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It's the Booze Talkin'; It's a good time to remake Urban Legend!



This Thanksgiving week offers a bit of a treat with the Scream Factory’s release of both URBAN LEGEND and URBAN LEGENDS: FINAL CUT. You know the one about a crazed killer stalking victims by using popular urban myths? My own personal relationship with this particular franchise has been unique. When the original first arrived, it offered a ton of promise with cool kill ideas and a perfect cast. Seriously, you have Jared Leto, Alicia Witt, Rebecca Gayheart, Michael Rosenbaum, Loretta Devine, Joshua Jackson, Robert Englund and Danielle Harris - even Tara Reid isn’t terrible in this one. The Jamie Blanks directed shocker had a ton of good stuff, yet my first viewing was a bit of a disappointment. And since this franchise has spawned two sequels, it’s quite surprising that we haven’t yet seen talk about a remake.

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Strangely enough I had a bit more fun with the critically panned sequel, URBAN LEGENDS: FINAL CUT. Don’t get me wrong, it’s got issues, but I kind of liked the whole slasher at a film school element and Jennifer Morrison was pretty terrific. My biggest issue with this one was that the story was a bit ridiculous and it was an absolute mess - pretty big issues I guess. However, it had a few cool concepts and the cast was pretty decent as well. Matthew Davis is charismatic enough, and it was nice to see Hart Bochner take another go at a slasher flick - the actor also appeared in the 1980 thriller TERROR TRAIN. However, this played a bit differently than the first and oftentimes it drifted away from urban legends, just so it could fill a body count.

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Personally I’m fascinated by urban legends in general. Everything from the hook on the car door to the razor blades in apples on Halloween, these stories just creep me the f*ck out. And while my initial reaction to the first two films wasn’t hugely positive, frankly I found them to be a bit more enjoyable after a little time has passed. Of course, when Scream Factory takes over, they really add something special to the features and it seems to make us fans need to buy every single release they offer. But should URBAN LEGEND be dead? Aside from the less than satisfying URBAN LEGENDS: BLOODY MARY in 2005, it seems that the scary campfire tale based horror series is done. The question is… do we want to see more of these horrifying stories explored? Maybe it's time for a remake.

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Now I know the word remake is still regarded as a bit of a dirty word. It has been a subject here quite a bit. Yet we’ve been seeing a better representation of remakes/reboots or what have you lately. As divisive as it was, the SUSPIRIA "cover version" - as Tilda Swinton calls it -  may very well end up being one of my personal top 10 films of the year. And while certainly not genre, A STAR IS BORN is another example of doing it right. That said, with all the remakes that have come before, and the many that we’ve yet to see, why not think about reworking URBAN LEGEND? With the success of HALLOWEEN (2018) and the possibility that slashers may find an audience once again, why not return to all the scary stories that make you want to make sure all the doors and windows are locked before you go to sleep?

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The biggest issue possibly is that the original film really covered the basics when it came to all of the famous urban legends. That said, we live in a brand new world with new technology and many fresh and scary ways to get attacked. With that, there are probably a ton new nightmarish horrors that could be ready to scare audiences once again. That’s not to say that we should abandon the tried and true, just do it in an original way. After all, even the most popular legends have a variety of different elements to them when the stories are re-told. Ultimately, it would just be fun to see a filmmaker take this franchise on and bring new life to all those frightening tales.

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Maybe it’s the booze talkin’, but URBAN LEGEND may be perfect for a reboot. While the original didn’t blow me away the first time around, I’ve developed a fondness for it. The same with FINAL CUT which may not be perfect, but man does it have a couple of fun chase sequences. The promise of a killer recreating scary legends for his victim could be something that is worth trying again. And the beauty of this subject is simply that there are more stories to tell. There is the choking doberman, the vanishing hitchhiker, the knife in the briefcase, the clown statue and many more. Let’s see what a talented filmmaker could do with this creative concept by bringing back a few classic tales of terror for a brand new generation.

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