Coming soon...

Friday, January 9, 2009

Recycling isn't always a good thing

I've spoken before about remakes and how they're by and large a load of old cock. And yet, mysteriously my rant failed to make any impact on the Hollywood system. Yes, I'm as shocked as you! Remakes continue to be churned out, with quite a few of them thanks to that stain on cinema, Michael Bay. His studio, the porno-sounding Platinum Dunes, which has already given us an unnecessary remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Amityville Horror, and The Hitcher also has Friday the 13th and A Nightmare On Elm Street remakes in the pipeline. It seems that Bay is on a mission to frantically buy up as many old horror titles as possible and rush into production castrated remakes that push gore, but eliminate subtlety, theme and genuine dread.

And speaking of castration, here's a trailer for what looks like a bubble-gum, cheery revisiting of Wes Craven's 1972 horror film, Last House On The Left-

I saw Last House On The Left (which in itself is a remake), or Krug and Company as it was titled in the print we saw, a few years ago. It was a pretty grim and uncomfortable experience. One particular scene involving teeth and a place on a man's body that is only meant to be treated gently was pretty uncomfortable to say the least. Craven made Last House On The Left particularly violent as a response to the reports of the violence during the Vietnam war. Since this remake is being made all glossy and audience-friendly, expect all the things that made the original film unique to be removed. And what's most surprising is that Craven and '72 producer Sean Cunningham are producers on the remake.

It seems that films are in danger of being messed with by even their own creators. I know it can be argued 'well, nobody's making you go see these movies.' But it's a lot more than that. A lot of money is ploughed into these films. Money that could be used to make original films. The talent pool has not dried up. It's just that studios are way more interested in making films with established audiences, guaranteed to bring in cash. Nobody's willing to take a chance any longer.

In a stunning example of bucking the trend, 2007's The Mist was a film that refused to compromise story in favour of money. Frank Darabont was offered a budget a lot larger than he originally had if he rewrote the film in order to give it a more upbeat ending. Darabont refused, and the film, while suffering a few dodgy CGI effects, became one of the best horror movies of the last twenty years. No matter what you think of the film, Darabont's unwillingness to bow to studio pressure is to be commended. But then, this is an exception to the rule. You've only to look at the appalling I Am Legend to see a film that caved to studio pressure for a more audience-friendly ending and how it completely ruined an already weak film.

But this is all redundant, really. For the moment, we're going to have to put up with remake upon remake. Amongst others, Hellraiser, The Taking of Pelham 123, The Evil Dead, Straw Dogs, Escape From New York, The Warriors, and even The Birds are all slated for remakes. Not even Hitchcock classics are safe.


gem said...

Have to agree with you...there's very little originality coming out of Hollywood at the moment, and I was disgusted to hear about the Birds remake too. And if they're not remaking, they're much as I have enjoyed certain comic book adaptations, I now get the feeling that they will remake every comic under the sun, believing that the film will draw that comic book's fanbase at least. It's all about business, not film...

teehanwolf said...

"It seems that films are in danger of being messed with by even their own creators."

Peter peter peter, if FGL hasn't thought you this by now i'm worried about you.