Saturated to submission

Do any of these upcoming films sound familiar? The Fog, House of Wax, The Amityville Horror, The Hills Have Eyes or Dark Water all are remakes of foreign, obscure or forgotten horror films.

And for the most part, they’re completely unnecessary, simply made for a quick cash-in and not with the fans’ best interests at heart. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was a botched effort, while Zach Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead was refreshingly humorous and added exciting elements that were absent from the original, in turn becoming a strikingly original remake.

The genre has lost all originality as Hollywood turns to proven successes to launch new films. The Amityville Horror follows Massacre and Dawn as another high-profile horror remake. The original Massacre and Dawn were cult classics that lived longer than some Academy Award winners and created ravenous fan bases, something that has eluded The Amityville Horror.

Remakes remind us why the originals were so frightening and allow horror fans an opportunity to see how time and technological advances would change these pictures. The Amityville Horror, on the other hand, has grown weaker as the film itself has become a joke. It’s no longer scary, shocking or even slightly entertaining, but the Ryan Reynolds-led remake hopes to breathe new life into this dead franchise. But where intrigue drove masses to see Massacre and Dawn, the buzz has been dead silent about Amityville, which may result in a disastrous opening weekend.

The remakes causing the biggest stir stateside are Japanese imports. The Ring, The Grudge and the forthcoming Dark Water have captivated audiences with their tales of haunted houses and killer videotapes. The Ring introduced viewers to a terror never seen before in an American horror film, and despite its numerous plot holes the film succeeded in creating positive word of mouth. The use of a new idea that, while slightly illogical, will captivate audiences who’ve seen it all before has helped both The Ring and The Grudge gross more than $110 million domestically.

With the success of these remakes, studio heads are digging deep into their archives with Revolution Studio’s The Fog, Warner Bros.’ House of Wax and Fox Searchlight’s recent acquisition of The Hills Have Eyes. Apparently, quality is lacking when studios have to delve into the horror catalog, uncovering cult hits such as 1977’s The Hills Have Eyes, which was Wes Craven’s sophomore effort as director after shocking the nation with his disturbing The Last House on the Left. One bright spot is being able to see that annoying hotel heiress Paris Hilton finally get what’s coming to her, well, at least onscreen.

In a year crammed with mediocre horror films (White Noise, Hide and Seek) and better-scrapped sequels (Ring Two, Saw 2), movie enthusiasts would be much happier with the gaggle of completely wasteful remakes that serve only to tarnish the reputation of the originals (The Stepford Wives, Assault on Precinct 13).

Rather than fill a schedule with God-awful flicks, more time should be spent on developing original, daring concepts and trying to move the genre in a new direction instead of the cliché-driven pit it has regretfully become.