It is no surprise to most movie goers that the age of remakes is upon us. And wow, is it flourishing… Those of us who enjoyed movies like ‘The Wicker Man’ and ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ may have already trembled. Though, it refused to quit there with a remake of ‘The Omen’, shock, horror, awe and errm…why??! This awful barrage has recently caused me to cringe and squirm at the incessant surge of Hollywood producers seeking alternative means to finding their next blockbuster. There is some kind of mass remake culture occurring under their pens. A kind of arrogance exists purporting that its ok to basically plagiarize a movie, note I find the word ‘rewrite’ quite difficult to use. The latest groundbreaking method is to find a great movie like ‘The Hitcher’, and coat it with dusty ideas professing to be an update for the audience of today. The bin should have been the fate of some of the latest rehashes to emerge from the grips of Hollywood Remake Horror.
It seems that many producers have taken on board the old adage that ‘There is no new thing under the sun’ quite literally. How did this nightmare begin?
It may have started when some hot shot distributor realised that there are not enough great original scripts being passed through their doors and complained. Could there have transpired a realisation that cinemas are just too empty during the year? Or maybe there has been a spate of great movies that no one could care less for….most likely reason possibly? Did you really need to know about Johnny Cash in ‘Walk the Line’ for example? Did it dawn on us as ‘War of the Worlds’ became THE biggest mistake…? And why the CGI and boring nightmare that was ‘Poseidon’…? Maybe most movies through the box office are just a sure-fire prediction or simply just sitting in denial as it was never going to be a box office hit in the first place, who knows?
The remake of ‘The Amityville Horror’ was a distress call surely to Hollywood, but no the recycling of movies, that were actually done well the first time just keeps coming. I thought we were supposed to be only recycling garbage..! So why don’t we remake films that totally sucked…? Now I know we can all think of many from the 90s and especially the 80s. John Carpenter’s ‘Halloween’ barely saw any funding at all yet it is still a shocker today. Maybe that is why that too is now being remade, as it failed to suck…! For example, to be more pragmatic about all this, how about films that simply ran on a shoestring budget and suffered from terrible acting and even more laughable SFX? From this, extrapolate the ideas which could have been fantastic movies based on the premise. Films like ‘Don’t go into the House’ and ‘Absolution’ come to mind for me. Both were offered undeserving money and crew, which if remade would be excellent horror movies.
This does not apply solely to the horror genre, also sci-fi movies like ‘Strange Invaders’. This was an awful film in the 80s but actually bore an undersold alien attack storyline. It bellowed terrible acting, an even worse script, and I think the editor smoked way too much hashish before it was distributed. Now that would be a good choice for a remake. Though, we have been attacked by ‘alien invasion’ scripts enough. They need to be more socially acceptable, as plausible pieces of original writing. Robert Rodriguez’s ‘The Faculty’ is a fine example of the alien invasion idea being turned on its head. ‘What if they came through the back door…’ says Elijah Wood as he explains the alien’s ruse to Clea DuVall. This was clever as he also mentions, in an undertone, that ‘Independence Day’ was unoriginal as the aliens may not just simply fly into all major cities, all guns blazing. The alien invasion premise was given an uplift here.
Why was Nicholas Cage cast in ‘The Wicker man’? Was the casting director insane?? The whole point of the character was to come across as a narrow minded puritan, steeped in religious Christian belief which Edward Woodward brilliantly played in the original hit movie. The main character played by Woodward came across as being that old ‘stuck in his ways’ kind of guy as he was about to clash head-on with a pagan village that would defy all his born truths. This was an important core part of the paradigm on which the film was based. Additionally, Edward does not bear that multi-million dollar presence, which was a required low budget function making the character more believable. The remake sways far from the terror induced by its original counterpart.
There is a probable long list of movies that should be remade and, conversely, movies that one must avoid remaking. So where is the lesson for Hollywood producers and how is it controlled, and also do they care or is that fat cheque the only motivation for movie makers these days?? Now I hear that remakes of ‘The Howling’ and ‘The Changeling’ are due to be released. What films are next wishy-washy producers – ‘Jaws’ maybe…? Yes, I screamed too...enough for plenty of Wes Craven sequels…
Remakes do little more than provide a simple ‘been there, done that’ feeling?