Article written

  • on 13.04.2010
  • at 04:03 PM
  • by The Q

Remake Mania 0

Apr13

Ah yes, the re-imagining, the reboot, the reworking, and the retelling; words that are thrown around Hollywood these days like they were going out of style. This forces me to use an already overused Shakespearian quote “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet;”

We all know that no matter what word a director, producer, writer, or press agent may use to describe a production, if it is prefixed with “re”, then we they are talking remake.

Why the facade, then? Why not just say “we are remaking such and such”? Well, as fans of the horror genre can certainly attest to, the remake conjures up all kinds of strong negative emotions. And Hollywood certainly doesn’t want to offend potential customers’ sensibilities.

So why is there all this venom directed at the remake anyway? There are certainly many different reasons given by incensed viewers, and I happen to have a theory of my own; but I will get into that later.

The fact of the matter is that the remake is nothing new. Hollywood has been remaking films since “Hollywood” has existed. This certainly counteracts notions that the remake is somehow a new gimmick for a creatively bankrupt machine. See, the machine has been creatively bankrupt all along.

Let’s consider a few films to support my assertion. After all, you shouldn’t just believe me because of my good looks… most of the time. So bear just a touch of the Ghost of Hollywood’s Past’s (that’s me) hand and we’re off!

Ben-Hur, the classic 1959 epic Chuck Heston film is the second remake after the famously massive 1925 silent film version; which, in turn, has a 1907 predecessor.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers; this seminal 1956 Don Siegel-helmed sci-fi masterpiece was followed by, count them, three remakes. The wonderful 1978 Philip Kaufman-directed movie of the same name; Abel “The Driller Killer” Ferrara’s 1993 attempt Body Snatchers; and let’s not forget the ridiculous 2007 Nicole Kidman vehicle The Invasion.

Last Man on Earth; the 1964 Vincent Price cult-classic was followed by two remakes; the much lambasted (unfairly, in my opinion) 1971 picture, The Omega Man, starring Chuck Heston; and the recent, I Am Legend starring Will Smith.

The Thing; or in this case Howard Hawks’s genre-defining1951 The Thing: from another world (I know, I know, Christian Nyby directed it – but Hawks’s fingerprints were all over this one like Spielberg’s on Poltergeist), and its equally brilliant 1982 John Carpenter remake.

House of Wax; this fun 1953 3-D Vincent Price horror film is a remake of the 1933 thriller Mystery of the Wax Museum (which I think is the superior film simply due to Glenda Farrell’s amazing portrayal of street-wise reporter Florence Dempsey, and the always striking Fay Wray); and lest we forget, even though I’ve tried, 2005’s House of Wax; which, incidentally, played more like the creepy camp horror film Tourist Trap, than either of its predecessors.

Maybe you’re one of those people who think that Hollywood is remaking movies which aren’t old enough to be remade. Okay, but may I then ask you what difference does time passage make? Is there a line in the sand? Is it like a hall of fame induction… you must wait X number of years before you can remake a film? Poppycock. Despite the seeming absurdity of the Hulk/Incredible Hulks of the world, quickly remaking a film is certainly not a new Hollywood practice.

(Be sure to check out Mike Knowlan’s fascinating Hollywood blog at filmflunkie.com for the continuation of this article and many more!)

By Mike Knowlan

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