Wednesday, February 11, 2009

To Avoid Fainting Keep Repeating, It's Only a Lousy Remake...

I'm probably way behind on this rant, but allow me to indulge myself. I just saw that they are remaking Last House on the Left. To that I say, 'ugh.' I mean seriously, it's hot on the heels of the 're-imagining' of Friday the 13th (did we really need to re-imagine that?), and apparently the studio thought we needed some more crap infiltrating theaters in February. I guess Paul Blart had to make his exit sometime.

Here's what I don't get, is there really a need for the kind of sadistic torture film that is bound to be passed off as something artistic....a nihilistic picture about the uncertainty of our times? I can't see a need for it. I feel dirty just writing about it. This is my problem with the horror genre today (and I love the genre) because it's truly run out of ideas (unless your name is Neil Marshall) when all that's left to do is recycle vomit-inducing faux socio-politically charged tripe like The Last House on the Left. I don't even care for the original Wes Craven version that much. Upon subsequent viewings I've come to the conclusion that the only reason people back in 1972 thought it had any kind of merit or value was because it happened to be loosely based on a Bergman film (The Virgin Spring), and therefore, in the prime of the foreign-art house movie boom, moviegoers were left thinking that they had just witnessed a profound film from the horror genre, all because of what the movie alluded to.

If I want to watch a nihilistic horror, I'd rather watch Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer or Man Bites Dog, because at least those movies have a little humor, a little life in them; this recent slew of remakes is nothing better than the hack and slash yawners that were littered throughout 1980's horror.

Let's see, off the top of my head we've had the following unnecessary remakes: Thirteen Ghosts, Black Christmas, April Fool's Day, Prom Night, Black Christmas, House on Haunted Hill, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Halloween, The Hills Have Eyes, House of Wax, and now you have Friday the 13th, My Blood Valentine, and Last House on the Left. I can't wait to see what producers come up with next. It's almost as if they're just scanning the aisles of video stores with a checklist saying, 'ooh...let's remake Happy Birthday to Me!' -- which actually wouldn't be such a bad idea (although Final Destination did have elements of the 'bizarre' deaths found in Happy Birthday to Me).

It saddens me even more that they are in fact remaking another seminal horror film: A Nightmare On Elm Street. I really wish Michael Bay and his band of tools would stop meddling with things that don't need to be remade. If you're going to remake (or re-imagine, bah) a horror film then why not try your hand at something that failed to begin with, or was so obscure that it wouldn't hurt remaking so people could introduce themselves to the original source material (Black Christmas could have been that film, but it was bollocks). Why not remake The Prowler or He Knows You're Alone or Terror Train, The Burning, Alone in the Dark, Visiting Hours....I could go on. The point is there's a bevy of so-so horror films from the 1980's that these guys can try and make a buck off of, but why bother with classics like A Nightmare On Elm Street or irrelevant fair like the recent remakes of Prom Night and April Fool's Day.

Now don't get me wrong, my bitching aside I will probably see the Friday the 13th remake, because well....I am somewhat of a masochist and I love the genre too much to completely bail on it. Friday the 13th and other remakes of its ilk are pretty harmless and it's probably unfair for me to group the remakes of Halloween and Friday the 13th in with the nihilistic tripe like Last House on the Left and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre; the former being harmless remakes where the only downfall is that they're unnecessary -- plus I will gladly pay $8.00 to see Dean from "The Gilmore Girls" (Jared Padalecki) get his head chopped off, because lets face it, he was a real jerk to Rory.

A final note: Roger Ebert's review for the remake, re-imagining, re-vision, re-whatever of Friday the 13th is now up on his site. I'd like to quote this hilarious paragraph:

So far in the series, he has been drowned, sliced by a machete in the shoulder, hit with an ax in the head, supposedly cremated, aped by a copycat killer, buried, resurrected with a lightning bolt, chained to a boulder and thrown in the lake again, resurrected by telekinesis, drowned again, resurrected by an underwater electrical surge, melted by toxic waste, killed by the FBI, resurrected through the possession of another body, returned to his own body, thrown into hell, used for research, frozen cryogenically, thawed, blown into space, freed to continue his murder spree on Earth 2, returned to the present, faced off against Freddy Krueger of "Nightmare on Elm Street," drowned again with him, and made to emerge from Crystal Lake with Freddy's head, which winks.

I know what you're thinking. No, I haven't seen them all. Wikipedia saw them so I didn't have to.

Brilliant stuff. And I guess that's why when the dust settles I don't lose any sleep over these countless remakes -- I'm never going to watch them, but somebody else will; and that means witty, wonderfully funny criticism like this. And I'm okay with that.


  1. But was there death-by-shiskabob in Final Destination?

    Great points all-around, as I think we just parrot each other on the current spate of horror films, so I'll just add kudos to your already prescient comments.

    Last House - exploitive torture porn. Which is why it's probably so ripe for a remake. Sad.

    I'll pass on all current iterations of Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th. If I'm going to watch a bad horror movie, I'd rather it be one that's at least fun to make fun of.

    Also, Tricia says that Dean was not innocent in the whole Dean/Rory affair. Rory started it by cheating on Dean with Jess and plainly chose Jess over Dean. However, Dean is NOT innocent either, since he cheated on his wife with Rory. She wanted to make this wholly clear :P