Welcome back to Horror Happenings, friends!
It’s no secret to genre fans that the reboot/prequel/remake is ever popular amongst those making decisions for movie studios. While I’ve stated time and time again that remakes aren’t inherently a bad thing (think David Cronenberg’s The Fly or John Carpenter’s The Thing), the announcement that a favorite horror property is being repackaged can become groan inducing. However, a new trend is emerging that–dare I say?–is looking like a better alternative to a feature film remake: the TV reboot.
Networks like A&E have lead the charge with their Emmy-nominated Bates Motel, a prequel to Alfred Hitchcock’s seminal classic. While I personally rolled my eyes at the notion of a modern day Bates, once I actually watched, I was quickly won over. Sure, Season One was a bit on the hammy side, but there was no denying that the series was taking risks and after stalling for a bit in Season Two, I would argue that Season Three was the strongest yet, ratcheting up the tension and delving into the darkness of Norman Bates that we would begin to recognize as the finished product we all know and love from the film.
A&E isn’t stopping there, with both Damien–a series sequel to the Richard Donner film The Omen–slated to premiere in 2016 and a TV version of the Swedish vampire novel Let The Right One In in the works, too (although one could argue LTROI is less of a “reboot” and actually based on the book). MTV has Teen Wolf and Scream, which has been renewed for a second season, and The CW is getting into the game also with their crack at bringing Friday the 13th to the small screen.
A few weeks back, Legion of Leia Editor-in-Chief Jenna Busch interviewed Friday the 13th: The Series writer Steven Long Mitchell about the series and some of his soundbites were quite surprising. Mitchell explained that his vision for the CW show would be a “cross between the first season of True Detective and Twin Peaks on acid.” Okay, I’m listening…
Mitchell continues, saying, “Part of the fun of the show is exploring, is this Jason or is this a copycat? Is it possible that Jason has been around all these years? Is Jason a monster? Is he real? Is he a serial killer? And really exploring who and what Jason is, is part of the whole thrill of the show.”
Now, if you ask me, this sounds like something that I would be curious to watch unfold. Mitchell went on to say that the series would indeed acknowledge the events of the movies but it still remains unclear if the new CW show would be a separate Friday the 13th universe from the also-in-the-works Platinum Dunes movie.
It’s a lot to digest for sure, but when you think about it, the bottom line is this: with seemingly less studio meddling and an extended story telling opportunity, will TV reboots prove to be a good thing for horror fans? Judging by the studio-produced feature film offerings we’ve been getting as of late being bad and genre projects that I would actually like to see on the big screen getting shelved because of financial concerns (I’m looking at you New Line and Cary Fukunaga’s It), maybe horror on TV is the place to be?
What do you think, horror friends? Are you excited to see your favorite frighteners on the small screen? Tell us your thoughts in the comments!
Clarke Wolfe is a correspondent for Nerdist and Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls. You can find her on Twitter @clarkewolfe.