So we are all about sequels these days, the studio machines have not only found a way to make the typical formula for movies into cash cows but also how to make its subsequent expansions profitable as well. In the old days when a horror movie or slasher was released it was the fans who demanded the encore in order to see our favorite horror monster rise again to slaughter unsuspecting campers or babysitters. Now sequels are planned before the first is even released and shoved down our throats with over done special effects and horribly recycled death scenes that scream “been there, done that.” Instead of adding to the legend of the original we are getting water downed versions of what we have already seen, and the zombie genre I feel is the worst victim of these over processed sequel splurging.
It all started with the remake of Dawn of the Dead, a beautiful re-imagining of master George A. Romero’s original work that reignited the horror fans and sparked some new followers into the category. Then other’s started to emerge and then a television show, another movie, another television show and so on.
We found out that Brad Pitt’s Plan B Entertainment purchased the rights to Max Brook’s book World War Z, a collection of survivor tales told from a United Nations investigator piecing together the during and after effects of the zombie apocalypse. There was a sense of hope, something fresh and new with a source material that was in it’s own right a modern horror classic…. boy were we wrong. What we received was a filtered down redundancy that gave no homage to the original novel and was almost a total rip off of 28 Days Later with it’s angry fast zombie aspect.
It should have been apparent from the beginning what we were going to receive with all the problems that occurred during shooting; re-shoots, rewrites, another ending….and a terrible hair style that made even Nicholas Cage cringe. Now it appears that the sequel stated to come out next year has symptoms of being afflicted by the same problems starting with the Director dropping out. Maybe it’s time to NOT make a sequel of a poor movie and make the movie that should have been made in the first place.
Give Max Brooks’ vision a respectable treatment, the writers should pick 5-6 stories and connect them into a survival/war/horror anthology with a central character plot structure.
If you are going to spend an exorbitant amount of money for the rights to a book then why not use the actual material and not just the title for box office sales.
Zombies will always attract the horror aficionados, just give us what we were promised instead of trying to pander to everyone. George A. Romero didn’t care what EVERYONE thought when he made Night of the Living Dead, he just wanted to make a great horror movie for his inner fandom. That is was these movie studios and pro-sequel scripts are missing, they are forgetting what the fan deep inside of us wants.Once you forget that you lose your base audience, and we are the ones paying to see the movies over and over again. Bring back the sequels that pay homage instead of insult, make the continuations that has the fans questioning if the second was better then the first. A sequel that will have us excited about seeing a third or fourth, not rolling our eyes saying to our friends during the trailer “I think I’ll wait for the DVD or Netflix.”
The horror genre deserves a little more respect then turning out profits, originality counts for something even when it comes to sequels.