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Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Remakes remakes remakes.

There seems to be something wrong with a majority of horror film fans. It is becoming much more widespread, and seems to have people actually pre-empting the release of a movie with cries of "It's shit" or "How dare they remake MY favourite film. I won't see it". This is the sort ofstrange reaction to remakes that seems to be plaguing not only horror fans, but also fans of movies in general. People actually seem to think that if their favourite film is remade, then the original will disappear from existence, and all that will be left is the remake, which they have decided they will already hate because, well, nothing could ever be as good as their beloved original could it?

Now personally, there are certain films that have remakes, that have no reason to exist. Two glaring examples are American remake of the Spanish horror film 'REC', which is called 'Quarantine' and Gus Van Sant's remake of Hitchcock's 'Psycho'. I did buy 'Quarantine', and decided to watch it with commentary, only to hear one of the directors explain how he came up with certain camera angles that were used in the film. Now I don't claim to be incredibly intelligent, but it doesn't take a genius to see that Quarantine is a shot-for-shot remake of  'REC'. I have no idea how one of the directors could make the claim that he came up with camera angles when it is a carbon copy (apart from the demonic virus being replaced with a biological virus) of the much better Spanish film. This only made me dislike the film even more (the American film seemed void of everything that made the original 'REC' so enjoyable in the first place).

As for Van Sant's Psycho? I was always taught that if you don't have anything nice to say, then don't say anything, so I am going to keep quiet. I am sure that the majority of my readers will know exactly how I feel about that film, and might also share my opinion.

But look! The original films still exist! And more to the point, which ones are mentioned more? originals or remakes?? Van Sant's remake hardly gets a mention anywhere (possibly in some worst movie ever lists) and as for 'Quarantine', it sufferes the same fate, despite one of it's makers that the camera shots are original.

"What are you trying to say" you might ask.

 I am attempting to show that no matter how bad (or good) a remake is, it does nothing to the original movie at all. It doesn't hurt it, doesn't taint it and it certainly doesn't make it disappear into an abyss filled with every bad remake out there. In fact, the remake might *SHOCK HORROR* make more people interested in seeking out the original film!! Imagine that! Your favourite film being seen and loved by more and more people. Isn't that a good thing? It all comes down to the fact that while people are very slow to give praise, people are very quick to put something down, and if they see others doing it, they feel accepted. A herd mentality. "Follow me, because I shout louder than anyone else, and I love the original film more than anyone else". Having a differing opinion about something may very well get you cast out into the horror netherworld, but when it is populated with people whose mouths are bigger than their tiny brains, that isn't such a bad thing.

Then there are movies that everyone seems to love, but they hardly ever mention the originals (either through ignorance, or not realising that the movies they are watching are remakes to begin with). Films like Carpenter's 'The Thing', released in 1982 (itself a remake of 'The Thing From Another World' which came out a whole thirty-two years before Carpenter's film), Cronenberg's 'The Fly', 'Invasion of the Body Snatchers', 'The Blob', 'Bram Stoker's Dracula', 'Mary Shelley's Frankenstein', 'The Mummy', 'The Omega Man', 'Nosferatu' (1979), 'The Toolbox Murders', '2001 Maniacs' and many more. I have rarely heard anyone belittle or put down these movies (apart from 'The Omega Man', which seems to be almost universally disliked). I also never hear these movies mentioned in the same breath as the original films, which is shocking, and the original movies these films are remaking are pretty damn good too.

Then there are films which actually improve upon the movies on which they are based. Alexandre Aja's retelling of Wes Craven's 'The Hills Have Eyes' is a prime example of a remake which betters the original in every respect. 'The Crazies' is another. George Romero's shambling and rather talkative film was remade into a shocking and action packed movie that sped forth from the get go with some amazing and shocking moments that kept up the momentum throughout the whole film. 'Maniac' and Savini's 'Night of the Living Dead' also improve on the original movies.

A strange one is 'Rob Zombie's Halloween'. As many of you reading this will know, Carpenter's 'Halloween' is the only film that scares me. But even so, I still enjoy Rob Zombies vision in both his remake of the first Halloween, and his sequel. It gives Michael a realistic back story, and goes some way to humanising him. Of course, this makes him less scary to me, but it also endears him to the viewer in some way, seeing this child be treated badly by everyone except his mother and becoming catatonic as he lets his instinct to kill come to the fore, it is a much more psychological type of horror than Carpenter's well made boo machine. We actually get into the head of Michael, see what contributed to him becoming a monster. The fact that it was kept so realistic made the film all the more shocking. I understand this isn't a commonly shared opinion, but it is one that I have. Carpenter's and Zombie's films are so different, but again, the remake does nothing to effect the power of the original. The fact there is such a difference between the original and remake in this case means the two films are pretty much incomparable, save for a few characters having the same names and Michael wearing the white emotionless mask which allows the viewer to project their own fears onto it, and being a killer.

No matter how much I sing any films praises, or write how much I dislike something, it is all subjective. We all form our own opinions (well, most of us do) on what we like and don't like. What I never seem to be able to grasp is hating something before it has even seen the light of day. I don't know about you, but I have never met anyone who can predict the future, so I can never grasp this inherent hatred of any remakes that are given the green light, or even exist solely as a rumour. It is frankly ignorant and has no basis in fact whatsoever. It is simply an act of trying to show how much of a fan you are by praising something you think people hold dear, whilst tearing down what could be a very good film.

I am not asking anyone to think like me or do what I do. All I am asking is that you engage your mind before going on a tirade against something you have never even seen. No matter your opinion, if a remake is going to be made, no matter how much you complain, it will be made, and then there could be a chance that you actually like it. Wouldn't you look silly then?

Darkest regards......Dani.

1 comment:

  1. You make a valid point about remakes. I think the motivation for people getting defensive about remakes of beloved movies of theirs, is that they are held in such high respect that any imitation of the movie (especially imitations that profit off the reputation of the original movie) is regarded as disrespectful. In no way am I saying it's a rational reaction, but I've been guilty of it myself, but I do realize that remakes are typically intended for new audiences, and you're right, we should be happy that wider audiences will be engaged in something that spawned from older movies that we love.