films, but now, with no fiction binding the evil behind Krueger to that world, is roaming free and trying desperately to gain entrance into the real world. As time passes, and the writing continues, this malevolent force grows stronger, and tries to get in by gaining access through the gatekeeper, who it believes to be Heather, since he believes she gave Nancy her power, the power she used to defeat Freddy. And so, there is a struggle between Heather Langenkamp and the evil force behind the fictional villain Freddy Krueger, as he battles to enter her realm, and she must decide if she has the courage to enter his, and defeat him, once and for all.

The blending of the worlds is just fantastic. It starts to happen so seamlessly that Heather finds herself, unbeknownst to herself, becoming Nancy Thompson, and the people around her, who played in the Nightmare films, are becoming the characters they portrayed. And in this film, Freddy is the ultimate depiction of what Craven envisioned. Dark, menacing, evil. Freddy is pure fucking evil in this one. He's probably the scariest he's ever been, and he's certainly the meanest. His look has changed. His glove is now organic, indicative of the transition and blending taking place. He wears a black trenchcoat, his face has changed somewhat, and his voice, while basically the same, has taken on even more menace. And this time, he's not limited to teenage victims....

The movie is very suspenseful, very well crafted, and very entertaining. There are a myriad of great scenes within. It's somewhat plagued by problems of consistency though, as the concept, I'm sure my readers can surmise, does lend itself to some vagueries and opportunities for inconsistency, and you do get some of that. There are a few things within that will make you wonder aren't they breaking their own rules? even though the rules aren't necessarily crystal clear to anyone, including those in the film. Come to think of it, perhaps that's the point. Or maybe I'm just being too forgiving now. Either way, it's amazing, and it's a fantastic end to the series. Brings it right back to the quality for the first, and justifies its existence both in that fact, and in the fact that it's definitely not a rehash.

Of course, however, as we all know, Wes Craven's New Nightmare, the fantastic and fitting end to a great series, did not end up being the end at all. As is the case with horror movies, especially slasher films, they just keep going and going and going......Just like a certain drum beating bunny.....

It keeps going and going and going......

Years later, we got Freddy vs Jason. And now, we have the dreaded REMAKE. Duhn duhn duhn...

And now, My Thoughts on the A Nightmare on Elm Street Remake.

I grew up with ANOES. When I heard about this remake I did what all nostalgia fuelled fans do: I decried it.

Then when I realized who was involved, I felt completely justified in my feelings. These guys churn out drivel, and drivel is what this remake is based upon the large number of reviews and tons of viewer feedback that I have read online (and also inference based upon previous works of theirs and the current state of American horror).

Here are my issues with this remake (although, keep in mind, I have not yet seen it):

1) Freddy's look. I know that's more realistic, but he lost the demonic look that I loved. However, I am willing to admit a part of this is likely nostalgia.


2) HIS VOICE!! Freddy sounded demonic. Now he sounds like a breathless Rocky Balboa. Not scary in the least and this alone is a huge dealbreaker for me.

3) Based upon several reviews and viewer feedback it seems as though the ''scares'' were pretty much the loud BAM sound followed by a sudden appearance of Freddy. I HATE  the overuse of jump scares. It's cheap, cheesy, manipulative and indicative of the fact that these guys are creatively bankrupt and don't understand shit about horror or what Craven did with ANOES.

4) I read that the nightmare scenes are always telegraphed via musical and aesthetic changes. Part of what I loved with the original series is you often weren't immediately aware that you were in 'dream world' if you will. There were some surprises. Some.....unknown. Some...suspense.

5) The footage I have seen features a very wooden Nancy. Langenkamp might not win any awards but at least she had expression and depth.

6) The people involved do it solely for money, and they are hacks. They didn't even care to try and involve any of the original people. No Craven, no Saxon, no Lagenkamp and no Englund.

Now, this is a 'reboot' so this makes some sense. Well, Englund could have played Krueger but the rest make sense. Except for one: Craven. They didn't bother to get input from the one man who truly understood Krueger, and the one man who had vision. Idiots.

7) I don't want to support this remake bullshit. They fucked up FF13, they destroyed Halloween, the are fucking up Krueger (although I can't fully say this until I see it, which of course I'll end up doing at some point, let's be real, but hopefully for free after my brother buys the DVD) and they have completely destroyed so many others. Black Christmas, Prom Night, Psycho (not that I'm a huge fan of the original), Dawn of the Dead, etc etc etc

8) WHERE THE FUCK IS THE ORIGINAL SCORE?? It's the best damn horror score EVER.

9) CGI. Jesus. The clip of Freddy coming out the wall looks so fucking fake now, whereas the budget shot with no CGI still looks better today.

10) They all know what's going on way too early, and they come to know it way too easily. The original had a slow, suspenseful buildup where Nancy and co. tried to piece together what was happening.

Maybe I'll end up liking it, but I doubt it. The guys behind the project just don't see horror the way I do, and I don't think I'll enjoy what they did to ANOES.

Still, I admit I may be wrong. There's .000003% chance of it :)

And of course, some nostalgia is involved. I freely admit that.

So, as it stands, I don't expect to like this one. I don't anticipate feeling any real emotion while watching it. Like most modern horror, I figure it will be like going through a fast food drive thru. I'll get something that resembles the thing I am looking for, it will go down easy, and it will be forgotten almost instantly......well, it will be forgottent, but it will leave me a nice goign away present, namely, heartburn and digestive issues.

So, ya, as of now, the Platium Dunes assholes can take their overprocessed, unemotive, wooden mass produced, money grab, b.s. 'film' and shove it up their asses. Assuming of course it will fit in there, since we all know there's a lot of shit up their ass to begin with. Namely, the hopes, dreams, and childhoods of 1980's horror fans. Poeple like me, good, honest, hard working, god feari-well, okay, good, honest, hard working people, just trying to get by in life, and hoping to be entertained here and there on the way through this roller coaster of a life. They farted out my childhood when they made this movie, and now it stinks. It stinks to high heav- well, it stinks to high something. It stinks of hollywood, coporatized, assembly line horsehsit that passes for horror these days. They seem to average $1, 400 000 per shitty jump scare, and I am sure they made about $35, 000, 000 thus far off of this travesty. This affront to 1980's, plaid wearing, big haired, MC Hammer liking sensibilities.

Note to Platinum Dunes: I want my fucking childhood back, you assholes. I don't recall putting it on the market, so I have no idea how you fuckers bought and sold it, but I want it back. Now, give it back, or I'll......I'll......kil- no, no, that's not it......I'll, I'll, beat- no, no, that's not it either.....I'll I', no that's not it.....Ah, Hell. I'll keep blogging about you!!! And you don't want that, trust me. I have a HUGE audience and immeasurable influence. I can get people to boycott your ass, and let me tell you, you'd lose at least $23.00. You want to test me? You want to test me motherfuckers? Go ahead, oif you think it's worth $23.00, go right the fuck ahead, you childhood stompin fart brains.

OH GREAT!! I have just been informed, as I write this, that Paltinum Dune already have 2 MORE NOES movies in the works. Jesus H Christ on a stick, talk about milking.

They took a series that has already been milked to the point of more milk...ness? I don't know. Point of being barren. Milk dry? Milkless? YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN!!!!!!!!


Anyways, the took this already milked series, and decided, "Hey!! Let's redo it all! Let's milk it some more! And we'll do it with less talent, worse leads, and a shitty sounding Freddy! Awesome, we're going to make sooooooo much money! High fives all around!!!"

*sounds of childhoods being shat out, crapped on, farted on, and farted out*

/Cut to scene of magx01 crying in a corner, rhythmically chanting "It's not real, it's not real."

Ha, interesting little aside here. Those last few words called to mind (with no effort on my part) a line from Stephen King's IT (the miniseries, based on the tremendously awesome novel). The line is:

"You're not real!!! You're not real!!!"  
It's delivered by the actress playing Beverly Marsh, and it's delivered in a very convincing voice, fraught with several emotions at once; a woman on the edge, desperately trying to keep it together while she tries to grasp the enormity of the situation in which she finds herself after thrusting herself blindly back into her past, at the whim of a childhood friend whom she hadn't heard from in 28 years.

I heard that line in my head as I typed that line, and I heard it exactly as it's delivered in the movie. And upon recalling the line, I felt a small, but real chill. A momentary shudder, as I recalled the situation this woman found herself in, and the terror I felt as a ten year old boy watching this unfold on my tv (thanks mom, and ABC, primetime tv. As Freddy would say, "Welcome to prime time, bitch!"

Why mention this? Well, simple. This demomstrates the power of film. Sure, horror movies aren't high art, but they do have the fantastic capability to really resonate with you. To burrow into the psyche and lay dormant for years, only to spring forth at opportune moments and elicit the same fear they did when you first experienced them. People say the boogeyman isn't real, but I say he is, in the form of the latent emotion, leftover in my subconscious a result of watching a shitload of horror movies as I grew up. And that, friends, is the power of horror.

And do you know what scenes result in this occurrence? The psychologically weighty ones. Not the stupid LOUD NOISES BOO!!!! nonsense. Too bad Platinum Douche doesnt understand that.

Thanks for fucking up my childhood, assholes.

Last little note: To those who will read this and find themselves wondering how one can be so certain about a movie which one has not even seen, well friends, I fully acknowledge that I may be blogging a nice apology to Platinum Dunes and you, the reader, sometime soon. However, in the interest in full disclosure, I can honestly say, with as little hubris as possible, that, in all my experience, I'm more often right when it comes to preconceived notions on films. That does not mean I am right this time, and I am not saying I am ever wrong, I'm not. I've been wrong many times, some of them for really notable films. I went into the Dark Knight thinking it would suck. WRONG. I went into Iron Man expecting to hate it, and ended up liking it. NOT loving it, but liking it. I went into Spiderman thinking it would suck. Liked it. I went into X-Men thinking it would be shit. Loved it. (Hated origins though. Ugh). I thought I would hate The Matrix. Wow, wrong.
That all being said, I honestly am more often right. I'm usually pretty good with making predictions about my feelings on a movie after just viewing trailers. However, in this case, I have done a LOT more than that, and I have been a horror fan for more than 20 years. I know what I like, I know my dislikes, and I know what I hate in horror. And based on the things I have seen, heard and read, the chances of me hating this movie are high. Almost as high as I'd have to be to love it :)

Thanks for reading!!! I hope you enjoyed it, I enjoyed writing it. And as I said in the beginning, please feel free to comment. This blog took quite a while, and so any feedback would help me feel like I am not totally wasting my time here :)