Remakes have become quite a hotbed of debate in the last few years, and I guess it's pretty obvious what side of the fence I'm standing on. Hopefully, most of you are standing here beside me, offering words of encouragement. Although I'm pretty sure that some of you are searching the field on the opposite side of the fence, digging up big rocks with which to stone me.
So for all of you hardcore, die hard, rabidly anti-remake proponents, I ask you to do this one, simple thing… lighten the f**k up. When was asked how he felt about Hollywood ruining all of his books, he pointed to the books on the shelf above his desk and responded, “My books are right here. They're fine.” …Or so I've been told. Likewise, remakes do not harm the original. When the NIGHT OF THE DEMONS remake hit U.S. and UK theaters in 2009, DVD copies of my original 1987 version were not collected and burned by the Remake Police. If you didn't like the remake, it's okay; we'll always have Paris. But the truth is, many of you did like the remake, some of you even more than the original.
The standard argument against remakes is that they're seldom as good as the original, i.e., PLANET OF THE APES, THE TRUTH ABOUT CHARLIE/CHARADE, and FRIDAY THE 13TH. Granted, I was a huge fan of the original APES epic and was hugely disappointed by the remake. I let my son watch both versions, and he chose to buy the DVD of the original. CHARLIE, which I can only assume was re-titled by the filmmakers because even they realized what a complete abortion they had made of the clever, witty, urbane CHARADE, made me want to throw things at the screen. Honestly, I was not a fan of the original FRIDAY series, so I had no real expectation for the remake. And still, I was disappointed.
Like any rule, however, there are exceptions. What is JAWS, the hit film that gave birth to the modern day Hollywood summer blockbuster, but an updated retelling of MOBY DICK? The Charlton Heston vehicles, BEN-HUR (1959) and THE TEN COMMANDMENTS (1956) were both remakes of silent films from the '20's, and both went on to become holiday classics. Everyone knows the beloved 1954 Judy Garland film, A STAR IS BORN, was remade into a 1976 vehicle, but Judy's version was, itself, a remake of an earlier Janet Gaynor version from 1937. Likewise, 1983's SCARFACE, starring , is (say it with me, class) a remake. As a matter of fact, name any one of your favorite Brian DePalma films, and the chances are it's an updated retelling of a Hitchcock classic.
I can hear you out there right now, “But, Kevin, we don't care about those films. What about all of the terrible horror remakes, like A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, THE STEPFATHER Texas Chainsaw 3D, SORORITY HOUSE MASSACRE, etc.?” I will simply point out that I liked John Carpenter's 1982 remake of THE THING better than Howard Hawk's 1951 original. Hell, I even liked the 2011 prequel. And I like David Croneberg's 1986 remake of THE FLY better than the 1958 original. And putting my obvious bias aside, I think 2009's NIGHT OF THE DEMONS was one of the better horror remakes to come out within the last decade. And I honestly believe our latest sequel will be even better. But there's only one way to prove me right or wrong, folks; go to our Kickstarter page and support independent horror films: warts, remakes, and all. And don't even get me started on sequels. Ha!