So once again we have survived.

A Nightmare On Elm Street (remake)

tn_elmstreetremakeLook man, I’m not completely racist against remakes. I hate the blatant wholesale creative bankruptcy of modern Hollywood as much as the next guy. But I gotta admit there are some remakes that are upstanding movies in their own right, that have richly contributed to our culture and society as a whole. Or that at least don’t suck. Two of the better modern horror remakes in my opinion are from Wes Craven movies: THE HILLS HAVE EYES and LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT. Both have their problems, but they’re a good balance of disturbing and entertaining, they have some respect for the original themes and ideas of the movies but also put some new spins on them. Both were produced by Craven himself, by directors he handpicked. (well, I don’t know if he used his hands specifically, he probly just had seen their work and called em up.)

But Craven owns those movies. His best known creation, A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, belonged to New Line Cinema, who sold the rights in their Everything Must Go, We Blew All Our Rent Money On THE LAST MIMZY yard sale. So instead of Craven overseeing this remake it’s the Michael Bay owned Platinum Dunes company (they also remade TEXAS CHAIN SAW, FRIDAY THE 13TH, AMITYVILLE HORROR and THE HITCHER). On a making-of featurette on the DVD Platinum Dunes producer Brad Fuller says, “As a producer it was really important, if we are guys who are making our living making horror films, this is the best one that you can get.”

And that tells you everything. Platinum Dunes movies seem like the horror movies that would be made by a guy who sees his mission not as pushing along the evolution of the horror movie but as “getting the best one.”

mp_elmstreetremakeThe ELM STREET remake is slickly made, well cast, and the characters (while not great) are not the kind of obnoxious idiots that kill many bad horror movies. It didn’t make me want to run my head through a wall like their TEXAS CHAIN SAW massacre. It stays relatively faithful to the basics of A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET. Freddy looks about the same, still follows the same rules, still haunting teenage dreams because their parents secretly burned him alive in an act of vigilante justice. The heroine’s first name is still Nancy, and she’s still the one who figures out who Freddy is and how to pull him into the waking world. It redoes some of the famous shots from the original, some of the famous lines, it loosely follows the same basic trajectory, and doesn’t go off on too many crazy tangents.

But it doesn’t work at all. It’s a textbook example of a remake by people who remember the surface of the original movie but have no clue about the subtleties going on beneath the surface. It’s like thinking you can make a clock when you only know what the outside looks like and not how the gears work.

The main problem, and this actually surprised me, is that it’s completely half-assed. It’s hard to even be mad about it because it’s so dull and unambitious even in copying the original (let alone coming up with new ideas) that it’s mildly depressing. If it caused severe depression then the filmatists could say hey look, we were going for terror and fear, at least we got severe depression. But it’s not even that good, it’s only mild depression.

They simplify the original story and characters and don’t bother to elaborate, expand, or add many new ideas (except for one, which I’ll get to later). They try to re-create a few of the classic effects gags (the Freddy face in the wall, the glove in the bath tub, the body on the ceiling) but not others (the phone tongue, the stretchy arms, the bed-blood-geyser, tearing his face off). None of the re-done images beat the original low budget versions, especially the scene where the wall above the bed stretches out into Freddy-form. In the original this was done just by sticking his face through a sheet of latex, on this one you know what type of advanced machine they used to do the effect, but you’d still be surprised how bad a job they did. Not only does it pale in comparison to the original, but in comparison to the same gag done with the computers in THE FRIGHTENERS what, almost 15 years ago?

I almost want to praise them for restraint because you’d expect them to go too big and add an unbearable number of crazy Freddy computer effects. But at least that would’ve been something to watch. I don’t understand the idea of remaking a classic on a budget nearly 20 times greater and then doing less than what was done the first time around. Freddy mostly just walks along scraping his knives on metal to make sparks. Yeah, I like that trick too, but I don’t think we need a whole movie about it.

As expected Jackie Earle Haley makes a good Freddy, but he’s not a significantly different one if anybody’s hoping for that. There’s been hype about him either having a whole different spin on Freddy or about going back to the dark, quiet Freddy of part 1. Okay, but let’s be honest, he’s got some parts 2 and 3 Freddy in him. Not part 4 Freddy – he doesn’t dress up in goofy costumes like the genie in ALADDIN. But he does do a couple puns (“talk about a wet dream!”) and actually one joke that I thought was kind of funny (he kills a dog and says defensively “I was just petting him!”). Also they say his makeup is a more realistic burn victim, but to me he looks like the “Demon Freddy” who jumps off the dock in FREDDY VS. JASON, combined with some sort of fishman.

One way I sort of expected them to fuck up was to cast somebody too standard-issue-Hollywood as Nancy. Actually they picked well, they got Rooney Mara, the girlfriend who accidentally unleashes a monster by dumping Mark Zuckerberg in the opening scene of THE SOCIAL NETWORK (she’s also gonna play the American GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO). She’s better in THE SOCIAL NETWORK but she’s a good choice – cute, but not in a phony model type of way, and seems very smart and capable. It’s mentioned that she doesn’t fit in, but they don’t play this up by making her a punk or a goth or some shit, and during times when she turns down prescription drugs (being used for legitimate Freddy-avoiding purposes) it shows that she’s a clean-cut kid without her having to say it or preach about it.

So good job with those things, but I would still argue that this was made by people who DFGI (don’t fucking get it). With the possible exception of Laurie Strode in HALLOWEEN, I think Nancy Thompson in A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET is the best slasher movie heroine there ever was. She’s “the girl next door” (or across the street in Johnny Depp’s case), a regular girl who’s pretty but doesn’t look like a movie star, who’s smart and strong but not class president or the popular girl in school. She has both parents still in her life, and you couldn’t have a more protective father than police chief John Saxon. But his way of protecting her is to put bars on the window and an officer out front, locking her in and not locking the danger out.

The original gets alot of mileage out of the old “none of the adults believe us but we know what’s really going on” horror technique. Nancy tries to get help, but that causes parents and medical professionals to think she’s crazy, so it makes things worse. Therefore she realizes that she has to handle Freddy herself, and she does, through a combination of figuring out how to pull him out of the dream and a set of boobie traps she researches and builds herself. She conquers his rules of reality, she outsmarts him, and she kicks his ass.

(Well, except the ending seems to say that she really didn’t win. But then in part 3 she comes back as the wise veteran who saves a new generation of Elm Street kids and turns them into Dream Warriors.)

 Rotten: Right, you passed on it twice and then Michael Bay approached you. What happened during that conversation?  Bayer: Michael sent me an e-mail and made a lot of sense. Just talking about the business and why this was a good movie to make. There was a lot of opportunities in doing this that might not have happened with another film. I think what he said made a lot of sense and I think it's hard to argue with the richest guy in Hollywood.  --Shock Till You Drop interview with director Samuel Bayer
Rotten: Right, you passed on it twice and then Michael Bay approached you. What happened during that conversation?                                              Bayer: Michael sent me an e-mail and made a lot of sense. Just talking about the business and why this was a good movie to make. There was a lot of opportunities in doing this that might not have happened with another film. I think what he said made a lot of sense and I think it’s hard to argue with the richest guy in Hollywood. –Shock Till You Drop interview with director Samuel Bayer

The new version is not nearly as dramatic. She lives with her single mother, who does try to help, but only by hiding what happened in the past so she won’t get upset. She doesn’t have a father, let alone a macho police chief father. (And by the way, how you gonna put Clancy Brown in this movie and not have him play that character? Instead it’s a useless part as a school counselor.) So the fear that parents have of being completely helpless to save their children is mostly ignored. There’s not much time spent on the kids trying to convince the adults of what’s going on, so the fear that children have of their parents not understanding their troubles is also neglected. She does pull him out of the dream to defeat him, but just by cutting him. There are no boobie traps so she doesn’t seem as clever and the showdown isn’t nearly as exciting. And the idea of having to rely on herself after all her friends are picked off is kind of moot because for some reason it’s structured so the other characters die in their own little sections of the movie and the kids are never all together as a group of friends.

They also don’t spend much time in her house, so you don’t really get to know the geography of it, and its iconographic importance to the series must not’ve made an impression on these filmatists. In case they were wondering it was important because it represented that even your own home is no safer from Freddy than anywhere else. Maybe you could leave Camp Crystal Lake, or Amityville, or get the fuck out of Texas, or stop taking babysitting jobs. But then you’d take refuge in your home, and even have bars on the window, but all you gotta do is close your eyes too long and this maniac is right there with you.

So the original movie was about children’s fears of adults not understanding them, about their fear of self reliance, about parents’ fears of not being able to protect their children, about everyone’s fear of home invasion. The remake doesn’t understand any of those fears. So it just sticks with the fear of a monster dude with knives. That was the one they picked up on.

(SORT OF SPOILERS in the next part…)

Well… that and the fear of being fondled. That’s the one big change they made. In the original series Freddy is a “child killer.” Alot of people assume that means he’s a molester, since that tends to be how it works in the real world, but it’s never put that way in the movies. Here he was a gardener at a pre-school who molested the kids. I have mixed feelings about this. I mean, obviously I’m against him doing it, but I have mixed feelings about it as a device in a horror movie. On one hand I think it’s kind of fucked up, it makes it less fun as a horror movie when the killer is making icky pedophilic comments and the heroine has to see herself in a collection of kiddy porn, and the monster says he’s given power by her remembering her childhood abuse. On the other hand it is the job of at least some horror movies to push the envelope and upset us, so if this was actually a good movie made intelligently it could be powerful, I guess.

You'll have hours of fun acting out adventures with your Secret Molester Freddy action figure.
You’ll have hours of fun acting out adventures with your Secret Molester Freddy action figure.

But that ain’t the case. It seems like the logic of this subplot could’ve been the casualty of a rewrite, writer #2 (Eric Heisserer, FINAL DESTINATION 5) not noticing (or being allowed to follow up on) what writer #1 (Wesley Strick, CAPE FEAR, WOLF, DOOM) was trying to do there. So halfway or more into the movie it brings up this idea that maybe the kids had lied about Freddy molesting them, and maybe he was getting his dream-revenge because he was an innocent man burned alive. That’s a smart, dramatic idea and a clever change to the original material – except we don’t believe it for a second because Freddy has already repeatedly implied that he was a child molester, telling Nancy “you were always my favorite” and talking about a dress she used to wear and things like that. Even in the movie the characters only believe in his innocence for a few scenes before they figure out otherwise. Ball dropped.

And you know what, giving him this specific backstory with flashbacks (well, flashbacks within a kid’s dream) only makes the monster make less sense. If he was a pedophile why’s he so into teenagers now? And do molesters really go after both genders? The more they explain the more questions come up.

But there it is. They made a limp retread of a classic, almost nobody liked it at all, and it made more money in its opening weekend than four ELM STREETs in their entire runs. Platinum Dunes knows exactly what they’re doing. You just need to get the best one, you don’t need to get why it’s the best one.

p.s. I don’t know how they’re gonna remake part 2. Judging by all the jokes in BAD BOYS PART 2 I’m pretty sure Michael Bay isn’t comfortable with gay themes.

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.
This entry was posted on Saturday, October 9th, 2010 at 2:06 am and is filed under Horror, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

217 Responses to “A Nightmare On Elm Street (remake)”

  1. Great review. Im a big fan of the original, and i was kind of looking forward to this. I tought that maybe we would get a good NoES film again, but no. This turned into the most boring film of them all. One of the worst remakes i have ever seen.

  2. I can’t even remember how I felt after seeing this remake. I’m sure I felt disappointed, but obviously it was so numbingly unremarkable, I couldn’t even get worked up over it, or something. Or maybe it’s old age.
    But I do feel like watching NoES 2 again. I love that movie.
    And Bad Boys 2.

  3. The kids in the remake NEVER have fun, never smile, never make jokes. In minute 1 they are already sad and annoying individuals. This movie is so boring.

  4. As soon as this was announced, it became clear that Platinum Dunes would hire a music video director for this job. Too bad that they never go for the good ones. Imagine they had the balls to hire Chris Cunningham! It would probably still suck on a script level, but damn, the nightmare scenes would have scarred a whole generation of teenagers!

  5. Laurie Strode is still the all-time greatest slasher-movie final girl, but Nancy Thompson is the second best. (Some might argue for Ellen Ripley, but she transcends genre too much–she’s just one of the greatest movie characters, period.)

    And the author of Final Destination 5 rewrote Wesley Strick, huh? That’s Platinum Dunes for ya too. After you’ve spent a lot of money purchasing the remake rights to THE BEST horror titles, then you hire THE WORST (and cheapest) writers, I suppose. (I mean the F5 D guy, not Mr. Strick.)

  6. Eric Heisserer is also the writer (of the draft they’re shooting) of the upcoming prequel/remake of THE THING. This and FINAL DESTINATION don’t exactly inspire confidence on how that is going to turn out.

    But then again, nobody really comes away clean from these market driven, flash in the pan Platinum Dunes remake debacles. No matter who you are or what kind of talent you might have – behind the camera or in front of it. You’ll be packaged into that slick Michael Bay lite packaging with over the top magic hour lighting and faux gritty, overproduced art direction, and hot babes and dudes with really zero personality. And of course, storylines that pay lip service to the original but don’t bother to stop to give any sense of depth or weight to the proceedings. The very essence of films as packaged products ready to be consumed and quickly forgotten afterwards.

    Like I’ve said in the other threads, I actually like Michael Bay films in the very superficial, pure sensory stimulation of the way. Pure vacuous popcorn entertainment. I just don’t much like when they take films with much more to give and strip out any sense of personality and depth, and force them into that generic music video look mold. That also, on top of everything else, try to ape Bay’s kinetic visual style but end up just feeling boring and lifeless.

    Fortunately, THE THING prequel won’t be a Platinum Dunes film, so there’s a glimmer of hope in there.

  7. I thought the remake worked…in certain places. Certain set pieces generated more suspense for me. And I will probably get blasted for saying this, but I definitely do not think of this as inferior to the original Nightmare. Both are deeply, deeply flawed movies with gaps in logic big enough to drive the traveling carnival through. I will agree with Vern that Nancy in the original is a well-written, well cast heroine, but that was about it for me.

    Maybe it’s because I never watched the original as a kid. I came to it probably ten years ago for the very first time after having already grown up and spent several years studying film by that time. I watched it and found it an intriguing concept with shoddy execution. Speaking of shoddy execution, I think one of the reasons many of the horror remakes I actually enjoy work is that they are based on Wes Craven movies. I recently have revisited a number of his films and boy oh boy did he know how to come up with a killer concept, but I can honestly say I have never seen a guy less adept at cinematic language. (okay maybe that anderson guy and throw boll in for good measure, but I do not consider them to be filmmakers of repute) He seems to have no clue or concept of rhythm or how to build momentum or give us those beautiful little quiet moments before the storm.

    So with that in mind, I actually went out and picked up a copy of the new Blu-Ray super duper version of the original Nightmare and watched it four days before going to the theater to see this one. And guess what, I still don’t think the original is a well made movie and it has nothing to do with the budget. It’s the tone, the structure the logic of it. Film is just like prose for me. You can have all the great ideas in the world, but it the language that connects and elevates those ideas to the level of art. I have yet to see a film that makes me believe Craven is capable of that. (Judging by advance word – My Soul to Take is not going to help his cause either).

    So in conclusion, I do not think the new Nightmare is a great film or even an improvement over the original, but Bayer sure seems to understand the language of film on a more basic fundamental level than Craven and so I find myself hoping that he gets ahold of a really solid script and then runs with it on the next go round.

  8. Ace Mac Ashbrook

    October 9th, 2010 at 6:57 am

    The Thing prequel? Thats dangerous ground. The Thing is not something that deserves to be down graded by a remake/prequel. I just don’t think anyone else other than John Carpenter could do it. And John Carpenter is well past his prime now. I wish they would leave it well alone.

    He already had Halloween ruined, poor fucker deserves better. What next? A remake of Big Trouble In Little China?

  9. The weirdest thing for me was that it seemed like they had a reverse bed-blood-geyser in that one scene where a massive amount of oil falls onto her while she’s sleeping in her bed.

  10. Vern – Buddy you had me when you brought up Platinum Dunes, the new Cannon Films of our time as in you know what to expect. Little if any.

    Though come to think of it Cannon those fuckers still by accident delivered a good movie or two. Like RUNAWAY TRAIN. Or BLOODSPORT.

    Has the Dunes ever even done that?

  11. This for me was the continuation of a turning point (that started with the at-least-tolerable Amityville Horror) of making films that I can at least watch without feeling like I need a decontamination shower on the way out of the theater – as with Texas Chainsaw. Hopefully soon they’ll get one I actually like.

    RRA – I think the difference is that Cannon at least tried to do original flicks – the Platinum Dunes fuckers just buy someone else’s better ideas and shitting on them.

    Also Rooney Mara != Heather Langenkamp.

  12. While I’m aware I’m probably subconsciously romanticising the past, I think the differnce between Platinum Dunes/Bay as a producer and Cannon/Golan and Globus is that while both were just making films to make money and be successful, the later never quite made it to the big time, so they had to actually work and try with their films, or at least be frugal. Platinum Dunes is Hollywood’s richest man casually tossing out nice little earners in his spare time.

  13. “He seems to have no clue or concept of rhythm or how to build momentum or give us those beautiful little quiet moments before the storm. ”

    Well, what about that entire opening Drew Barrymore part of SCREAM? And NIGHTMARE is full of quiet creepy moments before the loud ones – farm animals in the school hallway, the now-worn-out slow motion jump-ropers, etc. And I don’t think you can fault the rhythm and momentum of the fucking horrifying wipe across the ceiling.

    I sort of agree with you though, I think Craven is more about ideas than execution. And the two Craven remakes I mentioned work partly because they have very technically skilled and stylish directors working with the ideas of two of his rougher movies. He doesn’t have filmatism running through his blood and sweating out his pores like, say, John Carpenter. Actually he has a little bit in common with Romero now that I think about it. But is there any sequence in the remake that works better, or even as good as, the equivalent sequence in the original? I don’t remember noticing one. I don’t think you’re giving him nearly enough credit.

  14. Also, is Michael Bay really Hollywood’s richest man? I know Bayer says that in the quote I used, but I would think Spielberg, Lucas and friends would have more, wouldn’t they? Or maybe he just counts as “richest” because he’s the one who loves flaunting it with his cars and stuff. He fits the stereotype the most. He probly even has a robot maid and a dog with dollar sign markings in his fur.

  15. Jerry Bruckheimer and James Cameron are also definitely above Bay on that list. Bruckheimer has made a fortune from the 80’s onwards with a long string of hit movies – including half of the films directed by Bay – as well the multiple hit TV shows he has produced. And Cameron made an insane amount of bank with his big-cut-of-the-gross deals on both Titanic and Avatar.

    If we limit the list to only notable producer/directors, and not include film executives, I’d say Bay is on the top 10. Maybe even top 5. Maybe. But richest? Definitely not.

  16. HT – Don’t forget Spielberg. He’s got fingers all over the place from his directed shit to TRANSFORMERS to upcoming possible Oscar contenders like Coens’ TRUE GRIT and Eastwood’s HEREAFTER. And I actually consider the possiblity that TRUE GRIT will do some real business this Christmas.

    Of course to be fair with Bruckheimer, most of his movies are shit but he sure knows how to make money. Basically the high class, bigger budget Cannon Films. Not always (he had two flops in America this year with PRINCE OF PERSIA and SORCERER’S APPRENTICE), but anyway the guy does sometimes by accident it seems end up producing some good ones here and there. The PIRATES movies, the first two BEVERLY HILLS COP pictures, Michael Mann’s THIEF, and also BLACK HAWK DOWN. Also CRIMSON TIDE was pretty good too, I forgot that.

    Vern – Wes Craven is hit and miss but he is interestingly prolific in his workmanship like Carpenter, but more able it seems to adapt to the times and not be a dinosaur. Though honestly that new movie he’s got looks like a NIGHTMARE retread, kinda like how GHOSTS OF MARS was Carpenter redoing the ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13 plot for the 3rd or 4th time.

    More about ideas than executions sounds about right. Which honestly in today’s Hollywood Horror, is more attractive in retrospect. Imagination is a whore that isn’t fucked as much in town in that genre.

  17. Meh, pass. Never liked Freddy anyway. I’m more of a Jason girl.

  18. One Guy from Andromeda

    October 9th, 2010 at 11:57 am

    The quotes by the filmproducers (calling these people filmmakers is giving them too much credit) are so disheartening, they make me rage inside.

  19. This an unnecessary and forgettable remake, but I wouldn’t heap all the blame on Bayer. I would be interested to see him do something else.

    Vern, I bet Micheal Bay doesn’t have a robot maid. He probably has slaves, not in a racist way, but in a funny way for the kids to enjoy.

  20. One Guy from Andromeda

    October 9th, 2010 at 11:59 am

    @RRA: “he sure knows how to make money” So do child porn producers, heroin dealers and human traffickers. Knowing how to make money is no reason to respect anyone in my opinion.

  21. He’s probably the Blingest man in Hollywood, actually. Or are they saying he gets paid more for directing work – I mean, I can see Cameron or even Spielberg working for lower rates to ensure their projects off the ground, but I’d be very surprised if Bay has ever done the same, even early in his career. I could be wrong, but…

  22. oh vern,

    The horror! The horror!

    …the horror of so much ink spilled over the ANOES remake

  23. Jam, I am sure Bay is paid. To your point about Cameron, I don’t think there was a single product placement in Avatar, and Bay’s films play like feature length commercials for the military, Coke, Ford, or whatever else he is shilling. They can afford to pay Bay more because the studio doesn’t have to put up as much of their own money it is financed by advertisers.

  24. One Guy from Andromeda – So Bruckheimer is a child porn moviemaker? A little too crass, no? Let AsimovLives do that job for you, ok?

    I may not care much for Mr. Bruckheimer, but he’s consistently had hits since the 1980s. Which isn’t as easy as the most cynical of us assume. Just ask Joel Silver.

    Jam – I remember years back at an AICN chat, some guys were bitching after the then-latest Bay movie (Island?), threatening to beat him up and I told them, that wouldn’t hurt Bay, in fact it would only encourage that little shit.

    Instead I suggested, they key all his cars. That certainly would make him cry.

  25. Charles – On that point, one less reason to respect Bay: He’s always had comfortable budgets. Did he have to start out in movies gritty and dirty with a shoebox budget like Spielberg (DUEL) and Cameron (TERMINATOR) and George Miller (MAD MAX) had to for their epic big-bang-for-small-buck movies?

  26. The original Paul

    October 9th, 2010 at 1:02 pm

    Vern, I haven’t seen this and probably never will. (Along with just about every other horror remake you named. Seriously, I’m not putting myself through that.) I enjoyed the review. (Come to think of it, I’ve enjoyed a few reviews of this film, probably more than I’d enjoy the film itself.)

    But I gotta pull you up on this one, which came so completely out of left-field that it left me gasping:

    “With the possible exception of Laurie Strode in HALLOWEEN, I think Nancy Thompson in A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET is the best slasher movie heroine there ever was.”

    In God’s name, WHY? I’m not talking about Nancy here (although I’ll get to that one in a second) – but why Laurie Strode?

    Now, I think it’s been well established that I don’t think Halloween has aged well. A lot of it still works – the creepy soundtrack still gives me the shivers, and John Carpenter’s direction is great – but where it really loses me is in the girls. They’re totally a bunch of totally unlikeable versions of the same totally old stereotype with totally nothing to choose between them. Totally. And yes, I know Laurie gets to (hilariously) stab the boogieman in the neck with a kitchen knife. But really? What in all that’s good and pure do you see in Laurie Strode that I don’t?

    And while I don’t ENTIRELY disagree with you on Nancy – I think calling her the “best ever” is an overstatement, but she’s very good as a heroine, very proactive – I’d say Suzy from “Suspiria” is way ahead of both of them in terms of facing her darkest fears when confronted with pure satanic evil. Heck, I’d say Sydney Prescott from “Scream” is way up there in terms of character (even if she does run up the stairs a little too often). And I know they’re not technically slasher pics in the modern sense of the term, but Janet Leigh in “Psycho” and Tippi Hendren in “The Birds” surely deserve a shout-out. Hitchcock knew how to create believable strong female characters, AND how to break them down.

  27. I bet Michael Bay has a robot butler too, just like in Rocky part two.
    (Unintentional rhyme!)

  28. Vern,

    I wrote that in diatribe with the spectre of of Scream dancing around in the back of mind. While I agree that the opening sequence of the first Scream works exceptionally well, I also think that opening sequence is the only reason why the rest of the movie works at all. He basically spends the rest of the original Scream cashing in, one chip at a time, on the goodwill generated by that opening with Drew Barrymore. Hence the same subsequent setup for the two sequels.

    When I talk about mood and pacing and rhythm, I am referring to the context of the whole film, not the context of single scene. Yeah, there are plenty of moments in every Craven film that are appropriately creepy and well done, but those are moments that are almost as quickly undone by something else down the line. And I would concur with the Romero comment, but Romero at his roughest still created some bonafide cinematic classics, not rough edged ideas.

    As for scenes that work better for me in the remake, I truly like the way the super market scene is shot and cut, flipping back and forth between reality and the dream world. I think that is vastly superior to anything in the original. And for me it really is the cohesiveness, however slick and superficial, of Bayer’s visual take on the material. Again, I have no excuse for the screenplay in the remake, that is definitely a symptom of the “Dunes”. But I did not completely abhor this remake a la their Friday the 13th or most specifically how much my bones ached while watching The Hitcher.

    And finally, while I am pretty sure Bay is not the richest guy in Hollywood, he’s probably better off than anyone actually realizes. With his back end points on everything from Bad Boys forward and his films profitability on video and cable, he’s done well. You have to remember a number of Spielberg’s best and most profitable movies were made before the advent of the back end points in their current incarnation.

  29. I consider this Nightmare 9. It doesn’t actually invalidate any continuity from the previous 8. So Freddy was a pedophile after all, but it was a different Nancy and friends he went after. The original Nancy still battled him.

    When I saw it, I thought this was at least better than the last four sequels, but then I rewatched them and they’re all pretty great in some way (even Freddy’s Dead and Dream Child). So this is Nightmare 9, not as bad as 2 but just the modern, bad CGI, but good Jackie Earle Haley version.

  30. FTopel – What exactly is so bad about #2?

  31. I stopped reading at the beginning of the spoiler section because I want to see this for Jackie Earle Haley performance as Freddy . I was not sure about that , I was almost ready to skip this movie completely , but if Vern says that he’s good in this I will see it for myself.
    I must say that I agree with Vern on one thing : Why , for the love of god , is Clancy Brown a counselor ? He’s the fucking , goddamn Kurgan !!! He’s badass and always reliable and , besides , we don’t need counselors i every horror movie . Well at least I’m looking forward to see him in Cowboys & Aliens !

  32. The original Paul

    October 9th, 2010 at 4:41 pm

    MDM – I couldn’t disagree with you more on “Scream”. It’s a very, very rare film that manages to be better than 99% of the genre it’s satirising, but “Scream” does it easily. The thing that it has going for it in my eyes is that the kids in it feel more “real” than most of the kids in the non-satirical horror films it’s ripping on. Same goes for the first sequel (although not the second, which pretty much missed the point).

  33. On budget and special effects : I’m absolutely no expert on this , so this is all speculation , but I think that , even if the budget of these remakes is way bigger than the originals ( I’m talking about Platinum Dunes here : Friday , Texas and Nightmare ) , they are still pretty low budget for today standards . When I want to see the cost of a movie , I go to BoxofficeMojo and IMDB ( I don’t think they add the promotion and advertising costs to the total ) , and the budget are between 10 millions (Texas) and 35 (Nightmare), pretty low . I think that the originals effects are the result of creativity on a small budget situation , the raw need to make something awesome with little money . Since we’re talking about Platinum Dunes here and creativity is out of the question , they use the most practical , faster way to do things nowadays : a computer . But I don’t think CGI is automatically cheaper today. CGI must be pulled off perfectly , or you notice it immediately , and in my opinion you can have perfect CGI only on a big budget . Otherwise it’s Asylum’s Transmorphers all over again. And that, in my opinion , is why a lot of modern remakes look like ass compared to the originals , even on ten times the budget. Remember , these are remakes , they just want to cash in on the names , they’re not going to spend a lot of money in design and special effects , just put a guy in a skin or hockey mask , and wait for the paycheck.

  34. Kermit – Another problem with the CGI-saves-money module is that studios don’t have their own FX companies like the old Studio system had. Which was why Lucas founded ILM so someone could do FX for his STAR WARS. So basically that means studios have to contract outside to these CGI companies and that is where they have the studios’ by the balls.

    Its like if your town’s only power station gets privatized and sold to a corporation. They charge the bill rates, what the fuck you gonna do? Nothing, you don’t have your own power anymore so you’re stuck between paying their continual pay hikes or live in darkness.

    The only shake-up to this CGI problem I suppose was WETA, being fat outsiders behind a laptop down in Kiwiland instead of fat Californians behind a laptop. But they’re just more competition in the field.

    Then you have the ultimate contemporary problem with most CGI in general: There is no magic. Anything impossible is now possible, via a fat asshole behind a laptop. Consider CLASH OF THE TITANS, did any reviewer once paid compliment to all that CGI?

    Oh sure they’re technically well-crafted, but never once am I awed or impressed. Remember pre-CGI when you see crazy shit you can’t exactly quite figure out how they did it?

    For example, MUPPET MOVIE. That scene of Kermit playing banjo on that tree stump out in the swamp. We know from camera positioning that Sesame Street/Muppet crap was done by puppeteer operators seen off-screen below the characters, right? So how did they pull that swamp scene off without computers? For that matter later when he’s riding a bicycle: How? If that was made in 2010, never once would I have asked those questions.

    More and more I’m impressed with what oldtimers did to pull off crazy awesome shit. Remember that shot in T2 when the helicopter flew under the bridge in one shot? In a movie full of innovative computer FX, they did it by this: They took a real chopper, and the pilot flew it under a bridge.

    Or John Frankenheimer’s action classic THE TRAIN when you have that epic train wreck. They wrecked real trains.

    Of course I could also contrast with how Zach Snyder would use a computer instead, but then that is part of his “visual charms” that people around here like. You know, visual charms done in part by microchips?

  35. I don’t know MDM, I think you can pretty evenly compare Craven to Romero both in ability and the making of classics. Romero’s movies always seemed more like sketches for an actual movie, aside from the Dead pictures and Creepshow. Everything else the guy has made, even when I’ve liked it, just didn’t totally work. But Craven does build a mood and his movies totally work for me…although until Romero started making Dead movies again, he didn’t fuck up as badly as Craven did for what, a 5-6 movie stretch? Man, that was some TERRIBLE shit.

    And this sort of goes back to the Splice thread where things got all heated about rape…yeah, child molestation is creepy and wrong, but I when you really think about it, why do we see that as so much worse than what Freddy did in the original, take a child to the basement, probably torment them and then stab them to death? Frankly, the original Freddy who’s murdering kids seems more like he’s reaping what he sowed by being killed himself.

  36. I don’t know, RRA…I think you cherry-pick your examples for your arguments. You use The Muppet Movie to talk about how great old-timey effects were, and compare it to Clash of the Titans…but you’re comparing a movie made by respected artists who were out to make a great movie, with some guys making a cash-in. You should probably be comparing The Muppet Movies to Lou Ferrigno’s Hercules or something.

    And you look at some of the movies made back in the day…and really, some of those practical effects were awful. Even in a big movies like Temple of Doom, they have the worst bluescreen compositing ever made. I think we look at movies with too much nostagia, we love Goonies because we saw it as kids. If we saw it now we may like it okay, or hate it…but I doubt anyone would LOVE it. Yeah, digital effects make anything possible…but isn’t that a good thing? I like that anything is possible in a movie now. Hollywood is too lazy and greedy to do it all that much, that’s the problem. But if you saw the last Star Wars prequel as a kid, I’m sure that opening sequence where they were having that space war would have blown your mind.

  37. The original Paul

    October 9th, 2010 at 6:42 pm

    Jones – funnily enough the only movies I can ever remember really liking as a kid, then seeing them years later and thinking “What the fuck did I see in this?” were “The Abyss” (which everyone here loves for some reason), a few Bond movies (in particular a couple of the Roger Moore ones), and “Passenger 57”, a very very very old little-known Wesley Snipes film which has the virtue of being absofuckinglutely ridiculous. I’m sure I can come up with more examples given time. Again, though, it’s not the technical quality of the movies that I don’t like, it’s the way they’re crafted in terms of story and character.

    But have you re-watched “Die Hard” or “North by Northwest” recently? Two epic movies – two of my favorite movies in fact – both of which look pretty bad in parts. (The blue screen when Gruber falls to his death [SPOILER] in particular springs to mind here.) But would that put you off?

    The thing I think I most despise about the three Star Wars prequels (and I say this as someone who liked the first three films but who has no particular attachment to them) is that yes, I can imagine kids liking them. Then they’d get a bit older, re-watch them, and realise just how bad they really are. Sort of like Vern’s review of “Robots”. I’ve watched “Goonies” half a dozen times at least, and yes, the magic’s still there. Isn’t that what we should be aiming for?

  38. Jones – Yeah and we get bad CGI effects these days too, so what is your point?

    Besides if I’m reading your argument right, you can’t argue MUPPET MOVIE wasn’t done for money. It was made to cash-in on what was a pretty popular TV program at the time. The fact that it turned out to be quite decent with some humor, well that’s nice ok. C’mon you know better.

    I think the point I was trying to make was, when is the last time a FX shot took your breath away? You know, magic? Its like trying to be impressed with a new computer. Unless it does something truely mind blowing or revolutionary, its same sold shit. Faster processor? Better RAM so I can upload more porn more quickly? yawn.

    Consider my “last time” I would guess for me it was perhaps 2002 with TWO TOWERS with that Gollum shit. It wasn’t the first all-CGI character (PHANTOM MENACE came out 3 years earlier) nor even the only one that year for we also had SCOOBY DOO and that damn elf in that HARRY POTTER picture. Yet maybe I was more impressed at the time with how this was the first CGI cartoon in a live action movie which I considered character first, FX second you know? Some folks at the time made an argument for Andy Serkis to get some awards contention, and I thought it made sense.

    And then…that’s it. TRANSFORMERS? Computers. PIRATES OF CARIBBEAN? Computers. SPIDER-MAN uno, dos, tres? Computers. Whatever. Maybe there are examples inbetween this past decade that I’m forgetting so bring some up and prove me wrong. But nothing right this moment is coming to mind. 2002-2010 anyone?

    Of course like most folks I was quite impressed with that gravity-free fight in INCEPTION, which didn’t use a computer to pull off. Now should I not give it points for not cheating? Can’t people be impressed if you beat CONTRA without the CapCom Code?

    Also you apparently think GOONIES is a childhood gem of mine. Why I don’t know. Was always more a MONSTER SQUAD kid, you know? Better movie too. Also consider another flaw of your rationing: JEDI doesn’t hold up for me, which I liked as a kid. The other “original” SW pictures do.

    Besides, Cherry picking IS argumentation. Especially in our media epoch where opinions ARE facts.

    The original Paul – I think the better question you should be asking is: Why are we still talking about DIE HARD or NORTH BY NORTHWEST or hell the original DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL while the “updated” (crap) Keanu remake has been forgotten rather quickly?

    I must admit though, I dont care for the SW prequels but I did love Lucas’ plotting of the Emperor’s rise to power. That was well-done. Wished he was that executioner of excellence on…well, everything else.

  39. Here’s the review I wrote when the film first came out.

    Nightmare on elm street
    By
    Hunter M Daniels

    Suggested Headline, “What’s so Funny ‘Bout Knives, Burns, and Child Molestin’?”

    Back in 1984, Wes Craven wrote and directed a little picture titled, “A Nightmare on Elm Street” for a fledgling distributor by the name of New Line Cinema. They had made a name for themselves releasing early John Waters works and films with titles like “The Virgin President.”

    Thanks to Mr. Kruger and his 7 ½ sequels the company rose to prominence, eventually gaining enough traction to spend $300-milllon on the Lord of the Rings trilogy, shortly before imploding spectacularly. This year, Michael Bay’s horror boutique Platinum Dunes released the remake.

    Freddy Kruger was a bad, bad man. As a human, he molested and murdered children before being burned alive by the townsfolk, kinda like Frankenstein without all of that, “duality of man” bullshit. Years later, he returns to haunt the surviving children, killing them in their dreams. Most die horribly, but a few of the more morally reserved adolescents fight back. Also, there are a lot of loud score swells and a fingernails-on-chalkboard sound effects.

    On the surface, a Nightmare on Elm Street remake sounds ideal. While the original still stands as one of the best horror films of the 1980s, ranking behind only Hellraiser, Texas Chainsaw Masscare Part 2 and Videodrome, new digital effects would seem to open many doors for the franchise. Plus, after all the sequels, and spin-offs, and video games, the original character had certainly lost his punch.

    Unfortunately, instead of making a balls to the wall slice of surrealist insanity, the filmmakers chose to play close to the chest with the more bizarre elements of the dream demon’s saga. If anything, this film is less visually baroque than any of its’ predecessors.

    The film is a fairly close retelling of the original, keeping names, locations, and even street addresses consistent. But a straight remake doesn’t quite make sense here because the original was a mystery and today everyone and their mother knows who all about Freddy. I called my mother, she knew.

    So, instead of cutting to the chase and giving horror fans a lean, mean slasher with all the Freudian horrors that a $28-million budget can buy, we get an hour of characters slowing figuring out what the trailer already told us during the first 15 seconds. Following this is a rehash of the third act we already saw in Nightmare on Elm Street 1-7, and Freddy Vs. Jason.

    The slow build might work if the audience had anyone to care about, but not a single one of the protagonists ever does anything that could be reasonably construed as interesting or endearing. At least the Friday the 13th remake differentiated the women by the cup size of their unbound breasts.

    There is no character development whatsoever. All the dead teens talk alike, all the dead teens act alike, all the dead teens have the same mumbling emo-inflection. Costume designer Mari-An Ceo almost deserves a writing credit because she does far more in terms of establishing characters than any of the words from co-screenwriters Wesley Strick and Eric Heisserer. Although they provide at least one howler for the ages when one character unironically yells, “Oh no! She’s having a micronap!”

    And even when two of the dead teens finally do find something interesting – Kruger’s rape lair, filled with pictures of the Survivor Girl – they do absolutely nothing with it. The idea is actually kind of brilliant. After 80 minutes of nightmare scenarios the heroes finally find themselves standing in the middle of their own real life nightmare. It’s a really solid act two break. Instead of exploring this trauma, they make out…in the rape lair.

    And the cinematography is just as bland as the writing. This is yet another one of those modern horror films that thinks shooting in bleached colors is spooky. It’s not. Who came up with this idea? There is nothing scary about shooting an entire movie in blue tones. If you want a monochrome effect, just shoot the damn thing in black & white.

    Much more frightening is how horrendously shot this thing is. With jumpy, Steven Bochco cop drama style camera work and lazy framing, the whole picture seems on autopilot. Samuel Bayer has enjoyed a long career as a music video director for songs like “Smells like Teen Spirit” but apparently he was all out of camera tricks by the time he made it to this, his first feature.

    Jackie Earle Haley is good, filling the shoes of Robert Englund. His Freddy is menacing and the make up is ghastly. But that’s about as far as the scare factor goes. Aside form some exceptionally loud moments the movie has no tension to speak of, mostly as the result of significant re-shoots that leave the final product a structureless mess. Even the kills, a usually reliable attraction in slasher flicks, are rather mundane. The film could easily be cut to a PG-13 without losing much.

    This film easily ties the nearly unwatchable part four as the worst Freddy movie ever. And let me reiterate, there are now nine movies featuring this character. It’s worse than the unintentional gay panic of Freddy’s Revenge. Worse than the bizarre plot retcons of Dream Child. Worse than the cartoony kills of Freddy’s Dead. Worse than the CGI bong smoking caterpillar in Freddy Vs. Jason. The real nightmare here is the idea of paying to see this crap.

  40. RRA, my point is that you can complain about bad CGI, but you put it in the hands of Spielberg or Fincher…and it’s great. Because those guys will work to make it right, they care about their movies. You could say the effects are bad in The Mummy 2, and they are…but no one really gives a shit if The Mummy 2 is great or not, they have to make their date and I think Stephen Sommers is pretty easygoing when it comes to quality control. The 1985 version of The Mummy would have had terrible special effects too, but they wouldn’t have been CGI so over 35-year old movie fans would still put them on a pedestal. I don’t think Goonies is a favorite of yours, but that’s one that geeks hold up, and I was using it to make a point.

    When’s the last time an effects shot took my breath away? I don’t know, maybe Benjamin Button. That’s some amazing shit right there. I think 300 did a great job with interesting shots. Inception, those shots of the streets rolling up. Lord of the Rings. War of the Worlds was amazing, those tripods walking down the street is everything you’d want from a giant monster movie. There’s plenty of movies.

    And come on, face it…you’re not going to be blown away as easily as you used to. You’ve seen a ton of effects, a ton of movies. You were blown away easier in the pre-CGI era because you were younger and that shit was new to you. Let me ask you, how many pre-CG movies blew you away? Were they that consistent with blowing you away effects? It was the same then as now, you’d get a blow you away movie every now and then but it wasn’t like it was every week.

    In a way I’d say your argument is like horror movies…People of an older generation tout The Shining as the scariest movie ever. Don’t get me wrong, I love that movie. But part of the reason is that that fearsome rep is because people saw it when they were 10 or something on tv. And when you’re ten that movie is the scariest shit you’ve ever seen. But when you watch it for the first time and you’re 25, you’re like…it was good, but it wasn’t SCARY. Because now I’m an adult and I know the tricks and I’ve seen a thousand horror movies.

  41. By the way, they should have made Freddy totally innocent in the remake, instead of alluding to the possibility. He could have been a Michael Jackson type, this weird loner who got accused when kids started disappearing (obviously kids would have had to get killed in this one). OR, don’t have the kids get killed, make it one of those deals where the parents and school administrators and cops sort of pushed the kids into testifying he molested them, which has happened a number of times for real anyway so it’s believeable. And then Freddy has a perfect reason to get revenge on them.

  42. Well, I see what RRA is saying about “the magic,” that because of advances in technology you don’t get that “how did they DO that?!” as often, because instead you just think “Computers!” But I don’t think it’s dead. I was awed by the digital makeup on Davey Jones in Pirates 2 (not the porno, the Disney one), the hallway scene in INCEPTION (because they actually did it, but I assumed they couldn’t have), the Benjamin Button stuff. And there are the ones that are so good you forget they’re effects and then are awed in retrospect at how much you fell for it, for example the mostly-animated-but-seems-to-me-like-live-action AVATAR and the Winklevoss twins in THE SOCIAL NETWORK.

    And I think there is one Platinum Dunes movie that has really good effects in it, and that’s David S. Goyer’s THE UNBORN (not a remake). They’re not photorealistic but they’re very clever and cool, kind of like the effects in the original NIGHTMARE that don’t exactly look real but I love them. So I give them credit for that.

    But the NIGHTMARE remake seriously is almost 20 times the original budget. According to what I’ve read the original was 1.8 million, remake 35 million. Of course there’s inflation and all that shit but the point is they didn’t have to struggle as much, and apparently were not willing to.

  43. I do agree that knowing how the effects are done does take away some of the fun…but I’d put that more on us knowing too much than what the movies actually deliver. Back then you saw an effect and you figured it was a model or something, and you couldn’t go online to find 80 websites telling you exactly how they did it, with pictures. And a lot of effects aren’t done in a computer, like they still had a ton of models for the Star Wars prequels and Lord of the Rings…but people tend to assume it’s computer generated.

    And we can say that computers take the magic out of effects and make them kind of dull…but transport yourself back to 1985 and take a print of Avatar or Lord of the Rings, and show that to an audience. They would go CRAZY with magical wonderment.

  44. Jareth Cutestory

    October 9th, 2010 at 8:58 pm

    RRA: I don’t disagree with your point (for my tastes, no one has ever topped the ERASERHEAD baby) but here’s a little list of special effects that impressed me recently. I have no idea how much of this shit is done by computers:

    – The WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE monsters
    – Dren in SPLICE
    – Everything Jean-Pierre Jeunet commits to film
    – MATRIX REVOLUTIONS
    – Some of the HELLBOY characters
    – I like how you could see Kong’s fur move in Jackson’s KING KONG

    A buddy of mine thinks that much of CLOVERFIELD’s meyhem is technically well done – I saw it on too small of a screen. Same buddy likes the effects in AVATAR and WAR OF THE WORLDS as well, though they left me cold.

    Some folks also like JURASSIC PARK. I never saw any of those.

  45. District 9 had a 30 million dollar budget and the effects in that one destroy anything in Nightmare. Give younger Wes Craven and his crew a similar dollar total to work with back in the day and we’d be talking about how the original Nightmare blew our minds like it was The Thing.

    Also: I think the real problem is that with molester Freddy is that Will Smith backed out of laying down “Nightmare on My Street 2010” when he found that out

  46. I wanted to mention District 9 in my post above , but it’s a different scenario. It’s only 30 millions , but it was made outside the Hollywood machine and by a young director with the drive to prove himself ( especially after almost directing Halo ) . The need to come up with good effects on a short budget and the creativity are on display in that movie . It’s a different scenario , similar to the passion behind the originals Texas , Nightmare and Friday . In those movies they needed to create 13 incredible deaths , incredible skull-and-bones sets and nightmarish landscapes , all on a small budget . Like District 9 it’s more about the ideas and design itself , and it’s certainly different than “it’s hard to argue with the richest guy in Hollywood”. District 9 is also a new movie , not a remake.

    Speaking of design itself , I think that it’s what makes special effects , even today , without the “magick”, worthy of awe and consideration . If a creature , or set , or sequence is original and well designed , I think that it will still catch the attention of the viewer .
    I’ve seen the Star Wars trilogy before the prequels , but the space battle at the beginning of the Revenge of the Sith is fucking fantastic. I’ve seen the Goonies when I was a child and Monster Squad way after that , and I love Squad more because I like the special effects , the creature design and the writing. Recently I’ve seen the design of the creature in Splice and I find it deeply disturbing , but extremely interesting . I , obviously , prefer the practical effects , but if there’s a little of work and imagination involved , even CGI can be effective.

  47. RRA: My best game of Contra ever, I beat it without using the code, and when I was done, I had nine guys left.

  48. Mr. Majestyk : That’s just bullshit.

    Besides , everybody knows that real men only play Super C….

  49. Huh…I guess I was under the impression that David S Goyer’s THE UNBORN was a remake of the 1991 Rodman Flender classic with Brooke Adams and Lisa Kudrow. I never saw Goyer’s movie, and since it was Platinum Dunes I just assumed it had to be a remake. Thanks for enlightening me parenthetically, Vern – I have much more respect for Michael Bay and his company now.

  50. Did I really woke up on this Sunday morning, just to barge into the tired, old “Waaaaah, CGI sucks” discussion? *goes back to bed*

  51. I have to disagree. This caused severe depression for me. So go Platinum Dunes… I guess.

  52. That wet dream crack Freddy made in the remake was a ripoff of the wet dream gag that Freddy made in part 4. This film was sad. When it gets to the point where Freddy is explaining the plot to Nancy rather than trying to split her in two you know you’re screwed.

    Hey guys, if you want to see an excellent how-did-they-do-that shot, check out a film called The Secret In Their Eyes. It’s a great film anyway, has shades of Moonlighting and Once Upon A Time In America which is a random combo, but the football stadium scene isn’t just how-did-they-do-that, it’s how-the-hell-did-they-do-that?! There’s got to be some cgi edits in there somewhere but I can’t spot ’em.

  53. I agree with cgi spoiling the magic of movies and I`m pretty sure it`s not because I get older. Cinema still blows me away on a regular basis (and since there is a lot easier access to movies in our age, I get blown away more often than when I was a kid.) I just get blown away for different reasons, usually the artistic and emotionel impact of a movie.

    I got blown away last week when I watched Fish Tank because of a single scene.

    Toy Story 3 blew my mind (for personal reasons not related to toys) a month ago.

    Last night I watched the last half our of Die Hard 4 and couldn`t figure out how the cinamatographer shot the fight in the factory. That french parkour guy is clearly not cgi and the camera follows him around with an incredible speed and preciesion. I`ve always been a sucker for complicated trackshots (since Evil Dead II), but nowadys you can cheat with a computer, so it doesn`t have the same impact anymore, but Die Hard 4 made me rewind several times.

    Anyway, I know it`s all a matter of taste (except for people who think Romero doesn`t have filmatism running through every vein of his body. Those people are clearly insane!), but I`ve almost never been disapointed when I revisited classics from my childhood. Some effects seems a bit dated, but the movies we keep mentioning (Nightmare on Elm Street, The Thing, Dawn of the dead, Die Hard) are classics because of story, characters, directing, set-design etc AND sfx. I watched the original Elm Street several times this spring and it`s an absolutely brilliant and original slasher. I spend a day studying the structure of the screenplay and the set-pieces in order to write a perfect horrormovie for kids.
    My point is, the movies that made a impact on us as teens, proberbly made an impact because they were great movies, not showcases for cgi or 3D like Clash of the Titans. We keep talking about classic stuff like Evil Dead, Halloween and Poltergeist and forget that we watched hundreds of bad action, horror, sci-fi and comedies.

    But what about the youth today, you might ask. Good question.

    When I was a kid, the only way to watch a movie was in the cinema or on television (which showed a movie once a week). It made it magic to go to the cinema. Kids nowadys can download it on their ipod and watch movies when they feel like it. That`s what killing the magic of cinema. Or so I thought..

    I sometimes teach teenagers about directing, bores them with a lot of old stuff and listens to their mindless gibberish about how Pearl Harbor made them cry when they were 11 years old and stuff. (Oh yeah, I showed them scream and it totally blew them away.) I try to tell them about the first time I got a vhs and finally could watch a movie on my televison, and they look at me with confused eyes and twitter or turn up their ipods or whatever teens do, when crazy old men talk about how great the old days were. I try to explain that they will never experience the magic of going to the cinema and be excited about watching a movie, cause movies are not magic anymore.

    And then they suprise me. Like cheering when I try to torment them with Gone With The Wind (“Yeah, we saw it last week in school, it`s totally awesome!”) or when they tell that they saw Antichrist three times in the cinema, or when they want to show me some old scene with Jackie Chan they downloaded on youtube.

    I forget what point I was making, having a horrible hangover and all. Maybe it was about effects not being the reason we love cinema and stuff like A Nightmare On Elm Street. The suits in Hollywood think that teens, their target audience, gets blown away by cgi, but that`s not true either. They get blown away by great cinema, they just don`t know it yet.

    In twenty years time, they are proberbly gonna discuss DISTRICT 9 in cyberspace, (do they love it because the saw it as a kid?, why does the remake suck?, Znyder has more filmatism in his blood than Neil Bloomkamp!, Peter Jackson raped my childhood!, the effects suck! etc) and long for the magic of the old days, when movies had stories, characters and shaky-cam.

  54. The original Paul

    October 10th, 2010 at 4:49 am

    I think the point being made by a lot of people here in different ways is that kids are easily impressed by shiny things. When we get older we tend to want more from our entertainment. That’s natural. DNA – I don’t think you’re right about teens (you certainly wouldn’t have been right about me at that age anyway). Look, I thought “Batman Forever” was great. I think it’s fair to say that’s not great cinema. You develop greater critical faculties as you get older, that’s how it works. (Of course you could also say that you get the sense of fun burned out of you as well, but hey, them’s the breaks.)

    I also think this whole discussion is rendered completely pointless by the fact that there are excellent movies from very, very long ago, with special effects that would make one wince if they were used today, but which are still adored by kids and adults alike. (“Mary Poppins”, anyone?) It’s not what you can do, it’s how you use it.

    RRA – good point about remakes, but honestly, why WOULD we discuss the remake of “The Day the Earth Stood Still”? I could be wrong here, since (like the vast majority of remakes) I haven’t seen it; but honestly, what’s the point in me watching it if there was no point in making it in the first place? Look, I thought “The Departed” was good (except for the bullshit movie-justice ending, now to be shortened to the acronym “BMJE” because I’ve used that term so much recently), and yet it left me cold. It’s another inferior Hollywood remake of a great film. I know it’s a good one, and I know it’s Scorsese, but I still can’t muster up any more emotion about it than to ask what the hell the point was in making it. And by most accounts this is one of the best remakes of the last few years, easily. Why bother?

    Look, I know everyone says remakes are evil, etc, but unfortunately they still make tons of money. Well they ain’t getting it from me. For the most part I practice what I preach. There have been exceptions (I paid to see “The Departed”) but not many of them.

    Also see – The Sequel That’s Really A Remake But Leaves Out Everything That Made The First One Good (think “Airplane 2”, “American Pie 2”, “The Matrix Reloaded”, “Superman Returns”, etc). That’s what REALLY gets me riled up. It’s a remake-by-stealth. It’s dishonest.

  55. I must have had a perfect taste in movies when I were young, then, cause it hasn`t really changed. Well, I actually enjoy watching Rambo II now, so maybe it got worse.

  56. CGI, 3D, puppets, practical effects etc. etc. They’re just tools. Same thing with the budget – you can do great stuff with little money, and you can make shitty stuff with lots of money, and vice versa.

    It’s all about the passion.

    Craven had passion for the material when he made the original film. Blomkamp had passion to make DISTRICT 9 great. Hungry directors wanting to prove themselves and genuinely make great films.

    This remake – and like all Platinum Dune remakes – are void of any sort of drive from the creators. Like that little blurb from the director Vern posted proves, it’s just a good career movie and nice paycheck. The resulting film is secondary. Check some mandatory items off the checklist to make it kinda-sorta like the original, hire some B-level talent to fill the roles, light it with stock music video lighting and throw in some expensive looking production design. Film it, cut an exciting looking trailer, cash in on the first weekend gross and the okay DVD sales and go home.

    A remake of A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET could be great. As can be remakes of any other film. It’s just the question if the filmmakers want to put in the extra effort, try to elevate the material, and are genuinely invested in making a good film, or if they’re just content on riding on the name recognition and poop out middling product.

    It’s about the passion. These films have none.

  57. Kermit: You can knock my taste in movies, but don’t you ever doubt my Contra skills.

  58. I haven’t watched this all the way through yet. I’ve tried twice and fell asleep both times. I wonder if that was the director’s intent?

  59. Jareth Cutestory – Good points, and I think you might have trumped my point.

    Majestyk – RE: Contra…..you sir are awesome.

  60. Is The Thing supposed to be a prequel or a remake?

    If it’s a remake the should make it their own like Carpenter did. If it’s going to be a prequel does that mean it’s going to be an adaptation of the videogame? It could be good but I’m not going to hold my breath.

  61. I agree with CallmeKermit’s observation on District 9’s budget vs Hollywood system budget, but my point was more in line with HT who stated it much better than I did. Platinum Dunes doesn’t give a shit and that really is the bottom line with their movies.

  62. I would really love to hear Vern’s thoughts on micronaps. I haven’t seen the movie yet but I think it completely takes away the “never fall asleep” tension in the original. Now all it takes is to be awake long enough and Freddy can get you everywhere.

    Plus, how did Freddy show up in a pool? Can you just fall asleep swimming?

  63. Lawrence – Better yet, what about lucid dreams? Can Freddy get ya there?

  64. One thing I want to point out in the practical effects vs CGI in film debate is how the younger generation has been affected by video games. My nephews are way more into video games then they are film, and to some degree I can see why. The graphics, story telling and play mechanics of modern videos games have become so advanced that they can be cinematic in nature, but also immersive and interactive. My Nephews like movies, but if they had to chose between watching an action movie for 2 hours or playing an action video game where they also get to participate in the action for 2 hours they are going to choose the video game. Their exposure to CGI in video games has conditioned them to embrace CGI in films.

  65. Also, I prefer practical in camera effects, but don’t mind CGI when used well like in District 9. I feel like the biggest draw back with CGI is that it dates a film. For example if you watch the Phantom Menace then watch Revenge Of The Sith you will notice a massive difference in the quality of the CGI. Menace looks old and cheap in comparison and it is not that old of a film. However, if you look at a film like Alien or Aliens that has no CGI and is much older the Menace the effects hold up well to this day.

  66. Okay, so I felt compelled to watch My Soul to Take or 25/8 (as it was known until the marketing stage) after making my views on Craven’s talent known.

    Holy Shit. It was Written, Produced and Directed by Wes Craven and also is an unmitigated pile of crap on absolutely every level. I think I can officially take the position that Wes seems like a nice enough guy who has some clever ideas, but cannot write and struggles with directing.

    So for all the Scream lovers, I guess I am left with saying even a blind squirrel finds an acorn every now and again.

    I think there was a good idea somewhere in Craven’s new movie that dealt with possession vs. schizophrenia. But again, I think this was a good idea. I am not sure because I got distracted by all of the other unnecessary and annoying bullshit that filled the screen.

    So I will still stand behind my position that Bayer has something that Craven does not and that is actual talent not just raw creative bolts of lightning in the clouds. All of the talk about passion versus a paycheck is nullified because if Craven (while controlling every aspect of the creative process) cannot deliver something as cohesive, slick or superficially entertaining as the remake that started this thread, then I guess he really has reached that same stage of his career as Romero has with his last few flicks.

    If I live long enough, maybe I can see My Soul to Take being remade with a talented director and being a new horror classic. But until then, give me the remake of Nightmare on Elm Street any day of the week.

  67. “I’m pretty sure Michael Bay isn’t comfortable with gay themes.”

    Ironic considering how gay all his movies are.

  68. RRA, so i’m the crass one now, hem? Thanks a bunch.

  69. One of the problems i have with the NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET series, and this is speially to do with the sequels, is that tehre doesn’t seem to be any rules about what Freddy can or cannot do. There’s no speed limits to what Freddy can do in the dreams. He’s total dream-master. I see that more of a deux ex machina then as any demonstration of Freddy’s powers and danger. Any new Elm Street movie they made, Freddy had a different destroyer, a different reason why he would be “killed” or stoped. and he would pull different stunts to kill his vioctims,a dn by that i mean, he could come up with stuff out of the blue. there would be little to no consistency to what he had been done before, as in, variations. It was always “fresh powers”, stuff never seen before. The sequels suffer terribly with this problem.

  70. As for the rmake being bad, well, what would one expect from a director called BAYER? More Bay then Bay? That doesn’t bode well, does it? Forget it, i’m rewatching THE PARALLAX VIEW, now that’s a movie that can truly deliver a nightmare.

  71. I just think it’s funny (and very telling) that Platinum Dunes keeps snatching up properties that have spawned dozens of sequels and then proceeds to remake them into movies that don’t/can’t/won’t spawn ONE SINGLE SEQUEL because nobody cares or thinks the first (remade) one was interesting enough to revisit.

    Also, along that theme, and since it’s getting to be that time of the year again, in regards to the Rob Zombie HALLOWEEN 2… Vern, at the end, when Laurie *SPOILER!* walks out in the mask, I took that as a suggestion that maybe, JUST MAYBE, she’d been the one doing the killing all along: she’d been crazy since the events of Part 1, and it would explain why/how Michael had “come back to life.” Maybe a bit of a cheat, but it would have been interesting and unexpected, at least. Probably not what Zombie was going for, but what say you? A reasonable interpretation?

  72. Out of curiosity, for those that were around to see the original Elm Street when it was released, was the “arms stretching across the alleyway” scene actually effective/scary/creepy? I watched it for the first time this year and whilst I liked the film I thought the arm stretching scene was ridiculously laughable, I know I know it’s low budgeted and the 80s etc but man, it just looks like two wooden poles with rubber gloves stuck on the end, which from what I gather it effectively was. I’m not sure you could take it seriously even in the time period when you know they couldn’t do the effect any other way.

  73. Majestyk : Just joking . I’m more of a Ninja Gaiden fan , but I appreciate a good challenge in my games , and Contra delivers . If I will ever buy a DS , in my must buy list is Contra 4. That game is packed with modes : a completely new story , a mission mode with unlockables , Contra and Super C from the NES included in the package and new playable characters ( including Probotector from the EU NES version!) All in fantastic 2d graphics. It’s practically a Contra museum in the palm of your hands !

  74. The original Paul

    October 10th, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    HT – I agree with YOU sir. The Passion is what it’s all about. Or at least some creative spark other than “Let’s make some money”.

    MDM – Just because I love the “Scream” films (at least the first two, the third was pretty bad) doesn’t mean I love Craven unreservedly. “Red Eye” and “Cursed” were two films that really didn’t need to be made IMO. “Red Eye” is the kind of film I can’t summon up any enthusiasm for – it’s ok, it meanders, it ends, you forget about it. It’s not particularly bad, but it’s disposable in every sense of the word. As for “Cursed”, well, Vern’s monumentally awesome review said it all.

  75. GoodBadGroovy: I saw the original NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET when it first came out on video. The stretched arms didn’t seem inconsistent with the other nightmare images.

    Having said that, when I re-watched the film a few years ago, the arm-stretch looked like Freddy was turning into Dr. Teeth.

  76. RRA, 2 is kind of incompetent on every level but it’s fun to watch in a just how bad could it possibly be way. Definitely reeks of “rush the sequel” without any real inspiration, but in a way I kind of miss the days when misguided efforts could come out that way. I mean, Saw II rushed and then killed it and in my opinion, that series still hasn’t done a bad one, only some that are less awesome than others. Anyway, Nightmare got the inspiration back with III and I liked every one since, including some that work better for me now that I have grownup worries and fears.

    MDM, my favorite Craven original is People Under the Stairs. Great energy, creativity and social commentary. I don’t love everything he does (original Last House and Hills Have are not appealing to me, though Shocker is kind of fun.) I’ll watch Soul to Take on video, in good old 2D, though it’s funny, they had us interview him for 25/8 at Comic Con ’08. I know 3D conversion takes a while, but that can’t be the only reason.

  77. @MDM- I too saw “My Soul To Take” and I wanted to leave about five minutes in, but everything else in the theater was already playing at that point so I endured. I wish it had been laugh out loud hilarious bad, but it wasn’t. It was just a chore.

    I will say one thing though and that is that Craven only seems to understand anything when it’s being meta (I’ll exclude “Cursed” because that was marred by a lot of writer’s block (thank you, Kevin Williamson) and “make it PG-13″ification, so it couldn’t have reasonably been any good at all) a la “Scream” or “New Nightmare” (the only good one, he touched). Also, you expect me to believe a blind kid climbed a rope to get into a bedroom window? Fuuuuck that noise.

  78. I like practical effects first and foremost. I love watching horror movies just to see what kind of crazy shit the Tom Savinis and Sam Raimis of the world have come up with. Alot of them have gotten so good at their job that it’s hard to tell what is and isn’t a practical effect anymore.Maybe that means I’m more impressed at their ingenuity and resourcefulness than some computer programmers technical achievements. When the “How’d they do that” aspect is just a computer program then it’s just not the same for me.

    Alot of the effects in Drag Me to Hell,The Myst and ZSnyders Dawn of the Dead remake are so well done, you would think they were CGI. If you hadn’t seen the prop department shoving a bucket of maggots and worms into Allison Lohmans mouth nowadays you would probally just assume they Photoshopped that shit in,cause that’s the easy way and probably the cheap way because hiring creative people can get expensive

    But I mean computers are good for like Eyes of Mordors and Avatars’s and for like when the Governor of California won’t be in the new Terminator movie, or whatever.

  79. About that THE THING prequel.

    Yes, it’s a prequel, not a remake. It’s supposed to the story of what happened in that Norwegian station. Like it wasn’t obvious, or was a story that really needed to be told. Of course it stars mostly Americans speaking American, because guess a subtitled film where everyone speaks Norwegian isn’t mainstream enough.

    I have the screenplay lying around somewhere, but I haven’t read it yet. I love the original film to bits, so I’m kind of dreading how this prequel will turn out.

  80. About the “passion” discussion:

    I have a hard time believing that any director wants to make movies, unless he is passionate about it. I have met quite a few filmmakers in my life, and I have never met anyone who wasn’t passionate. Their movies might have sucked, but the problem wasn’t with the lack of passion.

    It’s a way too nerve-cracking, marriage-wrecking, exhausting profession to choose if you’re not passionate about it. Working 90-100 hours a week is not much fun, unless you’re passionate about it. Not to mention that people who actually get to direct a feature film usually have already done 10-20 years of insanely hard work just to reach that goal.

    I’m sure that there are some extremely rare exceptions to this, just like there are to any rule. But at least 95% of the people who get to direct feature films are exceptionally hard working people, and exceptionally passionate about their work. Those who lack the passion and the work ethic simply never get to that position.

  81. DNA – good call on the Die Hard 4 factory fight. I got so put off by the CGI horse-shit in the previous scenes that I forgot the technical excellence of that fight. I just watch Blood and Bone (Fucking awesome movie – exactly what badass cinema can be, but usually isn’t), and was almost put off by the CGI blood enough to be distracted from MJW’s utter badassitude. I did not though that the movie failed to exemplify the theory of badass juxtaposition.

  82. The original Paul

    October 10th, 2010 at 5:31 pm

    HT – you and me both, if you refer to Carpenter’s film as “the original film”. It’s sort of billed as a remake of “The Thing from another World” which I saw recently, but thankfully it has very little in common with that film, which I saw recently and which really did nothing for me.

    For once I’d like them to remake a really bad film, and try to show what could’ve been accomplished had it lived up to its potential. The only example I can think of where they’ve actually done this, though, was with the “My Bloody Valentine” remake, and that one sits comfortably near the top of my mental list of the worst films of the last decade. (Yeah, it’s that bad. I wrote a review ripping it to shreds in the “My Bloody Valentine 3D” thread here.) It’s a pity, because I would love to see a good slasher movie set in a working-class town instead of a summer camp or sorority dorm or something. Hasn’t happened yet unfortunately.

  83. The original Paul

    October 10th, 2010 at 5:32 pm

    “which I saw recently” repeated three times there… I should really learn to not edit my sentences after writing them, it really doesn’t help.

  84. tuuka – You make a very good point. Still, I make my living in the arts and there are those that will put in very very long hours because it provides a healthy amount of money and status to do so. I put in many many hours and make an ok amount of money, but I know I would make more if I was involved in more crap. Not saying everything I have ever done has turned out great, but if it’s just for the cash you can count me out. An investment banker puts in the time sure, but are they passionate about investment banking? Some yes, but I’m sure many are in it for the money.
    That’s how these middlemen directors make it. They don’t give a shit about the product, they just want to turn out a moneymaker. If you want to make a movie purely for profit are you going to hire the hard-line auteur who could make things difficult, or the competent workhorse who will deliver on time and under-budget? I’m sure they’d like to do good work and be taken seriously as artists, but the needs of the bottom line come first for many people in any artistic pursuit.
    Much of the passion in the industry comes from the unsung heroes in many departments who have the passion, but they are limited by what is given to them by the script and the director. This remake had plenty of competent parts when you consider how much goes into a film, but it’s all undone by an overall failure in tone and substance. That’s up to the director, who I’m sure works very hard, but at the end of the day I get the impression that the passion was ignited by zeros on a check.

  85. Paul: I’m not sure I want to meet the team who are willing to commit their time and energy to remake IT’S PAT. Or FREDDY GOT FINGERED.

    But if you’ve got a plan to make HIGHLANDER 2 watchable, I’m sure geeks around the world would like to hear it.

  86. What CGI horseshit was there in Die Hard 4 before that fight everyone’s raving about? The CG horseshit was AFTER that scene. Before, you had the shootout at the kid’s place which seemed all practical. You had the car chase into the tunnel which again seemed pretty much practical aside from a few obvious CG effects. But it wasn’t like that movie was a CG effects fest. Don’t get me wrong, I think having Bruce WIllis be saved by being crushed by having two cars pull up in the nick of time to deflect a flying car is stupid. But in the first action scene, what about those amazing stunts where the guy jumped off the roof and ran down the fire escape? That wasn’t CG, if it was the camera would have been a hell of a lot smoother.

    What CHarles said: “For example if you watch the Phantom Menace then watch Revenge Of The Sith you will notice a massive difference in the quality of the CGI. Menace looks old and cheap in comparison and it is not that old of a film. However, if you look at a film like Alien or Aliens that has no CGI and is much older the Menace the effects hold up well to this day.”

    I’ say a large part of this is you have two amazing movies directed by masters of tone and atmosphere. And you’re comparing it to Lucas’s kiddie flicks. Besides, the first “real” CG movie as I think we think of them is Jurassic Park, which holds up just fine. If we want to say practical (non-CG) effects hold up so amazingly well…has anyone watched Dreamscape or Starcrash lately?

  87. marlow’s pretty much right…on the other hand being a true artist in films is tough when you’re working with insanely bloated budgets. You spend 100 million dollars on something, you want that to appeal to a lot of people. Which is too bad, it’s what undid The Wolfman…at least I assume Romanek’s version would have been more interesting that the boring version we got. They had the look, the actors and the makeup…but man that movie is dull as fuck.

    I’m sort of a Craven defender, but it’s shocking how terrible My Soul To Take is. Wow. I mean, what the hell?

  88. I think you guys are really unnecesarily hard on Craven. Just like Romero, Hooper, etc, he’s going to put out more misses than hits. But the hits are fucking great that it’s ok to have misses. Well maybe except Hooper because that guy only made one good movie in his life when it wasn’t co-directed by Spielberg.

  89. Yeah, Hooper never was very great, or even that interesting. Although I did like The Funhouse for it’s weird creepy vibe…but even that film is sort of terrible if you really think about it. For the first hour, you literally have a tour of the carnival, and there’s that huge involved subplot with the kid that leads exactly nowhere.

  90. I just watched The Funhouse this morning during the 24 Hour horror movie marathon in Chicago and it really stinks. But that kid subplot exist solely for the scene of her screaming for her parents but they can’t hear her over the fan.

  91. Now hold on, there’s a whole lot of not-enough-credit going around here. Somebody way up there said that Craven hadn’t done much that was good, and that’s simply not true. The guy did three genuine era-defining classics: LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT, NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET and SCREAM. THE HILLS HAVE EYES is something of a classic in its own right and there is plenty good to say about THE SERPENT AND THE RAINBOW, THE PEOPLE UNDER THE STAIRS, SCREAM 2, WES CRAVEN’S NEW NIGHTMARE and RED EYE. Even with the ones I would consider bad there is some entertainingly bad shit like HILLS HAVE EYES II (original, not remake) and whichever one of the DEADLY ones had the killer robot. Also I kind of like SWAMP THING. So it’s not like the guy just lucked out. I’m more partial to Carpenter and Romero but even held against those guys Craven has an impressive track record and has managed to make a mark on multiple generations of horror. He’s the Dr. Dre of horror.

    Tobe Hooper is much closer to a one hit wonder, but I also think people are unfair to him. First of all, his two TEXAS CHAIN SAW movies are both masterpieces. Everything else is lesser but I give him credit for THE FUNHOUSE, LIFEFORCE, in recent years TOOLBOX MURDERS and MORTUARY, I have a strange fascination with EATEN ALIVE even though I don’t exactly like it, and the whole idea that Spielberg really directed POLTERGEIST is horse shit as far as I can tell. I know Zelda Rubinstein told Quint that she didn’t consider Hooper the director because he smoked too much weed or something, but many others have called bullshit on that, including Spielberg in an open letter in the Hollywood Reporter:

    “Regrettably, some of the press has misunderstood the rather unique, creative relationship which you and I shared throughout the making of Poltergeist. I enjoyed your openness in allowing me… a wide berth for creative involvement, just as I know you were happy with the freedom you had to direct Poltergeist so wonderfully.”

  92. GoodBadGroovy, i saw the first NIGHTMARE movie in the late 80s on VHS, and while the arms stretching scene did looked “phoney”, for some reason it didn’t stole me and my mates attention and enjoyment from the movie. It didn’t pulled us out of the movie, so to speak. Thus, no, it didn’t bothered us. I guess we were already enthralled by the movie and were already on forgiving mode by then.

  93. POLTERGEIST is a strange beast of a movie, because i can see in it both the styles of Tobe Hooper and Spielberg. For me, it’s a really 50/50 job, as if the movie is a 4 wheel drive car with traction both front and back wheels.

  94. RE:Blitzkrieg

    You’re missing the (business) genius of Platinum Dunes. THEY are the franchise. Not Freddy. Not Jason. Not Leatherface. Not that one girl’s amazing ass on the poster for The Unborn. Platinum Dunes brandname is the franchise because the NoES remake is done in exactly the same style as The F13 remake, is the same style as the TCM remake. There is a consistency of product (and it is product) in their work that McDonald’s might envy.

  95. if anything, I’m gonna say Tobe Hooper and Spielberg co-directed Poltergeist

    anyway anyone wanna bet Rooney Mara wont do any nudity in the American Girl With The Dragon Tattoo? heck there probably wont be any nudity at all, PG-13 ahoy!

  96. MARLOW, you comparison assumes that investment bankers and film directors are similar people, who choose their careers with the same motivations and interests.

    I find this to be completely untrue. The people who work in those two different fields tend to be very different people by their character.

    The thing is: Anyone who would choose filmmaking as a career simply because they want to make a lot of money, would be a complete moron. Do some people make a lot of money as movie directors? Sure. But the odds of that are are laughably small. Even the odds of ever becoming a feature film director are laughably small. 99.999% of people who want to make movies in Hollywood never actually get to that position. And while I pulled that percentage out of my ass, it pretty much reflects the truth. Ever grip boy out there wants to be a Hollywood director. Every film student. Every director who works on cable on a low-bargain reality TV-show.

    If someone wants to make money, they are much better off by choosing another career – Like investment banking.

    BTW, I’ve worked on TV and film for over 10 years now. I’ve never met a film director who wasn’t passionate about his work, and who didn’t genuinely always try to make the best possible film he could. I could expand that rule to any person who has carved himself a very successful career in the business. You just don’t get to top level unless you are a very passionate person.

    The only exception to this are *some* studio executives, as they might have arrived to film business by first making a successful career on some other business completely unrelated to film. These people might not be passionate about movies, as they didn’t choose film as a career in the first place.

    As for Samuel Bayer, the director of this Elm Street movie:

    He has worked hard for about 20 years now. His past work includes such famous videos as Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” and Green Day’s “Boulevard of Broken Dreams”. He has also done videos for The Rolling Stones, John Lee Hooker, Marilyn Manson, Metallica, Smashing Pumpkins and David Bowie, among others. He is one of world’s top commercials directors and has done work for Nike, Coke, Pepsi, Nissan, Lexus and Mountain dew, among others. Bayer has been given countless of world’s top awards for both his music video and commercials work, and he has done many very influential works.

    Now, why does any of that matter?

    Well, Bayer has worked really hard for 20 years to become a feature film director. Also, he would be making a lot more money by simply doing commercials. A top level commercials director can do a lot of work in the one year minimum it takes to do a movie. And the combined pay is better than it is for a debutant director. And the work is less exhausting.

    So that pretty much kills your “he is doing it for the money” argument.

    Why did Bayer do Elm Street? A quote:

    “I was attached to ‘Monster’s Ball’ 10 years ago. I had a movie with Benicio Del Toro that was set up at MGM. Sean Penn was writing something. We were going to write something together. I was going to do a remake of ‘Vanishing Point.’ I had quite a few projects that I wanted to see happen, and for whatever reason they didn’t happen. And I’ve always wanted to make a movie. I think it’s very difficult for a first-time director to make the right choice, but you can also wait forever and never make a choice.”.

    And why isn’t the film good? A quote:

    “I think the biggest challenge is– and I heard there’s another director that I heard this quote from. I do a lot of commercials and music videos– well, I do basically commercials now, but I did do a lot of music videos. And doing commercials and music videos are a sprint. When I do a project, the beginning and the end of it’s within three weeks. This is a year of my life. It’s been a marathon. So the biggest challenge is just endurance. Can you be fresh and objective with something after you’ve looked at it week after week after week? And I can honestly say, after doing a movie, I know why bad movies are done. Because I think that people are hypnotized by what they’re looking at, and they’re not– it’s impossible to see clearly after you’re looking at the same thing day after day after day.”.

    (Quotes taken from http://www.slashfilm.com/2010/03/03/interview-samuel-bayer-director-of-a-nightmare-on-elm-street/)

  97. tuukka, i’m sorry but there are filmmakers out there who are in the business to make money. Holywood movie busines sis a business where people can became very rich overnight, and that drives their dream. They can get very rich very fast in ways that not even banking or stock market can. So, yeah, this hacks, they do work hard. but you ar emistakign passion for drive. Yes, this hacks have a lot of drive. a drive that makes them want to be milionaires by the age of 25, to have a house with a pool and a Ferrari at the garage at age 25, to be multimillionaire by the age 30, to be billionaires by the age 40. Adn they try to achieve that through making movies. And banal commercial sure-hit movies. Make no mistake, some people work in the film industry as others do in banking and stock market, as a way to get filthy rich. Any fool who reads FORBES and VARIERY can tell you how some filmamkers who lucked, worked hard and schemed enough to hit big, how they went form rags to riches. Holywood film busienss is one of the very few busienss out there that REALLY can mke one go from poverty to great riches in a matter of months. Just ask Renny Harlin, who was pratically a bum when he directed NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 4 into a rich guy all with one movie. That’s the dream that feeds the hacks in the business. They work har,d yes, but their goal is not to make memorable movies, or even truly good movies in the entertaiment realm. they want to be the other guy who also gets rich very fast because his movie is an hit.

  98. Just because a guy has passion for the filmmaking in general, doesn’t mean he might have it for a given project. It’s not a everything or nothing deal.

    Roland Joffe directed THE MISSION, which is a great film. Not perfect by any means, but still a very much a film where the director had passion for the project. One of Joffe’s latest films was promo vehicle for a Russian faux lesbian pop band starring Mischa Barton. You think he poured the same amount of energy and creativity into that project than the DeNiro/Irons film?

    Same thing with Samuel Bayer. He is no doubt a smart, creative and a talented guy. He’s directed very interesting looking music videos. But like he himself says, he turned down the film twice until a very powerful and rich man in Hollywood suggested it’d be a great career move and a good paycheck. I’m sure Bayer has a great film in him, but this was a purely mercenary move – not just for him, but for everyone involved.

  99. HT, when i saw the double whammy of THE KILLING FIELDS and THE MISSION, i though i was seeing a new Stanley Kubrick emerging. No, THE MISISON is not a flawed film, it’s A FLAWLESS FILM. It’s as good as it gets. Words like “Masterpiece” were invented for such movies. He then made two underrated movies afterwards, FATBOY AND LITTLE MAN aka SHADOWMAKERS, and that movie staring one of the Beasty Boys whose name escapes me (the Beastie boy and the movie). And then, something happened and it’s as if a pod replaced him and nothing of his once brillant has pop up afterwards. Too bad, ebcause in the early 1990 he got this close to make a MOBY DICK movie staring either Clint Easthwood or Jack Nicholson as Ahab.

  100. Revered directors like Howard Hawks always saw movies has business as much as anything. William Friedkin credits Hawks as saving his career, because he wanted to make art fims and turn down the Exorcist, but Friedkin told him to not use films as platforms. That when he made a movie with good guys winning over bad guys it did really well.So Friedkin took The Exorcist. I mean, that movie, The Godfather, Jaws…all of those were basically “for the money” projects, none of the directors wanted to make those. Then when they get tomake whatever they want, Coppola bankrupts a company and Spielberg makes 1941 and Friedkin makes Sorcerer.

    Vern, I forgot about Eaten Alive! I just looked up your review too, you perfectly nailed that movie. Ultimately I think I like movies like Eaten Alive and The Funhouse more than most,because I don’t care if a movie always has a interesting story. Sometimes I just like a creepy vibe. A movie like Eaten Alive should have been one of the features in Grindhouse. I see a movie like that or The Funhouse and I wonder what was Hooper thinking.

    I definitely think Spielberg directed a lot of Poltergeist, Hooper never made a movie before or since that looked like that. Here’s an interesting link about with with a LOT of quotes from people saying they never worked with Tobe at all on the movie, like Jerry Goldsmith.

    http://www.poltergeist.poltergeistiii.com/really.html

  101. It’s been ages since I’ve seen THE MISSION or THE KILLING FIELDS. I do remember thinking they were great, but a bit slow at parts. Maybe I should re-visit them now as I’ve come to appreciate more slower paced films as I’ve grown up.

    As for Joffe, I remember reading somewhere that he had developed a pretty major coke habit, so I guess that contributed to his career slide.

  102. HT, cocaine, it had to be! I should has suspected as much.

  103. There’s no way Eaten Alive was made without a lot of drugs involved.

  104. As for Simon Bayer, it’s funny nobody is mentioning something about him: that for about 2 years he was unemployed. And you know why? Because nobody wanted to work with him, on account he’s a major screaming short-tempered prima-donna asshole. Nobody in the music business wanted to work with him, not musicians, not filming crew, not executives, nobody. He alienated everybodyt with his temper tantrums and shoutings and screamings. It was only thanks to GREEN DAY that the man finally found himself working again, when they hired him to make two videos back to back for their “American Idiot” album, and he worked on scale, and heavily supervised to see if he went to his tantrums and bitching ways again. He managed to control himself enough to slowly regain trust from the people inthe music business. also, he never hid his admiration for Michael Bay, who he sees as a major “artistic” inspiration and a figure of inspiration, for everything, including, so it seems, his attitude toward the crew while filming. For all of that, i don’t like the dude one bit. Also, he was fired from SMELLS LIKE TEEN SPIRIT video, and the video was finished by Kurt Curbain himself, he finished the shot and edited the video.

  105. Jones, cocaine is not allucinogenic. But it makes people stupid and paranoid.

  106. I’d think he was doing a lot of stuff.

  107. AsimovLives – didn’t know that about Bayer.

    Guess you need a proven track record before you can act like an enormous cock in the business. I hear people like Michael Bay and James Cameron are huge assholes to work for, but they are consistently producing work that brings in shitloads of money, so their behavior is tolerated.

    Directing a few great looking music videos ain’t enough to cut it, it seems.

  108. I don’t know that I’ve ever really heard that Bay and Cameron are assholes just to be assholes though…they don’t shout and scream and get mad. They’re tough because they’re in charge of gigantic movies and they’re both really involved with details. And Bay may seem meaner because apparently he’s his own A.D., and those are usually the guys who yell and make people work hard in order to get things done, so the director doesn’t have to be the bad guy. And they’re loyal, they use the same crews all the time.

  109. Jones, yes, absolutely.

    Those guys have proven themselves with their past work, *and* they’re always putting themselves on the line for the films. Watching the documentaries on the making of THE ABYSS, it is obvious that while Cameron does act like a no-punches pulled asshole on the set, he does so because he wants to make the best film possible. And he’s always the last guy to leave for the day. That guy has passion for his films, and success (both financial and quality) to back his shit up.

    I doubt people would grant the same sort of leeway for Bayer, if what is said is true.

  110. Stylistically, I think that BACK TO THE FUTURE looks and feels more like a Spielberg movie than POLTERGEIST. And considering how inert, muddled and more recognizably Zemeckis I find the BACK TO THE FUTURE sequels, the case for Spielberg’s involvement in the original only improves.

    I see more continuities in tone and technique between POLTERGEIST and TEXAS CHAIN SAW than I do between POLTERGEIST and E.T. Maybe someone here with nothing better to do can summarize the case arguing that Spielberg directed POLTERGEIST.

  111. HT, I’m sure Joffe felt more passionate about The Mission than he felt about You and I. However, I’m not sure how one can come to the conclusion that if one feels *more* passion towards some movie, he can’t feel passion for another movie.

    ASIMOVLIVES, I wonder who all those people you talk about are?

    The only name you mentioned is Renny Harlin. And while I don’t know Renny personally, I have mutual friends with him (He is Finnish, as am I). I have follower his career very closely.

    He was a top level Finnish commercials director in his early to mid 20’s (this was back in the early 80’s). He wanted to make movies here in Finland, but unfortunately it was impossible to find Finnish financing for action movies, or any kind of genre movies, at the time.

    So what he did was that with his first-time producer friend Markus Selin they arranged financing for a cheap english-language film “Born American”, which was filmed in Finland. The film bombed and didn’t get Finnish distribution because government thought it was too anti-Soviet (Finland used to be very careful to not upset USSR). After that, Renny’s movie career in Finland was dead.

    What Harlin did was that he took all his savings, moved alone to Hollywood, and tried to get a directing gig by showing Born American around the town. He had to live, like you said, as a bum. But finally he got to direct the low budget “Prison”. And thanks to Prison, which was well made for the budget, he got to do Nightmare On Elm Street 4.

    Renny is someone who is extremely passionate about movies. All his life he has devoted everything to filmmaking. He left behind his successful commercials directing career here in Finland and lived as a “bum” in L.A only so that he could make movies.

    Nothing in his career happened because of luck. It was just hard work, determination – and passion.

    BTW, over the years I’ve met a lot of people who have said these same “they are just doing it for the money” arguments, and I have noticed one interesting thing: The people who make such claims are not successful in said art-form themselves, and they always talk about people who happen to be way more successful. It’s an interesting coincidence to say the least.

  112. Jones, Some of the CGI effects in JP do not hold up that well, and they don’t look anywhere near as good as the CGI in Revenge Of The Sith. Also, I don’t feel that it is a completely fair comparison because Menace & Revenge Of The Sith are almost all CGI with CGI in almost every shot while JP is a good mix of practical affects and CGI. The reality is the computers they use to create the CGI effects get more powerful over time, and this is reflected in the product. That is why CGI dates a film. For example. look at the early Pixar films compared to the more recent ones and there is a huge difference. Toy Story 3 looks way better then Toy Story 1. To your point that the quality of the CGI has more to do with the director then the time it was done, I would point to Gladiator as an example of an older film that Scott made where the CGI looks dated and sticks out like a sore thumb.

  113. CGI is “limitless”, so it’s easy for directors to indulge themselves and do impossible shots and throw VFX budget into a problem that could have solved better and more convincingly with application of some creativity. Of course, the problem is that VFX *budgets* aren’t limitless and it takes money and effort to create all that – so you can throw in unlimited number of dragons and CGI gore and shit, but it’s takes a lot of money (and talent and manpower the money buys) to do that *well*.

    But the biggest problem with CGI is, unfortunately, that it is just an approximation of the real world. Software and hardware and techniques get better all the time, and so that approximation gets better. But it is still an approximation. Practical effects, no matter how fake-y rubber monsters you use, they’re still 100% real world. – obeying all the laws of physics, and how light hits and bounces off a real objects, the shadows, the physicality, and all the other hundreds of little details that make things look real.

    I’m not against CGI effects by any means. You can achieve things with CGI that you can never achieve practically. But I just wish more directors and producers understood all the trade-offs and pitfalls involved they decide to do things with CGI vs. doing it for real. Because it’s easy to rely on computers as a crutch; much easier to delegate things into the post than worry about it on the set while dozens of other pressing things have to be addressed. And it can hurt the resulting film more than it saves during production. Directors need to be aware of this.

    Maybe then we would have been saved from the shitty looking CGI knives, blood and fire in THE EXPENDABLES.

  114. tuukka, Renny Harlin is a motherfucker, and that’s the short of it. Until Michael Bay came along, he was my most detested director alive. Harlin could complain that the mvoie he wanted to make were not possible in Finland. He is right, there was nobody in Finland who wanted to make dumb stupid shalow ass retard action movies, the likes Harlin seems to only be ableto make. If i was a finnish, i would be terribly embaraced about Harlin and i would publicly appologise that my country would had produced such an abomination and pestilence. The same way canadians are forced to appologise for Celine Dion.

    All the directors who have made movies for Platinium Dunes, they are what i call the Mini-Bays, or The Childrne Of Bay. This bunch of idiotic, uneducated, uncultured, shallow minded, money only oriented dumb boys whom see Bay as an example to follow. They are so devoid of their own personality, that i can tell that in any of those Platinium Dunes movies, there is the hand of Bay all over them. The only aspect of the making of those movies which seems to have the less direct influence form Bay is that those movies actually have shots that linger for more then 2 seconds. But in all else, those young hack turks are pure robots without personality. Adnthey care? Hell no, they are just waiting for the check to clear, so they can buy the next Ferrari, preferably the same model that Bay bought, because they so wan tto be like him it hurts.

    Don’t ever mistake jorneymen for hacks. The iidots who work for Platinium Dunes are hacks. Richard Donner, Robert Wise and Howard Hawks were jorneiymen, inspired jorneymen. I respect jorneymen, i despise hacks like Bay and his minions.

  115. As for Finland and movies, Finland produced what has to be one of the top best 10 war movie ever made: THE WINTER WAR. That movie is awe beyond belief.

  116. Well put HT. You did a much job presenting my case then I did. Thank you sir.

  117. RE: Jones

    How does Bay acting as his own AD work exactly? I thought there were union rules in regards to a Director handling actors VS an AD handling actors. Like, I thought you were automatically in a different pay scale if you were working with the director directly. Back in high school I used to be an extra in music videos. The AD would wrangle people, and then a few “hero” actors would be chosen who would get to work with the “real” director. Oddly, I got picked out to be a “hero” actor on the vast majority of sets I ever showed up on. Guess it’s my “loud” fashion sense.

    But I coulda sworn that union rules dictated whom the Director could work with. Am I totally wrong?

  118. I don’t know Charles…I think the digitial effects hold up great in Jurassic Park. And I’m not counting the stuff with real models and all of that, I’m only talking about the digital shots. And I don’t know, I think the digital shots look just fine in Gladiator too…obviously soem of them look like effects, but a matte painting would look like an effect too.

    I just can’t buy the argument that CG is bad because it dates a movie, when I can say the same thing about the creaky, shaky, rubbery monster in Curse (or Night) of the Demon. I LOVE that demon. But put him on screen in 2010 and the movie gets laughed out of town.

    Jareth, did you look at that link I put up? We don’t need to make the comparison that Spielberg directed Poltergeist, there are 30 quotes from actors and technicians saying that was the case. Although even then it doesn’t seem like a 100% “Spielberg directed this movie,” but it does seem like the line was really blurred, and Spielberg was the only contact for some of the people like the composer, who never talked to Hooper.

    And some of the shots in that movie…like when the ghosts are coming down the stairs and everyone has these awed looks on their faces and the camera tracks in and the lighting and the framing…you could take sots of E.T. coming out of the bedroom or something and they could cut together like butter. The lighting in that movie especially looks like Spielberg, lots of bright lights from behind someone and their face is darker, really diffused.

  119. Regarding Harlin;

    He gets work because he shows extreme dedication to a project BEFORE he is ever given a green light. Dude does super elaborate storyboards and concept designs that he comes in and pitches with, and shit looks impressive. I know, because I was once waiting for a meeting on the Fox lot and they had some of his concept artwork on the wall outside of the office. I got a sinking feeling because I had no visual aids whatsoever. Now that project is impossible because it’s about 70% similar too Inception. Meanwhile, Harlin will always have work because he is agreeable with producers, takes notes well, and can pitch like a motherfucker.

  120. Hunter D., I don’t know the ins and outs of union rules concernign that kind of thing. Maybe someone else knows that. But in a ton of interviews, Bay, when asked about his yelling through a bullhorn on set, mentions that he’s his own A.D. so he needs it. But on a set that big, they probably have a number of A.D.s, I can’t imagine Bay is personally getting actor corralled and stuff.

  121. * about 70% too similar to Inception.

  122. Harlin directed DIE HARD 2, THE LONG KISS GOODNIGHT, FORD FAIRLANE and CLIFFHANGER which are all awesome.

    On the other hand, he bankrupted Carolco, so there is that.

    In the end, I still like Harlin’s work. Mostly. Even though he’s doing his darnest to flush his legacy down the toilet with horrid films like THE COVENANT or MINDHUNTERS.

  123. Die Hard 2, and Cliffhanger are both good Harlin movies. I am also a sucker for Deep Blue Sea. It is a really fun movie.

  124. Jones, I am not against CGI, I think that it has helped to move the medium of film forward into places it could not go without it. I just feel the downside to CGI is how it can date a film. For example if I were to make a film where a car crashes and explodes with practical effects you might be able to date it based on the film stock or make of the car, but otherwise who is to say when I filmed the sequence. On the other hand if I did it with CGI it would be much easier to date when the sequence was created.

  125. FART HARD 2 is an horrible piece of terrible shit of a movie. THE LONG KISS MY ASS GOODNIGHT ditto. I could live the rest of my life never watching CLIFFHANGER ever again and i wouldn’t miss a thing. And Renny Harlin’s EXORCIST prequel movie is so retard and dumb and stupid and inept and bad one wonders if it was made by a human being at all. Reny Harlin is 100% crap, and i don’t give a damn if he can draw like Michaelangelo on his storyboard,s because certainly it’s not helping because hios mvoeis still come out dumb, stupid, inept and crap. Harlin and Bay made me loath and hate slow motion, and i used to love slow motion, that’s what an assclown that Renny Harlin fool is. I despise everything about him. Too bad he was chosen to make NIGHTMARE ON ELM STEREET 4 and thus helping him out of being the bum he should had been. Renny Harlin is THE ONLY DIRRECTOR EVER IN THE WHOLE HISTORY OF HOLLYWOOD to have effectively sunk and destroyed a whole Studio in the same year they were havign their greatest finacial year WITH JUST ONE MOVIE. It wa snot Michael Cimino who made that achievement, it was Renny Harlin. And all of it was his own fault. And this clown still makes movies? While much more meritous filmamkers who never sunk a studio can’t find finance to make decent movies? Who can understand this crap? This Renny Harlin is odious beyond belief. Words fails for me to describe how much i despise this assclown.

  126. Charles: I’m not going to spoil this if you haven’t experienced it yet, but any fan of DEEP BLUE SEA really has to sit through the most recent director/cast commentary for that film. Sam Jackson does something very special.

    Jones: I really dislike E.T., but I might have to re-watch it to fully grasp your point. Thanks for that.

  127. HUNTER D, good point about Renny’s storyboarding pitches. It was really important for him particularly in the beginning of his career. He used to storyboard his movies in their entirety, which is very rare for a director.

    ASIMOVLIVES, while I have been decidedly unimpressed by Platinum Dunes movies so far, Liebesman won major short film awards when he was younger and his next movie, Battle: Los Angeles, is having great advance buzz. So I wouldn’t count him out just yet. Also Goyer is pretty prolific and has his own voice, even if he is more successful as a writer than as a director. I haven’t seen Horsemen, and I have no desire to, but Åkerlund does have his own style, at least judging by his past work.

    And Renny’s Die Hard 2, Cliffhanger, Long Kiss Goodnight, Deep Blue Sea and Mindhunters are all really enjoyable movies.

  128. Jareth Cutestory, say no more. I know what I am doing on my next day off. Thanks for the heads up.

  129. AsimovLives, I get that Harlin is not on your Christmas card list, but to lump him in with Bay is unfair. You may not like Harlin’s work but he has a much more firm grasp of the the language of cinema then Bay does. I also think it is unfair to put all the film makers that have worked for Platinum Dunes in the same boat as Bay as well. It is my understanding that Bay’s involvement with Platinum Dunes is more financial then creative. I have already stated that this Nightmare remake is nothing special and ultimately forgettable, but I attend the AICN screening of the film that featured a Q&A with the producers and Bayer and they all expressed genuine passion for the project. You and I may question Bayer’s skill or artistic choices, but I do not doubt his passion for the material. He cared about his art. He never once talked about sports cars, or super models, but he did talk at length about how they considered having Freddy’s nose be completely burnt off in the remake, and how he tried to use color as que to let you know when the film had shifted from the living world to the dream world.

  130. Asimov – I don’t like to have to moderate the comments, but there are some lines of taste that shouldn’t be crossed around here. If you refer to any DIE HARD movie as “FART HARD” ever again I will have no choice but to ban you for life. Thanks Asimov.

    –Vern

  131. It’s not the sentiment that offends, it’s the lack of effort. FART HARD doesn’t even rhyme. You can do better, Asimov. You’re the guy who coined the term “Jar Jar Abrams.” Did you even consider DIE TARD?

  132. how about PLAY HARD? GET HARD?

  133. I do have to say of Harlin that he is unquestionably the King of Explosions. The airliner crash in DIE HARD 2, the exploding mountain in CLIFFHANGER, the exploding ships in CUTTHROAT ISLAND, and the final, exploding continent (well, it looks as big – look it up on Youtube) in THE LONG KISS GOODNIGHT. There’s just a cool, unique – and massive – style in his pyrotechnics. Not even Bay’s films come close.

    And his use of blood squibs is also thoroughly excellent. No amount of modern CGI gore can match the real, meaty wetness of those. He’s almost as good as John Woo, or even Paul Verhoeven in that department. Almost, since I don’t think anyone can top Verhoeven when it comes to action movie blood work.

  134. HT – You realize that Bay’s ego just died when you denied him his Explosion Crown?

  135. Also, Harlin doesn’t “look for financing” because he doesn’t work from a ground-up model. He is a hired gun. He applies for jobs on movies that are already fully funded and moving toward production. If say, Darren Aronofsky or David Lynch, or Michel Gondry, or anyone else whom you might like wanted to, they could absolutely do this model too; look for work that is already happening instead of trying to be a sort of artistic entrepreneur. And you know what? I don’t think one is better than the other inherently. Donner did this. Freidkin did this. McTerrnan did this. Hell, Aronofsky is about to do this with Wolverine 2.

  136. Charles, while CG may date a film, I can’t buy the argument that CG shouldn’t be used because of it. In your example of the car blowing up, you mentioned the film stock and make of the car as the only possible ways that the movie would be dated. And, I’d content, the hairstyle of the guy driving the car, and his clothes, and the music, and the sound effects, and the editing. Take a gunfight from a 1970s movie like Rolling Thunder, and compare it to any gunfight shot recently. They look and sound and are edited and set designed etc etc way differently. Just about every element in a movie dates it, it’s not a ton of movies that really withstand that…which is fine, that’s part of movies, they’re an element of their time.

    Also, I think you can date a movie with practical effects just as easily. You watch Re-Animator and you pretty much can tell by the prosthetics that it was from the 80s. A 70s movie wouldn’t have looked like that, nor the 90s. You want a perfect example? Watch Night of the Living Dead, then Dawn, then Day, then Land. You can see the evolution in makeup effects right there. You put Dawn of the Dead onscreen today, it gets laughed out of the theater with those funny cheap blue zombies with that bright 70s blood and their groovy outfits and polyester suits. DATED.

  137. I actually always thought you could totally see the composite lines in Jurassic Park the first time they see the brontos.

  138. Funny but somehow I think maybe some of you think I hate CGI, and I don’t.

  139. Jones, when have I said that CGI should not be used? As I have stated previously I feel CGI has helped to advance the art of film making, but it does have a down side in that it can become dated quickly due to how rapidly the technology used to create it advances. I feel like you think I am bashing CGI, which is not the case. I just prefer practical effects and feel that they hold up better over time.

  140. To be fair to Asimov, at least FART HARD is evocative and brings to mind a silly image, unlike the perplexing FRAUD TREK he’s tried to make into a thing. I think he’s showing signs of improvement.

  141. I think Die Hard 2 has aged better over time, now that we all know not to expect Die Hard 1 again. Any problems with it are more in the writing than the directing, trying too hard to relive something the same way.

    I think the peak of Renny Harlin badness was Driven, but I didn’t care for the shaky cam 12 Rounds either.

  142. FTopel – DIE HARD 2 is still the weakest of the series. Watchable, but thats about it.

    Harlin is a journeyman, but when has that become a compliment? CLIFFHANGER was pretty fun, but not the sorta thing I set out to rewatch on occassion. More like if its on TV, I might watch a few minutes but thats about it.

    12 ROUNDS was watchable, but again director of DIE HARD 2 remaking DIE HARD 3.

    Also MINDHUNTERS was mind-numbingly idiotic and boring twist-twist-Twist! thriller.

  143. RRA, I would have agreed with you on DH2 all my life, but lately when I watch 2 and 3, 3 is worst. It’s just got no pace and the editing doesn’t really work. We remember it well because it’s a better idea than 2, but now I can watch 2 as just okay, Bruce in an airport, fine.

    2 has become the third best Die Hard, although Cliffhanger is probably a better Die Hard sequel than DH2 or 3. I still like Ford Fairlane though it’s been a while, and I know Dice schtick doesn’t hold up.

    Mindhunters was dumb but had more energy than Screen Gems’ The Covenant. Although I thought there was no better place for Harlin than Screen Gems and WWE vehicles, they did not live up to my hopes.

  144. FTopel – I disagree in this regard: Which one, #2 or #3, tried way too hard to be too much like #1 in terms of look and one-liners and bringing back particular (unnecessary) characters?

    Also I suppose I liked #3 more also because honestly John McClaine is too nice in #2. In my mind, the guy is an asshole. Its why his wife left him (twice), its why his kids hate him most of the time, its why he’s stuck still on street duty despite all his heroics. Even after #4 where he saves America, he probably still has to run stake-out of the local grifters.

    In #3 he’s an asshole with a hangover, no shower for days probably, and not even his co-workers want to do anything for the fucker.

    But when shit hits the fan, who arises to kick ass? Who would you put into the game? Yeah exactly.

    And yeah, I guess MINDHUNTERS was better than COVENANT. Sorta like how getting shived isn’t as bad as getting a shotgun blast to the gut. Still I suppose I can give MINDHUNTERS a brownie point for the liquid nitrogen death for Christian Slater.

    Funny enough, never bothered with CUTTHROAT ISLAND. Should I?

  145. Fun Die Hard facts (some stolen from Vern):

    Die Hard is kinda based on a novel that was originally written as a sequel to The Man with the Golden Arm, starring Frank Sinatra. After Sinatra did Manchurian Candidate, he decided that a sequel to a broad genre movie was below him. However, since the novel was already commissioned, it was still finished and released. 20 years later, the original novel sequel became Die Hard.

    Die Hard 2 was written as a sequel to Die Hard. It is also nearly unwatchable.

    Die Hard with A Vengeance was retrofitted into a Die Hard screenplay from an original screenplay called Simon Says that shamelessly ripped off Die Hard part 1.

    Live Free or Die Hard was officially based on a Time Magazine article that inspired a screenplay called World War 4.0. Unofficially it is also a shameless ripoff of Die Hard with A Vengeance, which in turn was a shameless ripoff of Die Hard which in turn found original life as a screenplay based upon a novel commissioned as a sequel to The Man with the Golden Arm.

    And we were worried about the integrity of a PG-13 rating?

  146. Not THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN ARM, it’s THE DETECTIVE by Roderick Thorpe. I still haven’t read it, but the whole plot and twist ending are summarized in NOTHING LASTS FOREVER, which is the one DIE HARD is based on.

  147. RRA, I see where you’re going with it. Die Hard 2 tries WAY too hard to be Die Hard 1 somewhere else and it seems like Die Hard 3 at least takes the authentic character in a new direction. BUT, I now find that it tries WAY too hard to scruff McClane up. It goes so extreme to make sure he’s at the worst point possible. That’s not my problem with the movie though. It’s just not that exciting.

    I think I can forgive the niceness of DH2 because it’s an evolution of his experience from DH1. I can buy he’s trying to clean up, and now we know it didn’t work. I do like self-referential humor though, so that was never my problem. By the way, 2008 was the first year I ever felt good about Die Hard 2. I had 18 years of agreement with you. This time, I think I just saw more cause and effect, what McClane had to do to stop something from happening, so that’s something.

    I would say yes, you should check out Cutthroat Island. I always enjoyed the big spectacleness of it. There’s a good carriage chase, final battle and cave exploring scene. Like most whipping boys, it’s not nearly the worst thing you’ve ever seen (not early the worst Harlin’s directed either. That would be Driven.) Just not that good.

  148. FTopel – CUTTHROAT ISLAND is one of those infamous bombs where, unless I’m proven wrong, its not as entertaining or interesting as its production nightmare.

    My favorite anecdote: Harlin and Geena Davis married at the time, they also were big into that V8 shit. Anyway after shoot finally wrapped and the grunt crew were cleaning up as the principle cast/crew already left, and they find a whole tractor trailer stock-pilled to the hilt with V8 cans, unopened.

    There is a reason why Carolco, who a few years earlier had T2, went bankrupt.

  149. You’re right, RRA, and the reason the movie isn’t as interesting as the stories is because it’s not WOW bad, it’s just not good enough. I mean, it’s no All About Steve.

    The Carolco thing interests me because it seemed like for a small company to go from blockbuster to blockbuster was destined to collapse. Like the housing bubble or a ponzi scheme, if you only make one movie a year, too much is riding on one movie. All sorts of things could happen, release dates, outside forces… If Cutthroat Island had been Pirates of the Caribbean, they would have still only had enough money for the next movie. What if that had been Wild Wild West? Bad example, everyone hated that but it actually made its money back.

    On the other hand, Orion had some good titles and a healthy slate but made awful decisions.

  150. DIE HARD 2, LONG KISS GOODNIGHT, the pirates movie, DEEP BLUE SEA and MINDHUNTERS are nnot movies i would call good fun entertaiment. Depressing insultingly stupid waste of time would be a far more accurate description. If those movies are representative of what “entertaiment movies” are/should be, then i would have nothing more to do with that type of movies ever again. I’d rather watch MARTYRS instead.

  151. Vern, i appologise if i upset and insulted you and disrupted the conversation here. For you i do anything you say. For you. You have no idea how much i respect you as a reviewer and as a person. And i’m not being a sycophant, i’m saying this from the heart. Forgive my moments of passion, they just reflect how passionate and how much i love not just movies, but cinema as a whole.

  152. FTope, Carolco wasn’t destined to collapse. Carolco was going very strong. You can tell that they made some bad financial calls, that they overstretched. but none of most of their decisions were not bad decisions, they did what every company in their situation would do. Their really big mistake was to make that Pirates movie and hiring Renny Harlin to make it. Harlin was always wasteful in his filmmaking. He has a terrible vision of the movie he’s to make, contrary to what our friend above said of how prepared he is with storyboards. in fact, Harlin is well know for being very wasteful while shooting. He shots a lot of film, he covers everything with dozen of cameras and he makes takes after takes of peope just climbing a rock. He has no real vision when shooting,he just over-shoots everything and tries to fix it in post-production. harlin was one of the original “fix it in post” hacks that became to dominate Holywood filmaking in the 1990s and 2000s. From Harlin to Bay to Bay’s minions.

  153. RRA, the stories of the filming of CUTTHROATH ISLAND are wevne worst and more insane. For example, Genna Davis demanded different diamond jewels to use every night, all rented at the expenses of Carolco. They, Davis and Harlin, demanded and got from Carolco the most insane demands. And i see it as nothing as madness. Who in the right mind would think that Renny Harlin was a big deal, a big man, a big talent to be so supported by a studio? Madness.

  154. Asimov – To be fair, Renny at the time had two big hits: DIE HARD 2 and CLIFFHANGER. Of course now it sounds like crazy to give him the keys, but in context it made sense.

    Interestingly reading up, turns out Renny offered the male hero part in CUTTHROAT to everybody in Hollywood, and basically got Matthew Modine because well he was the first to accept it.

    Anyway I think you might have a point about the post-stuff.

  155. And DIE HARD WITH A VENGENCE is a really good movie. On it’s own. As a DIE HARD movie, it’s second best. The thing i love about that movie is that, unlike the abominable DIE HARD 2, it doesn’t try to be a full copy of the first movie but with bigger explosions. I mean, the desperate atempt of DIE HARD 2 to surpass the first movie in temrs of explosions and more shooting and more kills is what made the advertizement create in infamous subtitle and tagline “Die Harder”. Which perfectly reflects the idioticy that went into the making of that movie, to such an extent, that now it’s a pun used as mockery and parody. everytime one wants to mock a bad sequel, we call it “Something Harder”, to call attention to the stupidity that is going into it.

  156. I remember hearing that Cutthroat Island had basic problems like underexposure. Watching the film on Blu Ray, I thought I could tell which shots had been artificially fixed in post, but maybe not.

    Can we all agree that Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is far, far worse than Cutthroat Island yet has made enough money to finance three Carolcos?

  157. Any movie made by Michael Bay is worst then anything else made by anybody else. The only other director who might have out-worsed Bay is roland Emmerich with his 2012 movie. And i stress “might”, because, frankly, to chose which is worst, Bay or emmerich, is like having to chose between a rock and a hard place.

  158. Asimov – I dunno about that (in fact I disagree) but I think we both can agree that both are assholes who’re given a shitload money it seems every at-bat and they fucking strike out.

    Hell Emmerich especially, its pathetically even more transparent. Remember STARGATE, decent idea but lame execution? You had that TV show which wasn’t great or necessarily “good”*, but none the less it took advantage of the premise and explored it for all its money. Plus we get MacGuyver in outer space. It ran what 10 years?

    Or UNIVERSAL SOLDIER, I mean sorry kids but Emmerich didn’t even make the best movie with that title. That John Hyams guy owns the throne, putting some smarts and enticing entertainment into what might be the greatest DTV actioneer I’ve ever seen. Good shit.

    *=Too much STAR TREK wannabe, you know? Hell most of those damn episodes rewrote TREK plots it felt like.

  159. I still think The Rock is great in spite of Bay. Probably mostly due to Cage but probably some Connery and Harris input too.

    Emmerich probably hasn’t made anything as bad as Driven, Covenant or 12 Rounds though. At least Day After Tomorrow is fun stupidity.

  160. Topel – Again I must say it, what is so bad about 12 ROUNDS? Forgettable ok, disposable ok, but bad? Thats two completely different things.

    Speaking of John Cena flops, I wonder if Vern will ever bother reviewing LEGENDARY, a movie which bombed so bad it makes SCOTT PILGRIM look like AVATAR successful.

  161. I think CUTTHROAT ISLAND is definitely watchable movie. Not nearly as bad as its reputation – a decent, big budget pirate action flick.

    Worst part is the casting. Geena Davis was quite as the kick-ass soccer mom type she played in THE LONG KISS GOODNIGHT. But as a star and heroine of a rousing pirate adventure? No way. And since her role had been expanded considerably (because she was fucking the director), no wonder everyone passed on the male lead role. And they got stuck with a Z-grade “action star” choice of Matthew Modine.

    Had they’ve been able to cast someone like, say, Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp in their dashing primes, the film would have made a fuckton of bank.

  162. HT – I do remember a ton of Artisan or/and Carolco video releases at the time having commercials on them for CUTTHROAT ISLAND, including a T-shirt offer.

    I wonder how many plucky souls walked the plank and got that rag?

    Also one would think CUTTHROAT would have done better because it wasn’t rated Arrrrgh.

  163. HT, it’s the other way around. Gena Davis, in her 6’2 or 6’3 height, she was dead perfect to play a female pirate that could kick ass. She is very tall and she was always athlectic. It’s the movie itself that’s unwatchable. The movie is stupid beyond belief, and it’s badly made beyond belief. harlin is one of those clowns that thinks that slow motion makes instant cool action. And the stupid kerosene explosions from gun ammo impacts. That Harlin is retard beyond belief!

  164. RRA, it should had been rated R for Retard.

  165. Geena Davis may be tall but she doesn’t come across as tough…at least not pirate tough. I heard they wanted Michael Douglas for the Modine role, that would have been cool.

    I LOVE Die Hard 3. The 2nd isn’t bad but it’s just sort of useless and I don’t care for the way Harlin fetishizes the violence, lots of slo-mo blood squibs and all of that. He’d obviously seen The Killer because there’s a few gags straight out of that movie. I prefer the way McTiernan shot Die Hard’s action, just keep the pace up, shoot it in a non-showy but exciting way.

    What I really liked about the third is that it was an action movie but they Willis didn’t even shoot anyone until about 2/3 of the way through. That was sort of different, an action movie not relying on killing. The only things that movie did wrong was a lot of stuff in the third act, Willis falling a cartoonishly long fall onto a ship and surviving, the wannabe brutal fight between him and some guy you don’t know and the fight’s not that interesting anyway, and not having a real climax.

  166. Jones – That’s actually true. Douglas quit CUTTHROAT when Harlin wouldn’t get the script rewritten in his favor, i.e. Harlin’s wife not the central focus. Of course then again in retrospect, wouldn’t this end up being ROMANCING THE STONE but with pirates?

    Anyway this sounds petty, but only in DIE HARD 2 of the series did this qualm came to mind for me: Willis has to fight these special forces spooks, you know hardcore trained jarheads and he seems to easily dispatch them. Not saying its impossible for a too-much-smoking middle-aged New York cop to beat them with (1) wits and (2) being a tough bastard.

    Still to give #2 credit, remember he didn’t defeat William Sadler in one-one combat, hell he got his ass kicked. That’s good, yet he took out Sadler’s mentor, who…..

    Oh what am I kidding, this same complaint can be used with all the DIE HARD movies I suppose.

  167. RRA, don’t youn dare defending DIE HARD 2 by using the mistakes of the other two DH movies. Remmeber, two wrongs do not make a right. DH2 doesn’t get any better because the other movies did some screw up.

  168. Adn yes, i said the other two, which means, DIE HARD and DIE HARD WITH A VENGENCE. Die Hard 2 and 4 doesn’t exist, as far i’m concerned.

  169. Well, in Die Hard 1 we don’t get any real bonafides about the terrorists. For the most part they’re goons with guns, we don’t know what real training they have. I assume some, but Willis is also a cop, so she should be able to take care of himself. That said, I do like how he gets his ass kicked in the second and doesn’t win the fight in the end, he just gets kicked off the plane. But the other guy was winning until Willis just shoved him, that’s fair…and he was older!

  170. How old was Bruce Willis when he made DIE HARD 2? 35? 38? That’s hardly old or middle aged.

  171. Asimov – True but consider how many cigarettes his character burned through by then. He may be 38 technically, but his body is probably like 50. Plus I wouldn’t be shocked if he still had some bum joints and embedded junk from the first movie.

    Wish we would see something like that for once, instead of a guy beat to shit but then all back to A-KAY for sequel, we still see subtle physical consequences of getting his ass kicked that hard in every which way but zeus.

    Also how dare I defend Die Hard 2? What?

    I feel like Willis on the rooftop in DIE HARD #1 when Robert Davi is shooting at him: “I’m on your side asshole!”

  172. I meant the soldier that Willis managed to beat was older. So Willis had that going for him if you wanted to get technical about the fighting.

  173. Saying that John McClane couldn’t kill a bunch of mercenaries you might as well say to a kid you killed Santa Claus.

    It’s the Chrismas magic. Believe in miracles!

  174. I’m glad we live in a world where there are four Die Hard movies to choose from. It’s one and four for me, but I’m glad I can put two back in rotation and not totally hate it, like I did for 18 years. I lost 3 though, which made me happy for a few years when I used to say “WITH A VENGEANCE!!!” all the time.

  175. Hey Vern,

    How do you feel about SPONTANEOUS COMBUSTION? Don’t think I’ve ever seen you review or mention that one. Very under appreciated in my book. I’d sure love it if you did a Expendables/Dracula/video games series of reviews on the films of Brad Dourif, who is my favorite guy ever, hint hint.

    Your fan forever,
    Scotty Abraham

  176. RRA, BTW my distaste for 12 Rounds is all the shaky cam meant I couldn’t even see the ridiculous action going on. We forgive it sometimes, justify it other times, but 12 Rounds didn’t have much going for itso that did it no favors.

  177. In regards to Cutthroat Island, call me sexist, but a big budget pirate movie centered around a female action hero released in 1994 was just not going to work. The world was not ready for an action blockbuster with a female lead yet, especially if the lead is a pirate. From a business stanpoint, it was a bad move.

    Nowadays, we’ve been conditioned by the Resident Evils, Kill Bill’s, and any action movie with Angelina Jolie in it, that its acceptable/believable to have a female action hero. Before someone throws the “Ripley from Aliens” argument at me, there’s a big difference between that character and a grizzled pirate swordfighting/swinging on ropes.

  178. I agree, Cutthroat was always an uphill battle. Worth a shot though, and perhaps better management all around could have brought the movement ahead sooner.

  179. FTopel, Cutthroat Island is a movie that should had costed half what it did. Harlin is fully responsible for the way it turned out, and you could also blame the two heads of Carolco for beliving in directros and not being strong-arm producers who would micro-mannage everything about a movie. The probpem is that they hired Renny Harlin, who is a notorious waster of time and film stock and useless shooting stuff that disapears in the editing room. Her’s a terrible wasteful filmmaker, like other hacks like JJ Abrams and Michael Bay.

  180. Asimov – As Topel said, better management was needed on that train wreck from all decks.

    Speaking of Abrams, I hope the fucker quits that lens flare garbage which was distrating in TREK.

  181. Late to the thread as usual, but: the stretching-arms shot was in the trailer for the original Nightmare, and as a kid it scared the crap out of me. I don’t know why. Something about it was child-silly and horrible at the same time, like stuffed animals killing a baby. I think the existence of that shot alone proves Wes Craven’s genius, for knowing that was going to be scary…hell he probably had to argue with people on the set “yes put the damn broom handles in the damn sweater arms, trust me on this!”

    I didn’t get to see the real movie until much later as an adult and the real movie scared the crap out of me too. You know what didn’t scare the crap out of me though? “Wes Craven’s New Nightmare”. What a pile.

  182. I met Tobe Hooper a few months back. He himself called bullshit on the whole Spielberg directed Poltergeist thing. Apparently, Spielberg was doing 2nd Unit the day a reporter came to set for interviews, he saw Spielberg behing the camera giving orders and a story was born.

  183. RRA – I’m not even sure how or why we’re having this convo in the Nightmare on Elm Street thread, but to reply to your comment a few posts up about carryover damage from action sequels, I thought Riggs was pussified in Lethal Weapon 3 (he actually gets beat up more than a few times, when LW1 Riggs would have made short work of these assholes) which I chalked up to bad writing, but someone pointed out it’s from getting stabbed and shot like 6 times at the end of Lethal Weapon 2. Which makes sense.

  184. wow, i don’t know how i stumbled across this website , but there are some smart guys out there—-yeah, NOES 2010
    is a mixed bag of goods—when i hear how “terrible” it is , truth be told im a little shocked—i think the last twenty minutes is pretty cool. Jackie did a great job—Rooney Mara is going to be a huge star -It got people talking about the franchise again, and it did 117 million worldwide — Is this a great film? Is this the film i really wanted to start my career with? —No, but i do think we tried to reinvent something –that certainly could have used a revamp—i hear all the flack about the EFX in film , and there were certainly some issues — but, I think the CG work on Jackie’s face is excellent-it was done by the same team that did Two-face in the The Dark Knight—and i certainly have heard alot of the criticism –I’ve got no excuses–there were a lot of cooks in the kitchen-but my name is on the one sheet-so, let me take the blame for whatever people dislike or like in remake–what can i say guys? my favorite James Bond film is On Her Majesty’s Secret Service–i thought Lazenby made a good bond—-

  185. Well I appreciate your comment Mr. Bayer. I hope my review was fair, and I think it was. I did say SOME nice things, including about Jackie Earl Hayley and Rooney Mara. I don’t remember there being CGI on his face, so it must’ve looked real. And honestly I didn’t single out the director like I usually would because I get the sense trying to direct one of those things is like holding onto the back of a train and trying to slow it down.

    I’m sure some people are too harsh on the movie, that’s a given on the internet but it’s also what you gotta deal with if you’re gonna do a remake like that. It’s a double edged sword. You buy the name and character, you automatically make ten gazillion dollars, but also you have to have your movie held up against one that we’ve loved and analyzed for almost 30 years.

    But I hope you get a chance to do a movie where you’re a little more in control and happy with the results. Also I looked up which videos you directed and I think you did a good job on that “Wake Me Up When September Ends” thing. That was a unique and powerful little mini-movie, especially coming out at the time it did.

  186. Boy, if Mr. Bayer comes back, I wonder what he would think of the idea that his film is Nightmare 9? I say that as a compliment. It holds up against a series that meant a lot to me and doesn’t contradict anything that came before.

    I know the mandate was “reinvent” but I frankly don’t think this is a series that suffers at all with age. Some people don’t like the funny ones, so they went back to scarier ones. It can still be part of the same mythology. Different interpretations, like Alien.

  187. Wow, Samuel Bayer. Amazing.

    Somehow, I feel a Michael Bay suplex threat coming along very soon.

    And yes, I agree with that green day video. I don’t watch MTV anymore, but when they actually had videos I’ve always somehow to remember that name ever since that nirvana video. Samuel Bayer’s got a great visual style and its sad that NOES didn’t turn out as he expected it to be. He was probably one of the most interesting reasons for me to see the remake. Its good to see that him, along with Marc Webb, and Mark Romanek slowly branching out in Hollywood..

    If you’re reading this Mr. Bayer, best of luck to you on tumor and with whatever upcoming projects you have in mind.

  188. you know i’ve never interacted with anyone re: NOES online—im pretty much computer illiterate—(Somebody put up a Facebook page with my name on web, and i can’t figure how to take it down)–and i certainly put my foot in my mouth many times when doing press on movie—in one particularly unpleasant episode i made the mistake of joking that NOES fans who were judging the movie before it came out needed to get a life—(i said some other dumb shit-about also getting out in the sunshine, getting a girlfriend-ect) soooo, some of the stuff i read online after that said i should die, get AIDS , what a hack i was ect. i gotta be real careful on what i say–I can’t really share too much about process of making this movie, politics involved ect. i know people grew up with this character, and the original had a huge influence on them and was a important slasher flick= believe me, the execs at the studio were fans as well. I would have really explored the surreal possibilites of dream landscapes had i been given the chance-and if they do a sequel (which i think they should-)
    another director should really push that element of film–using all the modern technology available to us.

  189. i have way too much coffee in me—so let me share one thing that would have been really cool——-after Quentin and Nancy wreck their car–there was a sequence we shot but never finished –where Nancy starts hallucinating before they reach pre-school—and we, as the audience, see a city of the dead:—beat-up , weathered houses–(shot this a few blocks from where Michael Jackson was born in Gary ind-really depressing slum) the streets are filled with blood, a dog that looked like a burnt pitbull watches Nancy—in the distance we miles of burning smokestacks belching black smoke into a fiery sky–

  190. –and i think, (but im not sure) that the rough cut of that sequence might be on the DVD extra section—
    its hard to watch—its really rough, all temp efx. that took people out of film and was dropped after first screening . but, i think given the chance this sort of idea in a sequel could be great.

  191. That does sound cool. Yeah, I was surprised there wasn’t more dreamscape stuff. Even Part 2, which is pretty bad, has some great unexplained dream moments including a dog with a human face. And it’s just sitting there, it doesn’t even attack anybody, which makes it more authentically dream-like.

    I did like when the guy was swimming and then woke up in a dream where he was still wearing a swimming suit.

    thanks

  192. Yeah, when I think of the NIGHTMORE series I tend to think of it as less of a slasher/monster movie and more of surreal nightmare kind of thing which happens to have a killer at its center. I’d rather they focus less on Freddy and more on creating a real paranoid dreamscape vibe (like the scene Mr. Bayer describes). The fact that they cut that out (against Mr Bayer’s better instincts, if I infer correctly) pretty strongly suggests the the powers that be see this as essentially a monster franchise, which is, I guess, where the smart money is (merchendising, etc). Unfortunately, its a bit of a bummer to have a franchise centered around Freddy when the movie makes him a far less appealing character than even the original (who wants to go for Halloween as a pedophile? Baffling).

    I’ve liked plenty of Mr Bayer’s work in the past, so I’m sure he has some good horror stuff in him — I doubt anyone could really have knocked this one out of the park with so much money riding on recreating a franchise. I think that’s the real lesson behind these constantly dissapointing Platinum Dunes remakes.

  193. “when i hear how “terrible” it is , truth be told im a little shocked—i think the last twenty minutes is pretty cool.”

    Wow, it’s weird to read a director give the same mixed review of the film that I would have. Sounds like he has a reasonable perspective on the film.

  194. Haven’t seen this one yet but whoever cut the trailer should be given an award. The trailer for this is movie is awesome and actually made me wanna go out and see it (never got around to it though).

    So Samuel, on imdb.com it says that you’re directing Nightmare part 2. If thats true, i just wanted to hear what your thoughts are on that. Why did you decide to come back for round 2?

    On a side note, don’t worry about pissing off internet movie nerds. Its inevitable.

  195. not doing NOES 2—its a mistake on IMDB—-got other stuff you may hear about soon—-not sure i want to do another horror film right now, there was (and still might be) a Stephen KIng book i was in discussions with studio about—–and im really excited about TUMOR—

    im not worried about movie nerds on the internet—jesus christ , they have a lot of time on their hands–

  196. Mr. Bayer – Thanks for stopping by, giving us your thoughts, and joining our celebrity posters including Albert Pyun, Joseph Kahn, Chris Coppola, and (sorry dude) one of the FACE/OFF writers. You’re always welcome here.

    But phone up your old boss and get him posting here. Bay/Vern is the confrontation we here forever, have been speculating like Coke/Pepsi, King Kong/Godzilla, Dracula/Frankenstein, Florentine/John Hyams, etc.

    Master of (Expensively) Blowing Shit Up and the Master of (Internet Movie Criticism)Wit?

    Let’s make it happen.

    P.S. – To break bread, tell Mike that I apologize for comparing him to Zach Snyder.

  197. In other horror remake news: the HELLRAISER remake is going to be PG-13 and targeted towards teens. Fucking Weinsteins.

  198. That is truly shitty news. I’ve always thought that HELLRAISER is actually one horror “classic” that is ripe for a remake. It’s not the sort of self-contained classic that HALLOWEEN, THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE or A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET were. It’s mostly remembered because of Pinhead, who was kind of a minor element in the original who went on to become the reason to continue the series. The original book “The Hellbound Heart” is much better than the movie. Mostly because Clive Barker’s direction is pretty lacking. There are lots of cool ideas in it, but in regards to its filmatism, it’s a really ugly, crudely made movie. And the lead actress’ feathered eighties hairdo needs a remake all on its own. I remember liking HELLRAISER 2 as well, but the effects in that one are really dated. Anyway it’s hard to imagine how it could be done PG-13. It’s not just violent, it has some seriously dark sexual themes that aren’t intended for the TWILIGHT set.

  199. The director of MARTYRS was attached to the HELLRAISER remake for a while. That seemed like an excellent choice of director. In an interview he said not to worry, that he had turned down many opportunities for remakes and Hollywood movies, he was only doing this one because he really believed in it, and if that changed he would leave the project. Then he left the project.

    I think a great remake of HELLRAISER would be possible, but not if the Weinsteins are producing it or allowed to watch it or know that it’s being made.

  200. I think some recent choice excerpts from Clive Barker’s Twitter feed are in order:

    “Can ayone tell me anything about this Hellraiser movie that doesn’t have Doug Bradley as Pinhead in it?I haven’t even been sent a script.”

    “But I suppose I’m irrelevant now.”

    “So this movie exists. It’s finished? Well, for a title I suggest: HELLRAISER : FUCKED.”

    “WHAT? A PG-13! The last insult…”

    And from June 2009:

    “Pascal Laugier is regrettably no longer on the Hellraiser remake. Ithink Martyrs is extraordinary.”

  201. Daaang, MARTYRS is in my top ten horror films of the past decade. Another clear cut case of Being Ellis.

  202. Speaking of top horror films I am glad to see DON’T GO IN THE HOUSE in your widget. I’m trying to think of another little-seen slasher recommendation that I know you’ll like. Hmm… maybe CRAWLSPACE? DEATH LINE (RAW MEAT)? GOD TOLD ME TO? THE HOUSE ON THE EDGE OF THE PARK? DARK NIGHT OF THE SCARECROW? THE ENTITY? More horror recommendations if you haven’t seen em, but these ones don’t have the sleazy 70s/80s flavor: ILS, ISOLATION, POSSESSION, THE DARK HOURS… And I don’t rate it as highly as all these other ones but as someone mentioned in another thread the other day THE PIT is on some weirdass shit to compete with SLEEPAWAY CAMP…

  203. Hmm, should have reread my words and removed the word “slasher” after actually coming up with that list, many of them aren’t slashers at all.

  204. So the Hellraiser remake is gonna be called Heckraiser then?

  205. “OMG, The Cenobites totally gave me an experience beyond limits… pain and pleasure, indivisible, like totally.”

  206. I eagerly await the PG-13 CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST remake in which the tribesmen just sort of nibble on the journalists without breaking the skin.

  207. When she gets pulled into hell they’re gonna have to establish that her cell phone isn’t working there, otherwise nobody would believe she can’t escape.

  208. What the heck are horror movies going to do when cell phone reception is excellent everywhere? You can only forget or break so many phones before it starts to look pretty suspicious.

  209. Movies with a supernatural element will have reception be mysteriously interrupted, probably by ghostly whispers and ominous static. Non-supernatural movies will have to be creative. Me, I always like it when they call the cops and then they get slaughtered as soon as they show up, JASON LIVES-style. it gives the movie a much-needed victim injection at the two-thirds mark and really ratchets up the stakes.

  210. If I recall correctly I think THE HILLS RUN RED was pretty creative about that stuff. Her cell phone had reception, but when the cops asked for her location she was so lost that she could only reply “Uh… somewhere in the woods?”

  211. While we’re on the topic of phone etiquette in horror movies, I have a pet peeve. I hate it when the victims finally get to a working phone and call the cops and then when they get asked what’s wrong, they tell the truth. Then the cops are like, “What is this, a joke?” and hang up. It’s stupid to try to explain to some stranger that an ancient Aztec wereoctopus has taken possession of your sister so that she can give birth to a race of superwereoctopi and take over the world. Nobody’s gonna buy that. Just tell them what they want to hear. Tell them a bunch of crystal meth addicts are running around with guns, shooting people. The important thing is getting them there so they can see the wereoctopus for themselves. Then it’s not your problem anymore.

  212. I just need to comment on the fact that Paul described PASSENGER 57 as a, “very, very, very old” movie up above. It’s true that kids born the year it came out would have been eligible to vote in 2010 the year he wrote his comment, but still… I’d hate to see how many very’s he would use to describe CASABLANCA.

  213. The Original... Paul

    July 6th, 2012 at 11:40 am

    MM – well it’s very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very…

  214. Finally caught it. Was a bunch of “meh”. The kills are uninventive. Too many dream sequences and fake scares. They do the “dark and gritty reboot” thing but Freddy still has a TON of one-liners, that are even unfunnier than his original ones. It takes FOREVER for the characters to learn what anyone who saw the trailer (or watched any of the originals) already knew. SPOILER – they should have stuck w/ the only significant change (about Freddy possibly being innocent). They bring it up then quickly negate it, it seems pointless.

    Re: the final battle – Freddy’s been pulled out of the dream world in over half of these damn movies. I never thought the big budget, 2010 remake would be the one with the lamest, shortest battle. Where the heroine basically re-uses the kill-off line and method from the last movie (Freddy vs. Jason), no less!

    And re: Mara, she’s not exactly “good” here, but I actually find her mush-mouthed voice and line-delivery endearing and magnetic in this and other movies like Tanner Hall. Her delivery’s not Christopher Walken or anything, but I like that we have a young actress who has a very distinctive voice of her own already.

  215. Saw this again last night. Dreary boring crap. None of the characters were interesting. Jackie was menacing as the new Freddy but I can’t say I liked the makeup.

    Is Platinum Dunes still around? Haven’t heard of any new movies from them recently.

  216. Great review, good talkback, unterrible movie. Mr. Bayer is right about the last 20 minutes. He’s also correct about ON HER MAJESTY’S SECRET SERVICE.

    I do wish there were more of a Tarsem Singh flavor to some of the sequences here, like what the director describes as a partially completed bit that ended up on the cutting room floor. (Seems like editing bay janitors would rake in major dough if they just took, developed, and uploaded some of the crazy shit they swept up.)

    Can’t disagree with any of the negative reactions detailed above, but I would like to give a thumbs up to the sickening Kellan Lutz self-knifing that opens the film. That was hardcore.

    Also I enjoyed all the one-liners. “Let me take a stab” etc.. I’m a simpleton.

    In conclusion, I’m glad Samuel Bayer never had a tumor. That was confusing wording by “rewrite,” whose commenter name should be his/her own advice.

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