Unlocking the Vault / By T.J. TranchellTim Burton, even with whatever Disneyfied claptrap he’s produced for the last few years, remains a revered figure this time of year.
Even my son knows the first few lines to “This is Halloween” and can recognize Jack Skellington like other kids recognize Mickey Mouse. But I get nervous whenever I see a story about “Beetlejuice 2” and how Burton and Michael Keaton are on board.
First of all, I never believe Hollywood rumors until I see a trailer. I’ve been burned too many times by Stephen King projects that never came to fruition. (Not so much a problem lately.)
Nothing is sacred any more. Beetlejuice, with as often as we’ve said his name, should have returned two decades ago, been put back, released again, and finally laid to rest on home video like a number of other 1980s and ’90s movies that have been remake fodder recently.
OK, I’ve been to “IT” twice and I want to see “Blade Runner 2049,” and there are a handful of movies I’d like to see certain directors try to remake, to see what their vision of a certain story might be.
Those tend to be the horror movies that are the most popular among the remake crowd, too. Not all of them have been successful. The “Nightmare on Elm Street” remake was hot trash. But I liked both of Rob Zombie’s “Halloween” movies.
Like with “Beetlejuice,” we need to take a moment and ask, “Why?” when it comes to “Halloween.” Why hire Jamie Lee Curtis to come back? Why pretend all the other sequels never happened? (There’s a good reason for that, and it’s because not many of them were any good.)
“Beetlejuice” doesn’t have a litany of sequels to embrace or ignore, but the evil doll Chucky does. Instead of denying the past, producer/director Don Mancini gave it a big warm hug in “Cult of Chucky.” Of course, that movie went straight to Netflix and Blu-ray, whereas the new “Halloween” and proposed “Beetlejuice” movies are aiming for your box office dollars.
A “Beetlejuice” sequel would make a bunch of money its opening weekend. If it’s good, it would make a bunch more. Same with the new “Halloween.” But you know what made the box office happy? “Get Out,” from back in the winter and “Happy Death Day,” the new slasher film released on Friday the 13th. When it comes out on Oct. 27, “Jigsaw” will probably make back its budget that weekend, and it’s the eighth entry in a franchise that was thought dead seven years ago after a few years of declining returns.
I’d probably go to a “Beetlejuice” sequel, and I’ll go to the new “Halloween,” which only proves that I’m part of the problem. If the wave of original horror films and new adaptations of classic horror novels we’ve been seeing in 2017 continues, I might not have to rely on remakes and sequels past their due date. Instead, we can all rejoice with new monsters.
Tranchell is a writer and freelance journalist in Moscow. He has written a couple scary books; details are available on those at tjtranchell.com. Halloween is his favorite holiday, and his favorite horror remakes are John Carpenter’s “The Thing” and the 2004 “Dawn of the Dead.” What movies do you think should or should never be remade? Let’s talk: firstname.lastname@example.org.