Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Horror Re-Hash

I'm all for taking an established series back for a do-over. It's worked before and can sometimes yield interesting results ("Batman Begins"). It's at least better than just doing the same thing with the same people for so long it becomes embarrassing to watch ("Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Fuck This Shit").

The one genre this doesn't really work is horror (in practice, at least). Similar to the way Hammer remade all of the Universal monster films for a decade or so, jazzing them up for the modern market, studios have been nabbing up the rights to established films and banking on the name recognition to give their box office an edge. The only the difference being that the Hammer films didn't suck so much.

While there have been directors making new and original horror films recently, all of the recent horror movie remakes have been shit. "Texas Chainsaw Massacre," "The Amityville Horror," "Halloween," "The Hills Have Eyes," "Prom Night" and so on for a depressingly long amount of time. It's creative bankruptcy at its mind-numbing pinnacle. Even when the original film was no great shakes, the remake somehow manages to be worse. It's as if they're competing in a kind of shitty movie track-and-field competition and the remakes just have to go that extra mile for the gold.

Horror, as a film genre, is highly subject to trends (J-horror, "Scream"-like self-referential meta-slashers, "Saw"-inspired torture porn) and all trends eventually ebb. Unfortunately, it seems we've got to suffer for a few more years of this garbage. The remakes are still earning money so the studios think they have a winning formula, rather than just a depleted market with few other options and an undiscriminating fanbase.

Here's a few of the slated remakes of classic (or at least memorable) horror films. I found most of them through the scientific method of typing titles into the Internet Movie Database and seeing what came up. Good news: No "The Exorcist" or "Re-Animator" remakes on the books (though there is talks of another sequel to the latter, which is a tad depressing). The bad news: every movie on this list.

"Hellraiser." Yep. Countless shitty sequels notwithstanding, the series is going back to its roots. Fine, whatever. Slated for January 9, 2009 but there is still no director listed so we may be spared.

"My Bloody Valentine 3-D." The original was goofy slasher fun, but no one does that well anymore, so prepare to be depressed. The 3-D in the title doesn't help matters and the director's biggest film to date was "Dracula 2000." Remember that? Of course you don't. You also don't remember the two direct-to-video sequels he also helmed. Or the sequel to "White Noise" that not even Michael Keaton deemed worthy of being involved with. Yikes. Set for January 23, 2009.

"Friday the 13th." Now we get to the big time. Took some legal finagling before the studios that owned the rights to the original films got this worked out, but now it seems to be happening. I don't know, might be cool...wait a moment, who's directing it? Who the fuck is Marcus Nispel? Billy Joel music videos? Amy Grant? Cher? Fuuuuuuuuuuuuck. Set for February 13, 2009 (whoa, on Friday the 13th. Probably the only thought that went into this shitpile).

"Last House on the Left." This one was too obvious. The director is Greek and has only done one film before, some shit about wayward teens that no one on this side of the world ever saw. The original was shitty and got by for being revolutionary. It's an historical piece, and the cards aren't stacking up for the remake to be worth the film it's being shot on. Slated March 6, 2009.

"The Evil Dead." I ain't making this shit up. No details other than a 2009 release date and that Sam Raimi is involved, though not as a director. Might even be an adaptation the musical they made of the original films, but I doubt we'll get off that easy.

"The Crazies." Set for 2010, this is a remake of one of George Romero's non-zombie films from the 1970s. The original mostly dealt with how government and military incompetence causes a massive viral outbreak and then how their continued inability to function without bureaucratic ineptitude and departmental infighting exacerbates the problem. Think they'll keep that anti-authoritarian element of the plot in? Yeah, just like they kept the dark humor and social commentary in the "Dawn of the Dead" remake. The director is also working on a "Creature from the Black Lagoon" remake for 2009, in Hollywood's continued collective attempt to piss all over my childhood. Also word of an "The Invisible Man" remake for 2010. You fuckers.

Couple of others I found but couldn't dig up any details for: "Susperia" and "Rosemary's Baby." Both slated for 2010, though I think the former might be more wishful thinking than anything else. The original was a crazy piece of work and any mainstream remake would streamline it so much you wouldn't even need to bother giving it the same name (not saying the won't do it). "Rosemary" would be watchable if they got a classy old-school director and a cast of actual actors. I'm cynical enough to think that this won't be the case and we'll be lucky if Keanu Reeves isn't in it.

1 comment:

DrUnscrupulous said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

I keep saying this stuff about all these goddamn remakes--not only the lack of imagination needed to resort to hundreds of remakes, but the lack of overall talent or thought expended on any given project--but all I get from even the most sympathetic is, "Well, it wasn't a bad movie. It was pretty good." About such movies as The Hills Have Eyes, Amityville, and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and even the Fog---HORSESHIT!!!! Nothing but low-grade horseshit that may overtake the originals in budget and SFX, but can't really aspire to the quality.

Examples: The original Fog was actually creepy to me--and I'm not easily scared--but the new Fog made me laugh and then want to scream! Amityville--what the hell was that? The original was also not only more creepy but more believable, as it was not cast with unrealistically model-like people. The TChM? Don't get me started.... And all the characters in The Hills Have Eyes needed to die--just that much less stupid to taint the gene pool. Seriously, they were dumb beyond the usual scope of horror-victim stupidity. Okay, I never saw the original, but it couldn't possibly have been as much of a pile of shit as this one.

This goes even beyond horror too. It seems to have tainted every area of cinema. Where have the ideas gone, or are producers and directors just afraid of new ideas? You know what might make not only a good movie, but a pretty damn relatable one in today's context? The late seventies comic The Ballad of Halo Jones--perfect for cinema because it had a beginning and an end. Do Dogwitch as a movie--that would be killer! And also, IT HASN'T ALREADY BEEN DONE!!!!

Okay, I just had to rant. It's so great to actually see someone say what I've been saying for the last couple years, recieving only blank stares and/or accusations of being a judgmental bitch in response.