Thursday, December 8, 2011

Trash Pile Hate Notes: Remakes

There are certain things, as a movie fan, that really piss me off about the way Hollywood ru(i)ns their industry. The tossing away of the professions of special effects, matte painters and stop-motion animators is so depressing. With the surge in computer technology, largely in part to 'Terminator 2' and 'Jurassic Park', everyone found out how easier it is create anything out of some computer code. Honestly though, am I the only one that can still tell that it's CGI? Give me painted backgrounds, latex gore and blood gushing squibs! Now bullet shots are CGI? What? To save time? Give me a fucking break.

Besides my hatred of technology, the thing that has been pissing me off for the past decade or so are Remakes, Reboots, Premakes or any other silly fucking name that producers try to brand their film. Look, there was already an original, and you're crushing the impact that those films can have the first time you see them. It's poor writing, and poor decision making, regardless of how much money your take on the plot rakes in. Let us start for instance, with 'The Evil Dead' remake.

Now while 'The Evil Dead' has limitations in part to the size of the budget. Sam Raimi, Rob Tapert, Bruce Campbell and a whole slew of other people used their talent to create the suspense in that film. The way that the camera careens through the forest, and through the swamp. 'The Evil Dead' is one the best examples in a Horror film where what you don't see is scarier. With today's technology they'll show what is roaming through the woods after one of the kids reads the Necronomicon, and unless they pull a 'Jaws' and not show it until the end, then it's going to get over used and no longer scary. The same can be said for when the rest of the cast starts turning into demons. Odds are they'll do over-the-top CGI transformations and take away from subtle changes that can happen just from over applying some blush. The remake isn't even out, but based on the trends of the past few years, it'll be all style and no substance. Like the 'Nightmare on Elm Street' remake from last year.

'Nightmare on Elm Street' was a film that revitalized the Slasher sub-genre in the mid '80s with adding a supernatural twist into the mix. It too, like 'The Evil Dead', was shot on a shoestring budget. It compensates for it's short budget with a strong script with great characters, and even greater scares. The remake from last year tried too hard to look stunning without utilizing it's premise to the fullest abilities. The dream sequences didn't have the same tension, and they could have used the micro-nap a lot more. Instead they padded the film with the same boring characters from every other Horror film released that year. The film looked great, and Jackie Earl Haley did his best as Freddy, but the film lacked the heart of the original. It's best that the film not try to look so pretty, and be a quick, old-fashioned atmosphere driven scare ride.

I could go on for more time you would care to hear me rant, but there are many other souless examples that Hollywood has excreted out in the past ten years. 'The Thing', 'The Wicker Man', 'Black Christmas', 'Friday the 13th', 'Mirrors', and dozens more are just some of the atrocious retellings of some great American and Foreign Horror. The thing is that there are times when remakes and reboots work, and work well. The best way to execute a proper retelling of a story is to put your personal touch on the piece. With John Carpenter's remake of the 1954 Sci-Fi Classic 'The Thing from Another World!' he went back to the original story by John Campbell. The monster in the '54 version was a plant type monster portaryed by James (Gunsmoke) Arness. Carpenter's version in '82 was the style that the monster assimilated itself to whoever it comes in contact with. I highly enjoy each version for different reasons, but Carpenter's version has so much tension and fear within the cast that you believe everything they're going through. Then the special effects. I could go on for hours, but hands down best ever. Ever.

Maybe these are all just rantings of a crazed movie fan, but I feel that if you're going to try and retell a story do it with heart. Have a strong conviction to the source material, but try to find any way to make it your own. Zack Snyder did it with 'Dawn of the Dead' in '04. Chuck Russell did it with 'The Blob' in '88, and Tom Savini did it in 1990 with 'Night of the Living Dead'. Leave films like 'Suspiria', 'Escape from New York', 'The Monster Squad', 'American Psycho', 'Scanners', 'Creature from the Black Lagoon', 'Child's Play', 'Poltergeist', 'Silent Night, Deadly Night', 'They Live', and probably thousands more alone. Has your creativity dried up Hollywood, or are you too scared to take chances any more? Stop spending your $250 million (pre-marketing) on a 'Battleship' and 'John Carter' movie, and fund 500 $1 million dollar movies. You'll thank me when you get better returns for 2012.

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