Friday, June 8, 2012

Remakes And The Like

This post isn't an angry diatribe against remakes. Well sort of. It's more frustration than anything else. The hate train left the station a long time ago with me. I'm resigned to the fact now that they're going to happen.  Remakes are as inevitable as my San Diego Padres sucking or the Chargers being a monumental let down year in and year out.

Don't get me wrong, I like some remakes. I still think the Last House On The Left Remake is better than the original and I'll have civil (but poo flinging) words with anyone that thinks otherwise. And the Dawn of the Dead (2004) is one of my favorite modern horror films as it explored different concepts than the original. It truly did some unique and original things.

And I understand why they continue to happen. With remakes, there is an established property. Studios don't have to try very hard and there is instant name recognition. By mere title alone it's guaranteed to put butts in the seat, regardless of how well it does or the quality of the film itself. The risk factor is very low and the reward potential is very high. Plus you have suckers like me: loyal fans that will check it out because curiosity is a real bitch. I always love asking filmmakers and actors that I interview this very question: 'To remake or not to remake, that is the question.' By and large, they loathe them and it incites such an impassioned response. I digress.

What I really wanted to comment on with this post is a potential trend that I hope never happens: the proliferation of the remake on the small screen. Just a few weeks ago, multiple sites reported that Martha Marcy May Marlene (AKA the greatest film tongue tie of all-time) writer and helmer, Sean Durkin, is set to write and direct a TV mini-series entitled The Exorcist. This mini-series would focus on the lead-up to the events within the story as well as the aftermath. Some sites reported that there will also be a focus on the back stories of both Fathers Merrin and Karras. 'But Cortez', you say. 'They already remade Carrie for the small screen, and it didn't spawn a slew of remakes for the boob tube!' Indeed, that is true. But we are talking about the mother of all horror films. A film that has singlehandedly defined a sub genre of horror, hell even the genre itself in some people's eyes. The film that EVERYONE uses a reference point when talking about other films that focus on the dealings of the man downstairs.

And why does it have to be called The Exorcist? Why can't it be entitled Before The Exorcism or something to that effect? I like the idea of exploring the priest's back stories but wasn't that already done with Exorcist: The Beginning? I honestly don't think that that film is as bad as everyone says it is. I digress yet again. There is just so much weight behind that name. If it's terrible, it will do more harm than good. But such is the case with remakes and the aforementioned name recognition.

It took me awhile to be at peace with remakes being on a steady stream within theaters. But what about the thought of them being a constant on the small screen? Well intelligent and original TV shows are pretty much non-existent anyways so would it really be that much of a surprise? Ah, but just like the sucker I am, I'll most likely check it out.

So what say you loyal readers? What are your thoughts on this announcement and the idea to remake yet another 'sacred' classic? Would you mind if remakes became regular on the small screen?

Cortez the Killer


Sir Phobos said...

I can see you wanting to leave well enough alone, but I think this might be different. At least it's not a straight up remake of the original movie. I kinda like the idea of getting to know more about the fathers, even though the two prequel movies already exist. The Schrader one was better, by the way.

Let's say it sucks for the sake of the conversation. I don't think that would have any lasting or damaging impact on the original. I mean, The Exorcist II happened, and people tend to just not talk about that. It can be forgotten as quickly as it was created.

Planet of Terror said...

Phobos, good points. You know, I still haven't seen the Schrader one. Need to remedy that ASAP.

My point is (more or less) I hope that it doesn't spawn a ton of remakes on the small screen. I could see a slew of filmmakers doing the same thing: lets do a mini series about the Torrance family, or Poltergeist (even though that was a tv series) could go on and on.

And it just irks me that they're using the name THE Exorcist. In my mind, there is no more perfect horror film. I wish they would have called it something else.

Emily said...

I don't know. It doesn't bug me as much, since most novels are better suited to the miniseries format than feature film anyway. Sure, the miniseries are usually not very good (especially if they have the words 'Mick Garris' attached at all) but the longer format gives more time. It ultimately makes for a different viewing experience, and lets the filmmakers get to different aspects of the story. So if one wants to make a prequel miniseries, it probably won't be inclined to be scary, but I could see it potentially being of interest in some way or another.

Planet of Terror said...

Good points Emily. There are some aspects of the story mentioned (i.e. the aftermath) that I find intriguing.

And I wonder just how much they'll be able to get away with on network television. I hope it gets picked up by a network that will give them full reign a la AMC. That's the only way I see the film being worthwhile and giving justice to the original as well as the source material.

OK, I'm off the ledge. Call me a sucker again. This could be good. While I wasn't a huge fan of Durkin's MMMM, he does craft a good story and from a visual standpoint, he's talented.

Jason said...

Remakes don't bother me nearly as much as altering existing movies by adding in "previously removed footage" or CGI. A remake is easy to ignore, but when filmmakers actually change the movie I've known for years, it's way harder to pretend that it doesn't exist. The Exorcist is one of the leading offenders in this area; love the movie, and I have so far successfully avoided seeing "The Version You've Never Seen!". I hate the constant diddling with movies as though they're a constant work in progress. Hell, let's splash some new paint on Guernica while we're at it....

Funny you should mention Carrie, because I saw the remake on TV recently. I'd forgotten that they changed the ending so that Carrie [i]lived[/i]. It ended with her driving off with that one girl who survived the prom. It reeks of "we want to make a series out of this", which is really messed up. Imagine: Carrie White and Sue Snell, wandering from place to place righting wrongs and fighting injustice. Snort.

Planet of Terror said...

Good points as well Jason. But the Exorcist additions don't bother me as much as some others (*Star Wars, cough, cough, Star Wars*). The spider crawl down the stairs? Egads, that was creepy as hell!

Funny you mention a work of art. That's exactly the thought I have when someone announces the remake of a classic. It's like saying 'That Mona Lisa sure is a pretty picture but I bet you I could do better.'

AH! It's like Kung Fu but instead of an old dude spouting philosophy and kicking ass we get a socially unadjusted teen who uses here telekinesis to fight baddies. Might work for the Twilight crowd though...