New this week is a brand new section where various members of the Cinema Chords team will discuss film related topics.
First up, with Carrie now in cinemas we posed the following question and also asked various horror directors what their favourite horror remakes were.
With Carrie hitting the cinema soon there is the ongoing debate of should a classic be re-hashed. Carrie is a classic horror in its own right and despite being a fan of the original, this could show Stephen King’s novel to its full potential. With groundbreaking special effects and advanced technology that is now readily available to the industry this will without a doubt boost and emphasise the creepiness of the 1976 adaptation. The main problem with remakes is that people assume they will be a complete ‘word for word’ re-run of the original and we all know this isn’t the case. From the clips and posters advertised, I think we should expect good things from this take on the telekinetic school girl. Boy Don’t Cry (1999) director Kimberly Peirce tackles this remake. Let’s see what Mr. King thinks of this one shall we? Chloe Grace Moretz is Carrie and you will know her name.
I agree with you that people hear remake and they instantly go on the offensive about them even though the original by Brian de Palma was an adaptation of King’s novel. There’s plenty of room to adapt something again, to make it more, to make it different and interesting. Unfortunately there’ll be detractors simply because it isn’t the 1976 version that they love, which is a real shame. Moretz definitely has the potential to play it well since she’s enormously talented, Peirce is an interesting director, Julianne Moore could be good as the psychotic mother and the technology has advanced a lot to make it that little bit more effective when it comes to realism. I love the original Carrie and do think it’s great but there are moments of poor acting – especially from the extras in the prom sequence – and some pretty poor effects. There’s also an uncomfortable amount of slapping and stilted dialogue which could be corrected in this. I’m looking forward to it still. People forget John Carpenter’s The Thing and David Cronenberg’s The Fly are remakes; Franck Khalfoun’s Maniac remake from this year far surpasses the original and is incredible.
Take Some Like it Hot and A Fistful of Dollars as my further examples of how a remake can be much more than just an uninventive subpar movie, and how it has the potential to even exceed the original film. I personally am excited by the possibility of a director, writer, actor, musician… whatever, reproaching a pre-existing piece. It gives them the ultimate opportunity to get their hands dirty by cross-examining the existing work and pinpointing its strengths and weaknesses. I’m interested to know what they think works well, and what can be altered to comment on current events, thoughts, and movements in cinema. With the example of Carrie we are talking about a book which has now been adapted into three movies, a Broadway musical and a play, and which also had a sequel movie made in 1999. None of these harm the novel or any of the other reimaginings in any way, instead they compliment each other with their different approaches and goals. As Ashley said, people go on the offensive when a remake is mentioned, and he is right. That reaction is a passionate response from people who love their version of the story so much they cannot help but get defensive of it -and that’s a wonderful thing. But, we shouldn’t let that stand in our way of retelling and reimagining a story, it’s what we collectively spend our lives doing, and it can be every bit as creative as telling an ‘original’ story.
Carrie, to me, is a film ripe for remaking. Considering it’s a film about bullying, and the entire landscape of bullying has changed since 1976 with cyberbullying and whatnot, it seems like the cautionary themes employed by the Brian De Palma original would be right at home in the modern world. I do, unfortunately, fear that Chloë Grace Moretz will not be a convincing Carrie, mainly because Spacek’s Carrie was wispy and pathetic (which is why she was such a sympathetic character) and after seeing Moretz kick ass in both Kick-Ass flicks, it’ll be hard to see her as the pathetic and downtrodden girl that Carrie is supposed to be. It came out here in the United States last month and I skipped it because frankly, it just didn’t interest me. However, that’s not to say that all remakes are bad. Philip Kaufman’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers, John Carpenter’s The Thing, and David Cronenberg’s The Fly are all fine films that are either remakes or re-adaptations of the source material. More recently, I didn’t mind the Samuel Bayer remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street as much as others did (I quite liked that Jackie Earle Haley put his own stamp on the Freddy Kreuger character), and this year’s Franck Khalfoun remake of Maniac was pretty good. Overall, remakes can be good but they need to have a solid reason behind them other than making money or adapting to new moviemaking technologies.
Investigating expectations on social media it certainly looks like more will pass on this one. Why? I get the feeling that it’s down to a couple of reasons really. Firstly, for every one Fly or The Thing made there are always ten Wicker Mans or Friday the 13ths. As a result Hollywood aren’t exactly putting the carrot before the donkey. That’s not to say there haven’t been some amazingly well crafted remakes of late, The Crazies and Maniac (good call Ashley) to name a few.
The other reason is something Alexandre Aja said to me recently in an interview. He has been offered loads and loads of remakes but he said to me he turned down 9 out of every 10 offers as the original is so good that there is absolutely no reason to remake it. I’d have to agree with him here as Carrie is up there on a pedestal with the likes of Back to the Future or The Goonies; films that have lived the test of time and will continue to do so for many a year to come.
One thing I noticed above that I don’t totally agree with is Jackson’s thought that Moretz won’t do Carrie justice. As soon as I knew she was cast as Carrie her performance as Abby in the Let The Right One In remake sprang to mind, a role she pulled off almost perfectly. If anyone saves this Carrie remake it’ll be her and Mrs. Moore. Am I excited to see it? Not a great deal. Am I intrigued? 100%
Ashley: Yeah, these are all interesting points and I disagree with Jackson on Moretz because she’s a fantastic actress who will help not hinder. I do agree with him though about the A Nightmare on Elm Street remake which everyone seems to get agitated by. It’s a great reimagining that stays faithful and forges itself as its own film. Jackie Earle Harley is fantastic in it but people have a problem with it and I don’t get why. The effects of the first aren’t great because of the budget and the time of creation, now it looks much better. What intrigues me about remakes is when fans of the originals approach them like Rob Zombie did with Halloween. I really hate that film but it was interesting to see where he took it, what he changed, what he didn’t, what he thought worked and ultimately it was what he as a fan wanted to see from the original and subsequent sequels. Now, he showed too much when it came to Michael, turning him from a child born evil into one nurtured into evil which could be scarier for others but it felt like the explanation almost made it acceptable rather than terrifying. He also massively messed around with Laurie, one of the only characters we connected and sympathised with in the original. That’s what I’m hoping Carrie doesn’t fall apart. A lot of remakes end up making everyone horrible people, slasher flick bad so we will them to die, but that’s not why Carrie is scary or effective as a piece of dramatic cinema; we love Carrie, we love her teacher, we love the couple that have decided to cheer her up and we hate obviously the villainous duo that play the prank on her. If they mess too much with the characters in that sense then the film will be weaker. I’m hoping it explores it more because I’m guessing she’s going to level the town in this tone to up the ante. It’s time to see what pile of remakes this goes into.
So that’s what we were all thinking this time last week. With the film now out in the UK we’d love to hear exactly what you were hoping for and what you made of the film after seeing it. Let us know in the comments section below… We’ll leave you with some movie folk favourite horror remakes:
— Mike Mendez (@madmanmendez) noviembre 20, 2013
— Mike Mendez (@madmanmendez) noviembre 20, 2013
— Steve Barton (@UncleCreepy) noviembre 18, 2013
— Don Mancini (@RealDonMancini) noviembre 18, 2013
— E.L. Katz (@EVANLKATZ) noviembre 17, 2013
@MrRumsey I thought Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead remake was great. An Alex of zombie cinema. Haven’t seen Evil Dead year but I hear great stuff
— Jim Towns (@jim_towns) noviembre 17, 2013
@MrRumsey Least favorites: The Thing, Friday 13th, Wicker Man. Someone should remake Ken Russell’s Lair of the White Worm.
— Jim Towns (@jim_towns) noviembre 17, 2013
— Derek Mears (@DerekMears) noviembre 17, 2013
— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) noviembre 17, 2013
— Timo Tjahjanto (@Timobros) noviembre 17, 2013