EXCESS HOLLYWOOD: DESTROYING THE CLASSICS

Variety recently reported that Dimension Films was planning on remaking Dario Argento’s horror classic “Suspiria.” My first reaction to this truly horrid news was to fly on down to Dimension HQ and hunt me some humans in three-piece suits and ponytails (the standard look of all studio executives). I eventually came to my senses when I heard how much a plane ticket would cost and decided to attack the idea in print instead.

These new versions of my favorite horror films are getting a tad bit played out. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is coming, as is “Dawn of the Dead.” What next? Jim Carrey in a hipper version of “Last House on the Left?” (He’s played a pet detective and a world class comedian. Now he’s a rapist. To avoid fainting, keep repeating, “It’s only a Jim Carrey movie …”) Not only do the remakes insult horror fans and diminish the impact of the originals, they’re just plain stupid. Does any studio executive really think that a modern version of “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” will scare people more than the original? Not freakin’ likely. The original was gritty and it had a documentary feel to it which helped make it a reality to viewers. It was anti-Hollywood. New Line, the studio doing the new Leatherface romp, is Hollywood.

There is very little reason for any movie to be remade, with the exception of an all-black cast version of “The Godfather.” When a movie is given the remake “treatment,” it tells audiences that a studio is creatively bankrupt. I know there are excellent scripts floating around out there. I know there are horror films just begging to be made … and some of them will be good. Most studios are afraid to take chances, however, and would rather stick with something tried and true than break new ground. Few want to be the first to do The Exorcist, but all of them are happy to copy its success in one form or another, or do an unnecessary prequel. Executives are cowards, and remakes prove it.

I’m a hardcore horror fan. I compare remakes to the use of CGI in the current horror movies: Neither works very well. I’m a fan who is happy to spend money on new and original ideas, but I won’t even consider stepping into the theatre to view the poster for the upcoming “Dawn of the Dead” disaster. I didn’t even watch the remake of “Night of the Living Dead,” so take that, coke sniffers.

Horror movies have been having a bit of a resurgence as of late, and that’s something I’d like to see continue. If all the studios have to offer, however, are derivative movies that copy every other teen horror film, or lame remakes starring hot actors, then horror is going to go back underground (not always a bad thing), and I’ll be forced to wait for releases on DVD. For now, the only horror remake I’d even be mildly interested in seeing is the Olsen Twins’ version of “Eaten Alive.” That can only be good.

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Posted on May 29, 2003 in Features by
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