So, New Line Cinema is officially dead. Many people are mourning the death of one of the last “Independent” film houses in Hollywood, but this one is a little personal to horror fans like myself.
When I was a kid, I used to LOVE seeing the New Line logo before a movie. As every horror fan knows, it was New Line that brought us Freddy Krueger and the ANOES series. The immense popularity of the franchise played an integral part in the horror boom of the 80’s and led the studio to the nickname “The House That Freddy Built”, because, literally, it was on the strength of ANOES that it stayed afloat.
But it wasn’t just Freddy that made me love and anticipate a New Line film. They gave us the Critters series, the 1982 flick Alone in the Dark, the third TCM flick, the Ninja Turtle movies, and though they were arguably worse, they “saved” Jason Voorhees from the hell of Paramount and put out all the later F13 flicks. Who can forget that great ending in Jason Goes to Hell when Freddy pulled Jason’s mask into the ground?
Horror was always a big thing with New Line and even though they misfired more than they connected, they still put out some stuff that I remember: Needful Things, Man’s Best Friend, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, In the Mouth of Madness, The Mangler, Embrace of the Vampire, Mortal Kombat, Seven, Spawn, Dark City, Blade Trilogy, American History X, Final Destination series, Snakes on a Plane etc.
The Lord of the Rings films only delayed the inevitable. They went all in and Peter Jackson, another horror vet, delivered for them in a big way, staving off bankruptcy for a few more years. It’s unfortunate that their current leadership seemed to neglect the very icon that put them on the map: Freddy Krueger.
Back in 2003, Freddy vs. Jason made $115 million dollars worldwide on a budget of $30. After all those years, Freddy Krueger was still a cashcow. So where was the next Freddy film? A remake is in the works, but the New Line leadership completely dropped the ball. Why invest zillions of dollars into garbage like Rush Hour 3 and The Last Mimzy when you could be developing your strengths? Perhaps they felt the TCM remake and the Final Destination films were good enough. But why not give the F13 and ANOES franchises to some young filmmakers and see what they can do? At the very least, you’ll know that you’ll get your money back and its not like they could hurt the characters since they’ve already become pop culture punchlines.
Ah well. We’ll no doubt see more of Freddy and Jason in the future, but it’s a sad day when a studio that rose to prominence on the foundation of the horror genre gets assimilated into the larger corporate conglomerate. It just won’t be the same the next time I see a New Line logo 🙁