We’re all horror fans. So, by doing an article about what fans do and don’t want, I’m speaking as a fan myself. The intent is not to talk down to anyone, but as a group, fans want what they want. We’re all guilty of it and it’s a good thing because it means we’re all passionate about the genre we love. We have stories that resonate with us on a deep, personal level. We’re affected by these films and these characters.
That passion doesn’t always show itself in the best of ways. It’s something I’m as guilty of as the next person. We want to see certain characters in certain movies. We love watching Jason and Michael Myers come back to do their thing. People never really want anything different. Sometimes they open up to it when they actually get it, but often they don’t.
There are ideas that I’d want to see, but that I know I probably don’t actually want to see. A story needs a point and a direction and whether it takes a good or bad direction, a different direction should be encouraged at least once in awhile.
Keeping in mind that all of this is subjective, we’re going to take a look at eight movies that had a pretty strong backlash from the fans, or have experienced such in the past. They’re features that I don’t think would have totally worked if the creative team had given fans exactly what they wanted.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2
This film definitely has its fans—and I’m one of them—but there are still plenty of people who hate it because they think it’s making a joke of the original. There are many fans—or at least a very vocal portion—who absolutely despise horror comedy in general. The original Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a brutal, gritty masterpiece. But it does have a sense of humor. The sequel only builds on that and takes the whole concept in a new direction because Tobe Hooper didn’t want to repeat himself. And I, for one, am glad he opted to do something different.
Fans have huge problems with Alien 3, which is a feature that I actually like a lot. But I understand the complaints. People loved Newt and Hicks and the whole dynamic of Aliens. But there’s no topping Aliens. That family dynamic they created was so strong that the aliens wouldn’t be a threat anymore. For a new film to work, Ripley had to feel alone and vulnerable again, and that’s ultimately what Alien 3 did.
Land of the Dead
When Land of the Dead came out to comment on the Bush administration, fans blasted it for being too political. It was a George Romero zombie movie and they called it political propaganda! I try to be understanding of opposing viewpoints, but did they even see the previous Dead flicks? They’ve always been political statements, dating back to Night of the Living Dead. That’s what Romero does. I have no idea what people expected this to be, if not exactly what it was.
Halloween H20: 20 Years Later
Critically Halloween H20 was successful, but fans hated it and still do because it completely ignored 4,5 and 6. But what did it have to gain by talking about them? Yes, there could have been a mention—although it does tie directly into Halloween 4, which people don’t tend to acknowledge—but Laurie gave up her first child and has been in hiding for years, so how would she have even known about anything that happened during that time?
This Stephen King adaptation gets a ton of backlash for its ending, which is extremely depressing. But it’s an ending I love and one that I think perfectly embodies the overall story. The Mist is about society under a microscope. They have no idea what the world looks like, how far this devastation reaches, and as far as they know this is the end of the world. The mist itself is scarier than the monsters because it induces fear and paranoia by blinding you to whatever’s going on around you that you can’t see. That’s why the ending works as the kick to the gut that it is. Even King himself said he liked this ending better than his own.
Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning
People don’t love the bait-and-switch ending of A New Beginning. They feel tricked, they feel like the movie pulled one over on them. That’s how I felt at first too. A lot of people wanted Jason to be the killer and a lot of people wanted Tommy to be the killer, but I’m not sure if either one of those works for me. I like Tommy’s hero arc and I like Jason’s return in Jason Lives. It’s nice to have an interlude of Scooby the 13th.
Here’s another one of my personal favorites from the past twenty years. I really love it. But a great many people hate the ending. I think it’s something that people wouldn’t have a problem with if it happened in a book, it’s much more forgivable in that medium. They claim that the twist doesn’t make any logical sense with what we’d seen before the twist occurred. But the entire feature had been told from Marie’s perspective. All we were getting was her version of events, so the ending made perfect sense in that regard.
Halloween III: Season of the Witch
On one level, Halloween III has a much wider audience than it used to have. But at the same time, people still really love to complain about it. At the end of the day, there will always be the folks who just wanted Michael Myers in there no matter what. But to follow so closely after the first two, after Carpenter and Hill had made such a clear attempt to try and end that story, it would have felt cheap. The series needed some kind of intermission. And Halloween III is pretty solid. It’s weird to still hear people say that they would have liked it had it been called something else, because at that point they’re just admitting they enjoy something, but also saying they don’t believe in their own right to enjoy it.