Monday, July 5, 2010

Horror Lite

House On Haunted Hill
Thirteen Ghosts
House on Sorority Row
House of Wax
The Hitcher
When A Stranger Calls
The Stepfather

These were all classic horror titles, but now they've been remade. My opinion of these offereings is, "You get out what you put in," or for the geeks among us, "Garbage in, garbage out." For the most part, the new takes on these titles are more shallow, less worth multiple viewings, but I will make exceptions for William Malone's Dark Castle company, as well as the new Sorority Row. I loved the characters in these few, admired the non-gratuitous deaths (even Chugs' choking on a wine bottle I found entrancing, rather than the eye-rolling "of course" reaction I had to the other films), and want to see more in the same vein.

These exceptions prove once again that it's not intrinsic to a remake to be ridiculous and unnecessary, but often times that is the aftertaste when the director/casting/wardrobe/production designer/sound designer don't make the new movie their own vision. I have seen Thir13en Ghosts over 20 times since it came out, and I admire it every time. The amazing special effects, visual effects, and makeup to make those ghosts come alive show the effort and imagination of all involved, and how you can take a small idea and make it live in a much grander fashion. The house of glass with all those sigils and spells marking the glass should be remembered as another labor of love, as opposed to the sterile environment of the remake of When A Stranger Calls.

Tony Shalhoub, F. Murray Abraham, Rah Digga and Matthew Lillard give their all in Thir13een Ghosts. Their presence, and the gravitas they lend to the production, builds into the feeling of this being a solid, stand-on-its-own kind of film, rather than the "meh" feeling that comes from other productions.

Agree? Disagree? Have more titles to add to this list? Let me know!

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