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Sunday Scaries: Why is the Horror Genre Leaning So Hard into the Legacy Sequel?

Netflix

The Sunday Scaries are upon us once again! Yes, as the weekend concludes, most of us feel an oncoming sense of anticipatory dread about the week ahead. Anxiety about work manifests itself into a feeling that’s known as the Sunday Scaries. However, we at Awards Radar are here to combat that, by taking back the name. Now, we want you think about a horror-centric piece on the site when you hear the term. So, let us continue on with another installment of the Awards Radar Sunday Scaries! Today, the dropping on Netflix of a certain new horror film got me thinking about a recent trend in the genre…

The release this weekend of Texas Chainsaw Massacre (my review is here) had me pondering something once I saw it. This is yet another film that throws away all of the sequels aside from itself in the franchise. Moreover, this is the latest entry into a series to bring back a legacy character in order to more closely tie itself in to what’s come before. This movie does it in an odder fashion than usual, but more on that below. Mostly, I’m just wondering why so many flicks are utilizing it, especially when some of the properties don’t call for it in the slightest.

Netflix

Obviously, horror is not the only place where this is happening. Star Wars did this with their latest Saga entires (as well as on television, in a few instances). Plus, we’re seeing this happening now with the Jurassic World sequels. However, the fright flicks genre is where it seems to have been done best, with the most recent Halloween installments. That success has clearly inspired Leatherface’s newest outing.

While it worked well for Halloween (if slightly less so for Halloween Kills) with Jamie Lee Curtis, it didn’t early on in the franchise, and it certainly doesn’t work with Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Part of that is that while Laurie Strode is iconic, Sally Hardesty is not. So, you just care less. Plus, those who are fans won’t be able to see Marilyn Burns, as she’s passed, so it winds up essentially being a stranger in Olwen Fouéré. That’s nothing against Fouéré, but she doesn’t have any connection, which Burns would have had for those who really cared.

Universal

I don’t expect the trend to end anytime soon. It’s a way to generate a bit of extra excitement with a franchise. That being said, there’s clearly a way to do it better, which not every property has learned. It’s just the sort of thing that should be a potential arrow in a filmmaking quiver, but it shouldn’t be a thoughtless go-to.

Interestingly, the best (to me at least) horror franchise installment of late has been Spiral: From the Book of Saw and it didn’t go the legacy route. It doesn’t mean the tool isn’t good, but that some properties clearly can tell that it’s not right for them. At the same time, the potential Spiral sequel, which may be a full on Saw film, could bring back John Kramer in some way, but depending on how that Jigsaw is utilized, it may or may not work. TBD there.

Netflix

Texas Chainsaw Massacre didn’t fail just because it sloppily used the legacy sequel method. It’s just a mediocre and pointless movie through and through. Nothing was going to save it. At the same time, it did at least have me considering this aspect of many modern franchises, for what that’s worth. As more of them come out, we may well revisit this subject. For now, I don’t have any answers, just something I’ve been pondering over the last few days. So, if you have a take to chime in with, feel free to do so…

(As a bonus, if you have a subject you’d like tackled on Sunday Scaries, definitely leave a message with some suggestions. We’re all ears!)

What do you think of this current trend? Let us know and stay tuned for another Sunday Scaries next weekend!

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Written by Joey Magidson

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