26 January 2009

as long as we're thinking about remakes...

I'm throwing down the gauntlet here, Timmy (in kind of a lame way - I'll just restate a point I made at lunch):

I'm still not sure if we're entering into a time with horror cinema today (or if we're already in it - I think it's like a recession, by the time we know we're in it, we've been in it for a while) that's anything like the period American cinema as a whole entered into in the 70s, where you get the first generation of really serious horror scholars making horror films, but the only way they can conceive of fashioning a response to, say, Halloween, is by taking the movie and twisting it around and making their own Halloween.

My major malfunction here is that I don't see why you have to take so many of these properties and retool them (BSG syndrome, maybe?); why can't someone conceive of their own slasher-verse, their own villain with his own fucked up backstory, and make that movie? Why take Leatherface, or Michael Meyers, and ruin so much of what was great about them in the first place, even if it is in the name of hard cinema?

This isn't to say that I'm opposed to all horror remakes, or all remakes in general. There might be some properties with some actual potential to them, untapped at the time of original release (see an earlier posting of mine, for instance). But, why not be original (unless this is a business thing purely, in which case, fuck that. Fuck that sideways)? Put another way: Star Wars was, and is, hugely influential on me. If I wanted to make my cinematic ode/reaction/response/masturbatory tribute to Star Wars, I wouldn't make a Star Wars movie (the fact that I'd never be able to touch the property, professionally, is moot for the moment); I'd make... something else. Something that touched on characterizations, or themes, or moments in the movies that spoke to me, that I'd want to communicate to my contemporaries, to my audience, in my way. I wouldn't make Blade Runner II, either.

In this regard (and most every other), I'll take Quentin Tarantino over almost an entire generation of genre filmmakers; at least he puts his own spin on the shit he rips off.

I suppose this is stretching into complaining about hyper-referencing in general (Fanboys, Trekkies, Kevin Smith and filmmakers who want to be Kevin Smith...), but that's a branch-off for another time.

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