Thursday, 20 November 2008

Let me introduce myself.

My name's Nia and I'm a horror fan.

There. Easy bit out of the way.

I'm no horror expert. I'm fairly new to my love for the genre. There are a hell of a lot of essential horror films that I've still not seen. I can talk like I know exactly what I'm on about, when really, I'm not always so sure.

One thing I do know I'm certain of. Horror remakes really, really, really, really piss me off. Let me be clear: John Carpenter's The Thing is a great film. Hell, I'd even dare say I'm looking forward to Joe Johnston's The Wolf Man (so shoot me). Not all horror remakes are terrible.

Since 1998, when Gus Van Sant remade Psycho, the floodgates have opened. Along came The Haunting (Jan de Bont) and House on Haunted Hill (William Malone) in 1999, and then two biggies: The Ring (Gore Verbinski) and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (Marcus Nispel) in 2002 and 2003, respectively. Neither's an awful film, by any stretch of the imagination, but there's something terribly unnecessary about both. Their worst crime is opening the floodgates for the remake upon remake upon remake that followed. Poor, brilliant Asian cinema watered down into The Ring Two, The Grudge, The Grudge 2, Dark Water, The Eye, One Missed Call, Shutter...and American classics losing their point entirely: The Hills Have Eyes, The Amityville Horror, The Stepford Wives, Dawn of the Dead (okay fine, there was an exception), Halloween, The Omen, The Hitcher, Prom Night, Black Christmas...*breathe* And the less said about The Wicker Man, the better.

Like I say, these films aren't always necessarily bad, in their own right. Some are pretty good, or at least, entertaining pap. But in some cases, even the good ones are just all a bit pointless. And, as we all know, evil never dies. Rumoured, in production or soon to be released remakes include Friday the 13th, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Hellraiser, Child's Play, Suspiria, The Birds, The Last House on the Left, Poltergeist...! We might as well be saying that Casablanca, Gone With the Wind, Lawrence of Arabia and Ben-Hur are being remade.

Will it ever stop? Will Hollywood not only run out of original ideas and rip-offs, but of material to remake too? Will original horror writers and filmmakers ever get a foot in the door again? Only time will tell the answer to that, but meanwhile, I'm going to be sitting here getting more and more pissed off by every new remake that's announced, and I hope you'll join me too.


Mikel said...

Ben-Hur was a remake of a 1925 film. :-)
While I agree with most of what you're saying, Nia - Andy and I were talking about this at Abertoir - what do you do with Dracula(s) - are they remakes or adaptations? What about the various Frankensteins? Sure, some remakes are better than others, and this current vogue for remakes certainly shows up the paucity for original thought in Hollywood, but I think the issue is much more complex.

Stonecypher said...

Bah, I knew I'd pick something that was already a remake!

For me, Draculas and Frankensteins are re-adaptations, not remakes. It's sequels where things start to get a little complicated, in my view, particularly in big slasher franchises and the like. I'm not massively knowledgeable on those franchises, but it's all something I want to think more about and write on, for sure, and I definitely agree with you when you say it's a complex issue.

The major issue I have with the trend is the current saturation of remaking, and the fact that there exists a company like Platinum Dunes, who seem to do nothing but remake horror films (of their ten films, I think only 3 are original). It's such a massive area, which I think at the moment only receives the basic 'horror's run out of ideas!' attention, rather than anything closer :)

Mad Science Films said...

I think a LOT of remakes are fairly pointless, but would have NO problem with people remaking CRAP films to make them better.

I make a point of not paying to see remakes at the cinema, but still see them so I can criticise them with an informed opinion (god bless the interwub).

Unfortunately most people who bemoan all the remakes WILL pay to see them and therefore convince the exec producers that there is a demand...

Couple of questions, have you seen Herzog's remake of Nosferatu? If so, I'd be interested in hearing your opinion on it.

Olivier said...

I must say that if I make (short) horror movies today it is because of THE FLY. The remake obviously. But yeah ok, I can understand some of your points. Anyway, I really look forward for Laugier's remake of HELLRAISER !

Stonecypher said...

@ Mad Science Films: Yeah, I refuse to pay to see remakes too. I'll buy some on DVD, but egad, I've sworn to myself to never pay any money for The Wicker Man remake! I've not seen Herzog's Nosferatu, but I'd really like to! It's on my list ;)

@ Olivier: I think The Fly, like The Thing, is an example of a remake done really well. I think the Hellraiser remake, if they leave someone like Laugier alone to do what he wants with it, could potentially turn out quite well. It's just for me, personally, even if that's the case, it still won't be *the* Hellraiser, and it'll feel unnecessary.

Mad Science Films said...
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