Just in time for the Halloween season, director Kimberly Peirce’s new rendition of the classic horror film, Carrie, will hit U.S. theaters on Oct. 18. The second big screen adaptation to Stephen King’s popular novel will star Chloe Grace Moretz and Julianne Moore. The story revolves around the telekinetic abilities of a high school outcast, who uses her power to inflict revenge upon her tormenting peers. In order to promote the upcoming film, producers have been making use of an intense marketing campaign that has made heavy use of modern social media. One social media promotion that attracted much attention occurred when a prank was played in a New York coffee shop. A team of promoters staged a telekinetic altercation between a girl and a patron, which terrified bystanders and spread wildly across the Internet. Indeed, the film producers have succeeded in creating a buzz about their product, but one must question whether or not the product is worth selling in the first place.
Upon hearing about the upcoming adaptation to Carrie, Stephen King himself had doubts.
“The real question is why, when the original is so good?” King said in an interview with Entertainment Weekly.
King, the modern day monarch of horror, just may be on to something. In the past 15 years, the entertainment world has ungracefully spat out reboots to A Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween, Friday the 13th, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and Psycho. None of these productions had a positive end result. According to popular movie rating website Rotten Tomatoes, the original versions of these films averaged an 87 percent in positive feedback from audiences compared to an embarrassing 28 percent for the remakes.
The numbers show that the entertainment industry is employing a tired formula in the horror realm. Film and TV companies alike relentlessly turn to productions that either contain cliché plots about overdone monsters such as zombies or vampires, or are recycled ideas entirely such as the above reboots.
Perhaps just as upsetting as the industry’s lack of originality is the fact that it has also lost touch with what is truly frightening. Rather than construct a creative story that intelligently draws the viewer into a terrifying world of powerful plot points and characters with whom they can emphasize, we receive a grotesque excess of gore, nudity, and obligatory scenes in which the villain jumps out of hiding to startle the audience. On the whole, this formula is neither clever, nor difficult to write, in fact, it is quite lazy.
Make no mistake, the Carrie reboot will not reap as much acclaim as the original. This is because it is time to go back to the roots of ingenuity, and to create a new monster in itself. Put the entertainment industry on notice, the people are hungry for something original.