Horror movie classics reborn for new scares

Andrew Mullen
Arts & Entertainment Editor

There is a commonly held belief that sequels ruin good movies. There have been sequels that have ruined some franchises or have gone completely unknown. The horror genre is no different, what with the “Scream” franchise being numbering four movies, and “Friday the 13th” pushing close to nine different spin offs that nobody seems to care about.
Critics love to hate sequels, as do fans. However, in recent years the horror movie has been reimagined in more than a few ways. Movies like “Paranoral Activity,” “Insidious,” “The Exorcism of Emily Rose” and “The Conjuring” have all brought some new aspect of horror to the table that audiences and critics seem to be drawn to. The recipe for a good scare has changed, and along with it so have the movies.
In lieu of these shifts in trends, old classics have been revamped and re-released under their old monikers but with a 21st century facelift.
One of the more notable remakes is “Scream 4” which popped up in 2011. The movie received underwhelming reviews, but was the start to something bigger. The “Scream” franchise started in 1996 and suffered through many sequels until going dark for a while. The movie series was picked back up and given a modern twist, and started a trend for other classics.
The movie “Maniac” took the classic story of a psychotic murder obsessed with scalping his female victims and revamped it with updated visuals and big-budget names like Elijah Wood. Originally released in 1998, the remake graced the silver screen in 2012 and received decent reviews for its creepy atmosphere and powerful lead role.
Casting Elijah Wood as the maniac came as a surprise to some people, but who better to play a mass murderer than an unassuming, oftentimes meek-tempered man?
In 2008, director Tomas Alfredson released his Swedish cult-masterpiece “Let the Right One In,” featuring a young girl as a secretive and somewhat kind hearted vampire that befriends a coy, bullied young neighborhood boy. The atmosphere of the original movie was unmatched and led it to receive high praise in America as well as Sweden. Being a cult classic, many fans were disheartened to hear of the plans to remake it in 2010 as an Americanized version of this Swedish tale, starring the young Chloë Grace Moretz. However, many audiences were happily surprised with how close to the original the story the movie stuck and how well Moretz was able to portray her role as a blood-thirsty yet simultaneously misunderstood and lonely vampire child.
Perhaps one of the most prolific remakes to date is the 1981 film “Evil Dead.” Hailed as a horror classic, this movie was left untouched for years in order to preserve its position in the franchises unspoken hierarchy. However, in 2013 director Fede Alvarez reanimated the story and cultivated the plot into something fresh and new. By adding a metric ton of fake blood and keeping the classic and most iconic scenes from the original, Alvarez was able to capture the essence of the film while adding something new and twisted to the tone and story.
Most recently, Chloë Grace Moretz has resurfaced in the horror scene by claiming the eponymous role of Carrie in “Carrie.” Originally released in 1976, the story is based on a Stephen King novel of the same name and has one of the most iconic scenes in any horror movie ever filmed. The remake, which just recently hit theatres on Oct. 18, has revamped the story and kept all of the old favorites features intact. There is also a theatrical version of this terrifying tale currently touring the nation.
As movies age and styles come and go, there will always undoubtedly be the sequels that fans wish had never been released, such as “The Blair Witch Project 2.” However, with the emergence of new remakes of old favorites, the horror movie business shows no signs of stopping the remakes. The reimagining and reawakening of cult classics and forgotten films breathe new life into old scares. It seems that every Halloween there is a slew of new titles put into theatres to stir old fears and scare audiences once again.