The big trend right now in Hollywood is rebooting popular horror franchises but updating them to the modern day with some fun Easter eggs thrown in for old-school fans. Some of these worked well, such as the 2018 Halloween reboot, playing as a sequel to the first movie of the Michael Myers franchise. Others failed, including the 2009 Friday the 13th remake, which reimagined the film for a new generation. Modern-day reboots of movies like Scream, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and Child’s Play saw a polarizing response from fans.
While some of these movies played as direct sequels (TCM), others rebooted the entire idea (Child’s Play). With Hellraiser coming next and a Friday the 13th reboot currently rumored, it might be time to take the slasher franchise back to what made it so popular to begin with — the 1980s.
What Made Friday the 13th So Great?
The first Friday the 13th movie received a lot of credit for setting the stage for what slasher movies looked like over the next decade. It wasn’t the first real slasher movie, as both Black Christmas and Halloween preceded it. However, it took the idea and put it into a campground setting, something that several other movies copied over the 1980s. The movie also hit in an era that wanted to get away from gritty horror and move into something a little silly, campy, and ridiculous. Audiences in the ’80s wanted to see guys in hockey masks killing unlikeable kids in the most gruesome ways possible.
However, things changed in the 1990s. So many bad slasher movies hit after Friday the 13th, and even sequels to the biggest and best franchises ended up with diminishing returns, both in quality and box office success. By the time the 1990s arrived, fans had grown tired of copycat movies, and the once fun campiness had become boring and old-hat. It was time for self-referential horror movies, and, suddenly, the slasher movies that dominated the box office died. However, it is 2022, and what was old is new again.
Friday the 13th Needs To Look To Its Past
There has already been a reboot of Friday the 13th, and it was a good slasher movie. The problem is that the movie failed to bring people to theaters to watch it, even with its leading actor being popular Supernatural star Jared Padalecki. However, that might have been part of the problem. No one in 2009 wanted to see a glossy Friday the 13th movie with a known star in the lead. Fans wanted to see Jason killing people in gruesome and possibly campy ways. While Jason X received few positive reviews, fans still raved about the camp scene in the holodeck. Nostalgia sold the moment.
That is something that filmmakers remaking Friday the 13th need to consider. No one wants to see the new movie exist with nothing but nostalgia and campy moments. However, as Stranger Things proved, fans still see the 1980s with rose-colored glasses, and that might be what the slasher reboots need more than anything. In the ’80s, society faced the Cold War and the satanic scare, and the slasher movies played into those fears by making them look as over-the-top as possible. Bringing something like Friday the 13th back to the world of the ’80s would do more than just regurgitate Jason killing kids. Halloween Kills had Michael Myers involved in some disturbing moments, but it wasn’t enough for critics or fans. Having Jason kill people in the bright, colorful excess of the 1980s might be exactly what the genre needs to bring the slashers back to life again.