Monday, 10 May 2010

A Nightmare on Elm Street: What about the sequel?

There goes A Nightmare on Elm Street 2010 but not every remake sucks.

The list is short: Invasion of the Body Snatchers 1978 The Thing 1982 The Fly 1986 Night of the Living Dead 1990 The Hills Have Eyes 2006. The first three films are based on a novel novella and short story respectively ergo it can be argued that they are not remakes at all but new works based on previously filmed material. For example; can anyone accuse The Passion of the Christ 2004 as being a remake of King of Kings 1961? A remake is the rewrite of a previously filmed screenplay. To describe it in any other way is to use marketing shorthand. Furthermore to be pedantic The Thing and The Fly are sci-fi and not horror. Thus to use fine criteria there have been all of two worthy horror remakes.

A novel or short story can be revisited because of the depth of material. Typically less than 50% of the novel makes it into the screenplay which means there’s unused story that can be filmed for the first time. John Carpenter’s The Thing is exemplar of this. His ‘remake’ is closer to the novella ‘Who Goes There?’ than the 1951 ‘original’. In rewriting a screenplay all the story has been already been filmed. By definition it is harder to differentiate from the original whilst still maintaining the narrative.

Alexandre Aja achieved this with The Hills Have Eyes.

When Platinum Dunes announced they were to remake A Nightmare on Elm Street 1984 I groaned with the rest of the horror community – the Horror Folk. There has been a certain backlash within our own forums to the pessimism. I believe the word used is ‘haters’.

There is more than one reason to hate remakes.

Et Cetera.

There is scant reason to look forward to a remake. Even so there is the possibility of a film attempting to tell a told story new:

·        Halloween 2007
·        Dawn of the Dead 2004
·        The Blob 1988
·        Children of the Corn (TV 2009)
·        Salem’s Lot (TV miniseries 2004)

Like everyone else I had to accept the Elm Street remake as impending fact. As I thought about the original I thought about how I would have gone about rewriting it. I bounced ideas off people’s heads. They were enthusiastic. They had to be. I was buying the beer. The most developed scene was Nancy dreaming Rod Lane’s death. I didn’t write anything down. After watching the Samuel Bayer movie I wish I had done.

At the time of writing the reported Elm Street take is $42.6million (8 days). The carpetbaggers studio has already announced plans for a sequel – in 3D. Gimmick the audience and they will come huh? Whether that happens depends on future box office. Friday the 13th 2009 grossed 37% of its opening weekend by day 10. Elm Street needs to gross $45m by tonight – which it probably will – just to be on par with F13.

Platinum Dunes scrapped a Friday the 13th (3D) sequel.

Freddy’s international box office may help the decision to make a sequel. I have already made mine.

I was 18 when I had my first nightmare. In pitch blackness a robotic type animated figure stalked me to a corner. I was scared. I also knew I was in a dream. As the Thing got closer I tried to wake myself up.

I couldn’t.

I was terrified. This Thing was at me. Its movements were not human. I screamed in terror and for help. I heard a door open.

My dad came running in and woke me up.

I hate remakes ‘cos they suck. I want to see a good film. I prefer to see a great film. Fatal Attraction 1987 and Scarface 1983 are remakes. If a sequel to the remake does get made (in 3D or no) then it won’t be because I didn’t groan loud enough.

I’m going to write the screenplay.

A spec screenplay of course.

I’ve written three feature scripts, one short and one novel. I’ve had nothing produced or published. That doesn’t mean I’m a bad writer. The highlight of my resume is No Fixed Abode; I was quarter finalist for the ©AMPAS® Nicholl Fellowship.

I’m a lover of horror not a hater. I’m a fan of the franchise and this is my broadside to the suits. This is to let them know that the Horror Folk want good films. Forget the 3D gimmicks. Pay less attention to meaningless visuals (Nancy in an indoor snowstorm? Cool?). The stories that endure are the great ones with attention to narrative detail. The Pied Piper. Hamlet. A Nightmare on Elm Street.

It created a franchise.

I’m going to write a great screenplay. The working title is A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Return. It’s a remake of the first sequel. I’m aware of that film’s shortcomings. I also think there’s a great story in there. Horror is chaos. I’m putting my reputation online for all to read. I will post the first draft on 31st August.

God willing.
click to read opening scenes
I ask for your support - the horror community, the fanboys, the Horror Folk. Support me if you’re a civilian and you like good writing. The internet is yours. The studios will be taught to respect us. It was the power of the internet that had Warner Bros release Trick r Treat. I’m not naïve. I don’t think Michael Bay will be frantically hunting for my agent (while I’m frantically hunting for an agent). However if Platinum Dunes do produce a sequel then it will be the power of the internet that forces them focus on good story.

If you’re reading this take a second to click the poll at the top of the page. Or leave a comment. I’d love the encouragement. I’ll also respond to criticism (if any). I know I’m going to have nightmares. That comes with the writing.

I’m going to leave it all onscreen.

How about Ti West to direct?

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