Let’s have a show of hands. How many of you are thrilled when a horror movie franchise takes their show to outer space? Am I the only one that feels like this is the last desperate attempt to milk a cash cow that has already dried up? Does it work? How many fans of Jason, Pinhead and Leprechaun enjoy their space sequel?
Perhaps we could replace the phrase “jump the shark” with “visits outer space” when a film series takes an odd turn that fans find it impossible to return from. (On a side note, I think we have officially reached the point in history where we not only have to explain to younger fans what the phrase “jump the shark” means, but we also have to explain what “Happy Days” is, as well).
Going into watching “slasher in space” films, my question is always: How will they explain how this dude got into space? This is the type of assignment that needs a writer who can get Jason into Manhattan. An assignment that people may find silly, but definitely a challenging one. I love a good challenge, so I decided to give it to myself. Here it is:
Pick three villains from a popular horror movie franchise and figure out how to send that creep into space. (Bonus points if it ends up sounding like it could be a fun movie). I gave myself these candidates: Candyman, Michael Myers and Leatherface. Those guys could use a change of scenery, right?
It is the future. We have colonized other planets since Earth has fallen apart. History enthusiasts pay top dollar to buy antiques that represent Earth History. An evil newspaper collector, discovers the story of the people of the Cabrini-Green housing project, who were haunted by a specter known as Candyman. He learns that by saying the name, Candyman five times, while looking in the mirror, it will make him manifest. Does he do it? Hey, what’s a horror film, without some dummy doing something stupid to start the mayhem? Guess what? Candyman doesn’t know what year it is. He doesn’t even know what planet he’s on. All he knows, is that he heard his name five times from the other side of a mirror. He’s on it. Time to dice up some space victims and shoot bees from his mouth!
Michael Myers spends the entire film, killing people in a space-age type of neighborhood, without any explanation of how he got there. He is not wearing a mask. His natural face looks like “The Shape”. There is no “final girl”. Michael kills everyone. Two alien-demons materialize and approach Michael. They simply touch him, which makes him fall to the ground. Michael vanishes within seconds. One alien-demon says to the other: “The slayer has completed his task. Where do we send him next?” “Earth”, the other alien-demon answers. “Set the coordinates to Haddonfield, Illinois. It is a hot spot of evil. Impregnate an Earth woman with him as her offspring. Activate his kill switch at 5 Earth Years.” Oh yeah. It’s a freaky space prequel!
The villainous inhabitants of Planet X, gamble on gladiatorial matches that pit killers in duels to the death. These killers have been captured on planets from all over the universe. Things get exciting when a new competitor is introduced: an Earth Monster known as Leatherface. Not only does the chainsaw wielding madman win his matches, but since the only people who could ever manage him was his family, he becomes uncontrollable. Leatherface escapes his captors and goes on an unstoppable killing spree. When there is no one left to kill, the film ends like the original Texas Chain Saw Massacre, with Leatherface swinging his chain saw around wildly in circles like the inbred lunatic that he is.
We quickly criticize these films, but what if it were your job to write them? Could you do it? Why not give it a shot?
Pick a famous bad guy and figure out how to get him into space, without the movie being a total dud. Not an easy task, but a pretty fun one if you choose to accept the challenge.