We live in a time where remakes have become more of a way of life instead of an awesome, unforeseen treat. Sometimes it’s a nice idea to reintroduce an old film’s story to a new generation, and sometimes, it’s a complete waste of time.
Whether it’s a complete lack of originality or just a simple struggle to come up with something by ones self, the film industry has been “borrowing” stories from other sources for years. A lot of the movies we see are either adapting from books, television, or even based on “true stories” or “true events” instead of entirely taken from one’s own imagination. Sometimes a studio gets lucky and the film becomes a hit! Then there are others that don’t always do so well–and when it comes to horror movies, more often than not, the end result turns out to be more of the latter. However, the question I’m more interested in answering here is: Is the remake’s poster design scary enough for a newer generation?
1. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
The scariest thing about The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was the studio’s marketing strategy to sell this movie as a true story. (Spoiler alert: it’s not). That aside, the premise of the movie, which has to do with being stuck in some random part of Texas and having cannibals let loose their deformed family member who chases you with a chainsaw and will inevitably murder you, is absolutely terrifying.
The original film’s poster explicitly lets the potential movie-goer exactly what would be in store for them upon the film’s viewing. The remake’s poster on the other hand tries to pull you in by relying solely on intrigue. Leatherface’s mask is partially viewable and is either a bit blurry or just non-existent. I’d say with this film, if you don’t know what it’s about, you may not be able to figure out without first having seen the trailer what it is–or even why it is that you’re seeing what you’re looking at and why you should be scared.
Even if you haven’t seen the film Carrie, it’s almost guaranteed that the one part of the movie you know is when blood is spilled on her at a school dance and then she proceeds to lose it. As you can see from both the original and remake film’s posters, they both focus on that one pivotal scene.
Personally, I don’t believe that seeing the image of a girl covered in fake blood is a scary thing–unless we’re talking about the original film poster because the look in Carrie’s eyes in the 1976 version is a bit creepy. 2013 Carrie has nothing on 1976 Carrie’s death gaze.
3. When A Stranger Calls
When a Stranger Calls is the story of a girl who’s babysitting and receives a call from a creepy stranger who happens to be a lot closer than the babysitter realizes. Although I’ve never lived in the suburbs, I can understand why the concept of this story can be deemed frightening. Arguably, receiving unwanted, harassing phone calls and discovering that they’re in close proximity to you could be terrifying in any situation.
The 2006 film’s poster doesn’t seem anywhere scary enough. The only semblance of scary within the poster could said to be the arm within it. The coloring of it seems to suggest that it could belong to a long dead, decaying body. The image within the cellphone of a screaming, terrified girl is just a forced attempt at reminding the viewer that this is supposed to be a horror film.
4. Evil Dead
The Evil Dead, which is more well known for its campy sequel, is actually a pretty decently terrifying movie, in my opinion. Even though the special effects are bad and low budget, it does not at all take away from the horror within its 85 minute runtime (give or take).
Its remake, titles Evil Dead, is almost as scary as the original, however, its movie poster isn’t as successful in inflicting terror into its viewer. Perhaps the black and white image of the girl from behind could have worked, but to me, it instead comes off as over confident with its tagline, “The most terrifying film you will ever experience.”
At times, playing on a person’s specific fear can be effective. In the case of 2015’s Poltergeist remake, this is true. The single close-up image of a toy clown with minimal lighting could be considered just as creepy, if not creepier than the film’s original film.
6. A Nightmare on Elm Street
A Nightmare on Elm Street for years was one of the most frightening movies in my eyes. I mean, what couldn’t be considered terrifying about a man who comes after you in your dreams and can manage to kill you not only there, but also in the real world?
The remake’s poster using the feeling of anticipation to sell their film. With every popular horror film that spans more sequels than it needs, there are always fans of the franchise that will want to see every incarnation created for their favorite character. 2010’s A Nightmare on Elm Street is no exception. Freddy Krueger’s character is not only well-known but very much liked for his unique powers and comedic personality. I would think that the 2015 poster was made for fanboys who were all to eager to see what a new Freddy was to be like.
7. The Ring
The Ring, originally made for the Japanese market and titled Ringu, takes the idea of a chain letter and changes it to a chain tape that, upon viewing, will guarantee your death within a week if you don’t share it with another. Unless you watch the film, you won’t automatically understand what the image of the ring in the remake’s poster represents in the film. Without that bit of information, it just looks like a lame, boing ring with the movie’s title within it, and if you don’t know that, what’s so scary about a ring of light anyway?
8. The Grudge
The Grudge is another film on this list that was remade from a Japanese film. Its original version, Ju-On, is based on the belief of a curse that forms within a home where a person dies with a deep and powerful rage, and anyone who steps foot in that house is automatically cursed and will in fact end up dying, because the “grudge” is inescapable.
Just like The Ring, you must know more about The Grudge in order to get why what you see is supposed to scare you. By itself, the image of seeing a person’s single eye through their hair isn’t as scary as it’s intended to be. If I hadn’t even seen a trailer for the film, I would just automatically assume she was just a girl that was full of fear and nothing more.
Based on the Spanish film Rec, Quarantine is a found footage film that involves a news journalist following a couple of firefighters for a story. When they get an emergency call, the reporter and her cameraman follow close behind. When they arrive on the scene, things aren’t normal or routine at all when the CDC steps in and locks down the apartment building they’re in. Something is wrong with its residence and there’s nothing anyone can do to escape it.
Quarantine‘s poster relies on its added text on the top of the poster to allow the viewer to make sense of what they poster’s movie is about. If it wasn’t for the copy on the poster setting up the movie for me, I would have to make my own assumptions about the film. Like instead of my understanding it being a found footage film, I would have thought it was a sci-fi film where aliens could be killing off people of the human race perhaps.