Image Credit: Everett Collection; Bob Charlotte/PR PhotoHollywood loves a sure thing. And apart from sequels to big-budget superhero comic-book movies, few things over the last couple of decades have been as sure at the box office as the endless rehashing of popular horror- movie franchises. The current boom of slasher reboots began in 2003, with the all-new version of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Since then, we’ve had new versions of Halloween, Friday the 13th, and now A Nightmare on Elm Street – but with the triumphant return of Freddy Krueger this past weekend (audiences may have been mixed on it, but $32 million in ticket sales is scary proof of what an iron-clad fan demo these movies have), America’s gallery of iconic movie psycho killers has officially been strip-mined. Freddy, Jason, Michael Myers, Leatherface — there’s no one left! Except that there’s always someone left. What can Hollywood now do for a horror encore? Here are a few ideas:
1. Make a much more fun Nightmare on Elm Street sequel. I stand by my not-so-hostile, B-minus grade for the new Nightmare. It may have been, as I wrote, “a corporately ordered rerun,” but it had atmosphere and a few jolts, and Jackie Earle Haley slipped into Freddy’s singed latex with creepy personality. But here’s my question: Why so serious? The way that Wes Craven directed the original Nightmare on Elm Street, in 1984, it had a lively, let’s-try-it-on B-movie demon-prankster spirit. The new one glumly goes through the motions of reproducing some of the original’s most famous scenes, but why didn’t the filmmakers take advantage of the opportunity to do something freshly shocking and audacious with Freddy? As the original series went on, it got funnier and more outlandish (often to its detriment, but sometimes not, especially in Dream Warriors), and that’s what this new series now needs to do. Unleash the trippy, over-the-top showbiz blood-freak craziness. And let Jackie Earle Haley loose!
2. Speaking of Wes Craven…. He’s making Scream 4, and that’s a terrific thing. Here’s one series that’s far from played out, though I did feel the twinges of creative fatigue in Scream 3. To revive this series in a memorable way, Craven now needs to do what the first Scream did: Surprise us. Play a whole new set of tricks on us. Scare us, and make us laugh, in boldly macabre and original ways. And turn the whole movie, like the first Scream, into a super-sly satirical commentary on the way that kids watch horror movies now. Which is a lot different from how they watched them when Scream came out, in 1996.
3. Let us not forget Pinhead. The Hellraiser movies, the first of which was released in 1987, never generated the mass following that the classic slasher series of the ’70s and ’80s did. But they do enjoy a rabid cult fan base, and they were, if anything, ahead of the curve. Pinhead, the series’ spiky-faced monster mascot (pictured above, left), is basically a proselytizer for the pleasures of pain — he’s sadosmasochism’s answer to Freddy Krueger. But the Hellraiser films came out on the cusp of the era when S&M was crossing over into something chicly mainstream. It’s time to relaunch this series, with Pinhead as the hip maestro of an erotic dungeon from hell. READ FULL STORY »