Saturday, September 12, 2009

Five Slasher Remakes That MUST Happen Before The World Ends

Most people would say that the last thing we need is more horror remakes. And even less than horror remakes in general, most would say what we can specifically do without is more slasher remakes. But those who say that are wrong. Sadly, criminally, wrong. What we need, in fact, is more slasher remakes - five more, to be exact.

I know that the remakes of Halloween and Friday the 13th scored mixed-to-shitty results. And Prom Night wasn't many people's idea of a good time. And April Fool's Day didn't even get to any theaters. But because I personally enjoyed My Bloody Valentine 3-D and Sorority Row, I have to insist that the slasher remakes keep coming!

Of course I'd also like to see Hollywood spend some time making original horror films, but if remakes are going to continue to be made, then I've got five choice candidates that I'd like to see someone take a shot at. Before you call me crazy, irresponsible, or just sad, give my picks a look and see if you aren't convinced.

5. The Funhouse (1981)
This Tobe Hooper gem is one of his most underrated films (with an exciting climax that nearly ranks with the end of Texas Chainsaw, for me). But for a lot of people, even back when Funhouse was released, it was a case of "man, nothing happens in this movie!" And it's true that The Funhouse has a long build-up that many viewers find ridiculously protracted. Personally, I love it - I love all the time Hooper spends on these kids just wandering the carnival grounds, checking out oddities like pickled cleft-headed cow fetuses and what not (and I've got to give a shout-out to William Finley as Marco the Magnificient!). But I think the world is ready for a more balls-out Funhouse. Hell, they've been ready for almost thirty years now. I read that Eli Roth may be producing a remake of this and that sounds about right to me. I love what Funhouse is but I'd like to see the movie that many people wanted to see out of this premise but didn't.


4. The Burning (1981)
While I love Friday the 13th, I don't think it deserves to have a monopoly on the summer camp slaughter industry. Especially as the series hasn't had any campers or camp counselors being stalked since Jason Lives in '86. The films have long left the trappings of summer camp behind (even though the remake took place partially on the old camp grounds it had nothing really to do with Camp Crystal Lake) and to me, that's kind of bullshit. Because of this, we need The Burning to make summer camp a bloodbath again. Friday the 13th can sidestep the whole summer camp thing as long as they have kids in the woods but The Burning is all about camp. And while the original Burning has some good moments, I think that a better Burning is very possible. The first film is awkward where it should be building tension and it doesn't even have a Final Girl. Instead it has a Final Douche Bag, who's this kind of Peeping Tom dumb-ass who gets deservedly pushed around. So does a new Burning sound good? It sounds damn hot, is what I think!


3. Pieces (1982)
Now, Pieces is a special case. Remaking this film would be like trying to remake Plan 9 from Outer Space. What makes Pieces great is how terrible it is and you can't try to fake or recreate that kind of awfulness. However, I believe that chainsaw mayhem is so woefully underrepresented that any excuse to have a chainsaw wielding maniac on screen must be taken. And what's more, a Pieces remake needs to be Pieces 3-D. I can already see the poster with a chainsaw coming right off the screen (the original poster already has a 3-D vibe of it's own, don't you think?). It doesn't matter that no one knows the original Pieces. If you put Pieces 3-D in theaters, it'll be a number one movie, guaranteed.


2. The Prowler
While the maniac of this film was a romantically spurned WWII vet, still nursing a grudge over the girl that dumped him while he was serving his country, an update of The Prowler would probably have to go with a Vietnam vet. And with that, we're already we're talking about a new category of scary. Or maybe the war veteran angle could be dropped altogether. What's really important about The Prowler is that it's called The Prowler - which, for my money, is one of the all-time great slasher movie titles. When you hear The Prowler, it's evocative of everyday, real-world creepiness. You know that The Prowler isn't Jason or Freddy, but some guy lurking around your bushes (they don't actually call The Prowler "the prowler" during the course of the original movie but the remake can rectify that - you can't forget to properly brand your maniacs!). Oh, and he still has to have a pitchfork because that's the other great thing about The Prowler - the guy uses a pitchfork. Yeah, he busts out a knife too, but the pitchfork is what sticks in my mind. Say, can we use 3-D with The Prowler, too? I don't know - which would be better in 3-D? A chainsaw or a pitchfork? Shit, my head's gonna explode!

1. Curtains
Why this movie must be remade is that it has one of the all-time scariest slasher movie moments where a young woman is skating on a frozen pond as a killer wearing an old hag mask skates towards her in broad daylight with a scythe in hand. This scene is great (how the killer skates across the entire pond to pursue this girl, rather than sneaking up on her in a less open area, is what's striking about it) but I always felt it needed to belong to a much better movie! The storyline of Curtains, with a group of actresses at a remote home all competing for a part in a movie (with one actress breaking out of an asylum to join the party), isn't bad (today, it'd be a reality show) but while it does have its moments (well, one great one, at least), the opportunity to make "the ultimate nightmare," as the ads promised, is still there. Oh, and a creepy, sad-faced doll also figures into the M.O. of Curtains' killer and creepy, sad-faced dolls are an evergreen source of terror.

If these all sound like awful ideas to you, well, so be it. I'm sure we can find common ground elsewhere. But honestly, wouldn't it just be easier to agree with me that Pieces 3-D sounds awesome?

19 comments:

Wings said...

Great idea & a GREAT list! I love some of them, haven't seen others, but remakes could be awesome.

I also love The Funhouse as it is, it is creepy with a more 'real' tone to it. But yeah, a balls-out remake could be cool.

Fun list.

Jeff Allard said...

Thanks, Wings! I don't think I'd hold my breath waiting for some of these to happen but then again I never thought I'd see the day when they made a My Bloody Valentine remake in 3-D, either!

senski said...

I'm certainly with you on the Curtains remake, Jeff, but only on the condition that it coincide with a well-assembled DVD release of the original! That ice skating sequence is indeed a stunner, and it needs to be seen in all its crisp, icy, digital glory...

Jeff Allard said...

I totally agree, Senski! Curtains needs to be on DVD pronto - along with Night School and Silent Scream, it's one of the last old-school slashers that still hasn't made an appearance on disc.

J. Astro said...

Agreed on most, and would love to see CURTAINS on DVD.

Only 'disagree' is on THE BURNING; having watched that recently there's both a ferocity to the kills, and a good interplay between some natural-feeling characters... and I think a slick remake would lose those factors. I think THE BURNING will never be better.

Penh said...

The killer's mask and the ice-skating scene from the trailer stuck in my brain for years. The way the sickle is suddenly whipped into view as the killer skates along -- yeek! I missed the movie in theaters, but eventually I dug up a copy of the movie on VHS. Overall, it didn't live up to my over-amped expectations based on how much the ad creeped me out, but the skating scene was brilliant.

Jeff Allard said...

J., you're going to make me give The Burning a fresh viewing! And Penh, I was too young to see Curtains in the theaters but I caught it on HBO and had a similar reaction to yours. Still, even though it wasn't all I was expecting it to be, I can't help but have fond memories of it.

senski said...

Code Red was advertising a forthcoming dvd release for Silent Scream for the longest time, but now it's not on their website; let's cross some fingers. The scene of a kill intercut with a sex sequence was a shocker when I saw it in the theater. "Terror so sudden...there is no time to scream!" Classic trailer!

To the best of my knowledge, Night School never even saw a vhs release, right? Perhaps the motorcycle helmet lobby has more pull than I thought...

Jeff Allard said...

I'd love to check out Silent Scream again! Rebecca Balding was one of my favorite scream queens of the early '80s thanks to SS and The Boogens. I went looking through some old boxes of VHS tapes awhile back looking for my copy of SS but sadly I couldn't find it. I must have sold it off at one point but I can't imagine why - then again, that wouldn't be the first time I've stupidly shot myself in the foot.

As for Night School, the motorcycle helmet lobby apparently is a strong organization because Night School did get a video release way back in the day courtesy of Key Video! I don't know if that's the only release it ever got but I'm pretty sure it was.

Vince Liaguno said...

Great idea, Jeff! I think this might just inspire my own little list. ;-)

CURTAINS is a mess in terms of the rights. I tried, unsuccessfully, for nearly two years to secure remake rights to this, with the thought of writing the script and luring some talented friends of mine to work on the film. I was bounced from Alliance Atlantis to Echo Bridge Entertainment, which has apparently bought AA's international catalog, before throwing my hands up.

The best scenerario would be finding the original director's cut of the film --- alas, long-rumored to be gone. From what I've heard from folks involved in the original, Ciupka's original version was much higher-brow than what ended up when producer Simpson stepped in and took over.

That said, I wouldn't hold your breath for a deluxe DVD release anytime soon.

Jeff Allard said...

Thanks for the inside info on Curtains, Vince! Too bad you weren't able to mount a remake. I had no idea how mired the rights were - that's a shame given how much interest there is in this title!

kindertrauma said...

Great List! Funhouse is an awesome idea and I think it would be my first choice. If they followed the novelization by Koontz I'd be ecstatic. In fact, I'll nominate Sorority Row's director for the job right now. I'm not sure if it counts as a slasher but how about Dead & Buried? I'd love to see a modern telling of that one!-Unk

senski said...

Thanks, Jeff! In 1986 I did a very serious attempt to get all the slashers-to-date on vhs, and at the time Night School was AWOL. I always assumed that, after five years, it just wasn't ever gonna see the light of day. But now I find out there were two releases - 1988 and 1993 - and the good folks at Amazon are winging a copy my way. I haven't seen it since its theatrical release 28 years ago, and my recollection is that it was formulaic but very well lensed. Hope I'm not disappointed!

knobgobbler said...

See, this is the kind of stuff that SHOULD be remade... stuff that had promise, came close, but missed the mark somehow. Much better to raise something up to it's own potential than take a big dump on some classic nobody had an issue with (Black Christmas for example).

One old piece of crap that I'd love to see remade by someone with mad skills is 1979's Savage Weekend. Not a good movie at all, but there is something about it that has kept it bouncing around my head after the one video viewing I gave it long ago.
I think maybe part of it was that the characters are relelatively older/adult compared to what such movies usually feature... and some of the kills were pretty imaginative (girl strapped to the table-saw wired to the basement light switch).

Jeff Allard said...

Hey Unk, I definitely would like to see SR's director take on another horror project! Hopefully SR's poor showing at the box office won't stop that from happening. As for Dead and Buried - that's one of my all-time favorites (although it's a zombie movie to me rather than a slasher film). I keep meaning to blog about it - maybe I should move that to the top of my 'to do' list! I can see a remake being kind of cool but I doubt if any new version would take things as far as the original, which had some really sick moments (that needle to the eyeball - eeeeaaaugh!).

Senski, I hope you enjoy Night School! I think it holds up pretty well with a giallo-esque feel to its killings. My only real gripe is the very last scene - it should've been dropped.

And Knob, I've never seen Savage Weekend but I'm sure it's a great candidate for a remake!

senski said...

Silent Scream on DVD November 24th!

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002LBGB7W?ie=UTF8&tag=fangoria-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B002LBGB7W

Jeff Allard said...

No way! Thanks for the mind-blowing update, Senski!!

MrJeffery said...

I haven't seen some of these. I will have to check them out!

Grimm Donthaveone said...

If I may, in The Prowler ( while no one points at the killer and says," That's the Prowler " ) the teacher DOES announce at the dance that a prowler has been scene around campus and that's also why no one is allowed to leave. Also, that's a bayonet, not a knife, and we can't forget the sawed off shotgun either lol!

I could see decent remakes done of The Funhouse and Curtains, but remaking The Burning, The Prowler, and Pieces would be Extremely difficult to not mess up.