Friday, May 7, 2010

Remaking the Horror Genre - A Filmmakers Perspective

Remakes, remakes, remakes. Halloween, Friday the 13th, A Nightmare on Elm Street and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre have all been given the remake treatment in the past several years. That means that the big four horror franchises of the 70's, 80's and 90's have all been restarted. Many horror fans are up in arms and are demanding for the remakes to stop. Mainly for the reason that the original story line continuities that we grew up with have all come to an end and consequently replaced. Why do the studios come out with, what seems like, remake after remake instead of giving the fans original horror stories? Is it because they don't have any new ideas? Is it because they are nervous to try something new? Or is there a different reason why they give our favorite series the reboot treatment?

As many of you know, I produce "Scared Stiff', a web horror series. It is through my work on the show that opened my eyes to why Hollywood studios decide to remake our favorite movies. Now I produce the show with the sole purpose to entertain fans of the horror genre. The goal is not to make money, but to share my stories with as many people as possible. Success through my show is tracked by the amount of views I achieve and through the positive comments people leave for it.

Now Hollywood is a business, and the way that they rate the success of a show is by the amount of money a movie makes. For this example, I will equate the hits that my shows get with a dollar amount that a Hollywood movie would make. For sake of comparison, I will say that 1 hit of my show equals 1,000 dollars that a movie would make in a theatre.

Now I put a lot of time into making original horror stories based on original characters. I have had thirteen original horror stories to date. So far each episode has garnered an average of 1,400 hits on YouTube, with the top one getting close to 3,000 hits. So with the equation, we will say that on average my movies would do $1,400,000 in box office receipts.

Over the years, under a pseudonym I have made fan films starring the likes of Michael Myers and Jason Voorhees. The hit count of those films are substantially bigger than those of my original shorts. In comparison, "Tiny's Halloween" which is my highest totaling "Scared Stiff" episode, has yet to reach 3,000 hits, while one of my Michael Myers starring "Halloween" fan films has been seen over 500,000 times. There is absolutely no comparison. For sake of our dollar/hit ratio, my fan film would have made over 500,000,000 million dollars, making it one of the highest grossing films of all time! Now for a more realistic comparison, let's change the ratio to 100 dollars for every hit. My "Halloween" fan film would have made an equivalent of 50 million dollars and my original story "Tiny's Halloween" would have only made 300,000 dollars. A bomb by film standards.

So if I were a studio and had to put 20,000,000 dollars into producing a movie with hopes of making a profit, would I put the money into an original story, or would I put money into a franchise that already has proven successful at the box office? The safe bet would be to put the money into an established franchise with a built in fan-base. That is what a lot of fans fail to see. The Movie Business is just that. It is a business. That doesn't mean that everyone in Hollywood is out to make a quick buck. It is just that movies cost lots and lots of money. The people that invest the money are not going to put out millions and millions of dollars to make art. They want a return on investment. You can't blame them for putting their money behind a proven franchise over investing in an unknown horror film that may or not make money.

I know that fans are upset over the amount of remakes out there. But, the Movie Business would cease to exist without one major component: the Business.

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