The internet horror community rejoiced in unison earlier this week when Platinum Dunes producer Brad Fuller confirmed that the next Friday the 13th movie – likely a full-on reboot of the franchise – will not be a found footage film, as the studio was originally planning. And many patted themselves on the back when Fuller revealed the specific reason why.
“There was an outpouring of negative sentiment when it was revealed that Friday the 13th might have been a found footage movie,” Fuller told Shock Till You Drop. “That had tremendous impact on us and substantiated our concern about doing it as a found footage movie. Ultimately, the fact that the movie’s been delayed for a long time might be a good thing, because now it’s not going to be found footage.”
It’s hard not to react to this news with a certain level of excitement, because there’s something cool about knowing that the filmmakers and studios responsible for making the movies we watch are actually listening to us. And it’s also nice to hear that Jason won’t be heading into the arena of found footage, because I’m not quite convinced that it would’ve been a good direction to take the series.
But there are two sides to every coin, as they say, and the other side to this particular coin is one that reveals somewhat of a problem within not just the horror fan community, but quite frankly every fan community that exists here on the world wide web. Fans are getting angrier and more vocal than ever before, and we’ve come to wield a certain power that I’m not sure we should be in possession of.
There was a time when fans consumed the art that they were fed and never got involved in the behind the scenes creation of it, and artists had the freedom to make their art and THEN get judged for it. But the internet has chewed up and spit that idea out, providing a soapbox for everyone with a keyboard to get up on and throw verbal tomatoes at artists throughout every step of the creation process.
And again, this isn’t just the horror community we’re talking about, because I see the exact same thing going on in the wrestling community. Nobody hates World Wrestling Entertainment more than the company’s biggest fans, and they’ve grown so vocal about their gripes that they’ve essentially inserted themselves into the writer’s room. The inmates, in many ways, have begun running the asylum.
I’m not suggesting that companies like WWE shouldn’t be listening to their fans, but there’s something about the fans having so much power that’s somewhat concerning. In the case of this Friday the 13th reboot, it seems that us fans are steering the ship as much as the writers are, and while that may be exciting for us, I’m not convinced that we deserve to have so much say in the art we consume.
Never one to shy away from speaking his mind, film critic Scott Weinberg expressed his feelings on this very topic over on Twitter earlier today – and he hit the nail right on the head. “So the next Friday the 13th won’t be found footage because of fan outrage,” Weinberg wrote. “This is how movies get made these days. Via fan outrage. I think the filmmakers should make films, not the whining masses.”
Somewhere along the way, the definition of the word “fan” completely changed, and it’s been troubling to see just how hate-filled fans have become about the things they claim to love. The horror community, in particular, is full of fans who rarely have anything positive to say about the genre, instead spending their time bashing every movie that comes out – oftentimes before they even sit down and watch them.
There’s a sense of entitlement that many fans now carry around with them, and a large part of that is due to the unprecedented behind-the-scenes access we’ve been provided with. We feel like we’re somehow a part of the process, simply because it’s visible to us, and the pre-judgment of movies based on things like concept art and set photos has gotten completely out of hand – Suicide Squad, anyone?
And again, the problem here is that we tend to hate everything that we see, and we’re all quick to be the first person to point out how shitty something looks or sounds. When it was rumored that the next Friday the 13th film MIGHT be found footage, the horror community unsurprisingly exploded with the sort of outrage that can only come from fans, and it seems we’ve rewritten the future of the franchise.
Is that a good thing or a bad thing? Unfortunately, we’ll never know.
There’s a big difference between a fan and a creator, and as those lines continue to blur, I can’t help but worry about how many great things we’re going to miss out on simply because we refuse to let filmmakers be filmmakers. Rather than letting artists bring THEIR visions to life, we’ve started to force them to bring OURS to life, and that’s a pretty troubling path to head down.
Is it the worst thing in the world that we’ll likely never see Jason Voorhees slashing teenagers up through the lens of a shaky, handheld camera? No, it’s certainly not. But we must keep in mind that the best films are made when filmmakers are free to make the movies they want to make, and we have to be aware that when we express our whiny outrage, those filmmakers are listening.
My fear, more than anything, is that we’re reaching a point where talented artists will be too scared to ever actually create the art that is floating around in their heads, due to how negative we’ve become in regards to the acceptance of artistic creations. To echo Scott Weinberg’s aforementioned tweets, I think we need to sit back, shut our mouths, and let artists create art.
Only when that art is finished should we feel free to critique it.
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