Posts Tagged ‘Remakes


Evil Dead (2013)

EvilDead2013PosterWell kids, October is now over. All the people who aren’t horror fans are going to start watching romantic comedies in preparation for the upcoming, gooey holiday season. But we are different than them; for us, the horror doesn’t stop when November comes along. Anyway, being that I have a full-time job and need to do things other than write blog posts, I still have six movies we watched during 31 Days of Horror that I need to write up. Who knows how long it will take, we might be near December by the time I’m done with this damn tag. Anyway, at a certain point we decided it was our duty to watch the Evil Dead remake. Usually, I’d stay away from such things, but since it actually got some decent reviews, I figured I had to see what all the hype was about. So we picked it for day 26. I’m still wondering what all the hype was about.

Surely, you know the story, but this time there are a few tweaks. Instead of just a group of friends going to a cabin for a getaway, it’s a group of friends going to a cabin to make sure their pal Mia (Jane Levy) kicks her drug habit once and for all. Her estranged brother David has taken time out of his busy life to be there for her, too, I guess. Their mom got cancer and died and the dick wasn’t around for either of them, so I guess he decided he could at least support his sister through her delirium tremens, or something.

Mia atop a familiar-looking car.

Mia atop a familiar-looking car.

Anyway, the cabin they go to is supposedly their childhood summer home. Since their family seems to have dissolved into some big, dramatic mess, they haven’t been there for a while. Seems in their absence some witchcraft types took up residence; the basement is loaded with decaying animal carcasses, and the smell is so bad they almost decide to leave then and there. But Mia’s had a rough time with the drugs and all and her friends have decided they’re not going to leave until she’s drooled her last bit of detoxed saliva. David isn’t sure if this is a good idea; he doesn’t want to defy Mia. Their relationship is fragile after he’s dicked her over for all these years. But in the end he knows it’s what’s best for her, and he goes along with the idiot crowd.

As you know, there is a book. It is a book that shouldn’t be read, but it’s going to be read anyway. This time it’s a high school science teacher named Eric who becomes absorbed in the thing and decides to read it out loud, even though

That book looks scary. Let's read it out loud!

That book looks scary. Let’s read it out loud!

every single page of the damn thing warns him not to do so. His utterances awaken an ages-old demon that possesses and kills the group one by one. If only they hadn’t mistaken Mia’s post-tree-rape trauma for withdrawal, perhaps they could’ve gotten out of there in time…

I’ll be honest with you, I didn’t hate this remake. There were times I even caught myself enjoying this movie, and unlike the original I kind of felt skeeved out by the time I was getting to bed. The trouble is, being that the film is titled Evil Dead it will never be separated from the original, and therefore can never (at least in my mind) be considered actually good. It just baffles me a little bit that people who obviously enjoyed the original film and constantly wink at those in the know throughout their own version of it would actually make a film like this. It just doesn’t feel like they every really decide if they want it to have any humor or not. I found myself watching scenes with my head cocked a little thinking ‘is that funny?’ and never really coming to any conclusions. The addition of family drama and the addiction thing add too much weight;

Jane Levy is pretty good at making a scared face.

Jane Levy is pretty good at making a scared face.

it’s just unnecessary backstory the film could do without. It certainly doesn’t help that all of these people are helpless, idiotic assholes that I don’t give a shit about. All of them.

The other trouble is, it is just too damn gory. It’s gleefully gory, but without any glee, really. In other contexts in other films I would have laughed, but here I just found myself wincing, and by the end I’m like… blood rain? Really? Oof. And just as it seems the filmmakers couldn’t decide when enough gore was enough, it also seems they couldn’t figure out when the fuck to end the god damn movie. I think there were about three times that I thought: okay, okay, this is finally gonna be the end, right? I was wrong each time. And on that note, the ending they decided to go with was stupid anyway!

My thoughts on Evil Dead sound harsher than I think they really are. Like I said, I didn’t hate the thing, but I don’t think I liked it all that much. In fact, we are debating on whether or not it is worth keeping our copy of the DVD. I can’t picture a time when I would want to sit down and watch this massacre again, that’s what I own the original for. Ultimately, what this movie really lacks is charm. The first Evil Dead is loaded with charm, and that’s what helps make it stand the test of time. This remake just proves my theory that money ruins everything. All this being said, if you are a crazy gore hound, this movie’s out to please you. If it doesn’t sate your thirst for nail guns and electric-knife amputations, you are a truly sick individual.


Godzilla (2014)

godzillaposterTo say I have a soft spot for Soviet propaganda films isn’t exactly accurate; I’m certainly no authority on the subject, but there is one in particular I consider to be a favorite: Ballad of a Soldier. It’s a story about Alyosha, a very young soldier who shoots down two tanks. As a reward for his heroics, his superiors offer him anything he wants. All the young boy really wants to do is make it home to his mother, so he can help repair her roof. He only has a few days to get there and back, but he is determined. Along the way, he meets a lot of people, many of whom are missing their loved ones in the war. The valiant young soldier goes out of his way to help those in need, knowing that it will cut his trip home with his mother even shorter.

In the end, our young hero gets little more than a hug and a kiss with his mother, and then he’s off to battle again, never to return home. But what a guy! A real citizen. A true role model. If only everyone could be like young Alyosha.

What the fuck does this have to do with Godzilla, you ask? Well, Gareth Edwards’ 2014 remake of the Japanese classic giant-monster horror film is little more than military propaganda, with a whole crap-ton of sappy, tear-jerking family drama to round the whole damn thing out.

Ford Brody (yeah, that’s the hero’s name, Ford fucking Brody) has a history with nuclear energy. As a young boy growing up in Japan, his parents were bigwigs at the local nuclear power plant. It’s the usual perfect-family-how-could-anything-disturb-their-happiness bullshit, until one day something goes terribly wrong, and his mother (Juliette Binoche, totally wasted in this role, and why the fuck is she in this anyway?) dies, unable to escape the reactor’s core, or something. His father (Bryan Cranston) takes it pretty hard of course, and fifteen years later is arrested after he’s caught in the quarantine zone, attempting to retrieve old documents and discs from his family’s former home.

Enter steely-eyed Ford, freshly returned home to San Francisco from the war. Just after telling his droopy-eyed child that he’ll still be around tomorrow, he gets the call that his father needs help. So he flies off to Japan, where they go into the quarantine zone again only to find out that there’s no radiation there at all. So, what the hell’s going on? Well, there’s a giant fucking monster (let’s call it MUTO, or Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Object, because everything should be named like we’re in the fucking war room) feeding off all the radiation, silly, and it’s about to blow. And it does, and the shit hits the fan. And wherever the shit hits hardest, you’ll find Ford, willing to “do whatever it takes” to save the world from monsters, even if it means postponing his homecoming yet another day. What a guy.

The Americans swiftly take over because, America, fuck yeah!, and Ford has no problem suiting right back up for military duty. After all, he was warned that returning to civilian life is “the one thing they don’t prepare you for.” Good thing for Ford that the MUTOs are signaling one another across the Earth so they can breed. How the fuck will America save everyone? Oh, I know, I know! Let’s detonate a fucking nuclear bomb 20 miles off the coast of San Francisco, that’s a good idea, right?

If only the Americans listened to the advice of the wise, sage, Japanese scientist man (Ken Watanabe) who warns us all that our human arrogance will be the death of us. Seriously, instead of throwing more radiation out there, why don’t we just let the giantest giant monster of all, Godzilla, take care of it? Let them fight it out! There’s a natural balance to these things, after all.

No, the Americans didn’t listen, and (surprise!) their brilliant plan backfired! The MUTOs carried the nuclear warhead into the heart of downtown San Francisco; what better nourishment for a brood of fetal MUTOs than a nuclear warhead? D’oh! I guess it’s all in God(zilla)’s hands now. Oh, and Ford’s, because is there anything that guy can’t do?

Whatever. At least now we get to the good part: monsters fighting. This is what I came for in the first place. Just so you know, I’d estimate there’s a total of 10 minutes of sweet giant monster fights in this movie, which is, of course, over two hours long. There are some really great visuals of the monsters fighting throughout San Francisco. But there’s pretty much nothing else new, interesting, thought-provoking or entertaining in this movie. Why should I be surprised? And where the fuck did everyone’s sense of humor go? Why are all these movies loaded with sentimental music and sappy family bullshit?



Steel Magnolias (2012)

When I heard Lifetime was remaking the 1989 classic chick-flick Steel Magnolias with a nearly all-black cast, dude, I was so in. It just so happened I was in a hotel room with cable the night it premiered. Fate was beckoning. I accepted the invitation.

I wish I hadn’t. Oh, man was this remake disappointing! I’d never thought I’d be one of those people to describe an actor’s performance as “anemic” but the word is all-too fitting here, for nearly everyone in the movie.

I think they spent more energy on these photos than on the actual film.

Steel Magnolias is about strong country ladies dealing with life’s ups-and-downs. How many of you are rolling your eyes? But the original delivered a lot of really strong performances, particularly from Olympia Dukakis, Shirley MacLaine, Sally Field and, though I never thought I’d say it, even Julia Roberts. The performances in the remake are underwhelming to the point where the characters are nearly invisible. It seemed at times the new actors were delivering lines in a screen test.

Now, let’s talk about casting. I don’t mean to pigeonhole actors, but Phylicia Rashad played the awesomest mom ever. Snappy, sassy, passionate and brilliant, Clair Huxtable is seriously the coolest mom ever. Why, then wasn’t she cast as M’Lynn, frail Shelby’s mother who sees her own daughter die? Instead, she’s cast as Clairee (originally played by Olympia Dukakis), who I’m sure has kids, but you don’t see the mom side in her in this film at all. Even cast as Clairee, there were plenty of opportunities for Phylicia to let her sass shine through, but everything here was delivered as flat as a pancake. 

Speaking of sass, what about Queen Latifah? Even a little bit of her sassy side comes through in her Cover Girl ads, but here, again: nothing. Serious personality wasted here. I certainly never thought I’d say Sally Field played a role with more snap than fucking Queen Latifah, but SHE DID! I’m talking about the woman who played The Flying Nun (and  Gidget for chrissakes!) vs. the chick that sang U.N.I.T.Y. Something here doesn’t add up.

Perhaps the worst offense, though, is Alfre Woodard’s performance as Ouiser, originally played by Shirley MacLaine. Ouiser is a snappy, sarcastic, miserable old lady with attitude from here to Sunday. One would have thought Woodard would be great in this role, but again, nothing. I’m wondering, did the director supply the cast with quaaludes before filming?

All this film made me want to do was watch the original. And gods help Q, I’m taking him with me.


Blood Diner (1987)

Blood Diner is exactly the kind of movie you don’t want people to think you mean when you say you like horror movies. Watching it, though, brought forth both a revelation: there’s only one thing worse than watching a Troma movie, and that’s watching a movie that thinks like a Troma movie, but isn’t a Troma movie; and a question: can you mock an exploitation film? How can you make a joke out of something that knew it was a joke to begin with? Blood Diner is pretty solid evidence that you can’t, and perhaps more importantly, you shouldn’t try.

Rotten Tomatoes calls this a “tribute” to Herschell Gordon Lewis’s Blood Feast. A tribute? Heresy! Blood Feast is one of my most favorite movies. When I first watched it, I realized there was a whole, untapped world of exploitation films to explore. Herschell Gordon Lewis helped make me the woman I am today. Blood Diner seemed little more to me than a really shitty remake.

Anwar Tutman is brought back to life by his nephews to put on a “blood buffet” in honor of the Lumerian goddess Sheetar. If you’re not familiar with the original film Blood Feast, allow me to let you in on some of these really cute “jokes” here: in Blood Feast, the murdering chef is named Fuad Ramses. Get it? Instead of Ramses, it’s TUTman? Adorable. Ramses is putting together an Egyptian feast for the goddess Ishtar. Anyway, Anwar’s disembodied brain sets the dunderheaded nephews to task looking for loose women all over town to rob them of their body parts to prepare for the blood buffet. The leftover limbs are used to feed the customers at their diner.

There is absolutely nothing worthwhile about this movie. I think I may be worse off for having seen it. Just when I thought nothing could’ve been worse than Frankenstein Sings, we pop this into the VCR. Would I have hated this movie even if it had nothing to do with Blood Feast?  Yes, absolutely:  even though this isn’t a Troma release, it’s got Troma written all over it – it’s loaded with glorified bad taste and manages to make fat jokes, Nazi jokes, gay jokes, and domestic-abuse jokes. Remaking my favorite movie so poorly is just salt in the wound.







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