Enough already with the remakes, reboots and superheroes! Here are five dormant movie genres that need to make a comeback…
The Devil became a major Hollywood star during the 1970s thanks to the success of films like Rosemary’s Baby (1968) and media interest in occultism and devil worship. Chanting hooded figures, virgin sacrifices, pentagrams, goats, Faustian pacts, the Antichrist and apartment blocks built over the gates of Hell were staples of horror cinema during this period, but have since been largely exorcised. Satan now plays second fiddle to the real evils that plague the world, and demonic possession in the movies has been reduced to a contorting caricature. With the recent Hereditary having successfully summoned the macabre mood of traditional occult shockers, more modern horror filmmakers should consider dabbling in the diabolical.
THE WILD WEST
Westerns are one of cinema’s oldest genres, with roots in the silent era and a golden age that spanned the 1940s, ‘50s and ‘60s. You could probably count the number of westerns released in recent years on one hand – the brutal and brilliant Bone Tomahawk and remakes of The Magnificent Seven and True Grit being noteworthy entries in a genre that has since ridden off into the sunset. Films like The Hateful Eight, Hell or High Water and The Revenant might qualify as westerns per se, but in terms of old school cowboys and gunfights at high noon and at the OK Corral, it’s been mostly tumbleweeds on the main streets and prairies. Dances with Wolves was one of the last great, epic Oscar-bait westerns, and it would be good to see a visionary filmmaker take a gamble on the traditional cinematic western – shot John Ford-style in Monument Valley.
NATURE RUNS AMOK
An offshoot of the disaster movie, nature on the rampage became a prolific genre following the success of Jaws, with everything from spiders, snakes, worms and slugs rising up against humanity. While sharks, alligators and crocodiles have remained the movies’ apex predators, insects and other animals have been hibernating. It’s time to stir up a swarm of killer bees or centipedes and unleash them on a town fair that the mayor refuses to cancel, and call in an attractive female scientist to save the day and fall for the local sheriff. The template need not change [insert attacking species here], but any future films should be an affectionate throwback to the creature features of old.
Back in the ‘80s and ‘90s, psychosexual thrillers were steaming up the screen and a safe bet at the box office. Films like Fatal Attraction, 9 1/2 Weeks, Basic Instinct, Indecent Proposal, Disclosure and Sliver let audiences (especially date-night couples) take a walk on the wild side, but thrillers have since lost that racy edge. A seductive femme fatale like Sharon Stone’s Catherine Trammel or Body Heat’s Matty Walker would certainly be risky in a post #MeToo world, as would any erotic thriller directed by Paul Verhoeven. But that doesn’t mean Hollywood isn’t interested in bringing sexy back. The king of the erotic thriller, director Adrian Lyne, is currently in pre-production on Deep Water, an infidelity thriller starring Ben Affleck. If it’s successful enough (and doesn’t provoke too much outrage), more could conceivably follow – preferably not starring Michael Douglas.
The Twilight Saga and its offspring pretty much sucked the lifeblood out of vampire movies and transformed one of the screen’s most iconic monsters into an anaemic shadow of its former self. Zombies have monopolised the movies for too long now and it’s time to make vampires scary again. British author Brian Lumley’s Necroscope novels would make a fantastic film franchise or TV series, and it’s been a while since Dracula was last resurrected. For the more Gothic-inclined, Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles are in desperate need of an update, and the good news is a small screen adaptation is currently in development. Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot is also tipped to be making a comeback, albeit with James Wan involved. Even a clever horror comedy like the original Fright Night would be most welcome. Let the vampires do the sucking, not the movies they’re in.