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Bill Castle was a colorful producer of a previous generation who had a simple philosophy about filmgoers. "Keep surprising 'em," he used to tell me. "Give 'em something they've never seen before."
Castle would himself be surprised were he around today (he died in 1977 having produced scores of films, including "Rosemary's Baby"). That's because today's tentpoles are usually geared to deliver filmgoers something they've indeed seen before and hopefully will want to see again. Filmmakers of Castle's era were expected to deliver "surprise," but their successors are obliged to summon up the familiar.
The upshot, of course, is an abundance of sequels and prequels and, …