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Horror Movie Mash-Ups

The genesis of the following piece occurred upon seeing PREDATOR for the first time. That was back in 1987, and I, naïve though I was back then, couldn’t help but flash back to two then-recent hits: RAMBO from 1985 and ALIENS from the following year. The former movie was about a rogue expedition to the jungles of Vietnam to rescue trapped POWs and the latter about marines battling alien creatures. PREDATOR immediately struck me as a mash-up of the two films, being about a rogue expedition to a jungle landscape haunted by a very alien-esque creature.

     Apparently such mash-ups are quite common in Hollyweird (see Joe Eszterhas’ memoir HOLLYWOOD ANIMAL, which contains an apparently true account of a screenwriter who made a lucrative living doing just that), and over the years I’ve spotted quite a few familiar elements mixed and matched PREDATOR-like in various horror movies. What follows are sixteen of my findings, some admittedly farfetched while others seem quite plausible (yes, I truly believe THE CELL was conceived very much as described below).

     Going in chronological order, from 1987 onward, let’s start with…

Mash-Up #1
THE HIDDEN (1987): An alien life form wreaks havoc by jumping from body to body.
Plus:
PRISON (1988): The spirit of a convict who died in the electric chair haunts a prison.
Equals…
SHOCKER (1989): The spirit of a convict who died in the electric chair wreaks havoc by jumping from body to body.

Mash-Up #2
CHARLY (1968): Science elevates a retarded man to genius level.
Plus:
TRON (1982): A computer programmer becomes the master of a virtual reality netherworld.
Equals…
THE LAWNMOWER MAN (1992): A computer programmer elevates a retarded man to genius level, and the latter becomes the master of a virtual reality netherworld.

Mash-Up #3
STILL OF THE NIGHT (1982): A psychiatrist falls for a client’s mysterious relative, who turns his life upside down.
Plus:
FATAL ATTRACTION (1987): A yuppie male has a torrid affair with a crazy woman.
Equals…
FINAL ANALYSIS (1992): A yuppie male psychiatrist has a torrid affair with a client’s mysterious relative, who turns his life upside down.*
*According to the film’s original (fired) director John Boorman, the fact that FINAL ANALYSIS shares the same initials as the aforementioned FATAL ATTRACTION is not accidental!

Mash-Up #4
JAGGED EDGE (1985): A woman lawyer has an affair with a client who may be a murderer.
Plus:
(Again) FATAL ATTRACTION (1987): A yuppie male has a torrid affair with a crazy woman.
Equals…
BODY OF EVIDENCE (1993): A yuppie male lawyer has a torrid affair with a crazy woman client who may be a murderer.

Mash-Up #5
BADLANDS (1973): Disaffected young folk embark on an aimless killing spree, eventually becoming media heroes.
Plus:
WILD AT HEART (1990): A hip young couple embarks on a violent odyssey through a surreal American netherworld.
Equals…
NATURAL BORN KILLERS (1994): A hip young couple embarks on an aimless killing spree through a surreal American netherworld, eventually becoming media heroes.

Mash-Up #6
A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET (1984): Teens are terrorized by a psychopath who appears in dreams.
Plus:
A CAT IN THE BRAIN / UN GATTO NEL CERVELLO (1990): Horror film director Lucio Fulci, playing himself, is haunted by killings that parallel those of his films.
Equals…
WES CRAVEN’S NEW NIGHTMARE (1994): Horror film director Wes Craven, playing himself, is haunted by killings that parallel those of his films, specifically one about a psychopath who appears in dreams**
**When asked about his motivation for making CAT, Fulci reportedly replied, “So Mr. Craven could rip it off.”

Mash-Up #7
THE HILLS HAVE EYES (1977): A vacationing family is terrorized by psychopaths in the desert.
Plus:
VAMP (1986): Thrill-seeking teens wind up in a strip club infested with vampires.
Equals…
FROM DUSK TILL DAWN (1996): A vacationing family is terrorized by psychopaths in the desert and wind up in a strip club infested with vampires.

Mash-Up #8
INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS (1956/78): The residents of a small town are possessed by an alien life form.
Plus:
CLASS OF 1999 (1990): A band of renegade high schoolers take on their teachers, who are actually evil androids.
Equals…
THE FACULTY (1998): A band of renegade high schoolers take on their teachers, who are possessed by an alien life form.

Mash-Up #9
JAWS 3-D (1983): A monster shark threatens the inhabitants of an underwater enclosure.
Plus:
JURASSIC PARK (1993): Genetically engineered dinosaurs turn on their human captors.
Equals…
DEEP BLUE SEA (1999): Genetically engineered monster sharks turn on their human captors in an underwater enclosure.

Mash-Up #10
ROSEMARY’S BABY (1968): A woman learns she’s being groomed to birth the antichrist.
Plus:
(Again) PREDATOR (1987): Arnold Schwarzenegger takes on a scary monster and saves humanity.
Equals…
END OF DAYS (1999): Arnold Schwarzenegger takes on Satan and saves humanity after a woman learns she’s being groomed to birth the antichrist

Mash-Up #11
THE OMEN (1976): A young boy is the antichrist, which becomes apparent when people begin dying in a succession of violent accidents.
Plus:
SOLE SURVIVOR (1983): A woman survives a plane crash but becomes convinced she was supposed to be among the deceased, and that death is seeking to collect her.
Equals…
FINAL DESTINATION (2000): High schoolers avoid boarding a plane that crashes but become convinced they were supposed to be among the deceased, and that death is seeking to collect them--which becomes apparent when people begin dying in a succession of violent accidents.

Mash-Up #12
THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS (1991): A woman stalks an elusive serial killer.
Plus:
THE MATRIX (1999): A computer programmer fights bad guys in a virtual reality universe.
Equals…
THE CELL (2000): A woman stalks an elusive serial killer in a virtual reality universe.

Mash-Up #13
PERSONA (1966): On a secluded island two very different women undergo a strange personality transference.
Plus:
LOST HIGHWAY (1997): In a dark and surreal Hollywood environ a jazz musician enters into a hallucinogenic fugue.
Equals…
MULHOLLAND DRIVE (2001): In a dark and surreal Hollywood environ two very different women enter into a hallucinogenic fugue, and undergo a strange personality transference.

Mash-Up #14
THE CRAZIES (1973): The population of a small town is overtaken by a contagion that causes permanent insanity.
Plus:
DAY OF THE DEAD (1985): In a world overrun by the walking dead, a thinking, feeling zombie is created.
Equals…
28 DAYS LATER… (2002): In a world overrun by a contagion that causes permanent insanity, a thinking, feeling crazy is created.

Mash-Up #15
THE EVIL DEAD (1981): Young twerps are menaced by demons in a rural cabin.
Plus:
OUTBREAK (1995): A small town is decimated by a deadly virus.
Equals…
CABIN FEVER (2003): Young twerps are decimated by a deadly virus in a rural cabin.

Mash-Up #16
THE OMEGA MAN (1971)/I AM LEGEND (2007): The world is taken over by the undead, with one desperate man being the sole holdout.
Plus:
BLADE: TRINITY (2004): The half-vampire Blade and a rag-tag band of humans attempt to create a serum capable of saving the human race from the evil vampire hordes.
Equals…
DAYBREAKERS (2009): The world is taken over by the undead, and a rag-tag band of humans attempt to create a serum capable of saving the human race from the evil vampire hordes.***
***In Richard Matheson’s novel I AM LEGEND, the basis of THE OMEGA MAN and its ‘07 remake, the undead critters that take over the Earth
are in fact vampires.

     I could go on, but I think you get the idea. In modern-day Hollywood many things hold sway, but originality definitely isn’t among them!

 

--5/16/10

     

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