Saturday night during this recent HorrorHound Weekend, some friends and I were hanging out at the hotel discussing the future of the world and other such stimulating topics, when a guy came up to join our little group. He was passing out little buttons that said “Fuck Remakes” and went to give me one, asking if I liked remakes. When I replied that not all are bad, he withdrew the offer. I then noticed he was wearing a t-shirt with the same moniker. Then the discussion began. Now, it is kind of ironic that while I’m reaching an age where grumpiness and generally being an asshole becomes a normal mood, but at the same time, I’m a lot more tolerant on topics and ideas that in my youth I would have rallied against, much like this recent addition to our group. When I threw out titles like Carpenter’s The Thing or Cronenberg’s The Fly, or Chuck Russell’s The Blob, he blew those off commenting that he thinks the studios would be better off putting time and money into projects that were original. I totally agree with him on that, as well as some of the other points he was making.
The only point that I was trying to make was that you can’t be completely against remakes because there are some good ones out there and to take that kind of stance that every remake is going to be garbage is the kind of thinking that makes people so close minded that they miss out on a lot of things in life. But he was having none of that and stuck with the saying on his shirt. That is where I was having issues with his point of view. Anytime he made a point about how remakes suck, when I would reply with something that just contradicted what he said, he either blew it off or said something even sillier. Kind of hard to have a discussion when you get that every time. I asked him how he knew all these remakes were bad if he never see them. “Oh I see them all”, he quickly replied. So I asked, “so….you continue to go see and pay for, thus supporting, something that you despise and want other people to take a stance again.” Once again, blows off that comment and goes back to his original comments.
Ah…to be young and ignorant again. Gather ’round kiddies…Old Man Kitley has something to tell you. I felt that same way years ago. “Screw this” and “screw that” and “I’m not going to bother with those kind of movies”, or whatever. In the end, all that does is make you stay close minded and possible miss out on some wonderful opportunities. And not just with movies either, but in life as well. I’m not telling you have to love every movie. Trust me, I don’t. And I’m very leery about any remake coming down the line, especially when they come from Hollywood. But I hope that we can be a little bit more open and at least give some things a chance before we quickly write them off. And yes, I still am working my way out of having that kind of mindset on certain things still to this day. But I’m making progress, I swear.
For those that do think that we should ‘fuck remakes’, here’s a few examples why I believe that remakes are not the evil of humanity that some like to make them out to.
- Not all remakes are shit. In fact, some of these are considered classics. Carpenter’s The Thing, Cronenberg’s The Fly, Philip Kaufman’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Werner Herzog’s Nosferatu, Jim Mickle’s We Are What We Are, Fede Alvarez’s Evil Dead (even though I know the crowds are still divided on this one), Franck Khalfoun’s Maniac, and the list goes on.
- One of the best things remakes do is bring attention to the original film. Fans might seek out the original film just so they can compare it to the original, or some might not have even known there was an original, which then in turn might seek it out. In other words, it brings the original to the forefront.
- Remakes also give the originals a chance to have a new and updated/upgraded release on DVD or blu-ray. I still believe that had it not been for the remake of My Bloody Valentine, there would have not been any interests by the owners of the original film to not only re-released it, but to go through the trouble of getting an uncut version put back together for the fans.
- Remakes also have that chance of giving up-and-coming filmmakers, like directors, writers, actors, makeup artists, the chance to at least get their foot in the door, where they can show their talents. Sure, the creative element might be a little tightened, but it gives them their chance to show what they can do. And if it is successful, then they have a shot of doing something else that they want to do, that they might not have had otherwise. Sure, it is a stretch, but it does happen.
The bottom line is that yes, a strong percentage of remakes are not worth our time. But I refuse to just draw the line in the cinematic sand and say ‘fuck ’em all’. If that meant losing the chance of another remake like The Thing or The Fly, then I’m willing to let the rest slide through. So let’s leave the juvenile way of thinking back in grade school and start using your brain a little more, shall we?
I’d love to hear any thoughts out there on the subject if you’d like to jump in.