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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!
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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... ;-)