Welcome to Respawning’s Film & TV Club! The purpose of this is to get a bunch of us together every Wednesday and allow us the chance to chat shit about whatever takes our fancy in the world of Films & TV!
With The Strangers: Prey at Night having just came out in cinemas here in the UK, we’ve taken to hiding behind our couch cushions yet again to look at horror franchises! However, when horror scares you once, is it just as easy for it to scare you twice..? Here’s what we think of horror one-shots suddenly turning into fully fledged franchises!!
I have no problems with thrillers and/or horror titles spawning franchises, so long as the movies that follow attempt to be decent. Which often means finding that sweet spot of what went right in the first movie, introducing new elements that don’t shake things up too much, and if it’s an old franchise they’re adding to, using a little bit of nostalgia appeal.
The problem is, so many series don’t know how to handle being a franchise – it’s either they were never intended as franchises, so they struggle with a follow up, or the execs want to play it safe and the film doesn’t end up worth seeing so the franchise stalls. The Blair Witch Project and Paranormal Activity are prime examples of the former, and the Halloween and Friday the 13th reboots are prime examples of the later. But it’s not impossible – Alien managed to spawn a successful franchise, and the older Friday the 13th and Halloween films are still classics.
It all comes down to whether studios want to try to make a good movie and capitalise off it, or just try to cash in, I guess.
Echoing Chris’ thoughts above, franchises like Paranormal Activity and Insidious spinning off into long-term franchises are something I inherently don’t have a problem with… When it’s done right.
See, the issue with sudden sequels or spinoffs from innovative single films like what happened with Paranormal Activity is, that after a while, these horrifying flicks lose their edge and become laughing stocks; pure imitations of what they once were – Take for instance, The Human Centipede – As silly the film is at a glance, it is infamous for having some of the big screens’ most shocking and disturbing imagery in the history of film; whilst the second helped to continue it’s bloody streak across Hollywood, it’s third film ultimately killed any horror the films had by being outright ridiculous – A one-hundred person human centipede..? Honestly..? It’s almost like they ran out of ideas.
In fact, I feel that’s the biggest flaw when it comes to thriller horrors suddenly turning into franchises – Films that were meticulously planned and engineered to frighten and scare suddenly have to hit gold a second time… And a third… And a fourth… And a fifth… And by that time, you’ve lost what made you enjoyable, unique and interesting. It’s kind of like the Saw films that shared a similar fate…
I am a huge horror fanatic and love all sorts of horror themed films, the feeling of getting scared builds up my adrenaline and just makes me feel alive… I know this might make me seem like a bit of a weirdo point, but I love films that contains a lot of gore and horrific imagery, ironically my first film that sort of delved into this subject was Cannibal Holocaust, and from that filmed led me onto a hundreds of gore-tastic films – Anyway, let’s get into what I’m ranting about today; Final Destination.
The original Final Destination for me wasn’t the best but it did give me a fear of flying though. Final Destination is basically about seeing your death moments before it happens and what happens if you see a gruesome way to die? You run. That is exactly what these characters did and in exchange death was not happy and wanted your blood. This was what each film was about, the feeling that once you defied death, he will always be coming for you.
Final Destinations 3-4 will always have a place in my heart due to the simple reason that the deaths were some of the most dramatic and exhilarating ways to die, but saying that though, Final Destination as a franchise is pretty weak really, although I do enjoy these films, I can understand and see why these films aren’t the strongest. Each film became repetitive and nothing really changed the formula, but not only that, the uses of CGI and special effects had the “Saw Effect”, by which I mean it was so unrealistic that all you could do it laugh – However if you were like me, you’d look past it and just go in expecting harsh deaths, dramatic characters and plots that make you want to pull your hair out at some points, Final Destination is a fun franchise, but we don’t need anymore movies – If you know the story, Final Destination 5 basically wrapped it all up, for better or for worse.
I’m a huge fan of horror films. And horror and thriller films being turned into long running franchises isn’t a new concept. Look at Friday the 13th or Nightmare on Elm Street which are two of my favorite series with two of the most iconic horror villains ever. I don’t really mind series like Paranormal Activity or Insidious because just like those old franchises most of them are pretty shite and there are a few good ones sprinkled here and there. But it feels as if now there isn’t a balance between the oversaturated franchises and the really interesting one time things that you don’t really hear about. Sure you have your It Follows and Babadook everyone once in a while but it seems like they’re so few and far between now. Back then there was stuff like Creepshow and Black Christmas and so many other classics which were legitimately good movies. So I understand why people can get mad at these new horror/thriller franchises. Because there isn’t anything to balance it out with.