Did Hollywood’s Horror Eat Itself Alive?
You may have noticed that mainstream productions of horror films these days are limited to adaptations, sequels, prequels, spinoffs, and remakes. Sure, it has always been this way to a degree but never as much as it is today and never so unsuccessfully.
Back in the horror hay-day, most horror films that ended up being memorable were adaptations of written horror classics such as Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Once these stories proved monetarily successful, a reign began of making as many money-making sequels as possible. Since the 1931 release of the first Dracula film, Bela Lugosi’s version, there have been an eye-popping and debatable amount of remakes, sequels, prequels, and spin-offs involving Dracula. Oddly, the first one to actually adapt Bram Stoker’s work was undoubtedly Francis Ford Coppola’s Dracula in 1992. Even stranger is the fact that it is, even up to today, considered by many to be the best film starring the twentieth-centuries biggest horror icon.
“Do not put your faith in such trinkets of deceit!” -Dracula
Adaptation versus Original Work. This is what started it all. Gamblers… excuse me, producers hold the business aspect of the industry while writers, the creators of the blueprint which organizes what is heard from the speakers and what is seen on the screen, hold the creative and artistic angle of the process. These two must go hand in hand equally in order to tell a story in moving pictures. With adaptations of written work, the producer can gauge what is going to make the most amount of money, based on existing target audience and the love for familiar characters, because that is their job and therefore number one concern. This completely takes out the artistry and originality. This makes room for the hired writer; someone who adopts a written work into a fitting format after being given artistic notes from gamblers… excuse me, producers. This has been going on for so long that the producers… who are NOT artists, take full control of projects. Because they are not artists, we see an endless amount of horror films released into theaters that flop time and time again. All the while, original writers must write low-budget films that will never see the light of day.
“The trust of the innocent is the liar’s most useful tool.” -Stephen King
We can see this in the knowledge that most of Stephen King’s written work has been adapted and still is today more than ever. Even though The Dark Tower 2017 had decades of planning and had endless amounts of writers tackling the project over that portion of time, it flopped HARD. Imagine that… the most profitable horror writer of all time, his first novel and magnum opus, beloved by all… RUINED the first time around. If Richie Cunningham is throwing his hands up in the air and walking away, then they should have stopped and started from scratch. It proves that when there are too many Chiefs and not enough Indians, no amount of money or artistry can save you. On the flipside, every once in a while the balance is right and we get one gem a year that keeps the industry flowing. IT 2017 keeps us all breathing at night.
“I am the eater of worlds… and of CHILDREN!” -Pennywise the Dancing Clown
Point is, it is getting old. Everything has been done to death. Is this the end of the remake rage? Can anything else even be remade or spunoff? Or better yet, will future producers have the backbone to put their trust into original work without a graph displaying the previous success of previous remakes? In order to adjust this swing in acceptance, writers need to take back the industry. The industry they truly own and operate. STRIKE!