By Amanda Rebholz
As a lifelong horror fan, I grew up with the classics. The original Halloween, Friday the 13th, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, all of those were as much staples of my diet as chicken McNuggets and peanut butter-and-cream cheese sandwiches. I would sit on my grandfather’s lap wide-eyed watching as the shark leapt onto the deck of the Orca to devour Captain Quint, or cringe back against his shoulder when a machete came flying out of the shadows to impale some poor promiscuous camp counselor.
And yes, while the originals will always hold a special place of love and nostalgia in my mind, the recent wave of remakes sweeping through Hollywood does not anger me the way it does some of my friends and colleagues. I will be the first to blaspheme and say that while I admire John Carpenter greatly, I did not find the original Halloween frightening. I liked it, sure, and watched it numerous times as a child (as well as every sequel in the franchise, as with all of them), but it was far from my favorite. I found Michael Myers boring, uninspired and predictable. When it comes to senseless juggernauts, I’ll take Jason Voorhees any day; at least homeboy got some variety in his kill count beyond a butcher knife or his own hands.
Some movies, while they began with excellent potential and great plot ideas, weren’t executed to the best of their ability. Some of them simply lacked the technology, budget or casting abilities that were needed to make them as good as they could be; some had a great team of actors but a terrible screenwriter, or the filming was done on an inferior camera. With today’s technology and innovation, a lot of things can be done over to a higher standard.
Granted, this always angers the purists, and they certainly have their right to be upset. Still, my take on it is this: you cannot compare the films. Period. Comparing the classic to the new one will always show something lacking or something edited or changed that will incense the masses. But sometimes if you can put your bias and your love of the original to one side and view the remake (or in some cases, complete re-imagining) with fresh, open-minded eyes, you might be pleasantly surprised.
This past weekend I found myself in Irving, Texas, an area off the edge of Dallas that caters each year to the biggest horror convention in the Southwest, Texas Frightmare Weekend. The convention fills the entire Sheraton top to bottom, and is packed with vendors, celebrity guests, sponsors, and fellow fans.
This particular year was the fifth anniversary, so all of the stops were pulled out. John Carpenter was the guest of honor, followed closely by horror icons like Elvira, George Romero, Doug Bradley, Sid Haig, Bill Moseley, Margot Kidder, Meg Foster, Julian Sands, the entire cast of Christine and 2001 Maniacs: Field of Screams, and many more. However, the event was sponsored by Anchor Bay, and each year Anchor Bay tries to send out the primary cast of one of their big promotional-push horror movies; last year it was the Rob Hall-helmed Laid to Rest. This year it was the cast of the upcoming remake of the 70s exploitation film I Spit on Your Grave, a lineup consisting of Mean Girls star Daniel Franseze, the gorgeous starlet Sarah Butler, and Supernatural alum Chad Lindberg.
Being a die-hard Supernatural fan for quite some time now, I was more excited to see Chad in attendance than any of the other, perhaps more prestigious, guests on the lineup. He has a big grassroots/cult following due to his work in features like The Fast and the Furious, a role on the Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV show, as well as his independent efforts in My Big Break, a project designed to show the struggle of a young up-and-coming actor in Hollywood.
Chad is not conventionally beautiful, but he is overwhelmingly charismatic and quirky and cool. He wore shimmering green nail polish, an interesting tribal necklace, and a sleepy-eyed expression that was quite deceptive given how sharp and funny he is behind his amiable appearance. When I went up to him, doing my best to stay cool, I immediately blew it by saying “Chad! I’m Amanda from Facebook!” Still, he didn’t bat an eye; he just held out a hand to shake, introduced himself to me quite warmly, and stood there chatting with me about the crowds.This was Chad’s first non- Supernatural convention; at those, he is known simply as ‘Ash’ or ‘Dr. Badass’ and has a line around the block of people wanting his autograph or to ask him about his infamous mullet.
Chad and I had discussed the possibility of an interview for the site I write for, Support Supernatural. It’s a wonderful site that raises money for A Dog’s Life Rescue, the animal rescue in LA where Jared Padalecki adopted his two dogs several years ago, and Chad has been involved in helping their campaign and donated items for auction before. He was all too happy to help me get an interview, and was also kind enough to sign several extra posters to be auctioned off to the charity.
Over the course of the weekend, I had the opportunity to talk to many wonderful people in the industry, but I can honestly say that Chad Lindberg is one of the coolest, most down-to-earth and funny guys out there. He is warm and genuine and completely sincere; every time we crossed paths in the crowded convention hall he smiled and greeted me by name, and at the VIP party it was nice just to hang out with him in a laid-back setting and veg off of his positive vibes. He is truly a very awesome actor and I hope that people will give the remake of I Spit On Your Grave a shot; I believe that Chad is perfect casting for the role of Matthew, and he deserves every bit of the spotlight that the role will garner him.
A little note about the movie: If you haven’t seen the original, and don’t know what it’s about, you may want to read up about it here. This movie is very graphic and of a VERY mature theme. We don’t want to discourage anyone from seeing it, quite the opposite, however we do want you to be prepared about it’s content. Originally this film was rated NC-17 but was downgraded to R.
Click here to see the trailer for the original movie.
Click here to see the trailer for the remake.