Friday, October 9, 2009

Things I've Noticed #8: Are Remakes giving up?

I just watched the trailer for the new "Nightmare on Elm Street" movie, due out next February and I noticed something pretty strange. Except for the opening bit where the parents of Elm Street burn Krueger alive, practically every single other shot in the whole thing was a direct steal from the original film.

Just as the '90s were filled with kid movie remakes (The Parent Trap, That Darn Cat, etc.), our current decade is full of horror remakes. The problem is this, if you have nothing new to say, why exactly are you saying anything?

I actually don't mind remakes - although I don't mind reading subtitles, a lot of people do and therefore the idea of taking a foreign film and remaking it for western audiences is all right by me, I'm even a pretty big fan of the horror remake, because when it is done well - John Carpenter's "The Thing" for example, it can actually add to the enjoyment of the original without simply being a shameless steal.

I think that Dark Castle Entertainment actually started out with a pretty good idea - remake b-movies from the 50s and 60s with better actors and bigger budgets. The key however is to stick with movies that can be remade without alienating their key audiences.

When the remake of "The Day The Earth Stood Still" came out, I wasn't excited, I was kind of pissed - the original 1951 film said everything so perfectly, what could a new movie do?The point of a remake is to take the original material and do something new with it, if you simply copy the original, but add a new word here or there, it's called plagiarism.

Now I'm not saying remakes should never happen, but at the very least they should show something different - and for the record, a higher gore level is not different - I mean something different with the story, or the theme, or characterization.

I remember being blown away back in 1998 by the idea that Gus Van Sant was going to remake, shot-by-shot Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho, and although the result was not great, at least you can say he was honest about what he was doing.

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