Let It Bleed – How Horror Can Save Hollywood Franchises From Itself – Part 2

Let It Bleed – How Horror Can Save Hollywood Franchises From Itself – Part 2

Here’s my last hurrah on how Hollywood can save itself with a healthy dose of horror. I always say if you’re gonna offer a criticism, offer a resolution. Unfortunately, the studio system is just one giant snake swallowing its tail, and sadly we’re all stuck in the middle feeling the squeeze of no escape. Stories of adventure, love, lust, revenge, action, and horror should not be mitigated and forgotten so easily as if it was a prom date that finally decided to put out. A franchise is something to be respected, a testament to who we are as a society and how we grow as storytellers. It’s not only about what we have to say, but what we will endure.

I tried my best Hollywood, please I just want you to do the same.

God save the Franchise. Now let it bleed…

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

First came the cinematic intro of our favorite foursome. Part 2 gave us the Secret of the Ooze. The third time around we went back in time. And if you didn’t know about a fourth film, well they finally got a female to come to the party. I’ll let you Google that last one for proof that it does in fact exist. The Weinsteins shacked up with Warner Brothers awhile back to deliver a completely forgettable CGI adventure as well. Pretty much any inclination to nostalgia has dissolved to apathy and blocked the reemergence of our sewer dwelling heroes.

Now this was reported by Variety a while back…

Nickelodeon, a division of Viacom, has acquired the global rights to the property from the Mirage Group and 4Kids Entertainment. Additionally, Nick’s sister company Paramount will steer a new “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” feature to the big screen, planned for 2012. Scott Mednick (“300”) is producing the pic.

Deal, which gives Nick the global intellectual property rights to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, cost $60 million. …

Nick, which also acquired all merchandising rights to the Turtles, will begin developing a CG-animated TV series based on the Turtles, also slated to premiere in 2012. Nick will continue to work with its original and longstanding toy partner, Playmates Toys.

Now 4Kids hasn’t really done too much much that’s impressive with the story lines. They’ve strayed more from the comic book origins into space travel, and time jumping. The lack of any true peril or worthy adventures has turned it into a snooze-fest that the likes of Yu-Gi-Oh can easily trample with half the fortitude that the Turtles used to possess.

Now here’s what needs to happen. Blood and lots of it. How can you have a villian named Shredder and it not be a slasher film?

The Turtles take to the streets to hunt down Shredder after he has brutally murdered April O’Neil. Shredder has grown to hunting and collecting the heads of females as trophies and our beloved news anchor is his latest kill after her investigative report has put authorities hot on his trail. There’s no need for justice, only for revenge as the Turtles will have to slash their way through an army of Foot Soldiers to get to Shredder. It’s kill or be killed as Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello, and Raphael march scorched earth through the criminal underworld. Little do they know that Shredder is hunting them with the help of a new batch of genetically engineered monsters designed to dismember the pizza munchers on sight.

Serial killing, ninjas, men in monster suits, and is that Casey Jones with a hockey mask and a chainsaw? This sells easier than cold Guinness on St. Paddy’s Day.

The Matrix

My oh my, what a hot mess this Trilogy turned out to be. The point of this saga was that Neo would bring balance to the world, serving as the liberator of man from machine. While the first entry into the series showcased the terrific action and special effects of the Wachowski’s vision, it soon drifted into style without substance. The further we delved into this cipher of ones and zeroes, the more the story became muddled and hokey; the victim of studio interference and compromise. By the battle for Zion, many simply couldn’t be bothered by the religious and philosophical undertones that were forced to be wrapped up between giant battlemechs and the exponential growth of Agent Smith.

The one element that I wish was further expounded was that vampires, werewolves, and other “mythical” beings are some of the first programs to be encoded into the Matrix. The albino twins whipping their dreadlocks about were laughable to a certain degree, but who they worked for and where they came from offer far more interest than their pursuit of the Key Master and Neo.

Imagine if you will the early construct of the Matrix, the Wild West days of building an interface that could placate the human mind into submission for the harvesting of mankind’s bio-electricity. The fears of human beings will always lurk within thier subconscience and it is here that the engineers of the Matrix have extracted the physical manifestations of all the things that go bump in the night. Follow the rise of a new program, Agent Smith, tasked with tracking down the renegade programs that have escaped the process of deletion. Fathom the Universal Monsters for the 31st Century.

These entities realize that they are in fact, computer programs, but have been designed with the sincere impulses of hunger, desire, and abilities as if they were in the real world. These programs of Vampires and Lycanthropes band together when it is realized that they can escape the Matrix and enter the physical world, where the growing fields of humans offer a plethora of new victims. First they must take on Agent Smith head on, and the founders of the Matrix.

Of course there’s no way to put the band back together again for this one, so I say it goes the way of the ANIMATRIX. Offering an animated peek behind the curtain will deliver a fresh look into the world of adult themed science fiction and horror. Think TRON done in the way you remember Saturday morning cartoons, but with gallons of dripping, creature ripping, red. In all honesty, there’s far too much to be constructed with this world of wonders to simply abandon it curbside like a Christmas tree at the start of the New Year. Allow the eager hand of ambitious writers and horror fans to take a crack at it, it can’t get any worse than it’s predecessors. It’ll sure beat TWILIGHT.

Look Who’s Talking

Sure Mikey was cute as a button, and Travolta needed to pay rent before Tarantino came calling. Even Kirstie Alley still had a bit of swagger and any time Abe Vigoda can get a paycheck I’m all for it. Roseanne Barr came along for the sequel, voicing the kid sister. For the third even the dogs had to get a word in edge wise. The result turned these kids into a turd factory of film making and yet paved the way for many innocuous films like CATS AND DOGS. How could this possiblely be remedied? It’s time to scare the kids.

Envision a picturesque family, surrounded in suburban splendor, the American dream personified. Now envision them in the midst of a home invasion. The mother and father are gagged and bound while our child slumbers. The attack awakens him and he attempts to hide away. Imagine the terror of a toddler pursued through their eyes and thoughts. Prepare for the horror of being truly helpless through the point of view documentary style of a child’s eyes at the inability to help those that matters most.

The Mask

Remember when Jim Carrey was still breaking out and the world was introduced to Cameron Diaz? Remember her as the gun moll to her power hungry hood of a boyfriend? Remember when that said hood got his hands on Loki’s mask and started slaughtering anything that breathed? Yea, that’s what can fix this franchise after SON OF THE MASK all but slammed the coffin lid in what could be a great franchise.

It’s hard to call this a franchise, but the true fun of this storyline is following along with whomever encounters the mask. Good or evil, this absolute power is meant to corrupt absolutely. The mask resurfaces and trouble is quick to follow. Imagine if this mask landed in the lap of Jason Voorhees, Michael Myers,  or Leslie Vernon. The level of terror reaches new heights when the homicidal truly become maniacal, twisting the personality of those that bare the mask into that of true self indulgent evil. Who could stop this blood lust? Well that’s where the fun begins as the origins of the Mask are finally revealed.

Now this isn’t much of a storyline, but let’s go back to the late 80s and if you had half a kilo of nose candy and a film camera this franchise would have gone to space and back. Throw in a down on his luck, hard boiled detective near suspension when an unexplained body count begins to amass. Throw in a scream queen, a kick ass car chase, and this pretty much writes itself.

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Born in the steel scrap-yards of Lorain, Ohio, Zach Shildwachter is a VHS Vagabond wandering the Cleveland landscape in search of the perfect Horror movie and Banana flavored snacks in preparation for the Zombie Apocalypse. Until the Dead walk, our Hero remains an Aspiring Filmmaker, Compulsive Writer, Self-taught Artist, and amateur Super-Hero.

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