Tuesday, May 4, 2010

It's Only a Movie

When remakes first started to be the thing for Hollywood to do instead of finding original stories, I figured there were a handful of films that Hollywood would never dream of touching.  Cannibal Holocaust and The Last House on the Left were two of those.

Obviously I was wrong on the latter.

I haven't seen the remake of the Wes Craven classic, as I'm not a fan of remakes or even the original film in this case, but from what I hear from people who have seen both is that the remake is disturbing but nowhere near as bad as the original.  So what is the fucking point?

The Last House on the Left is, for better or worse, considered a hallmark of cinema nastiness.  Why would anyone attempt to remake it if they couldn't top it?  It's not supposed to be a pleasant film, so why not go for broke? 

I know the real reason remakes are made is to quite simply cash in on the original film's name and history.  That can work with something like Halloween.  With Craven's rape/revenge film, however, it doesn't seem like a name and history you'd want to cash in on unless you were going to make it better.  After all, the original film's fans are smart enough to know that Hollywood is not going to make a movie like the original just out of fear of the reaction it would produce, so those fans are lost.  New viewers, who watch anything that comes out, will go simply because it's new, so why not try a new film all together that is in the vein of the original (with a different title) and try to rope in both crowds?

The way I see it, the only extra audience that the remake could have received is the crowd that has knowledge of the original film but never saw it because they were frightened of it, but now they know that Hollywood would never put out a film that actually challenges viewers.  Therefore, they feel safe going to see the new film.  They won't be challenged, they won't see anything that sticks with them for years, they won't leave the theatre shaking. 

Perhaps someday we'll see films go back to that wild, free-for-all of the period from the late '60s to early '80s, but I doubt it.  The film, art, economic and cultural climate has changed so much that those days seem beyond reach.  Hollywood should remember that and stop trying to embrace that era without any of the trappings that made it so great.  Not only is that cowardly, but it's a total waste of time on everyone's part.

And if Cannibal Holocaust gets remade with Nic Cage I just may shoot someone.  

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