ByCraig Whyel, writer at
Film & TV news, previews and commentary
Craig Whyel

The remake virus is yet again afoot in Hollywood.

Its latest victim, according to Variety, is the treatment of the legendary real-life murder story, In Cold Blood. It seems the Weinstein Company recently secured the TV rights to what will be a “TV event.”

Also, The Hollywood Reporter points out that there is no network attached to the project yet, which will be produced by Flying Studios, run by Gary Oldman and Douglas Urbanski.

In Cold Blood, written by the late Truman Capote, is a 1966 non-fiction novel about the murders of a family on their Holcomb, Kansas farm in 1959.

Two small-time criminals, Richard Hickcock and Perry Smith, were eventually arrested and convicted of the killings. During the course of the investigation, it was learned that the twosome only intended to rob the Clutters. It seemed that Hickock, while in jail, learned from another inmate that the patriarch of the family kept $10,000 in a safe in the basement of the family home. He would later recruit Smith into the scheme.

There was no safe and no money.

When the home invasion was over Herbert Clutter, his wife and two of their four children were killed.

As Jack Shuler of points out, Hickock and Smith were the next to last-ever criminals put to death in the state.

Following the murders, Capote, a novelist of some renown and controversy, turned investigative journalist and headed to Holcomb, pouring over every possible detail. He even got close to the killers, especially Perry Smith.

In Cold Blood turned out to be the second-highest selling crime book ever.

Hollywood saw an opportunity with the chilling story and, pardon the pun, did it to death.

It was directly treated via two In Cold Blood projects. One was a 1967 theatrical feature starting Robert Blake, Scott Wilson and John Forsythe. It garnered a number of Academy Award nominations. The other was a 1996 TV miniseries that starred Anthony Edwards, Eric Roberts and Sam Neill.

The story was indirectly treated in 2005 with the late Phillip Seymour Hoffman starring Capote. While it was a biopic, the killings were primarily treated from the standpoint of the author. Hoffman won an Academy Award for his work.

Toby Jones starred in Infamous, a 2006 film that featured Daniel Craig and Lee Pace as the killers.

So, if plans go through for the latest venture based on the story, it will be the fifth time it will be done in some movie fashion.

What could the producers possibly have to gain by another version of the same story?

Who will star in the latest In Cold Blood?

Do the powers that be hope to capitalize on a new, younger audience unfamiliar with the murders? I seriously doubt that will work. Simply stated, younger audiences are ensconced in violence. It is highly prevalent in their entertainment, a very real part of their culture, and, as a result, they will, in my opinion, be highly desensitized to the murder of a family.

Older audiences, many of whom are at least familiar with the killings and one more of its many cinematic treatments are likely to be weary of the repetitive treatment.

Myself, I just don’t understand why they would want to keep telling the same story so many times.

I am interested to know what others think about this matter. Please comment below.

(Check out the trailers from the first four:)


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