August 19, 2011

Scream and Scream Again or Why I'm going to see the new "Fright Night"

There was a time when "Love At First Bite" was too much for me to handle as a horror movie.

For those of you who don't remember, that was the comedy where George Hamilton (who made being orange kewl way before anybody had ever heard of John Boehner) plays a bumbling, comedic Dracula in the modern world.  And, if my memory is correct, that movie largely came about in response to the success of John Badham's "Dracula", starring Frank Langella as the count and Laurence Olivier as Van Helsing.  Which, of course, comes well before Coppola's early 90's remake with Gary Oldman and Anthony Hopkins, and well after the long line of Hammer Films' Dracula movies with Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing.  And let's not even get into Bela Lugosi and the classic Universal "Dracula", or Max Schrek and "Nosferatu".

In short, for as long as we've had movies, particularly horror movies, we've had remakes.

Now, it's pretty fashionable to cry and moan about how remakes suck and the filmmakers have no respect for the original films.  But, let's be real about this:

John Carpenter's "The Thing"
David Croenberg's "The Fly"
Philip Kaufman's "Invasion of the Body Snatchers"
Zack Synder's "Dawn of the Dead"
(yes, I'm going to go there) Rob Zombie's "Halloween"

Those are just some movies that I can tick off from memory that are all remakes of great movies that are actually great movies in their own right.  Heck, even the original Fright Night, which I absolutely adore, is a very self-referential nod to those old Hammer vampire movies ("Peter Vincent"?  Come ON! :-)).

Yes, there are plenty of remakes that suck (I'm looking at you, Vince Vaughn "Psycho").  But even Hitchcock did a remake of one of his own movies, namely "The Man Who Knew Too Much".  And, frankly, there are plenty of original movies that suck, too.  I think, in the end, we have to evaluate all of these movies on their own merits.

I LOVE that Carpenter "Thing" movie.  But, after seeing this trailer, I am all over the prequel:

I remember someone once asked Alan Moore how did he feel about Hollywood ruining his books like From Hell and League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Moore simply pointed to the books on his shelf and said "see, my books are just fine."

Those old movies will always be there, and these remakes may just give them new life.

I'll never forget Chris Sarandon as Jerry Dandridge.

But I'm going to give Colin Farrell a chance.

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