My take on the Slasher horror genre

Freddy vs Jason vs Michael

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  As a child growing up in the 70’s and 80’s I grew to love the horror movie genre as a whole, especially the slasher films that were at their height of popularity in that time. Friday the thirteenth, Halloween, and a Nightmare on Elm Street film series were the most famous of the franchises. Freddy, Jason, and Michael Myers were so iconic, that they have each since been modernized and remade for a new generation. Unfortunately, it’s just not the same for me. The original cinematography and viewing format was something special, even on VHS (which is making a comeback btw). I don’t feel putting a modern spin can ever recreate the same experience.  

  Each of the new films were okay, but just didn’t have the same feel as the originals. Maybe if I had never seen them as a kid, I may feel differently. I mean Jackie Earle Haley was an excellent Freddy, but he isn’t Robert Englund. Robert had a one of a kind flare that walked a fine line between humor and terror. One minute you were laughing at his one liners and the next you were panicking and wondering when the hell that chick is going to wake up! Let’s not forget the bubble bath scene. How iconic was that? I defy anyone to get into a bathtub without thinking of that. I’ll stick to showers! 😉

   Rob Zombie did a great job in recreating the terror that struck Haddonfield, but nothing can replicate the aura of creepiness that John Carpenter harnessed in his 1978 masterpiece. The musical score alone makes me apprehensive each time I hear it. Not to mention the creepy white-faced Captain Kirk (William Shatner) mask. That was genius. You can’t forget the original scream queen herself, Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis), was phenomenal. She had the perfect balance of vulnerability, toughness, and beauty that you want in a horror movie heroine. Let’s also not forget Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasance). Malcolm Mcdowell was excellent in the remake and I don’t think anyone alive in 2007 could have done a better job. However, Donald Pleasence had such a commanding presence and creepy vibe that if he were to tell me my Lucky Charms were haunted, I would believe him. He had a way of delivering his lines that was almost storytelling as he painted the evil picture that was Michael Myers. In some ways he reminded me a little of the late Vincent Price.

   I liked Supernatural’s Sam Winchester (Jared Padalecki) in the Friday the thirteenth 2009 remake, but there was something about the build up in the original movie series that showed the slow progression of the evil known as Jason Voorhees.  Instead, they jammed it into one movie. Not to mention that they made Jason some sort of crossfit douche instead of the slow plodding creeper that seems to always be one step ahead, even though he barely moved. Don’t get me wrong, after part four of the original, the franchise spiralled out of control, but in my opinion the burlap bag with one eyehole, in part two, was the creepiest of all Jason’s looks and needed a bigger share of screen time. Maybe if Dean Winchester (Jensen Ackles) were to have cameoed in the ‘67 jamming to “Carry on Wayward Son” and beheaded Jason with the “first blade”, I would have felt differently. (Hint: if that happens, I want creative rights.)  😉

  You can replicate the stalking music, masks, and gratuitous boob shots, but you can’t replicate a time period. An era that had vulnerability. There was no internet, no cell phones, and no GPS. It was lot more difficult to stay safe if you were lost in the woods, at home alone trying to stay awake, broken down in the middle of nowhere, or babysitting on Halloween night. All in all, I wish Hollywood would refrain from these type of remakes. They were good in their own right, but each time I see the “big three” in the original formats I am transported back in time.

  The modern horror industry has a variety of sub genres that seem to have quite a following, but they haven’t mastered the slasher movie. Instead of replicating past horror icons, I would like to see a new slasher on the scene that has the sustainability of a Freddy, Jason, or Michael Myers. I may sound like the grumpy old man who doesn’t like anything new, but I actually liked the remakes. However, I think their efforts would have been better creating their own original slasher. I understand that there is a lot of money wrapped up in making movies today and studios are hesitant to take a risk, but don’t forget that the original Halloween movie was made on a budget of $300,000.

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