Wednesday, December 2, 2015

The Long Awaited Part 15

NaNoWriMo 2015: The Horrorphiles, Part 15
By Stephanie Thompson; 1,745 words

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Chapter 15 (where I give up), continued

She took a deep breath and smiled over brightly. Last night she didn’t want to be any place else in the world but this morning she couldn’t imagine a worse place to be. Was this what she really wanted in life? To have this discussion for the millionth time with Dan Brown, like the two other panelist would change anything?  And what was the point anyway? Talk, talk, talk wouldn’t do anything to change whatever Hollywood was going to make next. Her head throbbed, throbbed, throbbed.

“Remakes have been a part of Hollywood movies basically since the inception of Hollywood. But these days audiences have a longer memories with ever greater access to huge catalogs of movies from big studios and little ones alike. Remakes, reboots, and reimagining are met with laughs and derision before they even reach the theater.  Until Chris Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, a Batman movie reboot less than ten years after the last Batman movie, resuscitated the comic book/superhero genre with a little help from Ironman.” (So obvi, brush up on some facts)

She said all of this without the passion she’d hoped to deliver it with. It sounded like she was reading it straight off a page, like a bored eighth grader giving a social studies report. Except she didn’t have a page, so she instead had a dead stare at the audience. And the giant smile, she forgot about the smile. She must have looked insane. But they all looked at her captivated, waiting for her point.

“So are remakes really the bane of the horror genre? Are they the dead weight dragging the whole genre down in respectability? Are they just cash grabs of studios desperate to keep the copyrights to their franchises? Or are they the last pumps of a defibrillator trying to bring back life to a dying genre?”

“I take the point of view that not only are they good for the genre in general but until the genre is wrenched from the likes of Paranormal Activity and low budget mockbuster of Asylum Pictures, remakes are the life blood of horror. Remakes keep certain beloved franchises alive, they bridge the present with the past, bring old fans back to the box office and introduce new fans to something they might otherwise not have experienced. If it weren’t for the remake of House of Wax I wouldn’t have been curious about the original and I wouldn’t have discovered the work of Vincent Price. I would have missed Theater of Blood and The Revenge of Dr. Phibes  two of my favorite movies today. And I was already a huge horror fan at the time. Besides without the (whatever year) House of Wax, how else would we get the enjoy the on-screen murder of Paris Hilton.”

The audience and other panelists laughed, again except for Dan who could apparently couldn’t keep his ire down any longer.

“I’m sorry but can I just say that despite Veronica’s obvious sentimental attachment to House of Wax, remakes are always the worse.”

Veronica kept a pleasant look on her face but she wanted to choke Dan out right there. She could see it clearly in her mind, almost clearer than she could see the room around her. He face bloated and red, spittle on his lips, eyes bulging. She could see it like her hands were wrapped around his neck right now.

“Worse for the genre, worse for movies in general. If they would focus on better movies instead of rehashing the old stuff, horror would have a great guaranteed future.”

She interrupted him just as he’d done to her but the she didn’t have an argument just a litany of film titles. “David Cronenburg’s The Fly, Rob Zombie’s Halloween, Last House on the Left, The Mummy, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, House on Haunted Hill, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Psycho, Nightmare on Elm Street, Evil Dead, Friday the 13th, Thirteen Ghosts, The Haunting, and so on and so forth. The list goes on and on and on. Frankenstein’s Monster and Dracula are horror staple characters, remade again and again. And The Mummy remake not only spawned a successful trilogy but also a spin-off trilogy (quadrilogy?) in Scorpion King.

Dan didn’t say anything as she paused to breath, then she continued. “Obviously not all of these movies are gems. I hate the Nightmare on Elm Street attempt at a reboot. But I can’t wait until somebody tries again. Remakes and Reboots allow directors and other film fans put their own stamp on horror and an already established franchised. It’s been a crutch of the genre for years, it’s far from killing it off.”

Now she didn’t sound passionate, intelligent, and dedicated like how she wanted. Instead, she sounded pissed. Nothing was going how she’d planned today. Had any of it gone how she’d planned since she got here? Adam and Mr. Peabody looked amused, as usual, but she couldn’t read the expressions of everybody else as their faces had gone sideways into skeleton again.

“So, gentlemen,” she indicated to her left, practically turn her back on Dan. “Where do you guys stand on remakes and attempts at reboots?”

“See, just the fact that you said attempts at reboots shows that your basic argument is flawed. Besides The Mummy which wasn’t even remade into a new horror film but an action flick, no other reboot has worked in the genre and it won’t. Next, please. Let’s move on to new better movies.”

He sat back with his arms crossed like no one could top that in all the world of great debaters. Inside her smile, Ronny bit her tongue until there was the light taste of copper. She’d decided to count to 10 before responding to Dan and she wasn’t sure she would make. Luckily, the Movie Club guy had something to say.

“Every genre has a certain amount of anything it can handle. The real difference between the Dark Knight Trilogy and he superhero genre and say the attempted Nightmare on Elm Street reboot was that Dark Knight changed the way the world thought about superhero movies. They were always campy before, in one way or another, even Tim Burton’s Batman had some camp in it. Batman Begins however was full grit straight through and really reached it’s peak with The Dark Knight. In A Nightmare on Elm Street, while they tried to remake the movie for a contemporary audience and (what’s his face) made a great, scarier Freddy, but on the whole they didn’t try to change any aspect of horror. It was like they tried for grit but chickened out and went for twist ending instead and then chickened out again and ended up with mud.”

“Whether it’s through remakes or new films, what the genre needs is directors, producers, and production companies to make the strong and bold choices when it comes to their products. The genre can support whatever the audience, it’s fans will pay for.”

Dan kept tut-tuting that guy but he didn’t interrupt him or argue about his word choices. And finally paranormal activity hunter guy got in the action.

“I don’t understand a successful franchise like Paranormal Activity is getting dumped on. That series is probably what’s keeping horror alive in theaters. (Find some numbers for these dumb movies).”
Suddenly everyone had something to say. All three of the other panelist said something along the lines of  “Nobody wants to  watch two hours of security videos leading to one big jump scare at the end.”

“It’s the realistic nature that frightens people and why they keep coming back to the theater. It builds suspense and terror slowly over the course of the film until the final ultimate horror reveals itself and it’s unstoppable. It happens to normal people, normal families, in everyday suburbia It’s the gothic horror of the 21st century.”

Ronny looked at [some timepiece] and thought it was a good time as any to call the panelist time to an end and open it up to the audience. She was kind of interested to see what a bunch of skeletons would say.

“All right folks on that note I think all the panelist have voiced their opinion on the topic of remakes and reboots in horror and I’d like to. . .”

“Just one more thing,” Dan interrupted. “I don’t know what he says yet. . . But obviously something obnoxious and not worth the interruption or life.”

Ronny was honestly concerned that she was going to bite her tongue off. She decided if she did she would spit it out right on Dan’s stupid, stupid face. She kept her eyes pointedly on a spot on the wall because she thought if she did look at him she would just spit regular spit on him. She wondered briefly if steam was coming out of her ears and figured anything was possible as the audience was still a collection of skulls and (something something something).

“Ok, so NOW that we’re done. Are there any questions, opinions, comments?”

As soon as the questions started Veronica wanted to run from the room. Her face hurt from the force of her smile. It felt like the room was full Dan-o-philes instead of Horrorphiles. 
Why doesn’t your website talk about Walking Dead, American Horror Show, Vampire Diaries? Why do you do more independent movie reviews? And other questions that sound more like Dan take down talking points rather than discourse on topic.

Paranormal Activity Hunter guy managed to turn every answer towards a self-promotion moment. Movie Club Travis seemed just as much at a loss as she was. Dan just leaned back with his crossed arms again and that smug I told you so look on his face. She was out of violent daydreams for what she wanted to do to him. But she definitely wanted slap the amused looks off the faces of the gruesome twosome, Gregory Peabody and Adam, who both looked the wanted to laugh. There was even a chance that they were snickering to each other, that’s how much they seem to be enjoying the complete shit show the panel was.

By the time she called the session to a close and did leave the room, Ronny was two breaths away from tears. She went straight to her room, retrieved her phone, and ran to her car—the last place she’d had an signal.

Keep Reading with Part 16

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