(Photo by New Line Cinema/courtesy Everett Collection)

All A Nightmare on Elm Street Movies Ranked

Silent creepers, maniacal mumblers, and mute supernatural freaks: Your typical ’80s slasher fiend had problems verbalizing their issues with the world. Probably why as horny teens were out partying, they were studying the blade. Not Freddy Krueger though, who gave crackly voice to the slasher as a talky dream stalker by turns literate, wisecracking, and menacing. Of course, it took a few sequels to get the character to find a sense of humor. In the original 1984 A Nightmare on Elm Street, he was just plain genuinely terrifying, as writer/director Wes Craven sought to inject operatic weight into the slasher formula, distorting fantasy and reality to harass the viewer into questioning their own sanity.

After the original’s box office success, Freddy’s Revenge was fast-tracked for release the following year to the moans of critics, who had designated the first movie Certified Fresh. But Robert Englund as Freddy was clearly having a blast, enough to get him back for the best direct sequel, 1987’s Dream Warriors. A year after that, action director Renny Harlin came in for The Dream Master to put an exciting spin on things. Englund remained a steady, creepy joy through these, and that’s the benefit of having a jabbering weirdo as your villain: It’s a character that can evolve and adapt. Jason and Michael can’t.

Of course, having a star performer can only get you so far when the material starts really failing, like nails-in-the-coffin efforts The Dream Child and Freddy’s Dead. Krueger as a character had become too outsized by this point (he additionally had a TV career on the decent Freddy’s Nightmares), and was effectively serving now as an anti-hero. Three years Dead, Craven would return to direct 1994’s meta New Nightmare, set literally in our world where the Elm Street movies are just that: Movies…until the killings start happening for real. Critics dug the twist, but the stench of past Nightmare sequels kept audiences away, and horror in general had a tough go at in the ’90s. Craven himself would turn the genre’s fortunes around with Scream, using the same post-modern technique.

Eleven years after New Nightmare, the death-match horror fans had been clamoring for hit theaters: Freddy vs. Jason. Director Ronny Yu gives the movie a bouncing, comic book movie sensibility, with some carefully crafted action sequences, surrounded by a ridiculous mystery plot. Was it a fitting swan song for Englund as Freddy? Well, you’re just going to have to take what you can get, because the franchise has slumbered since, except for a 2010 remake, starring Jackie Earle Haley hot off of Watchmen. It may be eternal sleep for Freddy Krueger, but perchance we’ll meet again in our dreams as we go through all A Nightmare on Elm Street movies, ranked by Tomatometer!

#9
Adjusted Score: 21374%
Critics Consensus: Visually faithful but lacking the depth and subversive twists that made the original so memorable, the Nightmare on Elm Street remake lives up to its title in the worst possible way.
Synopsis: Teenagers Nancy, Quentin, Kris, Jesse and Dean are all neighborhood friends who begin having the same dream of a horribly... [More]
Directed By: Samuel Bayer

#8
Adjusted Score: 22867%
Critics Consensus: Reducing the once-terrifying Dream Reaper into a goofy caricature, this joyless climax will leave audiences hoping Freddy stays dead.
Synopsis: Murderous ghoul Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund) has slaughtered every last child in his hometown. He ventures on to a new... [More]
Directed By: Rachel Talalay

#7
Adjusted Score: 31006%
Critics Consensus: A Nightmare on Elm Street feels exhausted by this cheesy fifth entry, bogged down by a convoluted mythology while showing none of the chilling technique that kicked off the franchise.
Synopsis: The fifth installment of the popular franchise focuses on Alice (Lisa Wilcox), a survivor of the fourth, who believes Freddy... [More]
Directed By: Stephen Hopkins

#6

Freddy vs. Jason (2003)
41%

#6
Adjusted Score: 46362%
Critics Consensus: Fans of the two horror franchises will enjoy this showdown. But for everyone else, it's the same old slice and dice.
Synopsis: Two horror icons face off in this supernatural movie. Disfigured serial killer Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund), who attacks his victims... [More]
Directed By: Ronny Yu

#5
Adjusted Score: 42824%
Critics Consensus: An intriguing subtext of repressed sexuality gives Freddy's Revenge some texture, but the Nightmare loses its edge in a sequel that lacks convincing performances or memorable scares.
Synopsis: Jesse Walsh (Mark Patton) moves with his family into the home of the lone survivor from a series of attacks... [More]
Directed By: Jack Sholder

#4
Adjusted Score: 52598%
Critics Consensus: A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master marks a relative high point in this franchise's bumpy creative journey, although the original remains far superior.
Synopsis: Grotesque Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund) gives some more suburban teenagers something to dream about.... [More]
Directed By: Renny Harlin

#3
Adjusted Score: 74456%
Critics Consensus: A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors offers an imaginative and surprisingly satisfying rebound for a franchise already starting to succumb to sequelitis.
Synopsis: During a hallucinatory incident, young Kristen Parker (Patricia Arquette) has her wrists slashed by dream-stalking monster Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund).... [More]
Directed By: Chuck Russell

#2
Adjusted Score: 82167%
Critics Consensus: Wes Craven's New Nightmare adds an unexpectedly satisfying - not to mention intelligent - meta layer to a horror franchise that had long since lost its way.
Synopsis: Reality and fantasy meet in unsettling ways in this installment of the long-running horror series, which finds director Wes Craven... [More]
Directed By: Wes Craven

#1
Adjusted Score: 98227%
Critics Consensus: Wes Craven's intelligent premise, combined with the horrifying visual appearance of Freddy Krueger, still causes nightmares to this day.
Synopsis: In Wes Craven's classic slasher film, several Midwestern teenagers fall prey to Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund), a disfigured midnight mangler... [More]
Directed By: Wes Craven

This feature is by Catherine Young, the current USC Annenberg-Rotten Tomatoes Digital Innovation and Entertainment Criticism fellow, a partnership with the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. Cate is writing on the representation of women in film. 

Horror movie fans will be familiar with the concept of the Final Girl. The term was originally conceived in 1992 by Carol J. Clover as a way to describe the traits of the sole female victim who remains alive to tell the story of a film’s violent crime – or many violent crimes. Clover’s central idea was that, in the films where the trope is evident, the viewer initially sees the Final Girl through the killer’s perspective, but that partway through the movie, they begin to identify directly with her instead.

Final Girls illustrated the moral split between the chaste and the virtuous. You know the deal – the hard-drinking, promiscuous girl dies first, and the demure, virginal girl survives to take down the murderer. She’s the final one standing. Pop culture is replete with characters that fit the bill – Jess Bradford in the original Black Christmas, Sally Hardesty in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Nancy Thompson in The Nightmare on Elm Street – and their existence has become as integral to the slasher genre as the killers themselves.

Lionsgate/Courtesy Everett Collection

(Photo by Lionsgate/Courtesy Everett Collection)

But that was then and this is now. The original Final Girl is slowly but surely being crowded out by a newer, more progressive iteration that acknowledges the restrictive ideas that initially gave birth to her. Over the last couple of decades, and particularly in the last 10 years, the last girl standing has looked a lot different from the final girls of the past. Progressively, in films like ScreamThe Cabin In The Woods and It Follows, final girls have complicated the existing frame of the trope by pushing against its restrictions. 

Whether it’s by having sex, refusing to be constricted by archaic ideas of femininity, or simply by teaming up to fight together, these women now survive despite leading lives the genre used to consider wholly immoral and in need of corrective punishment – they’re a new kind of Final Girl. The Final Girls who were introduced in the 1970s and 1980s have become more nuanced over time, and that progress paved the way for the Finals Girls of Ready or Not and 2019’s Black Christmas who directly confront issues of misogyny and sex negativity.

In some ways, the New Final Girl is almost the original Final Girl’s polar opposite. Rather than surviving because of her innocence, naïveté or virginity, the New Final Girl is the woman who makes it to the end of the film alive specifically because of her rejection of the old norms about what makes a woman morally deserving. The New Final Girl embraces drink, drugs, and sex and defends her engagement in each of them. She insists on being seen as a full human being and actively, often violently defends her right to do so. Most of all, the New Final Girl is still an active participant in her own survival – she knows the original Final Girl shouldn’t have had to sand off her edges to stay alive. The New Final Girl is not a virginal survivor but an intentional fighter who asserts her right to exist despite perceived moral flaws.

 © Universal /Courtesy Everett Collection

(Photo by © Universal /Courtesy Everett Collection)

In the 2019 sequel slasher Happy Death Day 2U, Tree Gelbman (Jessica Rothe) finds herself once again stuck in the murderous time loop of the first film. Over and over, she relives the same day, and it ends when she is brutally murdered by a serial killer known as Babyface. In the first film, the culprit is Tree’s sorority sister and roommate Lori (Ruby Modine). The two women are both having an affair with the same married professor, and Lori’s jealousy puts Tree in her crosshairs. In the sequel, Babyface is none other than the philandering professor himself, trying to eliminate any evidence of his transgressions.

What makes Tree’s Final Girl status so interesting is that she begins the story as one of the “immoral women” who would usually die in a thriller. Tree is, by all accounts, a typical sorority mean girl. When we meet her, she is recovering from a night of partying and on her way to meet the professor she’s carrying on with. And in fact, she does die, over and over again, punished for her ruthlessness, immorality, and general misbehavior. But through the mechanics of the film itself, she evolves into a New Final Girl through sheer determination. 

© Universal /Courtesy Everett Collection

(Photo by © Universal /Courtesy Everett Collection)

In both films, Tree breaks her loop and returns to her life not by becoming more virtuous, but by becoming a more compassionate and considerate person. She improves and grows as a character – including ending her affair – not because those things make her unworthy of redemption, but because they are not the best choices for her as a person. She undergoes significant character growth without ever placing a moral frame on her sexuality or femininity. And through each of the infinite deaths it takes her to get there, she plots and schemes to find her killer and thwart them, determined to prevent her eventual death and save herself. 

Tree is a novel subversion of the trope because it’s her death itself that furthers her character growth. Several times, she intentionally kills herself in service of a larger goal; sometimes to gather more information about her situation and sometimes to undo the murders of other characters. As a result, her deaths then become an intentional sacrifice that signals her increasing virtue, instead of confirming its absence. It’s a large departure from the way the original Final Girls functioned in films like these.

© Universal/courtesy Everett Collection

(Photo by )

Similarly, the evolution of Halloween’s Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) into a New Final Girl in the film’s 2018 sequel of the same name is particularly notable because the character’s first iteration was in many ways the definitive final girl – most other examples are direct descendants of her legacy. In the first film, Strode is left as the sole survivor of the serial killer Michael Myers’ murder spree – the only young woman in the film who chose to abstain from the usual vices. Her survival largely conformed to expectations for women in horror at the time, and helped to cement the trope in the genre.

But in the film’s most recent sequel – which retcons several that had come before –Laurie is now an older woman, driven to extremes by her fixation on stopping Myers’ return. In the 40 years since the events of the first film, Laurie has grown into an obsessive, battle-worn veteran of the war in her own mind. She may not be having sex or doing drugs, but she’s far from the pure, “likable” babysitter we met decades earlier. She is convinced that Myers will return and has devoted her life to preparing for that eventuality. In the process she has lost custody of her daughter and become estranged from her daughter’s family. She is perceived as a lonely old woman too traumatized by her past to move on. 

© Universal/courtesy Everett Collection

(Photo by )

Of course, Myers does eventually return. But this time Laurie is ready for him, having rigged her entire house to trap and kill him. Whereas in 1978 she was permitted to survive by virtue of her moral purity, in 2018 she fights like hell for that survival, taking active steps to make sure that Myers can no longer victimize her. She takes the lead in tracking Myers down and trapping him on her home turf. After spending years contemplating and preparing for the return of his torment, Laurie has transformed herself into the Ultimate Final Girl through sheer force of will. She has no intention of being defeated yet again.

Critically, Laurie must also protect her daughter Karen (Judy Greer) and granddaughter Allyson (Virginia Gardener) this time around, folding them into a generational legacy of victimization and defense. When the threat they have dismissed for so long reveals itself to be real, they join forces with Laurie to fight and eliminate it – Myers is now a specter that haunts them all, the source of their estrangement and the origin of their familial trauma. Defeating Myers together connects the women as Final Girls of a new generation, forcing them all to overlook their own and each other’s flaws in order to face the embodiment of their fractured relationships. Laurie leads the charge, but her family takes up her mantle. 

This isn’t to say that the old trope never survives. In fact, Allyson’s best friend Vicky is killed during a babysitting job soon after letting her wayward boyfriend into the house. It wouldn’t be a stretch to interpret her death as the same kind of stark moral judgement that historically happened in slasher films. This is especially true given the contrast with Allyson’s own encounter with Myers. After her boyfriend’s best friend inappropriately propositions her, he is immediately murdered while she survives. His overeager instinct to breach her consent should absolutely have been corrected, but death is a disproportionate response. The message couldn’t be clearer: all sexual impulses exist along the same punishable continuum, regardless of how welcome they might be to the participants involved.

 

© Neon /Courtesy Everett Collection

(Photo by © Neon /Courtesy Everett Collection)

One of the starkest examples of this shift in recent years is 2018’s Assassination Nation, which explored the trope in thrilling style. Set in conservative Salem, the movie focuses on a group of teen girls who find themselves at the center of a small-town lynch mob when they are blamed for the release of the community’s private information. The girls are not guilty of the mass doxing, but their reputations as “loose women” make them ideal targets for the ire and anger of the town’s men and boys. 

The girls — Lily (Odessa Young), Sarah (Suki Waterhouse), Bex (Hari Nef), and Em (Abra) – are known at their high school for their skimpy outfits, their questionable choices in boys, and their perceived promiscuity. They are open about and proud of their burgeoning sexuality and enjoy exploring their relationships to the men in their lives. Lily is dating an abusive high school boy and carrying on an illicit affair with a married neighbor. Bex is trans and keeping her relationship with the popular football player a secret at his request. Sarah and Em are living with their mother Nance, who is implied to be operating a brothel out of her home. 

When the community devolves into ultraviolence, the citizens hunt the girls across the town, determined to punish them for being forced to confront their own once-private sexual shames. As the balance of power shifts, the horror genre tropes follow in quick succession. From a coordinated home invasion to a horde of masked killers to the use of guns and baseballs bats — the most American of weapons — the girls suddenly find themselves in the middle of their very own slasher film.

© Neon /Courtesy Everett Collection

(Photo by © Neon /Courtesy Everett Collection)

At another time, all four of these women would be fated to die before the credits rolled. Their proximity to vice marks them as fallen women, and only the morally pure survive the transformative power of abject terror. But as New Final Girls, all four of them not only survive but continue on to restore order to the town. The girls rescue each other from the outsized violence the men are trying to inflict on them (including an attempted rape and hanging) and take up arms to defend themselves both literally and in abstract. The film ends as they deliver a call to action to the town’s girls, surrounded by bodies and covered in glitter, both claiming the righteousness of their femininity and rejecting the ubiquity of patriarchal terror. Through female solidarity they all survive and mete out the violence necessary to do so. 

Assassination Nation is unique in that the girls are explicitly targeted because of their sexuality – usually, this aspect of the genre is left as subtext. But here, the trope is almost deconstructed by bringing both the reasons for their attack and subsequent defense to the surface. They become New Final Girls because, given the plot constraints, their only options are to transform themselves or die. 

© Universal Pictures / courtesy Everett Collection

(Photo by © Universal Pictures / courtesy Everett Collection)

The New Final Girl is a natural evolution of the original trope. Stories are becoming more egalitarian, and with that comes a necessary examination of the moral dimension of the traditional way women are depicted on film. But in the end, all these Final Girls aren’t as different from each other as we might think. The virtuous distinction that we make between them is largely based on an old patriarchal frame that divides women into Madonnas and Whores, then kills the whores. Part of making the genre more progressive – or dare I say feminist – is rejecting that binary entirely.

Teenaged Laurie Strode and college-aged Tree Gelbman might have led different lives and made different choices, but when it came down to it, they both survived because they resolved to fight and refused to die. The haunting specter of violent masculinity came for all the women mentioned here, and they all triumphed, even under the restrictive gaze of a society that expects feminine perfection. But no matter how stark the contrast may be, these changes are progressive strides that honor the history of the slasher genre in inventive ways while bringing them into the contemporary moment. The Final Girl survived, but the New Final Girl thrives, and she’s ready to fight again another day.


Follow Catherine Young on Twitter @battymamzelle

Horror has a way of making an unlit hallway look like a trek through hell, inducing heart attacks though jumping cats, and transforming everyday tools like chainsaws and double-barrel shotguns into instruments of doom. The marketing and posters for Us suggests that Jordan Peele’s new horror flick will do for golden scissors what Get Out did for tea cups, which also happens to be one of selections for the 25 most iconic props from horror movie history! Read on to get your fill of creaky carriages, demonic dolls, and bloody blades.


Movie remakes tend to get an automatic bad rap, but this time we’re putting some numbers behind it. Take the original’s Tomatometer rating, subtract by the remake’s number, and voila: the 24 worst movie remakes by Tomatometer!

We here at RT went deep into the vault of horror franchises to tally up the victims of some of film and TV’s most deadly psycho killers. Take a peek at the results — if you dare!

 


Norman Bates  – Psycho (1960) 96%

Norman-Bates

Haunting Grounds: Bates Motel
Estimated Body Count: 20
Has there ever been a cinematic slasher more pitiable than Norman Bates? The poor guy is practically at war with himself, and his mom nags him from beyond the grave. Heck, every time he makes friends, they seem to end up dead. If Psycho exerted a profound influence on the slasher genre (and onscreen violence in general), it wasn’t because Norman was a particularly prolific killer. Alfred Hitchcock’s original (and the sequels) depicted a man in the clutches of inner torment and madness that was so gripping and scary that it didn’t need buckets of blood (or, in one memorable case, chocolate syrup) to be deeply unsettling.  Nine deaths are attributed to Norman Bates (Freddie Highmore) on the five-season AMC prequel TV series Bates Motel. But, really, who can say for sure?

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THE CREEPER – Jeepers Creepers (2001) 46%

creeper

Haunting Grounds: The Jeepers Creepers series
Estimated Body Count: 20
When Harry Warren and Johnny Mercer wrote “Jeepers Creepers” in the late 1930s, they surely never guessed their snappy little pop ditty would go on to provide the theme song for a murderous winged creature who possesses a bee- and dog-like ability to smell fear, and who can regenerate body parts by ingesting those of his victims. And that’s not all — the Creeper can also overcome overwhelmingly negative reviews, too! Although critics kept 2001’s Jeepers Creepers from a Fresh certification, the Creeper was back just two years later with a sequel, and there was even talk of a third installment. Not bad for a bad guy who’s limited to a single 23-day feeding frenzy every 23 years, right?

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THE THING – The Thing (1982) 82%

The-Thing

Haunting Grounds: The Thing from Another World, The Thing, The Thing
Estimated Body Count: 20
Human beings have long wondered what otherworldy monstrosities might be lurking out in the far reaches of space, which helps to explain the enduring appeal of John W. Campbell’s 1938 short story, Who Goes There? It’s the tale of an Antarctic research team that unwittingly rescues a malevolent alien from an icy grave. The creature repays the favor by forcibly (and messily) assimilating every living being within reach, including 20 unlucky scientists and a handful of dogs. Campbell’s monster — referred to as the Thing — has provided rich fodder for filmmakers over the decades, inspiring 1951’s The Thing from Another World, John Carpenter’s 1982 cult classic The Thing, and, most recently, the 2011 prequel/reboot of the same name.

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JAWS – Jaws (1975) 98%

Jaws

Haunting Grounds: The Jaws series
Estimated Body Count: ~21, if you count the whale in Jaws 2
Most of the slashers on our list are bona fide film icons, but few of them can boast of having changed the entire industry the way Peter Benchley’s great white shark did: Before Jaws‘ 1975 debut, studios actually held their big films out of the summer market, believing the vacation months to be a commercial graveyard. Almost $500 million (and lots of bloody ocean water) later, a franchise was born — and although the third and fourth installments aren’t good for much besides unintentional humor, the original remains a certified classic with a 98 percent Tomatometer rating. Granted, the kill count here takes into consideration the havoc wreaked by multiple great whites over the course of the franchise, but it merely illustrates what Benchley already knew: the ocean is scary enough even without a gigantic bloodthirsty shark chasing you around, so tossing one in the mix just ups the ante.

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LEATHERFACE – The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) 89%

Leatherface

Haunting Grounds: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre series
Estimated Body Count: 30
The twisted true-life tale of grave robber Ed Gein has inspired many notable cinematic grotesques, from Norman Bates in Psycho to Buffalo Bill in The Silence of the Lambs. However, Tobe Hooper may have done the most to immortalize Gein in the annals of perverse pop culture by emphasizing his habit of making clothing out of human flesh. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre introduced Leatherface, a developmentally disabled fellow under the control of his cannibalistic family. Though he started out as a pretty timid guy who was as afraid of visitors as they were of him, Leatherface came out of his shell in the sequels and reboots, making up for lost time in liberally employing his Poulan 306A.

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PINHEAD – Hellraiser (1987) 72%

PinheadHaunting Grounds: The Hellraiser series
Estimated Body Count: 35
By the late 1980s, the slasher genre was starting to feel a little stale — and then along came Pinhead, the sadomasochistic leader of the extradimensional pack of hooligans known as the Cenobites. The spike-headed hook fetishist wasn’t featured heavily in 1987’s Hellraiser, but Pinhead’s combination of creepy appearance, selective taste for victims, and clear fondness for gruesome torture stole the movie; throughout the eight-film series (four of which were released straight to DVD), Pinhead has remained the only constant, and for good reason: although his body count may be relatively low, no one else can match his prowess with a sharp, well-placed hook.

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CHUCKY – Child's Play (1988) 71%

ChuckyHaunting Grounds: The Child’s Play series
Estimated Body Count: ~38
Chucky may have devolved into a pint-sized Tony Clifton at this point, but the original Child’s Play was a superior genre piece — creepy, suspenseful, and blessed with an insidious sense of humor. Child’s Play riffed on the idea of innocence gone horribly wrong, with a quasi-Cabbage Patch Kid embodied by a vicious serial killer thanks to a voodoo ritual. Subsequent sequels — the most recent of which, Curse of Chucky, just recently made its way onto home video — have delivered more camp than scares, but Chucky’s left a trail of more than 35 corpses in his wake — and probably didn’t enamor himself to Teddy Ruxpin.

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FREDDY KRUEGER – A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) 95%

Freddy-KruegerHaunting Grounds: The Nightmare on Elm Street series
Estimated Body Count: ~39
Arguably the most recognizable movie monster of the 1980s, Freddy Krueger may not be able to compete with other horror icons when it comes to killing in bulk. But the dermatologically-challenged Elm Street resident certainly wins points for style; in addition to his expert use of claw-tipped leather gloves, Freddy is adept at shape-shifting, strangulation, and generating geysers of blood from the bodies of future heartthrobs. Even accounting for the various forms Freddy has taken over the years in his efforts to turn the sweetest dreams dark and bloody, we’ve got his kill count somewhere in the vicinity of 39. That might be fewer than one might expect, but Mr. Krueger is an artiste who chooses his victims very specifically.

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FATE – Final Destination (2000) 35%

Final-Destination-2Haunting Grounds: The Final Destination series
Estimated Body Count: 39
Remember the old margarine commercials that said you can’t fool Mother Nature? Well, according to the Final Destination series, you can’t cheat Fate, either. It’s often said that revenge is a dish best served cold — but for the unseen hand of Fate, it tastes even better when garnished with a series of incredibly brutal (and, it must be said, very morbidly entertaining) booby traps. The series’ unseen antagonist has dispatched 39 victims, using everything from the mundane (death by falling brick) to the cleverly rewind-worthy (shower cord strangulation, ladder through the eye, death by falling cherry picker). By the time we surpassed The Final Destination and got Final Destination 5, the series was clearly aware of its silly appeal, and each creatively choreographed death was equally as hilarious as it was cringeworthy.

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GHOSTFACE – Scream (1996) 79%

GhostfaceHaunting Grounds: The Scream franchise, Scream (TV series)
Estimated Body Count: 49
One of the rare slasher antagonists who’s a killer by committee, the Scream series’ Ghostface is played by a revolving door of mask-donning, knife-wielding psychopaths. Their motives are different (peer pressure, revenge, etc.), but the results are the same, no matter who wears the Edward Munch-inspired getup: teenagers will turn up dead, following the conventions of horror movies. And, as with other horror franchises, the body count increases with each sequel. Adding to the mayhem was the first season of MTV’s Scream, which aired this summer. All in all, this council of killers is responsible for at least 49 slayings.

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LEPRECHAUN – Leprechaun (1993) 27%

LeprechaunHaunting Grounds: The Leprechaun series
Estimated Body Count: 50
The Leprechaun series is the embodiment of the finest that Irish culture and letters has to offer, easily surpassing the works of James Joyce and Oscar Wilde. The titular antihero is murderously committed to acquiring a pot o’ gold, an undertaking that prompts travel to such exotic locales as Las Vegas, Compton, and outer space. Despite his diminutive stature, the Leprechaun’s super-sharp claws and teeth have helped him tally 50 onscreen fatalities, including a very young Jennifer Aniston, who made her big screen debut in the first film.

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JIGSAW – Saw (2004) 51%

JigsawHaunting Grounds: The Saw series
Estimated Body Count: 60
John Kramer was first christened “Jigsaw” by detectives who discovered the serial killer’s calling card was a puzzle piece-shaped hunk of flesh carved from the corpses of his victims. The name stuck as the cops closed in on Kramer and realized his elaborate, irony-laden traps were designed to punish those he deemed guilty of criminal acts or taking life for granted (he must have been a fan of Se7en). More characters and plot twists (Jigsaw doesn’t work alone! Something about cancer!) were introduced as the series wore on, and Saw evolved into a labyrinthine annual soap opera drenched in blood and agony. A Grand Guignol for our times.

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HANNIBAL LECTER – The Silence of the Lambs (1991) 96%

Haniibal-Lecter

Haunting Grounds: Manhunter, The Silence of the Lambs, Red Dragon, Hannibal, Hannibal Rising, Hannibal (TV)
Estimated Body Count: 98
Before 1991, you may not have even known what fava beans were — but after Anthony Hopkins’ first appearance as Doctor Hannibal “The Cannibal” Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs, nobody ever thought of them the same way again. Like Jason Voorhees, Lecter doesn’t appear in much of the famous reboot — he’s only in a little over 15 minutes of Lambs — but it was the first time we actually witnessed the good doctor rack up a few kills on screen (both Manhunter and its remake Red Dragon only imply Lecter’s murdered some folks), and audiences had a clear, um, appetite for the flesh-craving serial killer’s brand of mayhem: he’s gone on to appear in a number of other books and movies. Although we just saw the end of Hannibal‘s three-season run on NBC, series creator Bryan Fuller insists we haven’t seen the last of Lecter just yet.

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MICHAEL MYERS – Halloween (1978) 96%

Michael-Meyers
Haunting Grounds: The Halloween series, minus Season of the Witch
Estimated Body Count: ~107
The best-known escapee of Smith’s Grove Sanitarium, Michael Myers has never been a big fan of babysitters, nor is he particularly fleet of foot. He digs Blue Oyster Cult, and makes special use of Star Trek paraphernalia and kitchen cutlery. Since the release of John Carpenter’s landmark Halloween, Myers’ legend has been told in a number of sequels, and if his reasons for killing are obscure, he’s still coldly efficient at the task; he’s racked up a whopping 100-plus notches on his belt.

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THE INVISIBLE MAN – The Invisible Man (1933) 94%

InvisibleManBodyCount
Haunting Grounds: The Invisible Man (1933)
Estimated Body Count: 123
We were shocked (shocked!) to discover that killers with high body counts could even be found in Old Hollywood fare. Based on the H.G. Wells 1897 novel, James Whale’s pre-code horror film featured Claude Rains (Casablanca) in his American film debut as the titular villain, also known as Dr. Jack Griffin. Hiding away in a snowy village, Griffin experiments on himself while working on a drug called “monocane,” which he believes is the secret to invisibility. Although he does succeed in turning himself invisible, he also becomes a crazed murderer. Killing those who get in his way, and a train full of people just for kicks, Griffin eventually causes the death of 123 people – including himself.

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JASON VOORHEES – Friday the 13th (1980) 63%

HalloweenHaunting Grounds: The Friday the 13th series
Estimated Body Count: 146
Rocking facial protection that would do Jacques Plante proud, Jason Voorhees terrorized Camp Crystal Lake with cold precision (and an ability to cheat death that Rasputin would envy) in Friday the 13th. Occasionally, he breaks out of the bucolic confines of the countryside to wreak havoc in the big city (Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan), Hades (Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday), and the future (Jason X). According to our research, Jason has put a whopping 146 unfortunate souls on ice. Pretty impressive for a cat who drowned in 1958.

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En español: Read this article in Spanish at Tomatazos.com.

Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together, girls in tan speedsuits! Mass hysteria has gripped the nation since the hyperventilating presence of a femme Ghostbusters swooped in with a trailer, becoming the most disliked in YouTube history. Would a Mannequin remake cause the same tribulation? Only time will tell.

For now, as the Ghostbusters franchise crosses the mainstream once again, we look at 24 more ’80s movie remakes, ranked worst to best by Tomatometer! (Only original properties included — no Annie or Conan — while movies like 2011’s The Thing, which explicitly extend the original plot, are excluded.)

Survivors-Hall-of-Fame

The most successful horror franchises tend to feature protagonists audiences can root for — heroes that viewers hope will beat the odds and emerge from their respective situations victorious and, well, alive. With that in mind, we here at RT decided to look back at some of cinema’s most stubborn survivors, those characters that somehow managed to avoid being offed in multiple horror movies.

Needless to say, you may want to avoid what follows below if you’re allergic to spoilers. Without further ado, here are our choices for the Horror Movie Survivor Hall of Fame!


Ellen Ripley

Ellen-Ripley

Survived: The Alien Franchise

You can’t keep a good woman down. Case in point: Ellen Ripley. Even if she only survived two-and-three-quarters of the first three Alien films, the DNA in her blood cells was enough to create a pretty killer replica (which gives us all hope for future Chuck Norris clones, but we digress).

Ripley could have gone the way of Dr. Frank Poole a whole bunch of times throughout the series. As the only survivor of the Nostromo (not counting Jones the cat), she still could have been torn to shreds when the alien hid on her shuttle. In Aliens, Ripley and a few of her compatriots survived a tough battle with the Alien Queen aboard the Sulaco. Even a universe-saving suicide in Alien 3 barely slows Ripley down — the follow-up isn’t called Alien Resurrection for nothing. How does she do it? Our guess is those decades-long stasis naps do a body good.


Ash Williams

Ash-Williams

Survived: The Evil Dead Franchise

You can possess him with a few demons. You can chop off his hand. Hell, you can even send him back through time. But the one thing you cannot do to Ashley “Ash” Williams: keep him down for good.The same can’t be said of Ash’s friends, who, in the first two Evil Deads offer up a survival rate of exactly zero. Ash is actually supposed to have died in the final frames of The Evil Dead, but the sequel retcons the whole thing, causing him to re-endure a gory getaway in the forest cabin. In the process, he loses his hand, but hey, chainsaw hand as replacement.

In the final Evil Dead, Army of Darkness, Ash is sent to 1300 AD. His only way to get back to the present time and his job at S-Mart: Going through a horde of the undead (led by an Ash clone) to retrieve the Necronomicon, the book of the dead. Groovy.


 Dr. Frankenstein

Dr-Frankenstein

Survived: The Frankenstein Series by Hammer Films

Some folks just don’t know when to quit. You’d think that Baron Victor von Frankenstein would reconsider his diabolical experiments in reanimation after nearly getting his dome lopped off in The Curse of Frankenstein, but no; this guy’s got a one-track mind. Unlike the Frankenstein of Mary Shelley and the Universal movies, our man Vic (played with eyebrow-raised relish by Peter Cushing) doesn’t evolve from hubristic to guilt-ridden — he’s pretty much a murderous mad scientist from minute one. After surviving the guillotine in The Curse of Frankenstein, the Baron continued his artificial life experiments in a bunch of Hammer films (either five or six, depending on whether you count the Cushing-free The Horror of Frankenstein as part of the cannon — many don’t). It’s pretty amazing that Frankenstein can perpetually stay one step ahead of death, given that angry townspeople, public officials, and even his own stitched-up creations are always trying to kill him.


Tommy Jarvis

Tommy-Jarvis

Survived: Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter, Friday the 13th, Part V – A New Beginning, Friday the 13th, Part VI – Jason Lives

The Friday the 13th series only had two protagonists who would carry themselves into sequels. The first was the original camp survivor who would be unceremoniously offed in Part II‘s opening sequence. The other: Tommy Jarvis. He first appeared in arguably the series’ best installment, Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter, as a young boy vacationing with his single mother and sister. With a penchant for masks, he and his sister succeed in confusing Jason, before Tommy is taken over by madness and hacks poor ol’ Jason Voorhees to death. The ambigious final shot of The Final Chapter suggests he has taken on an evil spirit.

In the godawful sequel, A New Beginning, Tommy is a taciturn mental patient, drifting in and out of institutions. As copycat murders begin around him, he suspects that his psychosis is taking over under the cover of night. Turns out the killer was just a disgruntled paramedic. In his final appearance, Jason Lives, Tommy attempts to tear Jason’s corpse asunder, but a steel pipe left in his heart attracts a bolt of lightning and Jason is resurrected. Ultimately, Tommy lures him back to the lake and to a watery grave. But we all know how long the dead stay dead in horror movies, don’t we?


Laurie Strode

Laurie-Strode

Survived: Halloween, Halloween II, Halloween H20Halloween (2007)

It’s no wonder that Laurie Strode takes a breather every couple of Halloween installments; neither sleep nor time nor even a franchise reboot can rid her of Michael Myers. In the original Halloween, Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis) survived the babysitting gig from hell, successfully keeping Michael Myers at bay (though he killed a couple of her friends). In Halloween II, she learned why she’d been stalked — it turned out that she was a blood relative of the knife-wielding psycho.

Laurie lay low for the next four Halloweens, but reemerged in Halloween H2O; she had faked her own death and changed her name, but she couldn’t stay hidden from her brother forever. Unfortunately, Myers finally got the best of Laurie in Halloween: Resurrection. Rob Zombie’s 2007 franchise reboot began at the beginning of the Laurie Strode story, with Scout Taylor-Compton stepping into the role; whether this incarnation of Laurie Strode shows the same survival instinct as the first remains to be seen.


Dr. Loomis

Dr-Loomis

Survived: The Halloween Franchise

Most psychology PhDs don’t receive gun training in school, tranquilizer or otherwise. Not sure about cursed zombie entrapment (that could be covered during mandatory intern hours), but Dr. Samuel James Loomis is somehow capable of all these things. At one point in Halloween 4, he agilely escaped death by diving behind some convenient barrels while his unkillable former patient took out a gas tank with a truck, causing a near-fatal explosion.

Dr. Loomis’ constant attempts at shooting Michael Myers really only impeded the guy’s momentum. It only took the first two films for Loomis to realize that bullets just wouldn’t work. At the end of II, he decided to be the martyr and blow both Michael and himself up using a combo of oxygen and ether.

Oh wait… but they both survive — somehow. Maybe Loomis got the explosive recipe wrong. But that’s great because then we got him for four more films! In those films we saw him use Michael’s female prey as bait to lure him into a trap consisting of a metal net, a tranquilizer gun, and his fists. But it was when he used his shrink skills to reason with the monster that we thought, “Oh yeah, that’s what he was trained to do.”


Kirsty Cotton

Kristy-Cotton

Survived: The Hellraiser Franchise

Puzzle boxes were all the rage in the 1980s. Of course, when Kirsty Cotton played with one, she suffered the consequences: the opening of another realm filled with sado-masochistic Cenobytes led by none other than Pinhead himself. Pinhead’s posse included Butterball, Chatterer, and the Female. After attacks from a deceptive dead-skin-wearing uncle, a group of deal-reneging “explorers” from another realm, and a stepmother hell-bent on devouring her boyfriend, Kirsty even withstood a trip to the Cenobyte realm. In Hellraiser III, she existed only through old interview footage, but she returned in Hellseeker with some gruesome tricks up her sleeve.

Being orphaned could inspire one to focus on new hobbies and interests, like mastering such a puzzle box, incidentally called the “Lament Configuration.” That, and a propensity for turning the tables on your loved ones, could be all you need to survive when confronted by violent unearthly beings that thrive on the pleasures of pain.


Nancy Thompson

Nancy-Thompson

Survived: A Nightmare on Elm Street, Wes Craven’s New Nightmare

How exactly does one defeat a nemesis who manifests himself in the dream world and makes nightmares come true? Nancy Thompson seemed to have figured out the trick, but not before notorious burn victim Freddy Krueger dispatched a good number of her friends and family in gruesome ways.

After Freddy skewered her BFFs and effectively turned her boyfriend into a bloody geyser in the original Nightmare on Elm Street, Nancy somehow managed to escape, only to meet her end in Part 3: Dream Warriors. But here’s the kicker: Freddy actually came after the actress who played Nancy, Heather Langenkamp, in Wes Craven’s [very meta] New Nightmare, in which he also terrorized director Craven himself and the man who portrayed him in the movies, Robert Englund. Whoa… And maybe, you might think, a name change would help protect poor Nancy, but Freddy’s too smart for that.


Jill Tuck

Jill-Tuck

Survived: Saw III through Saw 3D

Throughout all the twists and turns of the Saw franchise, one woman emerged as the series’ unlikely hero (seriously, the bad guys got waaay more screen time than the goodies): Jill Tuck, the ex-wife of serial killer Jigsaw. Jill was a rehabilitation clinic director who suffered a miscarriage after an assault from a junkie, prompting Jigsaw’s descent into madness.

Despite the Saw series’ brutally high body count, Jill survived five filmed appearances. After Jigsaw’s death in Saw III, she received a mysterious box via his will. For a while, her role as either protagonist or antagonist was up in the air, making her the most compelling character outside of Jigsaw himself. Then it was revealed her final role in Jigsaw’s twisted blueprint was to “test” his apprentice, crazy corrupt cop Mark Hoffman. Jill almost took him out, but was eventually killed in the final Saw with the infamous reverse bear trap.


Cindy Campbell

Cindy-Campbell

Survived: The first four Scary Movie movies

A high-school-student-turned-college-student-turned-anchorwoman-turned-professional-boxer-turned-caregiver, Cindy Campbell knows how to throw down and maybe even snap some necks. Her response to a home-attack by Ghostface? What else? Throw a HOUSE PARTY! That would be the safest thing to do, right? But everyone ended up dead. Go figure. Her Matrix-like aerial fighting skills got her through another night, but could she survive a wedgie in Scary Movie 2? Turns out… she could and did!

This one was handy though. Only Cindy Campbell could MacGyver random objects into a tractor, allowing her to crash through the door of a refrigerator she was locked in. Even a UN nude-ray couldn’t stop this savvy ingénue. At one point, an alien Command tripod ensnared her with Venus flytraps in a grimy old bathroom, and she was instructed to find the key to free herself and her friend Brenda. The key was located behind her eye, but it wasn’t a problem for Cindy. She’s got a glass eye (old bar fight injury).

Cindy has survived a lot. She’s slick and sagacious. But we’re still not sure whether she’s still with us, since she sat out Scary Movie 5.


Sidney Prescott

Sidney-Prescott

Survived: The Scream Franchise

Poor Sidney Prescott. She survived an entire franchise dedicated to her demise, and it really all came down to reasons that were far beyond her control. What’s that saying about “the sins of the father” (or, in this case, mother)? Yeah, Sidney sort of represents the epitome of the adage.

Consider this: Sidney’s own boyfriend, Billy, played the long con on her and ultimately tried to off her in the first Scream because Sidney’s mom broke apart his parents’ marriage — yikes. But it got worse: who should come around for revenge in Scream 2 but Billy’s mom herself, understandably upset, along with an accomplice who just wanted to be famous for killing Sidney. Scream 3 saw Sidney terrorized by a half brother she never knew she had, upset about being rejected by their mother, and 4‘s Ghostface Killer turned out to be Sidney’s own cousin, itching to get a taste of Sidney’s fame. Sidney is safe and sound as of now, of course, but you never know; there might be a great granduncle or a step-niece just rarin’ for a go at her.


Alice

Alice

Survived: The Resident Evil Franchise

At first, it wouldn’t appear that the Umbrella Corporation of the Resident Evil films planned very well for a possible outbreak of their zombifying T-virus. In fact, the soldiers sent to Umbrella’s secret lab in 2002’s Resident Evil spent most of their time simply trying to survive.

But even in the face of this population-decimating epidemic, there was one particular survivor who eventually went on the offensive for the good of all mankind, and her name was Alice. The folks at Umbrella must have spotted her potential, too, because in Apocalypse (2004), they outfitted Alice with some genetic modifications, and in Extinction (2007), they even cloned her in hopes of building a butt-kicking army. She’s survived attacks by all kinds of mutations, speedy, strong, and grotesque, but she hasn’t fallen yet. Alice and Umbrella both know the whole ordeal is Umbrella’s fault, and her quest to bring them to justice continues through to the franchise’s sixth installment, which is scheduled to open next year.

There have been so many horror remakes that there’s no way we could cover them all at once. We did, however, decide to collect a sampling list, making room for some of the best, worst, and most puzzlingly misguided examples from the genre. Let’s get started, shall we?


The Amityville Horror (2005) 23%

Amytville
Like many of the movies on this week’s list, the latter-day Amityville Horror was produced by Michael Bay’s Platinum Dunes — and like more than a few of them, it suffered in comparison to the original. Which is a shame, because Amityville‘s central story — about a young family moving into a horrifically haunted house — is both devilishly simple and allegedly fact-based, which has helped the franchise retain its aura even through a series of sometimes-silly sequels and spinoffs. Unfortunately, despite a talented cast that included Ryan Reynolds, Melissa George, and a young(er) Chloe Grace Moretz, this Horror was mainly scary for the studio execs who had to account for its $64 million domestic gross, which sentenced the franchise to years of direct-to-DVD purgatory.

 


The Blob (1988) 62%

The-Blob
Inspired by the way David Cronenberg used modern special effects and less-campy storytelling to amp up the horror in The Fly, Hollywood spent a portion of the late 1980s rushing to the vaults and searching for other long-dormant properties that might benefit from the remake treatment. Hence 1988’s The Blob, in which an alien goo plops down in a small town and starts gorging on its unsuspecting residents. It was just as fantastically cheesy a premise as it had been in 1958, when Steve McQueen starred in the original — but thanks to a solid screenplay from future Shawshank Redemption director/adapter Frank Darabont, as well as a (slightly) more believable Blob, it managed to just about reach the rather low bar set by its predecessor, which is about all one can hope for when making a film about hungry interstellar plasma.

 


Cat People (1982) 61%

Cat-Peopl-1982
The original Cat People, produced on the cheap by Val Lewton in 1942, emphasized suggestion over explicit horror; four decades later, director Paul Schrader used the movie’s central idea — about people whose sexual desires trigger a sometimes-deadly feline transformation — as the basis for a steamy softcore flick that made up for its lack of genuine scares with an abundance of Natassja Kinski and a cool soundtrack featuring David Bowie and Giorgio Moroder. While it may not be the most terrifying movie on this list, it’s probably one of the hardest to turn away from if you happen across it on the cable dial during a bout of late-night viewing.

 


The Crazies (2010) 70%

The-crazies
“WHY ARE THE GOOD PEOPLE DYING?” screamed the poster for George A. Romero’s paranoid The Crazies about the side effects of a military accident that resulted in a small American town being poisoned with a biological weapon that turns people into violent lunatics. Sadly, the tagline for Romero’s 1973 effort might as well have been “WHY WON’T MOST THEATERS SHOW THE CRAZIES?,” because the picture died with a whimper at the box office — but a good idea always turns up again in the horror genre, and in 2010, director Breck Eisner repurposed Romero’s original to create a sleek, gleefully nasty update that managed a surprisingly robust 71 percent on the Tomatometer. Alas, while Eisner’s Crazies at least made it to wide release, they didn’t fare a whole lot better at the box office, managing to slash together ony $54 million worldwide. The result of a military-industrial conspiracy, perhaps?

 


Dawn of the Dead (2004) 76%

Dawn-of-the-Dead
Did George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead really need a remake? Perhaps not. But if we were going to get one, it might as well have been one that blended the the visual wizardry of director Zack Snyder with a screenplay from future Guardians of the Galaxy mastermind James Gunn, and that’s just what we got with this 2004 “re-envisioning” of the zombie classic. Using the original’s basic framework as an effective delivery mechanism for a fresh round of gruesome gore and heart-pumping action, the new Dawn proved surprisingly bright for most critics, including Aisle Seat’s Mike McGranaghan, who wrote, “Dawn of the Dead is ultra-violent, excessively bloody, and extremely gory — all in a good way. I left the theater feeling pumped full of adrenaline.”

 


Don't Be Afraid of the Dark (2010) 60%

Dont-Be-Afraid
It might seem a little odd to base a horror remake on a TV movie from the 1970s, but the original Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark — starring Kim Darby as a housewife whose new home comes with some nasty little tenants lurking in the basement — is a cult classic for aficionados of the genre, so a theatrical version was probably inevitable. Given that the 2011 edition was co-written and produced by Guillermo del Toro, fans had reason to be hopeful that the remade Dark would be even scarier than the first; alas, after being trapped in studio limbo for months due to Miramax’s shuttering, director Troy Nixey’s update on the story — which focused on an eight-year-old (Bailee Madison) and her father’s girlfriend (Katie Holmes) — was greeted with lukewarm indifference by audiences and critics alike. Perhaps some things are just more frightening on the boob tube.

 


Evil Dead (2013) 63%

Evil-Dead-Remake
How in the world do you put together a remake of one of the most beloved horror-comedy cult classics of the last 40 years? If you’re director Fede Alvarez, you film a new version of Evil Dead with production input from creator Sam Raimi and original star Bruce Campbell, a much bigger budget, and a far more serious take on the story of young campers who unwittingly unleash a demon plague while goofing around with the Book of the Dead. The amped-up gore in Alvarez’s Evil Dead certainly wasn’t for everyone, but it arguably made more sense, given the film’s narrative outline — and the resultant uptick in attention to the franchise helped lead to the subsequent TV series Ash vs. Evil Dead.

 


The Fly (1986) 93%

The-Fly-1984
The original version of The Fly, released in 1958, was a Vincent Price classic that didn’t really need to be remade, but that didn’t stop producer Stuart Cornfield (working with an uncredited Mel Brooks) from getting the ball rolling on a new version. After several years in development, plenty of studio struggle, and some turnover at the screenwriter and director positions, Cornfield had his movie: David Cronenberg’s gorier, more suspenseful take on The Fly, which went back to George Langelaan’s 1957 short story and emerged with one of the more delightfully suspenseful horror/sci-fi movies of the 1980s. Unfortunately, Cronenberg’s Fly — starring Jeff Goldblum as the ill-fated scientist whose experiments leave his DNA accidentally intertwined with the titular pest, and Geena Davis as the woman who loves him — was too successful to prevent a sequel: 1989’s rather uninspired The Fly II. Rumors of another remake (and a quasi-sequel penned by Cronenberg) have popped up over the years, but it’s all been for naught. So far, anyway.

 


Friday the 13th (2009) 26%

Friday
Featuring a “star” hidden behind a hockey mask and a brilliantly low-budget conceit that needed nothing more than anonymous young actors capable of screaming in various states of undress, the Friday the 13th series was one of the most reliably profitable horror franchises of the 1980s — and ripe for the reboot treatment in the 21st century. Platinum Dunes did the honors in 2009, reimagining the murderous Jason Voorhees as more of a lethal maniac and less of a lumbering dolt, with cooler special effects and plenty of T&A; once again, the formula worked, producing plenty of pure profit for the studio and signaling that perhaps a new slew of sequels was on the horizon. Alas, Jason slumbered for the next several years, although he’s currently set to terrorize a fresh batch of Crystal Lake campers on May 13, 2016.

 


Fright Night (2011) 72%

Fright-Night
If director Craig Gillespie had polled horror fans in 2011 and asked them if he really needed to remake 1985’s Fright Night, the answer probably would have been a resounding “no”; after all, the original was not only a surprise hit, it had matured into a solid favorite among scary movie lovers, and little seemed to be gained by updating the story of a horror-loving teen (William Ragsdale) who makes the awful discovery that his new neighbor (Chris Sarandon) is secretly a vampire. While it may not have been strictly necessary, the new Fright Night — starring Anton Yelchin as young Charley Brewster and Colin Farrell as the undead addition to the neighborhood — proved surprisingly potent, with Farrell’s charismatic performance matching Gillespie’s confident lens. While box office returns were fairly weak, the remake brought the Fright Night franchise back to life, with a direct-to-video sequel arriving in 2013.

 


Halloween (2007) 28%

Halloween-Remake
By the 2000s, producer Moustapha Akkad’s once-proud Halloween franchise had fallen on hard times, with deathless serial killer Michael Myers resurfacing in a series of low-budget sequels that bore little resemblance to John Carpenter’s classic 1978 original. All that was left was to start over from the beginning — and that’s what director Rob Zombie did with 2007’s Halloween, which retold Myers’ gruesome origin story and returned him to poor, unfortunate Haddonfield, Illinois for a gorier version of his first grown-up killing spree. While Zombie had previously flirted with critical respectability with 2005’s The Devil’s Rejects, his Halloween mustered a mere 25 percent on the Tomatometer — not as high as 1982’s much-maligned Halloween III: Season of the Witch, but still better than the sixth installment in the series, 1995’s The Curse of Michael Myers, and good enough to greenlight a sequel (dubbed H2) in 2009. A planned 3D follow-up eventually fell off the schedule, but the next sequel, reportedly titled Halloween Returns, is currently in development.

 


Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978) 92%

Body-Snatchers

If Gus Van Sant’s Psycho serves as an argument against remakes, then the 1978 version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers offers an equally persuasive rebuttal. While the 1956 original is one of the most highly regarded sci-fi/horror movies of its era, director Philip Kaufman’s update matched it with a thrillingly gritty, ensemble-driven look at what might happen if alien spores landed on Earth and started sprouting eerily emotionless replicas of our friends and loved ones. Sharpening up the special effects without overly relying on them, the new-look Body Snatchers featured solid performances from a stellar cast that included Donald Sutherland, Leonard Nimoy, and Jeff Goldblum — and although it definitely made its share of money at the box office in 1978, if anything it’s even more highly regarded today. Here’s hoping Kaufman’s Snatchers continues to stand as the most recent version of the movie for many more years to come.

 


My Bloody Valentine (2009) 61%

My-Bloody-Valentine
If you’re looking for fright value, bad guys don’t come much more elegantly brutal than a bloodthirsty lunatic with a pickaxe, which might be why the low-budget 1981 Canadian slasher flick My Bloody Valentine — about a miner who survives a collapse by dining on his fellow crew members, goes crazy before being rescued, and wages murderous revenge — proved even more potent when its 3D remake surfaced in 2009. And although it may not have generated blockbuster numbers at the box office, it fared surprisingly well with critics; it can’t be long before we’re treated to yet another Bloody Valentine.

 


A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010) 15%

Nightmare-on-Elm-Street-Remake
Given how much money the Nightmare on Elm Street movies made for New Line during the 1980s and early 1990s, remakes and/or reboots were probably always a matter of course; problem was, the series was just as memorable for Robert Englund’s outstanding performance in the role of series killer Freddy Krueger as it was for its scores of inventive on-screen murders. Faced with the unsolvable problem of replacing Englund, the folks at Platinum Dunes hired Jackie Earle Haley to take over the part for their 2010 reboot — and although Haley is certainly a talented actor, and more than capable of exuding a sinister aura, he isn’t as physically imposing as Englund. Add that to a story that hit many of the same beats as the original, and the end result was a movie that, while certainly profitable, failed to land with as much impact as it had the first (eight) time(s) around.

 


Nosferatu (1979) 95%

Nosferatu
Werner Herzog’s filmography offers more than a few case studies in audaciousness, not the least of which is 1979’s Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht. Occasionally referred to by its less cool English title, Nosferatu the Vampyre, this remake of F.W. Murnau’s classic 1922 silent film finds Klaus Kinski stepping into the bloodsucking role so memorably inhabited by Max Schreck, with all parties involved acquitting themselves admirably. No less a cinematic authority than Roger Ebert agreed, writing that “To say of someone that they were born to play a vampire is a strange compliment, but if you will compare the two versions of Nosferatu you might agree with me that only Kinski could have equaled or rivaled Max Schreck’s performance.”

 


Psycho (1998) 39%

Psycho
Of all the remakes on our list, Gus Van Sant’s Psycho embraces the concept more eagerly than most, delivering a somewhat bafflingly precise update on the 1960 Hitchcock classic with a shot-for-shot replication that, while assembled and acted by talented creative types, exhibited no real creativity of its own. But while Van Sant’s Psycho wound up bottoming out at a rather miserable 37 percent on the Tomatometer, he dodged a few bullets in at least one sense — unlike a lot of remakes of classic films, his attempt to re-Hitchcock Hitchcock inspired more critical bafflement than anger or derision. Ultimately, the 1998 Psycho serves as a perfectly persuasive (albeit most likely unintentional) argument against remakes in general.

 


The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003) 37%

Texas-Massacre
A man, a plan, a chainsaw. Oh, and a facemask made out of human skin. It may not sound like much, but from the moment 1974’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre terrified its first audiences, it’s served as the basis for one of the horror genre’s more surprisingly durable franchises — in spite of the mostly miserable track record suffered by its spate of periodic prequels, sequels, and spinoffs. The horror remake enthusiasts at Platinum Dunes tried to take things back to the beginning (again) with their 2003 Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and although most critics claimed time had dulled Leatherface’s blade, audiences still turned out to the tune of more than $100 million in box office grosses. Yet another prequel followed in 2006,  followed by a 3D sequel to the original in 2013, and the origin story Leatherface is currently scheduled for 2016. Confused? Don’t think too hard; in the end, it all goes back to those first simple ingredients.

 


The Wicker Man (2006) 15%

Wicker
There are worse (and far, far better) horror remakes than Neil LaBute’s update on The Wicker Man, but we absolutely had to include it here, because no other film provides its particular brand of sheer, cackling lunacy. While it’s misguided on just about every level, the 2006 Wicker is chiefly noteworthy thanks to Nicolas Cage’s presence as police detective Edward Malus, whose journey to a secluded island in search of his abducted daughter ends very badly for all concerned — including any audience members not prepared for the unforgettable sight of Cage punching a woman in the face while wearing a bear suit, or the equally memorable sound of Cage screaming “Oh God! Not the bees!” Avoid it if you’re looking for truly scary viewing, but it still needs to be seen in order to be believed.


En español: Read this article in Spanish at Tomatazos.com.

This week’s Ketchup covers 10 headlines from the last 7 days from the realm of film development news.  Included in the mix are news stories about such movies as Dungeons & Dragons, Kong: Skull Island, My Little Pony, Naruto, A Nightmare on Elm Street, PEZ, Robin Hood: Origins, and the Ronda Rousey biopic.


This Week’s Top Story

BAD BOYS 3 AND BAD BOYS 4 BOTH ON THE CASE

BadBoys

A series of release date announcements this week brought several long-in-development movie projects into the limelight of social media this week. Many of these stories came from Sony Pictures, which announced the release dates of over a dozen movies. That slate included release dates for both Bad Boys 3 (2/17/17) and Bad Boys 4 (7/3/19), with Will Smith and Martin Lawrence expected (but not necessarily confirmed) to return for both “buddy cop” sequels. Curiously, Bad Boys 4 has a much higher profile release date, which suggests that Sony may have bigger plans for the fourth Bad Boys movie than for the third. (Will Smith also made the news this week for replacing Hugh Jackman in Collateral Beauty.) Other sequels that received release dates are Underworld 5 (10/21/16) and Resident Evil 6 (1/27/17) (which Ali Larter is now signed to return for.)  On the remake side, there’s Ghostbusters (7/15/16), The Magnificent Seven (9/23/16), and Jumanji (12/25/16). There’s also the Stephen King adaptation The Dark Tower (1/13/17), Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver (3/17/17), the toy adaptation Barbie (6/2/17), the video game adaptation Uncharted (6/30/17), and Sony’s animated Nativity story The Lamb (12/8/17). Sony wasn’t the only studio to make the news this week for release dates, however, as Warner Bros also made a few big moves, as the Steven Spielberg-directed adaptation of the popular novel Ready Player One is now scheduled for December 15, 2017.  Ben Affleck’s commitments to playing Batman in multiple movies also may have had an impact on scheduling this week, as two of his movies both got moved back by Warner Bros: The Accountant (from 1/29/16 to 10/17/16), and the Affleck-directed Live by Night (from 10/17/16 to sometime in 2017).


Fresh Developments This Week

1. THE COEN BROTHERS TO ADAPT CRIME NOVEL BLACK MONEY

CoenBros

The Coen Brothers (Fargo, The Big Lebowski) recently wrapped filming of their “Golden Age of Hollywood” comedy Hail Caesar! for Universal Pictures, and they are already looking at what might be their next film.  To that end, Warner Bros has hired Joel and Ethan Coen to write and possibly direct a crime novel adaptation called Black Money. That novel, by the late Ross McDonald, follows his private eye character Lew Archer: “Hired by a spurned lover to expose the suave Frenchman who has run off with his client’s girlfriend, Archer follows a trail that leads to a deep conspiracy as the mysterious paramour is connected to a seven-year-old suicide and a ton of gambling debts.” The deal is being compared to Inherent Vice, which was another recent example of a classic detective novel being adapted by a modern acclaimed director(s). Universal Pictures has scheduled Hail, Caesar! (which features Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Jonah Hill, Scarlett Johansson, and Channing Tatum) for February 5, 2016.


2. UFC CHAMPION RONDA ROUSEY TO STAR IN HER OWN BIOPIC

RondaRousey

As this column at Film School Rejects points out, Hollywood has a somewhat rocky history with people starring in their own biopics. In some cases, the problem is that the famous person in question didn’t necessarily become famous based on their amazing acting abilities, so “acting” as themselves doesn’t work out. There are examples, however, where there are other reasons why the biopic subject really is the best choice to star in the movie.  That might be the logic behind the news this week that UFC Champion Ronda Rousey will star as herself in her own biopic. That movie will be an adaptation of Ronda Rousey’s biography, titled My Fight/Your Fight. Paramount Pictures is the studio that won the rights to Rousey’s book, and Mark Bomback (Live Free or Die Hard) is the writer that the studio has hired to adapt it.  There’s no production start date for Rousey’s biopic yet (there’s also no director signed), but it probably won’t be this year.


3. KONG: SKULL ISLAND CASTS MARVEL ALUMNI SAMUEL L. JACKSON AND JOHN C. REILLY

SamLReilly

The last time that Universal’s giant monster reboot Kong: Skull Island (3/10/17) made the news, it was about the departure of Michael Keaton and J.K. Simmons. This week, we heard about several new names for Kong: Skull Island, including the two actors expected to replace Keaton and Simmons.  We should also first mention that Tom Hiddleston (Marvel’s “Loki”) remains cast as the film’s male lead. Samuel L. Jackson (Marvel’s “Nick Fury”) and John C. Reilly (from Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy) are both reportedly in talks (or being eyed) to replace J.K. Simmons and Michael Keaton, respectively. Brie Larson (21 Jump Street, Trainwreck) has also been cast as the film’s female lead, and Tom Wilkinson has been offered one of the ensemble’s lead roles. Corey Hawkins (Straight Outta Compton) has also been cast in a supporting role. Kong: Skull Island will be directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts (The Kings of Summer) from a script by Max Borenstein (2014’s Godzilla) and John Gatins (Flight, Real Steel).


4. KRISTIN CHENOWETH TO VOICE NEW CHARACTER IN MY LITTLE PONY

KristinChenoweth

It was in last October that we first heard about plans for an animated feature film based on My Little Pony. This week, we heard our first casting news for the feature, which remains scheduled for release in 2017. Broadway and TV star Kristin Chenoweth will provide the voice for a new character who will be introduced in the feature film. It’s unknown if there are also plans for Kristin Chenoweth’s character to do any singing. This news came out of a Lionsgate financial analysts call this week, which included confirmation of their plans for a Monopoly movie (also with Hasbro), and a new Robinson Crusoe movie which might lead to a new film franchise.


5. NARUTO MAKING THE JUMP TO LIVE ACTION

Naruto

Much like  readers of superhero comics once upon a time, fans of Japanese anime and manga still sort of exist in their own little niche of fandom, and even the most popular titles remain mostly unfamiliar to non-fans. And yet, during the late 2000s, the word “Naruto” consistently made year-end “top search results.” Naruto began as a Japanese manga series (in Shonen Jump), and then became even more popular as an anime series, which was then followed by animated feature films, video games, a trading card game, and much more. Now, Lionsgate is “jumping” onto the Naruto bandwagon, with plans for a live action feature film about the continuing adventures of the titular teenage ninja Naruto Uzumaki. The live-action Naruto movie may mark the feature film directorial debut of Michael Gracey, who has formerly worked as the visual effects supervisor on movies like Ned Kelly. That will depend upon whether the P.T. Barnum biopic The Greatest Showman on Earth gets made before or after Naruto receives its greenlight.


6. KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE BREAKOUT STAR HEADING TO SHERWOOD

TaronEgerton

Possibly inspired by the success of The Hunger Games, Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye, and DC’s Arrow TV series, there are multiple projects in development in Hollywood based on the legends of Robin Hood and his Merry Men. This includes Disney’s Nottingham & Hood, Sony’s plans for a “Robin Hood cinematic universe” (Friar Tuck, Will Scarlet, etc.), and also a Robin Hood project at Warner Bros. This week, it was Lionsgate that seemed to get an early headstart in the race, as they have already cast their lead. Taron Egerton, the young breakout star of this year’s Kingsman: The Secret Service, is now in talks with Lionsgate to star in Robin Hood: Origins. This movie is being described as a “gritty, revisionist take” and compared to The Dark KnightRobin Hood: Origins will be the feature film directorial debut of Otto Bathurst, who has worked on TV shows like Peaky Blinders. The lingering question surrounding the question of whether Taron Egerton will be able to sign on for Robin Hood: Origins concerns scheduling, namely if 20th Century Fox will start filming the Kingsman sequel around the same time.


7. WB WINS “SAVE VS LAWSUIT” ROLL, PROCEEDS WITH DUNGEONS & DRAGONS MOVIE

DungeonsDragons

It was over two years ago that we last reported on Warner Bros’ new plans for a Dungeons & Dragons movie (coincidentally, in that same column, we reported about the movie which became this week’s Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation). However, there was also a lawsuit in the meantime over which company had the rights to make another Dungeons & Dragons movie, and that case is now settled. The result is that Warner Bros can move forward with their planned adaptation, with representatives of both Hasbro and Sweetpea Entertainment (the two parties on either side of the lawsuit) attached as producers. The new Dungeons & Dragons movie is being adapted by screenwriter David Leslie Johnson (Orphan, Red Riding Hood), who is also working on the new Nightmare on Elm Street reboot (see below). Warner Bros is still looking for a director to take on the role of Dungeon Master.


 

ROTTEN IDEAS OF THE WEEK

2. FREDDY KRUEGER ALREADY GETTING ANOTHER ELM STREET REBOOT

FreddyKrueger

It has only been five years since New Line Cinema attempted to reboot their A Nightmare on Elm Street franchise with a new movie starring Jackie Earle Haley as Freddy Krueger. Although that reboot earned a Rotten score of just 15 percent, its global box office was $115 million, making it the most successful of New Line’s horror reboots globally (and #2 domestically, behind Friday the 13th). However, plans for a sequel to the 2010 movie have not gone anywhere in the last five years. So, New Line Cinema is already making moves for yet another reboot to their Nightmare on Elm Street horror franchise, which will be the 10th film in the franchise. New Line Cinema has hired screenwriter David Leslie Johnson (Orphan, Red Riding Hood), who is also working on the Dungeons & Dragons movie (see above), to work on rebooting Freddy Krueger. This isn’t the first time, however, that a relatively recently rebooted horror franchise was put into development for a second reboot. The same is also being done currently for second reboots of the Friday the 13th, Halloween, and Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchises.


1. PEZ: COLLECTIBLE CANDY COMES TO CINEMA

PezMovie

For people who have been playing with LEGO sets most of their lives, or playing the various video games, the reasons why The LEGO Movie worked might be apparent. To Hollywood insiders, a different lesson may have been communicated, which is that “non narrative” toys and games can be adapted into very successful movies. In the last 18 months, plenty of such projects have been put into development, including Emoji, Play-Doh, Hello Kitty, and Minecraft. This week, Envision Media Arts (Celeste & Jesse Forever) signed a deal with PEZ Candy Inc. to develop an animated feature film based upon the company’s signature candy line.  First introduced in Austria in 1927, PEZ is best known for their licensed dispensers featuring hundreds of characters from movies (Star Wars, The Wizard of Oz), cartoons (both Looney Tunes and Disney), and comic books (both DC and Marvel).  Envision Media Arts has hired screenwriter Cameron Fay, who is also currently working on a new Three Stooges sequel, to figure out how to turn PEZ dispensers into an actual movie with characters, and dialogue, and story.

The summer movie season kicked off with the thunderous opening of the eagerly awaited super hero sequel Iron Man 2 which hauled in an estimated $133.6M over the Friday-to-Sunday period making for the fifth biggest debut of all-time. Paramount released the Marvel production in a mammoth 4,380 theaters including 181 venues with IMAX screens making it the widest bow in history edging out the 4,366-theater release of The Dark Knight in July 2008. The new Tony Stark film averaged a scorching $30,502 per site.

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Hollywood’s only blockbusters to open bigger were Knight with $158.4M, Spider-Man 3 with $151.1M, The Twilight Saga: New Moon with $142.8M, and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest with $135.6M. Iron Man 2 registered the largest debut in company history for Paramount beating Shrek the Third‘s $121.6M and was second-best among May titles behind another Marvel sequel launching over the first weekend of the month – the third Spidey flick.

Robert Downey Jr. once again played the title role with Jon Favreau directing and Gwenyth Paltrow co-starring. New players this time for the $170M production were Mickey Rourke, Sam Rockwell, Scarlett Johansson, and Don Cheadle. Samuel L. Jackson’s cameo in the first installment was expanded into a supporting role this time giving the actor the coveted ‘and’ credit. Rourke snagged the almost-as-cool ‘with’ credit. Numerous promotional partners added marketing muscle to the campaign including Burger King, Audi, 7-Eleven, Dr. Pepper, Oracle, and Hershey’s Reese’s brand.

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Fans powered the first Iron Man to an opening of $102.1M (including Thursday night shows starting at 8pm) two years ago over the first weekend of May ahead of a leggy run that reached $318.4M. The sequel’s opening was 31% better and benefited from 7% more theaters, two years of ticket price increases, and the addition of an IMAX release which took advantage of higher ticket prices. IM2 set a new record for biggest 2D IMAX opening with $10.2M from 181 screens beating the $8.5M from 138 of last May’s Star Trek, also a Paramount release.

As with its predecessor, Iron Man 2 scored an encouraging A grade from CinemaScore indicating great satisfaction from paying audiences. Critics were not as enthusiastic this time around but in general reviews were good, especially for a comic book sequel. Exit polls showed that 60% of the crowd was male and 60% was over 25. Friday kicked off with a stunning $52.3M in ticket sales including $7.5M in Thursday night post-midnight shows, Saturday dipped 11% to $46.5M, and Sunday is estimated to slide by 25% to $34.9M. The metal man accounted for a whopping 78% of all sales for the top ten movies this weekend as competition hardly existed and rival studios steered clear of releasing anything big against it.

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Overseas, where the Stark gang debuted a week earlier, ticket sales hit an estimated $57.2M this weekend lifting the international tally to $194M. That makes for a massive $190.8M global weekend gross and a $327.6M cume to date worldwide in under two weeks. Even with large sequel-type declines in the weeks ahead, Iron Man 2 should have no problem zooming past the $582M global haul of its predecessor paving the way for a third chapter which Marvel is already planning.

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Freddy Krueger took a tumble as expected. The horror remake A Nightmare on Elm Street fell a sharp 72% in its second weekend to an estimated $9.2M putting it in a distant second place. It was a larger sophomore fall than those for other fright redos like Halloween (64%) and Prom Night (58%) but did not reach the incredibly high 80% crash suffered by Friday the 13th last year. With $48.5M in ten days, Nightmare should end up with a solid $60-65M nearly matching the $65M of the Jason remake.

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Holding up well yet again in its seventh weekend of release was the 3D sensation How To Train Your Dragon which slipped only 36% to an estimated $6.8M boosting the hit toon into the double-century club with $201.1M to date. A final domestic take of $220-225M seems likely.

Fox’s leggy comedy hit Date Night followed with an estimated $5.3M in its fifth weekend, down only 30%, for a $80.9M cume to date. The Jennifer Lopez pic The Back-up Plan dropped 40% to an estimated $4.3M giving CBS Films $29.4M thus far.

Summit’s family flop Furry Vengeance fell 40% to an estimated $4M resulting in a poor ten-day tally of just $11.6M. Clash of the Titans took a big hit from Iron Man 2 tumbling 61% to an estimated $2.3M. After its sixth frame, the Warner Bros. 3D adventure has banked $157.8M.

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Chris Rock’s latest comedy Death at a Funeral followed with an estimated $2.1M, off 49%, for a $38.3M sum for Sony. The Losers ranked ninth collapsing 69% to an estimated $1.8M with $21.5M to date for Warner Bros.

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Three films fought over tenth place with estimated grosses between $1.5M and $1.6M but if Sunday estimates are to be believed, the documentary Babies narrowly won the race. Opening to weak results, the PG-rated film about the first year of life for four babies growing up in different parts of the world grossed an estimated $1.6M from 534 theaters for a lackluster $2,951 average. Focus went unusually wide with the launch as most non-Michael Moore documentaries do not bow in this many theaters on the first weekend. Disney’s nature films Oceans and Earth are two examples of wide releases for the genre as both were tied into Earth Day. Babies was slated for Mother’s Day weekend, however its target audience of new parents rarely get time to go out to the movies at that stage of life. A much larger crowd is likely to catch it on DVD and VOD. Reviews for the French-produced doc were generally positive.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $171M which was up 23% from last year when Star Trek opened in the top spot with $75.2M ($79.2M including Thursday night); and up 48% from 2008 when Iron Man remained at number one with $51.2M. During those two years, this was the second weekend of summer and not the kickoff.

Proving once again that he’s not dead, Freddy Krueger returned to the top of
the North American box office chart with his ninth cinematic outing in the
remake of
A
Nightmare on Elm Street
which drew a solid opening. But the overall
marketplace was still in a late-spring funk with the Top 20 failing to reach
$100M for the second consecutive frame. But the rebound is just a week away as
this summer’s kick-off picture
Iron Man 2
made a
loud entrance overseas grossing over $100M this weekend from international
territories ahead of its domestic launch on Thursday night.

New Line Cinema’s iconic horror franchise came back to life thanks to the top
spot debut of the new version of
A
Nightmare on Elm Street
which bowed to an impressive $32.2M, according
to estimates, to score the seventh best April opening in history. Scaring
audiences in 3,332 theaters, the R-rated redo averaged $9,665 per location and
was extremely front-loaded over the course of the weekend. Friday launched with
a stellar $15.8M including Thursday night midnight shows. Saturday tumbled 33%
to $10.6M while Sunday is expected to drop by another 45% to $5.8M. Horror
films, especially remakes and sequels, tend to attract their biggest crowd on
opening day and then suffer sizable declines.[rtimage]MapID=1211478&MapTypeID=2&photo=22&legacy=1[/rtimage]Nightmare‘s
debut fell below the $40.6M bow of last spring’s fright remake
Friday the
13th
, but beat out the $28.1M opening of 2003’s
The Texas
Chainsaw Massacre
redo. All three were produced by Michael Bay’s
Platinum Dunes which has cornered the market in this field. The new Freddy beat
out the debuts of many other recent fright remakes like
Halloween

($26.4M),
My Bloody Valentine
($21.2M), and
Prom Night

($20.8M).

While Freddy Krueger held a tight grip on domestic multiplexes, Tony Stark
seized control of the rest of the world with Paramount and Marvel’s
international launch of
Iron Man 2
which
grossed a sensational $100.2M from 6,764 theaters in 53 markets around the world
since its first debuts on Wednesday in certain territories. Leading the way were
the United Kingdom with $12.2M from 528 sites, Korea with $10.8M from 855,
Australia’s $8.8M from 251, and France’s $8.2M from 722. IMAX also set a new
record for an overseas 2D opening grossing $2.25M from 48 large-format screens
for a sizzling $47,000 average beating the old high of $2.1M set by

Transformers 2
last summer.

Iron Man 2 opens next week in several more countries like China, India,
Turkey, and Germany and will fly into more than 4,000 theaters across North
America. Paramount had previously slated the Jon Favreau-directed sequel to open
this very weekend but when Disney pulled

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
out of its May
7 date, Paramount pushed its tentpole back a week domestically. The Mouse House
later dropped out of the Narnia business with Fox stepping in to release Dawn
Treader
this December 10 in 3D.[rtimage]MapID=1197264&MapTypeID=2&photo=49&legacy=1[/rtimage]The
Viking toon

How To Train Your Dragon
dropped out of the number one spot again but
declined by only 30% to an estimated $10.8M boosting the cume for the 3D
blockbuster to $192.4M. Look for the DreamWorks Animation-Paramount title to
break the $200M mark next weekend. Last summer’s Up from Pixar and Disney
is the only other 3D animated film to ever cross the double-century barrier.

A pair of female-skewing comedies followed.
Date Night
with
Steve Carell
and Tina Fey
enjoyed the smallest dip among all wide releases dropping only 27% to an
estimated $7.6M for a sturdy $73.6M total to date for Fox. The Jennifer Lopez
pic The Back-up Plan
fared well in its second weekend sliding a moderate 41% to an estimated $7.2M.
With $23M in ten days, CBS Films should end up with a decent $40M or so.       

Opening in fifth place with dismal results was the family comedy
Furry
Vengeance
starring Brendan Fraser which grossed an estimated $6.5M.
Averaging a poor $2,169 from 2,997 locations (an unusually high playdate count
for a film that has always had little to no buzz), the PG-rated film about
forest animals seeking revenge on a real estate developer trying to build on
their land played mostly to kids and moms. Though in its sixth weekend of play,
Dragon proved to be a much stronger draw for families despite the higher
3D ticket prices so Furry suffered from both lack of consumer interest
plus formidable competition.[rtimage]MapID=1212891&MapTypeID=2&photo=6&legacy=1[/rtimage]Warner
Bros. claimed the next two spots. The action thriller
The Losers

grossed an estimated $6M in its second mission dropping only 36%. But with only
$18.1M in ten days and Stark Industries set to monopolize the action crowd
starting this Thursday night at midnight, an underwhelming $30-35M final seems
set.
Clash of the Titans
fell by 36% to an estimated $5.7M for a $154M tally
thus far. Like most high-profile 3D films, Clash has been displaying good
legs later into its run.

The super hero flick
Kick-Ass

fell 52% to an estimated $4.5M giving Lionsgate $42.2M so far.
Death at a
Funeral
followed with an estimated $4M, down 50%, putting Sony’s total
at $34.8M. Disney’s
Oceans
sank a
disturbing 57% in its second weekend to an estimated $2.6M. With $13.5M in 11
days, the G-rated underwater doc should finish with less than
$20M.[rtimage]MapID=1217700&MapTypeID=2&photo=24&legacy=1[/rtimage]The top ten
films grossed an estimated $87.1M which was down 41% from last year when
X-Men Origins: Wolverine

opened in the top spot with $85.1M; and down 41% from 2008 when
Iron Man
debuted at
number one with $98.6M. Comparisons are skewed since the summer movie season
kicked off with major tentpoles on this weekend over the last two years.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, BOX OFFICE GURU!!!

Day Nine: A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)

By now, the reviews are out, and the Nightmare on Elm Street reboot is getting the worst notices in the history of the franchise. The critics say it’s generic, short on scares, and ultimately unnecessary. I am essentially in agreement with the majority, and although I’ll add my two cents, I won’t run on too long for those of you who plan on seeing Nightmare this weekend.

If you want a plot summary, read my entry on the original A Nightmare on Elm Street since, for all intents and purposes, they’re the same. Even some of the original’s most famous moments (like the above-the-bed slaughter, or Freddy’s claw peeking out of a bathtub) have been faithfully (if redundantly) reproduced here. Nightmare is made with a professional sheen; the director, Samuel Bayer (making his feature debut), was responsible for some of the most iconic music videos in recent memory (most notably Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit”) and he is clearly a skilled stylist. However, this Nightmare fatally suffers from several major problems.

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Wes Craven wisely sidestepped two of the trickiest plot elements of the original — namely, the issue of Springwood’s parents rising to enact vigilante justice against Fred Krueger, and the actual nature of Krueger’s crimes. The Nightmare films may have hinted that Krueger was a pedophile, but none dwelled on it. Nor, with the exception of a brief moment in Freddy’s Dead did they explicitly depict a group of suburbanites torching an abandoned factory, since such a scene would either elicit unintentional laughs or a sense of disbelief, and thus is best left to the imagination. Unfortunately, this Nightmare puts both of these things onscreen, which is a big mistake; the intention must have been to get back to the dark soul of Freddy, but the result is distasteful, particularly the scenes involving pedophilia. This movie hasn’t earned the right to utilize such material in so haphazard and unserious a manner.

The other issue is that the dream sequences aren’t particularly interesting, and they’re never actually scary (unless your definition of scary is “quick jolts of sound effects”). The original Nightmare made the absolute most of a limited budget, and its audacity of imagination still has the ability to shock and unsettle. Wes Craven’s movie probably cost a fraction of the reboot’s catering budget — couldn’t anyone have come up with anything scarier than a bunch of replays in the boiler room? Ultimately, despite the best efforts of a talented cast, this reboot is generic, flat stuff, which is a shame — say what you will about Freddy Krueger, but he was never dull.

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Rather than end this series on a down note, however, I wanted to get back to the heart and soul of the Freddy phenomenon: the fans. To that end, I talked to Patrick Luce, an old friend of mine who’s my go-to guy for slasher movie info. Though he’s currently an upstanding member of society – he’s the opinion page editor for a fine New England Daily, the Fall River Herald News — he still indulges in plenty of gorefests, and loved Freddy movies because of their unique slant within the genre.

“I liked the inevitability of it,” he said. “You can’t escape, no matter what. It’s not like you can run away from Camp Crystal Lake and you’re fine. You can’t stay awake forever, so there’s that constant dread, because you know that eventually he’s gonna get you. That’s kind of the fun of them. It’s something out of the norm. You’re not supposed to like watching people get slaughtered, but somehow you do! I don’t know why.”

Luce vividly remembered his first encounter with Freddy Krueger — one that involved disobeying his mother to get a taste of the dark side.

“I was a little kid — I think I was six or seven at the time,” he said. “My mother had taken me and my sister to see a matinee — I think it was some dance movie — and I had to go to the bathroom. I snuck into the next theater, and it was playing A Nightmare on Elm Street. I was watching it from the back of the theater. I didn’t watch the whole thing, but it was the first time I’d seen it. I remember the scene where [Nancy Thompson] is in class, and she gets up and goes into the basement of the school. And Freddy’s got the knives and they’re scraping against the pipes –” he shuddered “– the screeching noise, and the darkness, and the music — it was very exciting, especially since I knew I shouldn’t have been there.”

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That seems to me to be part of the appeal of the Nightmare films — kids from my generation watched them partly because they thought of them as forbidden fruit. I wanted more anecdotes, so we at RT decided to ask our friends on Facebook and Twitter for their early experiences with the Nightmare movies.

Some, like Marc LeBoeuf, found Freddy getting under their skin without even seeing a Nightmare movie.

“I remember we were at the video store looking for movies to rent,” he wrote. “My dad asked the owner for any recommendations. To this day, I remember him confidently saying that the original A Nightmare on Elm Street was suitable for both me and my brother to watch. Unfortunately, we were only 11 and 8 at the time! Despite now being 37, I still think about that every time I see it at a video store.”

Others told of getting up close and personal with Freddy — even if it was just a guy dressed like the famous killer.

“I was working at a movie theater in Massachusetts in 1984,” wrote Toni Williams. “The theater was hosting a premier party for Nightmare and I was the cashier. Tons of people were coming in. There were a million cameras everywhere, [and the] cast and crew [were in attendance]. It was really cool, and I was in heaven thinking that a piece of Hollywood had come to my movie theater. We were told in advance that we needed to be on our best behavior. I was selling tickets and moving along when all of a sudden I heard screaming. I looked up and saw Freddy Krueger was walking towards me. Slowly and methodically. I freaked. I ran like the teenager I was into the back room and I refused to come back out until after he was gone. Yup, I won’t ever forget that night.”

Some impressionable youngsters found Freddy a little too much for their delicate sensibilities to handle.

“I was able to convince my mom to allow my dad to take me and my horror-loving friend to see [A Nightmare on Elm Street] at the drive in theater,” wrote Melissa Slade. “We started out watching the movie, sitting right in front of the screen, eating our popcorn in the grass, cuddled in blankets. About 20 minutes into the movie we had moved our butts, quite quickly I might add, to the safety of my family’s van and more importantly, to where my dad could protect us.”

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However, not all budding Freddy-philes could take solace in their parents.

“After watching one of the films, I went to the washroom,” wrote Bryce Bass Nielsen. “My dad had taken fake blood and put scratch marks everywhere. I freaked out and ran into my room, which had a fake severed head under the blankets, and my dad was hiding behind my door wearing a mask. You can see how that worked out.”

Over on Twitter, sue215 told us that she loves Freddy for his good humor: “I am usually too afraid to watch horror movies, but always watched A Nightmare on Elm Street. Freddy’s one-liners are the best!” kourtadactyl finds him to be perversely inspirational: “I like Freddy because when I want to stay up to do homework, I just think of him killing me in my sleep. I stay wide awake.” And ejvaldes considers him to be one of the greats of the genre: “Freddy used to scare the heck out of me when I was a kid. Then, he became a slasher idol to me.”

So there you have it. I don’t know if I’m going to miss Freddy now that he’s gone, but I had plenty of fun with the Nightmare on Elm Street movies, and I hope you enjoyed following them along with me. I’d like to say thanks to everyone who posted their comments and shared their memories.




Schedule of Nightmares:

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