26 November 2007

Come on, Hollywood! Remake these films already! Part 1

Inspired by a recent Bloody Disgusting feature, I decided to make a list of films I want to see remade. Granted, there are few things more idiotic than remaking classic Horror films. Recent drivel such as the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Wicker Man and The Omen remakes continue to shame their predecessors and serve as a case in point, but that is another blog entry waiting to happen. I decided to take off my usual De Bono's black hat and tried to be positive about remakes. Positively speaking, one can't help but think the remake recipe could be useful for a few films. Here is the first part of my list:

God Told Me To
This film has a few brilliant ideas and they are executed pretty well throughout, it is just dated. There have been rumours about a brand spanking new Larry Cohen remake doing the rounds, but nothing has come to fruition yet. The 1976 film does have a certain charm, even with the dated effects and outlandish fashions by today's standards. I do not fault the film much, as I enjoy the unorthodox editing and unorthodox shots it features. It would just be interesting to see what Larry Cohen makes of the ideas in his film 30+ years later in a more modern setting. Realise that this was made before the Nike cult got beemed up in a mass ritual suicide, before the mass ritual suicide of Jonestown and long before the FBI decided to do a little evangelising of its own brand among the Branch Davidians in Waco, Texas. The hindsight of these events could lend the story more weight and maybe make the plot a little more interesting.

The Brain That Wouldn't Die
Another film that is basically flawless considering the time it was first released. The uncensored version is the one I have, and it is gripping despite being filmed in black and white. The black and white component is where the remake idea comes into play. People are far more receptive to full colour, surround sound and CGI lately. I am not a big fan of CGI and I adore vintage black and white, but again the hindsight of modern technology could enhance the progressive ideas in this film today. This film - released in 1963 - still speculates about organ transplants. Since the first heart was only successfully transplanted in 1967 for the first time (and no brains yet, although I am convinced there are brains that could be removed without the hosts even noticing), the setting of a more modern laboratory could be more eerie than the cabin in the woods employed in this film. Hollywood is going to struggle to beat the stellar performance of Virginia Leith as a decapitated head, but that is the only major obstacle in remaking this classic.

Another black and white film. More recently, Jennifer "she of Gigi, second only to Catwoman as the worst film of all time" Lopez starred in a film with a few parallels (The Cell) and despite J-Lo's involvement, that film is pretty good. Shock on the other hand has more of a classic horror feel than a groundbreaking effects phantasmagoria, but it boasts a similar clever plot. A psychiatrist treats a young woman who is in a catatonic state after witnessing a terrible event - a murder. When she recovers from this state, she recognises the psychiatrist as the culprit, and the rest of the film is based on the good doctor trying to conceal is guilt by keeping her docile. Not a great film to begin with, but it deserves cult status because it stars the original king of horror, Vincent Price. I can imagine Christian Bale doing a decent job in his role.

The Last Man On Earth
Last black and white film too. Noted for the performance of Vincent Price, this film stars the man as the last man on earth. No prizes for guessing that one. The twist is he is the last normal man on earth. The rest of humanity has been turned into brain dead zombies who lurk around at night looking for fresh brains. It could be argued that Danny Boyle did recently remake The Last Man On Earth with his 28 Days Later. He did a fine job too, making a gripping horror with loads of suspense and buckets of blood, so I will settle for 28 Days Later. However, I would still like to see a remake of this film in full colour, surround sound and with more blood. Buckets more!

Friday the 13th
In my quest for building a prime collection of horror, I have gathered quite a few gems. I left the Friday the 13th series to fairly late, even though I think Jason Voorhees is a great boogieman. The point is, I do know what makes a good film. I also know what makes a bad film, and I love bad films more than good films even though I know better. For a guy who likes bad films to say that Friday the 13th is so bad I do not want to collect the rest of the series without renting them first, is a grave insult. The problem is not in the performance of the actors, or even in the editing and filming department. My big gripe with this film is that it is about as scary as a campfire horror tale, and the plot appears to be the result of a late night camping brainstorm by director Sean Cunningham and writer Victor Miller. Fortunately, there is a remake in the works. Unfortunately, Marcus Nispel who misdirected a Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake is behind the whole thing. At least this time, it is possible to beat the original. I hope mister Nispel redeems himself!

You can get the second part of my wish list of Hollywood remakes here.

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