Horror movie remakes and a fear of recreating the classics

     The smell of popcorn blows through the brisk theater air and consumes you with warmth and comfort. The big screen flashes and blares with light and noise as you sit with your hand in front of your face, knowing a jumpscare is coming. There are millions of horror and slasher movies around the world: new ones, boring ones, gruesome ones and even remakes of the classics. 

     Starting in the late 1800s, horror films have given life to countless subgenres such as slashers, paranormals and thrillers. According to A Brief History of Early Horror, a web page relating to the early history of the horror genre, “The first depictions of the supernatural on screen appeared in several of the short silent films created by the French pioneer filmmaker Georges Méliès in the late 1890s. The best known of these early supernatural-based works is the 3-minute short film Le Manoir du Diable (1896), known in English as both The Haunted Castle or The House of the Devil. The film is sometimes credited as being the first ever horror film.”

     Horror movies have evolved and changed since the early 1900s. These three-minute short films turned into two-and-a-half-hour-long movies. They went from silent films to loud and gut-wrenching movies and the topics of the movies changed from funny thrillers to silent killers.

     The genre of horror has changed drastically through the years. Today, horror and thriller films are extremely different than any other genre. Horror movies come in all different shapes and lengths, which is what makes them so unique. These unique differences are what appeals to most watchers and have people hooked after watching them.

     “I like watching horror movies because I tend to get bored with my short attention span. They keep me interested throughout the movie,” junior and horror film buff Jessica Wrobel said. 

     Audiences watch horror movies for many different reasons.

     “I tend to watch more scary movies during October. It gets me in the mood for Halloween,” Wrobel said.

     Grabbing a blanket, shutting the lights off and getting comfortable to enjoy a horror movie on Halloween night is the highlight of the season for some people. Lots of horror movies have to do with Halloween or a scary event in some way. Some fans tend to incorporate that into their Halloween traditions, while others don’t.

     “When I’m really feeling it, I will watch some scary movies, especially if they are new or in the movie theaters,” junior and horror movie fan Megan Fisher said.

     Sometimes sitting down and watching these movies is the best part of the night. For many people, this is not the case, but everyone has different preferences and feelings when it comes to movie genres. 

     There are thousands of classic horror movies. Movies like Scream, The Shining, The Silence of the Lambs, Psycho and Friday the 13th are all considered classic Hollywood horror movies. Some of the movies have been left alone, like Psycho and Silence of the Lambs, whereas others have just had sequels, including the Scream franchise or The Shining and Doctor Sleep. But many horror classics have undergone remakes. Some examples include Halloween (1978) and Halloween (2007) and The Invisible Man (1933) and The Invisible Man (2020). People debate on the topic of horror movies and their remakes. Should they be remade? Does it need a remake? Would the movie be good? Many people associate remakes with negative connotations to the original movies, while others find a balance between the two.

     “Remakes of horror movies that are good story-wise are hard to find. They excel in gore and violence but not much else,” sophomore and horror movie enthusiast Alex Hernandez said. “The Invisible Man remake (2020) was a reboot that had a message of abusive relationships while the Halloween remake (2007) was just Rob Zombie fan fiction of the franchise. I can’t prefer a classic or remake when both can be good in their own ways.” 

     There are positives and negatives to most horror movie remakes and sometimes one outweighs the other. An example of this would be It (2017).

     “[The] IT remake [was] so much better than the mini-series. It was a great addition to introduce newcomers to horror,” Hernandez said.

     Director Andrés Muschietti adapted the story from the original television series in 1990. Both were adaptations of the original novel by Stephen King. It has the highest amount of money made at the box office with 701.8 million dollars. It is one of many remakes that many people enjoy over its original predecessor. According to information from IMDB, an online database of film-based information, the original It mini-series (1990) had a rating of 6.8/10 and It (2017) had a rating of 7.3/10. Compared to other movies and their remakes, It (2017) is one of the only remakes to have its rating go up. In comparison, Firestarter (1984) has a rating of 6/10 and Firestarter (2022) with Zac Effron has a rating of 4.6/10.

     New and old movies have various differences, similar to people. One thing that everyone has in common is fear. Everyone is afraid of something. Sharks, heights, blood, birds and even needles are all common fears. One small thing can change a person’s perspective on any subject, like how falling off a ladder can lead to a fear of heights for the rest of your life. Fears can be challenged and suppressed but never truly forgotten. 

     “I started watching horror movies at a young age. At first it was a dare, but then I did it to get over some childhood fears,” Hernandez said. “It helped me with my fear of shots because horror movies taught me there [are] way more things that can be done with needles.” 

     Recreating classic horror movies can go two ways. A remake can either becomes a great movie that is better than its predecessor or it can flop and no one watches it. Some people fear that when their favorite classic horror film gets remade it will not turn out well, however, some fans still want remakes of their favorite or even least favorite films.

     “In the future, I would like to see a better remake of The Exorcist. It could have the potential to be scarier than the original movie with the help of modern special effects,” Wrobel said.

     With the use of modern technology, lots of movies and even television shows can be made much scarier and more vivid than ever before. According to Where’s the Jump, a website that shares information on sequels and new horror movies to be released, Nightmare on Elm Street is to be remade once again in the near future and Silent Night, Deadly Night, a 1984 thriller film, is also expecting a remake. 

     “There are so many movies with amazing concepts that weren’t done very well that definitely qualify for a remake, but there are also some classics that should be left alone,” Fisher said.

     The big debate of leaving the classics alone or giving them facelifts will continue to be discussed for generations. What matters now is how we recreate them and bring them to light without the fear and stigma of them being unsatisfactory and frowned upon.