Hollywood’s latest trend is kinda cool, kinda creepy.
For last year’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, the wizards over at Industrial Light & Magic did something pretty incredible: they brought the long-dead Peter Cushing back to life, allowing the late actor to posthumously reprise the role of Grand Moff Tarkin. The legendary Cushing, who passed away in 1994, hadn’t been seen on screen since the movie Biggles: Adventures in Time was released in 1986, and needless to say, it was highly surreal to see him back after so many years.
The resurrection of actors like Cushing raises some interesting ethical questions, while also showing just how much digital effects have advanced in recent years. Other mega-budget movies like Captain America: Civil War and Ant-Man utilized similar technology to essentially de-age still-living actors Robert Downey Jr. and Michael Douglas, digitally making them appear as young as they were when we first met them on the big screen. It seems that literally anything is now possible and all bets are off, making me wonder if the horror genre will eventually make use of these cutting edge technologies.
Is it wrong? Is it weird? Does it even look natural? These are questions we all likely have different answers to (I personally think it’s a little wrong, a little weird, and totally does NOT, at this point in time, look very natural), but I’m just curious to know if you’d be interested to see the horror genre play around with the digital re-animation of dead actors and possibly the de-agement(?) of still-living ones. It’s a conversation we should at least have, as it’s likely only a matter of time before a horror movie makes headlines for following in the footsteps of films like Rogue One.
Can you imagine a new installment of the Halloween franchise that takes us back to the 1970s and features a brand new performance from Donald Pleasence? How about the return of the late Betsy Palmer as Pamela Voorhees in a new Friday the 13th movie? Or maybe they could even remake Phantasm with Angus Scrimm playing the Tall Man once more – given how much Hollywood powerhouse J.J. Abrams loves the original film (he oversaw the recent restoration), that one doesn’t seem all that unlikely.
And what about de-aging actors? Could we see Robert Englund pop up for a flashback sequence in a new Nightmare on Elm Street movie as a young Fred Krueger? How cool would it be to see present day Ash Williams time travel and come face-to-face with young Ash Williams in “Ash vs. Evil Dead”?! Hey wait, wasn’t that teased for the Season 2 finale but never delivered? Sigh.
The possibilities are endless, is my point, and as digital wizardry becomes more advanced, easier to pull off, and possibly even cheaper, I think we’re looking at a future wherein this kind of thing becomes incredibly commonplace. But is it all one big ole waste of time, money, and resources? Would it make more sense to just cast new actors in iconic roles, if the actors who played those characters are no longer alive or young enough for the job?
Where do you stand on this whole thing? Let’s talk. Sound off below.