The ’80s make a comeback in modern film

In Arts & Entertainment, Film & TV

Though results may vary, popular culture is often recycled and rarely truly original. Hollywood has been remaking films for almost as long as it has been churning out originals. In the past few years, the remakes of choice have been of films first made in the ‘80s.

In 2009, Jason Voorhees reappeared to wreak havoc at summer camp in Friday the 13th. The original film of the franchise was made in 1980.

A year later in 2010, Jason’s rival Freddy Krueger resurfaced out of the boiler room in a remake of Nightmare on Elm St., first released in 1984.

This year the film Fright Night reawakened Charley Brewster’s vampire neighbor Jerry Dandridge from the throws of 1985.

What’s in the future? A few things seem to be in the works. Firstly, the new reworking of Footloose, a dance movie from 1984 that starred Kevin Bacon, is set to hit theaters again Oct. 14.

Dirty Dancing, another iconic dance film from 1987 which starred Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey, will be a future remake as well. This time it will be directed by noted choreographer and director Kenny Ortega, whose catalog includes the 1988 Dirty Dancing television show and Michael Jackson’s tour film This Is It.

But why recreate a film that has already been made?

“It’s easy,” said Shelley Jenkins, a professor in the Radio-TV-Film Department. “The script is already done and the movie (normally) has already proven to be a commercial success in a different era.”

Whether it is referred to as “re-created,” “re-imagined,” or simply remade, the bottom line is that this is a tactic the industry often turns to. The fan base is already there, and there is potential for a whole new generation to jump in. These films often get updated in their references and technology as well in order to appeal to a younger audience.

“Our generation is a target audience, so it has to be relatable to us,” said Kristi Licera, a dance major. “But it appeals to older generations too, because if you’re already a fan, you’re more likely to go see, even just to see how it turned out.”

It isn’t all about remakes though. Hollywood likes to blow the dust off old classics in other ways as well. The Back to the Future trilogy is being reissued for the 25th anniversary of the films (the first of which was released in 1985), now on Blu-Ray and with special bonus features.

Warner Bros. also has plans for a sequel to the 1988 Tim Burton classic Beetlejuice, which starred Michael Keaton as the famous ghoul. Though any talk is minimal at the moment, so far Burton is not set to direct Beetlejuice 2.

The only names currently in connection with the project are David Katzenberg (best known as author of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies) and Seth Grahame-Smith, the latter of whom has written the script for Burton’s recent project, Dark Shadows, an adaptation of the 1960s horror TV series.

Amber Matlock, a political science major, thinks moving forward without Burton’s direction will hinder the film, despite Grahame-Smith’s familiarity with his notable style. “Tim Burton has that creative touch that makes it different,” said Matlock.

Regardless, this is a trend that will never die in the film industry. Despite outcry, it has proven itself as an easy way to generate income.

“After all, film is a business…most of the time before it is an art,” Jenkins said.

The ‘80s have made a comeback for now, but in a few years it will probably be the ‘90s that Hollywood turns to. It won’t be surprising when a new version of Pretty Woman surfaces.

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