Wednesday, July 29, 2009

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Monday, July 20, 2009

Horror Remakes: Good, Bad or Just Plain Ugly?

It seems as though lately, when it comes to horror - Hollywood is all about the remake. I suppose I can't fault anyone, if you've got an established name, icon or franchise to work with, it practically guarantees a financial draw. So why not throw your money in the direction that ensures some kick back?

How about because a large portion of these remakes completely suck?

I suppose that would (or at least should) be good enough reason to reconsider tackling a remake/reboot/reinterpretation... well, if Hollywood gave a shit about consumers that is. The fact is, the puppet masters know us horror freaks too well. They know most of us despise these films, but they know a whole hell of a lot of us are still going to stand in line at our local Cinemark to throw away 90 minutes and 10 bucks...because hey 'the original was awesome'!

It's hard to hate the intellectually superior... yet it's an easy feat to kick myself in the ass over (what is actually characteristic) stupidity...

Sharp as a spoon I am.

Here's a list of some recent remakes I've caught. Some are good, some are bad, some are forgettable, and that's why you won't read about them in this blog.

The Ring/Ringu:

Ah, the flick that launched the recent J-Horror craze. The Ring is a surprisingly well assembled remake that remains pretty true to it's source material. Good solid performances, excellent cinematography and a controlled dose of effective CGI make this one of my favorite remakes ever made. Is it a perfect film? No. Is it enjoyable, and a bit creepy? Yes! Ultimately, I think it stands up well to the original.

Rob Zombie's Halloween/Halloween

I've consistently tried to enjoy this picture. It's actually got some great moments, and Zombie's glimpse at the missing years of Michael Myers is quite intriguing in spots. Sadly, the same excessive vulgarities that have plagued Zombie's past efforts have once again tarnished a potentially quality remake. I just can't seem to understand why every film is centered around the stereotypical white trash family. Trailer trash doesn't equal shock or fear. It didn't in House Of 1000 Corpses, or The Devil's Rejects, and once again - it doesn't in Halloween.

House Of Wax/House Of Wax (53)/Mystery Of The Wax Museum (33)

Here's an interesting trio, as I actually enjoy all three of these films immensely! The original Mystery is an absolute gem that still stands the test of time (for me personally), and Andre De Toth's 1953 remake is equally enjoyable, if not more - based solely on the fact that I'm a huge Vincent Price fan. The true shocker however is the fact that Jaume Collet-Serra's 2005 remake, featuring a trendy twenty something cast was actually a kick ass remake! The story strays from the aforementioned source material(s) quite a bit, but it's a solid, cohesive story just the same. Sure the script has it's improbabilities - but let's be real, few screenplays are flawless. The gore, overall solid acting and well done special effects all make up for any minor script deficiencies. It may catch a bad wrap from quite a few fans of the original(s) - but I dig just about anything that I get to see Paris Hilton killed in.

Friday The 13th/Friday The 13th

One of this years biggest surprises for me was Marcus Nispel's Friday reboot. I headed into the theatre with zero expectations, but an agile Jason Voorhees, strong young cast and clever plot assembly (I use the term assembly because the film is really a compilation of the first four Friday films rather than a genuine remake of the first) quickly won me over. I personally found a fast paced Jason much more frightening than the slow, stalking Voorhees of yesteryear. So kudos to Platinum Dunes and all those involved in this surprising offering.

The Amityville Horror/The Amityville Horror

While the original is no masterpiece, it's an enjoyable flick with one hell of a performance from James Brolin, who (solely) makes the film frightening. Fast forward 26 years and you've got the same decent film, minus the electricity Brolin brought to the original. Ryan, you're a pretty funny guy - but you're a long way from scary.


A word-for-word, shot-for-shot remake with color and absolutely none of the beautifully frightening mystique Alfred Hitchcock's original contained. If it sounds awful, it's because it is. The towering 6-foot-4 inch Vince Vaughn is no Anthony Perkins, and use the name Anne Heche in any sentence containing the name Janet Leigh is damn near an insult itself. Gus - you've made some gems - this wasn't one of them!

The Hills Have Eyes/The Hills Have Eyes

What a remake should be. Gory, sadistic, unforgiving, and fun. I may definitely be in the minority here, but I find Alexandre Aja's remake to be a bit superior to Wes Cravens original chiller. Everything cringe inducing that Wes Craven did 30 plus years ago, Aja did slightly better in 2006.

The Hitcher/The Hitcher

Definitely an awful remake, Dave Meyers' 2007 reboot of The Hitcher was as dull as they come. While the story is pretty similar to the original - nothing else is. There's no tension, there's no suspense, or anticipation...just yawning, and more yawning. While Sean Bean may be a fair actor, he was a terrible John Ryder. Rutger Hauer made the character extremely frightening 23 years ago, but Bean just doesn't make it happen. In fact, not only has the modern day John Ryder lost his menacing qualities, he seems to have lost all personality whatsoever. No need for a remake here - just more time and money down the drain.

The Fog/The Fog

What was once a tantalizing ghost story has become a murky, jumbled piece of "stylish" trash. I'm sure John Carpenter regurgitated his latest meal when he sat down and caught a glimpse of this one. Shitty cast, shitty CGI, shitty editing...well - you can see where I'm going with this - one of the worst remakes in the history of the genre, hands down.

Prom Night/Prom Night

If you're being honest with yourself you'll acknowledge the fact that Paul Lynch's original film was a shit heap - Jamie Lee Curtis or no Jamie Lee Curtis. Why anyone would go out of their way to remake an already awful movie is beyond me, but Nelson McCormick did it - and somehow made an already terrible movie much, much, much worse. I didn't know that was possible - someone toss McCormick an award for that feat.


Kairo was an exceptionally creepy technology (meets the supernatural) gone wrong flick. There were great visuals, impressive character development and legitimate scares intact. So, what better to do than completely shit on it by remaking it into a horrible American clunker? Apparently Wes Craven and Jim Sonzero were hit by that exact notion, because that's precisely what they did. Bravo guys, another one bites the dust.

My Bloody Valentine 3D/My Bloody Valentine

Here we have another surprising remake. Though the scrpt strays in spots from the original - it's just as much fun, if not more. The coal miner is back at it, and the impressive 3D make that pickax and the fear that comes along with it all that much more tangible. Get ready for an hour and 40 minutes of balls to the wall action...and a really...awkward nude scene.

Okay...I think I've covered enough. I could continue typing and discussing remakes for about 13 years, so it's better to just pull the plug now.

Can you take anything away from all this nonsense?

Probably not.

What I take away from it however, having just written the damn thing - is this: Remakes are good and bad. For each Prom Night we stand a decent chance of getting a My Bloody Valentine 3D. I think it's been like this for decades, and the trend will continue on. You get the good, you get the bad.

Would I mind seeing more original films? Absolutely! Will I continue to watch most of these reboots? Yep, because in the end - you just never know...

Monday, July 13, 2009

Pictorial Tribute to the Late Evan Tanner...Because I haven't forgotten...

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Instant Legend and Midiflash Forming "COHESIVE"?

I wanted to send a brief update on what's happening for Instant Legend and Midiflash.

Both artists have been collaborating on a new album, expected to be released under the group name "COHESIVE" - Album title: "A NEW BEGINNING". Both Midiflash and Instant Legend will of course have their names attached to the project, but the name Cohesive is indicative of the comfortable fit between Midi and IL. The album title, is obviously indicative of something new, and definitely refreshing. Expect a few impressive guest appearances as well.

Featured on the album is the song, "Love, Divorce, Or Shoot Me" which at this point is the lead candidate for the duo's first video and single. Shooting is expected to begin around October-November of this year.

The album will be available through every major digital retailor, including Amazon, Rhapsody, Itunes and Napster.

A thorough marketing approach is being exercised as I type, so expect this to be Legend's largest release to date, by far.

Check out a few of the tunes from our COHESIVE demo sessions now!

-Instant Legend