A New “Nightmare” Makes Us Feel Good.

A common trend in Hollywood is to remake old films and television shows. As an example, the remake of the 80’s horror film “Nightmare on Elm Street” was recently released. While getting horrible reviews, it still topped the box office. It is likely that nostalgia is to be thanked for this. According to Sedikides, Wildschut, Arndt, and Routledge (2008), nostalgia increases positive affect and reduces existential threat. So, it is no wonder why we flock to remakes that are ultimately going to disappoint us. In fact, we will probably go in groups to bask in the glow of a remade classic movie, as nostalgia brings about social connectedness (Sedikides, et al., 2008).  According to Sedikides and colleagues (2008), while in the past nostalgia was seen as a kind of homesickness or negative mood state, it is now more associated warm feelings of the past or one’s childhood. Accordingly, they changed the definition to “sentimental longing for one’s past” (Sedikides, et al., 2008, p. 305). Therefore, by going to remakes of older films, we can attempt to return to a time that we fondly long for (i.e. childhood). Although, the new films have the arduous task making us feel as good as fondly remembering the originals.

Perhaps the reason to remake these films is to update the classics with modern technology, or to retell the tails from a different perspective, or perhaps just to pay homage. No matter the reason, film makers have made quite a killing by invoking the happy feelings that are associated with nostalgia. While they may not live up to our rosy view of the originals, it can still feel good to get a “blast from the past”.

“‘A Nightmare On Elm Street’ Slashes Box-Office Competition” – MTV News

“‘Nightmare’ fails to deliver the chills — and fun — of the original” – The Washington Post

Sedikides, C., Wildschut, T., Arndt, J., & Routledge, C. (2008). Nostalgia: Past, present, and future. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 17, 304-307.

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