Thursday, August 2, 2007

The Simpsons, Halloween and other sacred things

I love Cactus because they blogged the Simpsonization of their entire agency. My own illustrates this post, which is only sort of about The Simpsons.

This post is about messing with the sacred, Which the Simpsons movie certainly does. I'm not sure if I'm looking forward to seeing it or if I'm worried that my favorite show has jumped the shark. (A phrase which has itself jumped the shark.)

For me, Rob Zombie's upcoming reimagining of Halloween is an even bigger concern. The 1978 original is a monument in indie film, horror and urban legend. It's one of the few films to successfully mythologize around the awfulness of fate. And it's scary as hell, without ever getting gory. Zombie is unlikely to take the same approach.

Messing with the sacred pays huge dividends if you do it right. In the world of film, Batman Begins introduced the masses to the real Dark Knight. In the world of advertising, Adidas reclaimed its legitimacy with great work from EVB and 180 Amsterdam.

What the reinventions of Batman and Adidas have in common is that they weren't reinventions at all, but rather a restoration of core values. Batman became the strong shadow of The Long Halloween. Adidas returned to its global athletic roots, which are a couple decades deeper than Nike's, with spots starring worldwide stars like Ian Thorpe and David Beckham.

The lesson is that when you have the opportunity to work on something sacred, you shouldn't superimpose your own values upon it.

I really, really hope Rob Zombie understands that.

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