Twentieth Century Fox just recently announced that its four-year-old The Fantastic Four film franchise is getting a “reboot,” which will start it from scratch. Similar plans are apparently on the table for the six-year-old Daredevil and its eight-year-old Planet of the Apes film. This, of course, comes after a summer in which The Incredible Hulk had been “re-imagined” after a mere five years.
In the horror genre, things are no different, as studios are busy rummaging through the vaults in attempts to polish titles from their back catalogs. This year alone we've seen remakes of My Bloody Valentine, Friday the 13th, and the most recent release The Last House on the Left, with Hellraiser, another Halloween, Night of the Demons, A Nightmare on Elm Street, The Wolf Man, and The Stepfather in the pipeline (this isn't even taking into consideration the foreign-made films that go in for an American makeover).
It's certainly no surprise that horror films are quick to undergo a facelift, as they are often made on the cheap and can make back their budget after the DVD release is taken into account, have a devoted base of horror-hungry fans, and now act as the springboard for many young television actors (usually from the CW, or whatever it's called this week) to break into film.
Admittedly, films such as My Bloody Valentine are often not held in high enough regard to warrant a “hands-off” status from the masses, and can certainly benefit from a polish in the right hands. But films like Last House succeed perhaps because of their rather low-budget approach.
Hardly the high-water-mark of horror, Last House was Wes Craven's debut film in 1972 that suffered from wildly uneven elements (the comedic cops), but its sandpaper-like effect on audiences was intensified by its ultra-low budget. It lets the mind wonder — just how rough did things have to get when they could not afford to digitize the blood and beatings?
Not only that, but the cast of the original actually looked the part of dangerous delinquents. Jeramie Rain, who played the sadistic Sadie, looked like she plowed through a pack of unfiltered menthol cigarettes a day, Fred Lincoln, who played the sex-obsessed Weasel, actually went on to star in, produce, and direct porn, and who can forget the sweaty mess David Hess (as ringleader Krug), who has his own line of fragrances, with such inviting names as “Maniac,” “Victim” and “Fear?” Seriously, who really wants to smell like fear?