FINAL GIRL explores the slasher flicks of the '70s and '80s...and all the other horror movies I feel like talking about, too. This is life on the EDGE, so beware yon spoilers!

Apr 1, 2006

addendum: a letter

Dear Hollywood,

Look, before I get into it, I'd just like to say that yes, I'm awfully hard on you sometimes when it comes to the horror movies you put out. It's just...well, do you have to be so obsessed with money? Yeah, we'd all like to be rich, but when a rare good idea comes along all you see are dollar signs- and you know what happens next? You try to recreate that one good idea over and over and over again to cash in on it. You water-down everything that made that idea so good in the first place rather than coming up with NEW good ideas. You take our money, you treat us like idiots, and then...well, the middle fingers start flying. I lose faith in you. We all lose faith in you because it's obvious that we're just big, walking wallets to you. Why you gotta be dat way, Hollywood? Hmm? We keep coming back for more, so obviously we all want to like you. No matter how many times you kick us in the face with another tired retread or remake, we still show up in the theatres. To you, that must mean "we've got their money, let's just feed 'em crap!", right? I'm sorry, but that's the way you make me feel, whether you intended to or not- and that's why I'm so hard on you. I know there's some nuggets of good hidden away in there under all the crap. No matter how little, I've still got faith. You just keep taking advantage of me, though...I feel used up, H. Used up!

In an effort to offer you something constructive instead of just hollow bitching, I'm offering you this idea I had last night. Free of charge, it's all yours! It's a little unconventional, but I think if you're willing to hear me out, you might think it's original enough that it could ignite a slow-burn amongst audiences and then you'll jump. On the surface, it's not really that original of an idea at all. The big picture isn't necessarily groundbreaking, but the little touches will show that you're not just a big money-grabbing hungry hungy hippo, Hollywood. Listen to the wise words of En Vogue, H-Wood; free your mind, and the rest will follow.

It's this simple: I want a sequel to April Fool's Day. Knowing the latest trends, there's already one in the works somewhere that will pale in comparison to the original- you'll drop in the latest faces from Tiger Beat and make a silly movie that everyone hates. PG-13, am I right? Or will you just remake the original movie and water it down to begin with? OK, maybe I'm judging too harshly and quickly, but that's what you've reduced me to! See why I'm bitter?

When I say "I want a sequel", I mean I want a true, honest-to-goodness sequel to the original movie. With the same characters, with the same actors. They're still around. They still look great. They might be willing. I want Deborah Foreman, I want Amy Steel, I want Clayton Rohner, I want Deborah Goodrich...I want them all. It's been 20 years- where are these characters now? Are you telling me that Muffy St John isn't a character worth revisiting 20 years down the road? She was a little crazy, you know. Does she really host murder mysteries every weekend? Or what about Nan, who really fucking flipped out when she was subjected to the reminder about her abortion? Maybe she really lost it that weekend and is a total kookadook now, who knows.

The plot, well, you've got options. Maybe the friends reunite at Muffy's estate for the weekend. Maybe they bring their families and kids. Maybe people start to die for real this time. You don't need to have some big fancy twist at the end- just make a well-written slasher movie with good characters. Trust me, that'll be refreshing enough. You did it in 1986, surely you can do it now.

Why not bring back Fred Walton, the director, while you're at it? He did a great job with April Fool's Day, and When A Stranger Calls, his first film...well, you tried to re-hash that one recently and it didn't work, right? Everyone knows the famous "the call is coming from within the house!" bit, but you know something? The first half hour or so of When A Stranger Calls is a perfect horror movie. Watch it again, forget what you already know about it, and you'll see what I mean. Fred Walton knows what he's doing, so let him do it.

Yeah, yeah, I know what you're thinking- "Reunite these people?! But...but...they're all over 40! Gasp! Who wants to see that?!"...well, alot of people might want to, Hollywood. People don't stop liking horror movies when they turn 22, you know. Some horror fans who're over 40 might enjoy being able to identify with characters on-screen for once. We don't all want to watch teenagers all the time. But if these characters have kids, well, they'd be teenagers, right? You could work some in for the younger crowd and everyone would be happy.

April Fool's Day 2 could be smart. You need something smart right now, because you're at the low, dumb end of the current horror cycle. You'd show that you're not just after teenager babysitting money. You'd show that good actors over 35 can still get roles- especially the women. C'mon, Hollywood- take a chance. It's redemption time, and it just might work.

I've still got faith in you.


Stacie (your secret #1 fan)


The Retropolitan said...

I'll get right to work on the script.

John Barleycorn said...

I posted my "Open Letter to Amy Steel" in the comment section of your last post before reading this. Apparently re-making April Fool's Day isn't a good idea by your standards ... but what if it were re-made sans college students? With the original cast? That seems like an idea Hollywood would be quicker to swallow than an actual sequel.

While I agree with most of what you say, I think your sentimentality toward good horror films has blinded your logic. Of course Hollywood will think only of the money - it is a business, after all. It's rare when an artful, decent film with horror elements emerges from that sweaty pit of degenerates ... actually, my vote goes to 1991's The Silence of the Lambs as being the last great, well-produced, blockbusting, enjoyable-by-all suspense-horror film. Sad, but probably true.

Also, I don't think you're giving modern horror enough credit. Need I remind you of The Beacons of Hope? Films like The Hills Have Eyes not only bolster my appreciation of modern horror, they also lessen my otherwise crippling disgust with re-makes. Yes, they can be done well, and yes, they shall!

That said, I think re-making April Fool's Day with modern make-up effects and a middle-aged cast is a brilliant, compelling idea. And then maybe the twists you considered for the sequel could make their way into the re-make, because personally, I don't give April Fool's Day half as much esteem as you. In fact I was kind of disappointed in it ... except for Amy Steel, of course.

Stacie Ponder said...

I'm confused. Re-making it with the same cast would be sort of a pointless jerk-off, wouldn't it? Why does it need to be remade at all? Yeah, occasionally a decent remake comes along, and remakes are nothing new to horror or Hollywood. But sometimes, what the hell is the point? If writers and producers and other industry types could just get their heads out of their asses for a minute, they'd give their "remake" ideas another half hour of thought and come up with something ORIGINAL.

I mean, I agree with alot of your Beacons of Hope, but let's look at one of two remakes on that list: Dawn of the Dead (I haven't yet seen HILLS so I'll leave that out). I liked the 2004 Dawn. But how was it a remake? HOW?! There was a mall. That was IT, dude. Malls were a new phenomenon in 1978 when the original hit, and sure, Romero used the setting asa commentary on consumer culture and blah blah blah. But in 2004, did the "mall" really have any symbolic meaning? That's debatable. Like I said, I liked the remake, but COME ON. Change the setting and the title and guess what? Entirely new movie! I'm not coming from this with a "don't touch Romero" P.O.V.- more of a "if you're going to change so much anyway, change a little more and make a movie that's yours and yours alone" one.

I know I hold AFD in higher esteem than you, and that's cool. To me, it was a smart, well-acted movie that was completely in the slasher genre and also was refreshing enough to set it apart: in 1986, the twist ending was original.

So, what purpose would a remake serve? That's what I don't get. Honestly think about a re-make of AFD and tell me how that would serve the horror-going public better than a brand new, original movie- sequel or not.

Sentimentality? OK, sure. But what's wrong with that? I don't feel completely blinded by it. I watched High Tension and immediately considered Aja to be, as you put it, a beacon for hope. Why? Because suddenly there was someone who came out of the gates with something original and something to say. That's all I want...and that's what used to happen with horror. There were just as many stinkers out there as there are today, I'm sure. But there was also Craven, Romero, Cronenberg, Landis, Carpenter and the such putting out fresh there's not so much of that, and that's what I bemoan. I'm waiting for someone to take the reins. Like I said, Aja is off to a damn good start.

Believe me, my affection for AFD isn't simply a hold-over from 20 years ago. I'm not saying anyone has to agree with me about it, but I've watched it several times in the last year and, for me, it holds up. There are movies I used to LOVE that don't, and I can tell when affection is nothing more than total nostalgia.

Why remake when you can make new?

Stacie Ponder said...

I need to add that I'm not an idiot, nor do I think Hollywood is going to start making movies out of the kindness of its heart instead of money hunger. It's a business. My point was, here's a great opportunity for originality to show that it's still possible.

"I think your sentimentality toward good horror films has blinded your logic."

I'm so logical, I'm like Mr. motherfucking Spock. I just want good movies.

Sheesh. You, sir, get today's middle finger special!

John Barleycorn said...

I should really start reading what I write before I post it. I didn't mean to piss you off. That "sentimentality and logic" comment merely addressed my whole Hollywood + Money argument ... I didn't mean to say you were a drooling retard or anything like that. Boy, I've been apologizing for my writing a lot lately. But here goes: I'm sorry if I came off snooty or condescending.

Remakes aren't always a good idea, no. My suggestion for a remake was based on my observation that Hollywood is really into doing them right now. Plus I think if you remade April Fool's Day with a middle-aged cast, you'd get a neat combination of the original and something like Gosford Park without the stifling boredom.

I think remakes can be original, which is why it's difficult for a lot of people to see 2004's Dawn of the Dead as a remake. And yeah, it probably should've been a stand-alone movie, but given that it was set in a mall and there were zombies, too many people would be screaming, "But this is exactly like the Romero film!" So maybe the filmmakers decided to skip that argument and make the thing a remake ... or at least keep the original title for their brand new movie.

Again, I'm sorry. I love these Horror Hollywood debates, but I guess I get a little overzealous and don't watch what I say. Fuck and shit.

John Barleycorn said...

Instead of my self-important rant, I should've written:

"Can I co-write the script?"

Stacie Ponder said...

Well, I may not be retarded but I do drool. No harm, no foul.

If I DID let sentimentality rule over logic, I'd have given great reviews to Terror Train and Prom Night- when I was 12 they ruled!

Retro, if you do write a script I'll sing Wind Beneath My Wings to you! Or at least type out the one wants to hear me sing.

Anonymous said...

Dear Stacie Ponder -

I can't read.

Your friend,

Stacie Ponder said...

Dear Hollywood:

Ah, so THAT explains it!

I suggest night classes. Literacy is good.