Friday, February 18, 2011

Remakes, Yea or Nay?

They say love is sweeter the second time around.  Perhaps.  I would argue that many foods, like pizza or Thanksgiving dinner, taste better the next day as leftovers.  And who doesn't enjoy a Mulligan?  A do-over when you mess up?

Furthermore, one of the main tenets of fashion/daily style blogging is remixing - i.e. wearing stuff in new and interesting ways, instead of the same shirt with the same pants every time.  In other words, remaking your wardrobe, without spending a dime.

However, does this theory apply to horror movies?  Is a horror movie better remade, remixed and updated for modern times?  Or are they better left alone, frozen in their original format and context?

Do we like horror movie remakes?

My simple, knee-jerk reaction is sort of 7-year-old-pitching-a-fit-esque; "Leave my scary stuff alone!  Remakes are crap!  God, doesn't ANYONE in Hollywood have an original idea anymore?!?  I hate you!"  *stomp, stomp, door-slam*

Sadly, my reaction to many of life's situations is to react like a 7 year old.  But I digress.  Can a remake ever be as good, or better than the original film?  And the answer is?  Maybe.

Some remakes we should just write off as plain awful.  For example, The Haunting from 1963 (based on The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson, a book I couldn't finish because I have low tastes and her writing is too highbrow for me) is a classic ghost story - frights are hinted at, but you never quite see the bad thing.  And the tension and spookiness build, and build, and GAH.  So good.

However, the 1999 remake with Liam Neeson (yum, and yes I WILL see any movie he's in, including Krull, which is epic in its badness), is so so so bad.  So bad.  It isn't scary, it wastes the talents of several good actors who should have known better, and the only thing I can recommend is that the haunted house is lovely to look at.  Minus all the scary baby-head carvings.

On the flip side, there is one remake I can wholeheartedly approve of - Friday the Thirteenth.    But first, let me quickly tell you the tale of my viewing of the original film:

My bestie, Heather, and I rented the Ft13th one winter's eve, when she, her husband, and I were bored out of our freaking goards.  Anything would have entertained us, even the 40 Year Old Virgin.  So it was with much anticipation we loaded up the VCR (yeah, we're that old).

Half way through, husband turned to wife and asked, "Is EVERYONE in this movie stoned?"  She replied, "They had to be.  I wish WE were .  Maybe it would make more sense." Then I had to ask, "Shit, ARE we stoned?  Without knowing it?  'Cuz watching this is making me FEEL stoned.  But on bad weed.  You know, the kind that makes you paranoid.  Not that I would know anything about smoking weed, I'm just saying."

The original Ft13th is just... bad.  Bad acting.  Bad writing.  Bad camera work.  It doesn't look like hand-held-camera documentary footage, like so many fans claim.  It looks like, well, shit.  And I hated it.  And my friends hated it.  We had to watch The 5th Element just to clean the funk from our brains.

So it was with much trepadation I rented the DVD remake by Marcus Nispel.  I wanted to be scared by the crazy butcher family.  I wanted to root for the kids to make it out of Texas alive.  I at least wanted to like one character.  Just one.  Is that too much to ask for?

As it turns out, I liked all the kids - even the one who blows her head off in the van at the beginning.  They acted like typical 18 year olds, one minute wise, one minute so immature you wanted to face-punch them.  But you didn't want any of them to be tortured and killed.  Which is a huge improvement over the original, where we couldn't wait for everyone to DIE ALREADY, GOD.

Plus, the one blonde guy?  Who makes out with the one ditsy chick in the van?  Is so adorable.  And really, as long as you have at least one hot guy, any film is bearable.  Except for The Haunting remake - not even Liam can save that POC.

Which remake to you love?  And which do you hate with every fiber of your being?  Share!

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