Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Thing

The original was made in the early 1950s and was released as The Thing From Another Planet. John Carpenter's love for it led to it being featured in Halloween, and being remade in 1982, starring Kurt Russell, Wilford Brimley, Keith David, and Richard Masur. Everything comes together so well in this version, starting with the visuals that led to an oppressive state of paranoia, continuing on with the music, through special effects (of the time, of course) leading to the overall tone. Read another fan's complete love of all things Morricone here.

Another feature of this movie that stands out among others is its all-male cast. It seems to point out that the fear of being violated and implanted with the alien, in the midst of a group of males who have been isolated for far too long, becomes the predominant dread of its audience. Compare this with the all-female cast of The Descent, where being trapped within a dark, unexplored space with mysterious semi-human killers is the main thrust. The fun of this type of monster/thriller/suspense film is in its ambiguity. You can see it as simply entertaining on a superficial level, with people fighting for their lives. You can see it as a political/medical allegory, in tune with the times in which it was made. Maybe the next time you watch it, you can focus on its gender strengths and weaknesses, see how the power structure could have shifted if there had been women cast in each role.

There have been several other suspicion-based stories set in the Arctic/Antarctic that follow in this movie's footsteps, but so far none have come close to achieving the epic status of this strong example. Recently I've seen The Thaw, which looked like it was trying to live up to the heights of Carpenter's work but couldn't. The characters didn't have the same withdrawn duplicity of Brimley and Masur, the music didn't attack your soul in the same way, and overall feel was disappointing.

There seems to be another version in the works, 2011's The Thing. Going to hold out to see it before judging, but it has very big shoes to fill before it can achieve the greatness of the 1982 version.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Let the Right One In/Let Me In

Who saw the disconcerting 2008 Swedish vampire film?

Who saw The Road with Kodi Smit-McPhee as the Boy? (pic from

Who saw Kick-Ass with Chloe Moretz as Hit Girl? (pic from

They are the new actors who are paired in the remake Let Me In.

Check out the Early Review, from

IMDb "Best Horror Remakes"

In an attempt to increase my list of titles to write about in future posts, I stumbled upon this on IMDb, the top 136 remakes as rated by their visitors. Stay tuned for further thoughts on the validity of this list. Or leave your own ideas in the comments here!

Escape From New York

Loved, loved, loved the 1981 classic, starring Kurt Russell, Ernest Borgnine, Isaac Hayes, Harry Dean Stanton, and Adrienne Barbeau, and written/directed by John Carpenter

The remake is due for release in 2013, potentially starring Timothy Olyphant and directed by Breck Eisner, who both worked on the remake of George Romero's The Crazies. Eisner has respect for the original works he is tackling, uses good judgment in retaining and removing what does and does not work for the current time. Agree or disagree? This article in Cinematical recommends a whole new origin story for Snake Plisken, instead of using it as a remake/origin mishmash. My thoughts? I'd rather see a whole new story, and allow new fans to go back and view the original in all its glory. And while you're at it, do the same for the Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai. It is splendid the way it is, but could use a new story to be told about the same characters.

American remakes of Asian film

As listed in,

With all the typical Hollywood quick-cut-editing slasher movies out there, these (among non-remade ones like Audition & Oldboy), present something different to experience. My overall opinion is that it is so totally unnecessary to redo them with American actors, since reading subtitles (or listening to English dub if absolutely necessary) is part of the spookiness that is essential to these films. It seems a waste of money to "dumb it down" in order to reach a broader audience. The main reason I would approve of any of these is to introduce the genre to those who might not have been exposed to it before.

There will be another entry discussing "torture porn," but I like the originals of these titles for the completely unearthly feel I have in watching them. I am transported into the world and feel what the characters feel, instead of being rooted in my living room. When they are remade with American voices, faces and settings, it takes away from the displacement. The remakes do provide jolts, and I appreciate The Ring for introducing me to the genre, but they don't come close enough to the depths (the heights) to which the originals took me.


I love movies. I love becoming immersed in the story that's being unfolded before me. A successful movie is one that captures your emotions. It makes you want to live in that world & spend time with those characters, or, contrarily, feel very glad you can return to your own safe haven instead of staying in that world.

When a film is remade, the best case scenario would be if it were updated, but keeps the same "wish I were there" vibe as the first. This is also the most rare outcome, since in changing directors, time frames, actors, and every other detail from the first, you are bound to disappoint someone. But sometimes, few and far between, new creations can match or surpass the original.

The scope of what I want to explore in this blog includes films based on TV shows and films based on comics as well as films based on other films.

Comments are highly welcomed, but abuse (of each other, the directors in question, or me) will not be accepted.