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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Hump-Day Harangue: Bride of Frank Remake? Stop the Madness!!


I try. I really do. I try to keep a positive outlook. Hell, I'm tickled pink over the imminent Wolf Man remake coming this fall starring Benicio del Toro. But this morning I have to draw a line in the sand, dammit.

Because this morning I found out that Universal has greenlit a remake of The Bride of Frankenstein.

Yes, you read that right. The film cited by many as the greatest horror movie of all time will be getting the redux treatment, according to The Hollywood Reporter's Risky Biz Blog. And there's absolutely nothing I can do about it, except scream to the high heavens above until my eyes go bloodshot...

I've been trying to pinpoint exactly why I'm OK with the Wolf Man remake but not this one. Maybe it's because the original Bride is a much better film than the original Wolf Man. I can see the point in taking a new, fresh approach to the Lon Chaney film, with Rick Baker effects and a great, intense actor like del Toro. But Bride is about as perfect as film gets. In my mind, it's up there with the likes of The Godfather, Citizen Kane and The Exorcist as literally untouchable classics.

Hell, I'm even OK with the upcoming Creature from the Black Lagoon remake. I've always found that one a bit overrated amongst the Universal classics, and certainly see plenty of room for improvement in a modern remake. But not James Whale's masterpiece, please...

Simply put, there is absolutely no reason to remake this movie other than the cynical, obvious reason of raking in cash. Can't they find another way to fill their greedy, soulless pockets than raping and pillaging one of the absolute pinnacles of filmmaking? Are we to expect remakes of Casablanca and Gone with the Wind next? Yikes, I probably shouldn't say that too loud...

Worst of all, word on the street is that an early version of the script was a "modernization" of the story, meaning that it would be set in the present day. Ugh. Nothing irks me more than that. As an English Lit. geek and lifelong lover of Shakespeare, I can tell you the easiest way to piss me off is with one of these "modern-day retellings" of classic Shakespeare. What's wrong with staging the damn thing the way the Bard of Avon wrote it? Instead we get Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes making googly-eyes at each other at some Halloween rave in L.A. Yeah, that really holds a candle to Franco Zeffirelli... Come on people, spring for the period costumes and set design, will ya?

So you're doing a remake of a sequel, with no backstory, and possibly setting it in the present day. Why even call it The Bride of Frankenstein? Oh yeah, I forgot: To suck up cash the lazy way, banking off an established commodity rather than coming up with something on your own. How silly of me.

Set to write and direct is Neil Berger, the man who brought us the needlessly byzantine, pretentiously shot and utterly forgettable The Illusionist, with its wannabe M. Night Shyamalan ending.

Bride of Frankenstein has been remade once before, with decidedly mediocre results. Whoever thought that the lead singer of The Police would make a good Dr. Frankenstein and the chick from Flashdance could fill Elsa Lanchester's boots probably was on the same wavelength as the nimrods behind this newest cinematic pyramid scheme. The only decent thing about 1985's The Bride was actually Clancy Brown's poignant turn as the Monster.

It seems that Universal is now following in the footsteps of RKO, violating its collection of timeless classics for the almighty dollar. The studios are all-powerful here, and can basically do whatever they want to the properties we know and love. And once again, we fans are made to pay the price, quite literally.

It seems that Dr. Pretorius was right, after all: To a new age of gods and monsters!





* * * * * * * * * *

After reading this godawful news, just about the only thing that was able to cheer me up this morning was checking into Day of the Woman to find BJ-C's excellent interview with Living Dead Girlz frontwoman Amber Steele. Check it out, the woman really has a brain in her head... ;-)

16 comments:

BJ-C said...

my heart died a little bit

rvitelli said...

Wasn't there already a remake starring Sting? I would have thought that would be horrible enough to discourage anybody from trying again.

B-Sol said...

Dude, you're battin' a thousand with the comments this week :-) Check back and reread, the Sting awfulness was covered.

RayRay said...

Firstly: I am with you when it comes to remaking films of this magnitude. You are right to say that thisis tantamount to a remake of The Godfather.

However, I do disagree with your comparison with remaking Romeo & Juliet. I feel the modern telling is the superior one in that it maintained the text in its entirety, but placed it within a context for the modern viewer to enjoy and understand. Shakespeare was made for the masses; there is no reason for him to now be the sole property of those with Literature degrees.

Jon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jon said...

I think this really sucks too. It's right up there with that boneheaded decision to remake Psycho.

But I'll second what RayRay has to say about R&J. With the exception of Much Ado, all of Shakespeare's plays were remakes of older material that he improved upon by making much more appealing to the masses. And he even modernized the material by including songs, jokes, and clothing that were popular with his audiences. I think the Big Bard would have LOVED the remake of R&J.

B-Sol said...

I will maintain my literary snobbery, thank you very much gentlemen. Give me Olivia Hussey in a corset over the chick from My So-Called Life anyday ;-)

Phantom of Pulp said...

Definitely a foul piece of news.

dreaminofjeanie2 said...

Hard to remake a classic.
I can't believe they would try this again.

Al Bruno III said...

Wow in the history if bad ideas this one is pretty bad. I mean I could maybe see it if a real visionary took hold of it but you know we are going to get Will Farrel as Doctor Pretorius, Shia Lebouf as Dr. Frankenstien and Paris Hilton as the Bride.

The monster will of course be all CGI or Johnny Knoxville.


(I'm still want to hit someone over Van Helising)

B-Sol said...

Al, your vision has filled me with abject horror.

Al Bruno III said...

At this point I'm waiting for them to cast Nicholas Cage as Blackula.

Evil said...

Wow, great post, and I agree with you, one of the greatest horror movies of all time. Pretty disgusting to remake. The Karloff and the Blind man scene is my favorite ever. Perhaps Hollywood should sink into the earth so we can start with new ideas...

Pierre Fournier said...

How can The Bride be mistaken as a “remake”? It has a nice opening sequence that pays homage to the original, with Quentin Crisp a brilliant casting coup in the Pretorius role, and then it goes into a perfectly original story. Call it an unofficial sequel, maybe, but it’s in no way a remake. Not even close.

That being said, I have no problem with the apparently sacrilegious “remaking” of The Bride of Frankenstein. Did someone mention Casablanca? It WAS remade, as a TV movie, with David Soul in the Bogart role. They even made a TV series out of it. It was crap. It’s forgotten today. The original isn’t. The original is still a classic and perfectly intact, unmolested by the remake.

The Bride has been used in commercials, made into bobble-head toys, she has been a featured in countless spoofs and TV variety shows, there are cheapo Halloween costumes. The Universal Studio tour has a dancing, singing Bride. The original movie, I submit, has lost none of its magic.

Relax, let ‘em go ahead and make a movie. Who knows, it might even be a good one. But good, bad or indifferent, the original will still be there, intact and waiting to be discovered or enjoyed over and over again.

B-Sol said...

Pierre, I can only bow and defer to your serene Frankenstein wisdom--perhaps I should espouse some of your optimism as well. I will at least try, but I make no promises!

Amateur Vampirologist said...

Well, ladies and gents, the only way we can halt this pillage, is to quite simply refuse to see the movies.

And somehow, the public must be steered away from this madness.

Any thoughts?

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