Terror Remakes Still High On Hollywood’s List.
Horror remakes, also known as “Re-imaginings” are still Hollywood’s “thing.”
Within the past fifteen years, filmmakers have revisited terror classics Carrie, Evil Dead, A Nightmare on Elm Street, The Wolf Man, The Crazies, Fright Night, The Stepfather, Halloween, The Omen, and House of Wax, among other titles.
Across the countless movie discussion boards “Why?” is the typical question from fans, who suddenly learn that their favourite horror classic is getting the remake treatment.
Directors, producers and screenwriters usually answer that question with the standard “We wanted to re-invent this movie for a brand new generation” response.
That’s hardly a satisfying explanation, but in most cases it seems to be the only one that is officially available. Of course, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that it’s also about box office bucks.
In this remake friendly era, then, it was probably only a matter of time before Poltergeist hit the list. Tobe Hooper helmed the original 1982 version, produced by Steven Spielberg, about an all American family who experience intense supernatural activity after moving into an all American suburban home built over a former burial ground. That title is a brilliant piece of filmmaking, and remains a truly scary movie.
The late Heather O’Rourke gives an excellent performance as young Carol Anne Freeling – the youngest member of the family who is kidnapped by the entities plaguing the house.
However, the same cannot be said for director Gil Kennan’s new version of the movie. Aside from the fact that the movie is made in 3D and characters use smart phones, the storyline, adapted by David Lindsay-Abaire, is pretty much the same.
Sam Rockwell and Rosemary DeWitt play suburban parents Eric and Amy Bowen, while Saxon Sharbino, Kyle Catlett and Kennedi Clements, make up the Bowen children, Kendra, Griffin and Madison, affectionately known as “Maddy,” respectively. This time around it’s Maddy’s turn to get the ghostly kidnapping treatment.
But unlike Hooper’s remake, which invokes genuine chills and sheer dead, this rehash conjures up little more than yawns. Whereas the original often left much to the imagination, the new Poltergeist throws everything in our faces and leaves nothing to the imagination.
When John Carpenter directed and scored the original Halloween back in 1978, he was a then unknown indie filmmaker whose brilliant and groundbreaking idea went on to become a horror classic. His work was not a remake of an older film – it was a fresh, unique and ingenuous approach to a long-standing genre. Michael Myers, the film’s masked and terrifyingly silent star killer, has retained major iconic status for more than thirty years.
Then there’s Wes Craven, who directed the 1984 version of A Nightmare on Elm Street. He got his idea for burnt serial killer / dream stalker Freddy Krueger, whose razor enhanced glove kills people in their dreams, from a series of new reports about seemingly healthy Cambodians who were mysteriously dying in their sleep. From those reports, he created his own mythology and a character who has also remained ingrained in popular culture.
In a nutshell, the horror genre is in desperate need of John Carpenters and Wes Cravens – people who, instead of travelling down the same old road over and over again, are willing to take a chance with fresh, compelling and invigorating material. Any good filmmaker should know that a mere remake just cannot re-capture the magic, uniqueness and splendour of the original film – it really is that simple.
Studio: Fox 2000 & MGM
Director: Gil Kenan
Stars: Sam Rockwell, Rosemarie DeWitt, Jared Harris and Jane Adams
Screenwriter: David Lindsay-Abaire
Producers: Sam Raimi, Rob Tapert and Roy Lee
Executive Producers: J.R. Young, Audrey Chon and Becki Cross Trujillo
Source: Press Notes
Image Info: Copyright Fox 2000 & MGM 2015. All Rights Reserved