I don’t know what is going on in Tinsel Town these days, but it seems that Hollywood is short on film ideas. They keep churning out second rate remakes of movies that were questionable the first time around.
Case in point – “A Nightmare on Elm Street.” The remake opens in theaters today.
True, the original movie has become a cult classic but that is more for its unique plot and characters than for its blood and guts. Who knew that Robert Englund, the loveable Willie from the original sci-fi classic “V,” could make for such terrifying villain? Now that was a real revelation.
Of course everyone knows that Nightmare was Johnny Depp’s first hit feature film. It propelled him forward into what would eventually become meteoric stardom.
Sadly, it didn’t do the same for adorable Heather Langenkamp, who played the heroine Nancy. Although she looked beautiful on screen, her limited acting range kept her from going very far in the movie biz.
Some claim the film finished off John Saxon’s big screen career but I think that is a bit harsh. He just spent more time on television where he was appreciated. I don’t call that a particularly bad career move.
As for Englund, it did seem to forever mar his image. He couldn’t get rid of Freddy Krueger no matter how hard he tried. He was forever typecast, which led to a string of bad decisions.
Unlike many of the slash and dash films of today, the original Nightmare had a unique story that relied as much on suspense as it did blood and gore. I’m not saying it wasn’t over the top in the latter department. No one can contest that. I’m just saying that it at least had something more going for it. It must have since it spawned a myriad of sequels; all of which got progressively worse.
Still, it begs the question: Why remake this film? I can only guess at that answer. I suspect it’s because they can make it scarier and bloodier than the original. However, that isn’t really a good reason.
The thing that was so frightening about the original film was the tie-in to the characters’ dreams. After all, do any of us feel any more vulnerable than when we are asleep? The whole idea that someone can control, manipulate, or even kill us while we are in that state is just about as horrific as it gets.
I have to wonder. Do we really need another generation of children who are afraid to go to sleep? Isn’t life today enough of a frightening challenge without adding terror into the dream world as well?
Then there is the fact that the cast is made up of actors and actresses that no one has ever heard of. That is never a sign that a remake is likely to top the original.
Jackie Earle Haley, who seeks to dismount Robert Englund as the scariest villain of all time, isn’t that well known on his own. He has played in some notable films like “Shutter Island” and “The Watchmen.” But that hardly makes him an actor of note.
Rooney Mara, who plays heroine Nancy, has barely any screen credits to her name. The most notable is “Urban Legends: Bloody Mary,” which was a dreadful film.
Katie Cassidy has a better resume although most of her work has been on television. The rest of the cast is pretty much the same.
So if the story was so bad it had to be “reimagined” and the characters so lame that only second-rate actors deem them worthy of portrayal, why is this movie even being made? We are right back to the “because we can make it gorier than ever before” answer.
I’m sorry, Hollywood. That’s not good enough!
Perhaps it is time for moviegoers to lead a revolt. Maybe if we stop shelling out $10 a pop to watch bad remakes of already bad films, Hollywood will get the message and stop making them.
I’m not against horror films. I love horror films if they are done well and if they are escapist in nature. However, I don’t count slash and dash films in the true genre. They are something else altogether and, unfortunately, too many fall into that category.
Nor am I opposed to remakes if something new, important, or visually appealing can be brought to the remake. But remaking a bad movie just for the sake of the almighty dollar really frosts my bones.
As a writer I resent the idea that Hollywood can’t come up with new and interesting stories. Heck, William Stape, a favorite AC writer of mine, could come up with at least 100 in his sleep. He could write the screenplays too. I know because I’ve seen his work on the small scream. So that excuse just doesn’t hold water for me.
I don’t pretend to have all the answers to the Hollywood problem. Heck, I don’t pretend to have any.
However, film buffs like myself are getting sick and tired of senseless drivel, blood and guts, and needless sex and violence. We want stories. We want a plot. We want characters we can care about. We want to be entertained.
If you can’t do that, Hollywood, I, for one, will happily spend my entertainment dollars elsewhere. Let’s see how you like that!