Horror Classics: If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It!

March 11, 2009 § Leave a comment

Hollywood continues to recycle horror classics

horror-articleRemaking horror classics is nothing new in Hollywood. Each year you can expect to see a slew of them. The rationale is pretty simple. First, a formula already exists, which in the 21st century means that if re-imagined correctly, it will inevitably draw a new, younger audience–resulting in a guaranteed (but not always) payoff for studios. Second, die-hard fans of these horror staples may flock to the theaters just to see if the re-tooled versions of their beloved flicks pay homage to the original while simultaneously adding a bit of innovation. Personally, I think the trend has more to do with studios running out of original ideas.

Nevertheless, with the new version of Friday the 13th grossing $43 million (pretty impressive when you consider the $19 million budget!) last month in its opening weekend and igniting talks of renewing the Friday the 13th franchise, there are several more remakes of horror cult classics on the horizon. Here, a few remakes in the coming years that you may have already seen coming and some that may surprise you!

The Last House on the Left (1972)
Release Date: March 13, 2009
last-house-on-the-left-1974-poster5last_house_on_the_left_movie_poster_new1

If the 70s were before your time or you aren’t a horror junkie with a fixation on the cinema of the 70s, you may not be familiar with The Last House on the Left, Wes Craven’s 1972 directorial debut. The original film centers around two teenage girls who travel to the big city to score some pot before going to a concert and find themselves kidnapped and brutally murdered by a trio of escaped convicts. The irony comes later when the murderers stumble across “the last house on the left,” which is the home of one of their victims. It is then that a revenge tale is born, as the parents’ of the slain girl seek retribution in a grisly fashion. The film, inspired by the Academy Award-winning (relax…it was for Best Foreign Language Film) 1960 Swedish film, The Virgin Spring was criticized and even banned in some places for its shocking and gratuitous violence. I saw the original film awhile back and never dared to revisit it. The uneasiness of it all was too much, as if I myself were being violated. Although the remake is being produced by Craven, which will definitely give it its authenticity, I’m sure it will be have to be watered down a little to stay within the MPAA rating guidelines.

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
Release Date: 2010 a-nightmare-on-elm-street-poster

One…two….Freddy’s….I think we all know the rest. Another Wes Craven horror classic is set for a revival. The premise is the same: child murderer Freddy Krueger invades teens’ dreams blurring the line between fantasy and reality. Death tolls will climb as Freddy finds novel ways to slay his victims. Unfortunately, Robert Englund, who starred as Freddy in the original and sequels is rumored not to be surprising his role. Let’s hope whoever fills Freddy’s shoes (I’m hoping for Jackie Earle Haley) for this update will do the film justice. Nevertheless, one of the most celebrated horror franchises created, A Nightmare on Elm Street will be sure to frighten a new generation of moviegoers almost two decades later.

Child’s Play (1988)
Release Date: 2010 childs-play

Along with the Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street franchises, there was another horror cult classic that was born in the 80s and continued well into the millennium, spawning four sequels, (Child’s Play 2, Child’s Play 3, The Bride of Chucky, and The Seed of Chucky) with the last three being questionable. Despite the missteps of the sequels, fans of the horror franchise have never stopped wanting to be afraid of Chucky, the red-haired Good Guy doll with a foul mouth and the soul of a crazed killer.

Hellraiser (1987)
Release Date: 2009 hellraiser

Clive Barker’s Hellraiser, based on his novella, “The Hellbound Heart,” had a huge following, producing seven subsequent sequels. The British horror film tells the story of an unfaithful wife who tries to help her dead lover escape from Hell. Like Wes Craven, who has played a major role in the remakes of his horror films, Barker will also be influential in the remake of his own film. He is expected to produce and write the screenplay for the remake.

The Stepfather (1987)
Release Date: October 16, 2009 the-stepfather1

While this suspense thriller wasn’t as popular as some of the other films coming out of the 80s, it definitely had enough of a following to birth two sequels. In the film, a troubled teenage girl butts heads with her mother’s new husband (played by Terry O’Quinn, who brings sociopath to a whole new level–effortlessly), who she suspects is hiding something. Her suspicions are apparently accurate, as her stepfather is a lunatic who murdered his previous family and is now operating under a new identity to conceal his past. As she tries to convince her mother and anyone else who will listen (her psychiatrist included) that something is terribly wrong with her stepfather, the young teen does some sleuthing of her own to uncover the truth. I feel like there’s really no point in remaking this one because I feel like O’Quinn’s performance was the only thing that made the original watchable. And it’s not like he’s reprising his role–he’s too busy being John Locke on LOST. I wish this remake all the best sans O’Quinn (really, I do).

The Wolf Man (1941)
Release Date: November 6, 2009 the-wolf-man2

One of the older horror classics getting a reboot is The Wolf Man, which will feature Benicio Del Toro in the title role and Anthony Hopkins and Emily Blunt in supporting roles. While Universal Studios, which is distributing the film, is sticking to the film’s original story, the film will include additional characters and new plot points that will employ modern visual effects. Afterall, visual effects like CGI were unheard of in the 40s. The best part about this film will probably be how it is conveyed visually (especially the Wolf Man himself), which will make for one entertaining frightfest.

The Birds (1963)
Release Date: 2010 or 2011 the-birds

NOTE: Proceed with caution and absolutely NO expectations…you may be disappointed in the end.

Some classic suspense thrillers shouldn’t be touched. But that hasn’t stopped Hollywood from remaking the Hitchcock masterpiece, The Birds. Let’s hope that this remake, currently in production, will not make Hitchcock turn over in his grave. Moreover, let’s hope it pays homage to the original short story by Daphne du Maurier, of which the original film was based. It looks like the film is off to an “okay” start, including Naomi Watts in the lead role of Melanie Daniels and Michael Bay as a producer. The film is also rumored to star George Clooney as Mitch Brenner and could be in 3-D! As promising as this may all seem, I’m still convinced that Hitchcock classics should be left alone. They’re classics for a reason!

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Marty Gets His Oscar Due…About Time!!

February 26, 2007 § Leave a comment

One of my favorite directors, Martin Scorcese finally won the Oscar for The Departed, after years of being snubbed by the Academy. Standing ovation and all, Scorcese accepted his award with zest. Congrats to Scorcese!!


Forest Finally Finds His Oscar!!

February 26, 2007 § Leave a comment

It’s about damn time!! Another one of my Oscar predictions comes to fruition! Forest Whitaker took home the gold tonight for his role in Last King of Scotland. Props to Whitaker. I haven’t seen the film yet, unfortunately but I’m definitely going to be making a date with that when it’s released on video. And his Oscar speech was truly inspirational and humbling. I love this guy. Yeah for Forest!!


J-Hud Wins Oscar Gold!

February 26, 2007 § Leave a comment

Jennifer Hudson won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress tonight!! This woman was truly deserving. And once again, she stole the show away from Ms. Knowles as they performed, “I Love You, I Do” and “Listen” together onstage. Hmmm…I bet Ms. Knowles is licking her wounds now. No, she wasn’t nominated for anything, so she doesn’t really have a reason to be angry about anything. But, it’s Beyonce…so…yeah you know the rest. Apparently, Ms. Knowles is allegedly jealous that Hudson has been getting more attention than her for her show-stopping performance in Dreamgirls. So, with Hudson winning the Golden Globe and now the coveted Oscar, Ms. Knowles may be feeling even more jealous. Hopefully, Jay will come get his girl before she makes anymore statements to the press that clearly indicate her “uneasiness” with Hudson’s quick rise to fame.

http://www.damnimcute.com/the-juicy/beyonce-knowles/beyonce-snubs-jennifer-hudson/

http://www.people.com/people/article/0,26334,1565678,00.html

Sigh…

Predicting Oscar Gold

February 26, 2007 § Leave a comment

The road to Oscar will culminate tonight as winners are announced and acceptance speeches are delivered. Who will take home the gold tonight? Here are my final predictions!

Best Actor

Forest Whitaker, Last King of Scotland
Peter O’Toole, Venus
Will Smith, The Pursuit of Happyness
Leonardo DiCaprio, Blood Diamond
Ryan Gosling, Half Nelson

***Forest Whitaker. Critics say he gives the performance of a lifetime as Ugandan dictator Idi Amin. He’s already won more awards than any of the other nominees for 2006, including a Golden Globe. Plus, he’s been giving quality performances throughout his long-spanning career, which means it’s time for the Academy to give credit where it’s due.

Best Actress

Helen Mirren, The Queen
Meryl Streep,
The Devil Wears Prada
Judi Dench
, Notes on A Scandal
Penelope Cruz
,
Volver
Kate Winslet, Little Children

***Helen Mirren. Sure The Devil Wears Prada probably outsold all four of the other movies combined, (I loved it, of course), but let’s remember, this is the best actress category, not the best pop culture film category. Plus, we all know that the Academy loves Brits, so Mirren will probably take home the gold for her compelling performance as Queen Elizabeth II.

Supporting Actor

Eddie Murphy, Dreamgirls
Alan Arkin, Little Miss Sunshine
Mark Wahlberg,The Departed
Djimon Hounsou, Blood Diamond
Jackie Earle Haley, Little Children

***Djimon Hounsou. I can honestly say that I saw all of the nominees’ performances in this category, with the exception of one, Jackie Earle Haley in Little Children. Wahlberg’s witty banter (“I’m the guy that’s doing his job. You must be the other guy”) and his surprising final scene with Matt Damon make him worthy of the prize. Eddie Murphy steals the show in Dreamgirls, which I think is his best performance of his career. And Alan Arkin, makes us laugh and cry in his short, but memorable performance as Olive’s drug-addicted, but supportive grandfather in Little Miss Sunshine. But, none of these performances hold a candle to Dijimon Hounsou’s role as Solomon Vandy as he risks his life to save his kidnapped son from rebels in Sierra Leone. His performance is mesmerizing and worthy of an Oscar.

Supporting Actress

Jennifer Hudson, Dreamgirls
Rinko Kikuchi, Babel
Cate Blanchett, Notes on a Scandal
Abigail Breslin
, Little Miss Sunshine
Adriana Barraza, Babel

***Jennifer Hudson. I know Jennifer’s new to the game, but she delivers as Effie like she’s been in the acting game for a while. And I’m not even talking about her gut-renching performance of “I Am Telling You.” Placing singing aside, (we all know she’s got chops) Hudson’s dialogue is convincing and she brings the character to life.

Best Director

Martin Scorsese, The Departed
Paul Greengrass, United 93
Alejandro González Iñárritu, Babel
Stephen Frears, The Queen
Clint Eastwood, Letters from Iwo Jima

***Martin Scorsese. Come on Academy, you know you’ve overlooked Marty way too many times. But, I wouldn’t even say give it to him because it’s long overdue. Scorsese is truly deserving of this prize. The Departed is one of the best films of 2006 and I don’t think anyone could have done it better justice than Scorsese when it comes to directing. He’s the master of the gritty, dark, and sarcastic crime drama.

Best Original Screenplay

Babel

Letters from Iwo Jima

Little Miss Sunshine

Pan’s Labyrinth

The Queen

**Little Miss Sunshine

Little Miss Sunshine is this year’s little film that could. When I saw this film earlier last year, what impressed me the most, besides the cast, was the writing! This drama captures the heart of viewers with its softness and light-hearted comedic performances from a dysfunctional family on a roadtrip, who you just have to grow to love at the end. There’s also a realness to the film that resonates with people. It’s a timeless critique of American family life that’s well-worded in every scene.

Best Score

Babel, Santaolalla

Good German, Newman

Notes on A Scandal, Glass

Pan’s Labyrinth, Navarette

The Queen, Desplat

***Pan’s Labyrinth. While this film didn’t dazzle me as a whole (except for its cinematography), there was something else that I found outstanding about it. It’s musical score, which actually helped me get through watching the film, which was not all it was cracked up to be. The music was moving and captured what was transpiring in the film with every frame. That’s outstanding. I’ll admit it.

Best Original Song

Cars,”Our Town.”

An Inconveinent Truth, “I Need to Wake Up.”

Dreamgirls, “Listen”

Dreamgirls, “I Love You, I Do.”

Dreamgirls, “Patience.”

***Dreamgirl, “Listen.” It’s Beyonce. The film was a musical. Need I say more?

Best Picture

Babel

The Departed

Letters from Iwo Jima

Little Miss Sunshine

The Queen

***The Departed. A fan favorite, this film was actually a commercial and critical success. It was my favorite movie of 2006. Remember when the commercial and critical Crash won for Best Picture? Looks like this will be yet another year where the Academy pays attention to the commercial and critical aspects of filmmaking. The film’s exciting, action-packed, witty, unpredictable, and the all-star cast gives some of the best performances of their careers. Think Leo, Alec, Mark, Martin and Matt. Damn right, The Departed wins hands down, and rightfully so.

What film should win more awards than it it will, but probably won’t…Children of Men…Loved it and if you didn’t, there must be something seriously wrong with you. Ahem…Oscar!!!

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