I think I’ll be sitting out Freddy

tn_freddySome of you may remember that I didn’t review the FRIDAY THE 13TH remake until it came to DVD. To be honest I was dying to see it, but I felt like a sucker that I kept paying money to these assholes that pimp out the titles of old movies I like. I mean I like some of the horror remakes, but none of the Platinum Dunes ones, including that one when I finally got around to it.

Well, I have even less faith that they can pull off A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, which I consider a genuine horror classic. On the other hand, in a way it’s not as offensive because I would’ve been happy if they just kept making sequels to the original Jason series forever, and the remake ended that, this one doesn’t put a stop to anything really. So my curiosity almost got me… I was real close to giving in and going to see it tomorrow morning.

But then I came across an article entitled “Mr. Beaks Hates Every Single Frame of Platinum Dunes’ A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET! Do Not See This Movie!” I didn’t read the whole review yet but from what I’ve read so far I’m pretty sure it’s gonna be negative. And it reminded me of some of the clueless, joyless, bad-and-not-in-a-funny-way Platinum Dunes pictures of the past, and made me realize I should stay home and wash my hair or something. So if anybody’s wondering I’ll have a review eventually but I’m probly gonna wait until the DVD or until they feel bad about what they did and decide to let everybody in for free (fingers crossed).

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121 Responses to “I think I’ll be sitting out Freddy”

  1. Right there with you Vern. I was actually sort of looking forward to it when they announced it, because they were bandying around some neat ideas (maybe Freddy was innocent, possibly playing up the child molester aspect that Craven totally cut out of the first movie) but then they trailers started coming and it looked like a really nicely lit, point by point rehash of the first one. No thanks.

  2. Also, all the negative reviews are hilarious because I’m getting that ‘Everyone Hating Transformers 2’ effect, where people are just now catching on to shit that Vern was ranting about a couple years ago. Both Beaks and Massawyrm have been supporters of prior Platinum Dunes updates, but now they’re shocked to see a slick, soulless, unwanted update of a classic, like that’s never happened before.

  3. Totally with you, Vern. But remember it’s always an option to buy a ticket to “Oceans” and then sneak in to see this.

  4. Well then , Vern , you can kick off the summer of action-men-on-a-mission by reviewing The Losers !( if you still want to go at the cinema tomorrow ). For what I can understand , the movie is not doing very well in the cinemas ( a very good sign for me , Kiss Kiss Bang Bang was widely ignored , and I fucking love that shit ), and from the trailers, it not only looks awesome , but right up my alley . I’m looking forward to your opinion on this .

  5. The greatest thing about the review from Mr.Beacks is that the talkback descends into a huge fight about wether Nirvana were any good or not.

    True film fans.

  6. Soundgarden ftw!

  7. yeah I decided to give it a pass as well

    I was intrigued because I freakin’ love Jackie Earle Haley, but none of the trailers impressed me and I figured it would be better if I saved my time and money

    plus I saw the Friday The 13th remake and thought it was wholly mediocre, although I can’t say I regret seeing it because I’ve literally never seen so many breasts projected onto a movie screen (shallow reason I know)

  8. saw the Friday The 13th remake in theaters to be clear

  9. Vern, I am with you 100%. When they announced they were remaking Nightmare On Elm Street, it was right after I saw their Friday the 13th remake, which was SO fucking awful, in every way, shape, and form. And I thought to myself: “I will never, NEVER see their Elm Street remake. All they do is take a movie that the original filmmakers actually put time and effort into, then slather a new coat of paint on it long enough for it to make its money back the opening weekend. So, remember, Dan. They’ll try to make it look cool. They’ll try to trick you into No matter what sorts of bullshit hype they throw at you when the movie comes out, it will be a humorless wreck, making a travesty of something you care about.”

    Cut to: a week ago. I see the clip online of Freddy stalking the girl in the supermarket as “All I Have to Do is Dream” plays on the store’s speakers. That’s clever, I think. Using motion control to blend the waking world and the dream world together. Simple but effective. Maybe this won’t be so bad after all…

    Then I remembered what I told myself in the past, and I thought: you know what? Past Me sounds pretty smart. Maybe I should listen to him.

    But here’s what really did it for me. I thought, “Can you name ONE Platinum Dunes remake you liked?” No, I sure can’t — in fact, I’ve hated every one I’ve seen. “Well, given that they’ve made like 10 or 11 by this point, all bad, what are the chances that this one – arguably the hardest one to get right – will magically be great?”

    I’ll say this for Platinum Dunes. They’re good at making you think you want to see something. But making movies? They’re really, really bad at that.

    FUCK ‘EM.

  10. I just noticed that I haven’t seen one single Platinum Dunes production yet. I might rent this one (or more realistic: Wait for its TV premiere), just because I wanna know how a different actor works as Freddy, but I seriously don’t care for this one. Or Nirvana. And if Kurt Cobain would still be alive, nobody else would these days.

  11. Drew didn’t like it. Harry loved it but it sounded like he saw a different version than everyone el$e. Glad you’re sitting it out Vern. I would suggest others do the same. Nightmare is my favorite horror series and I thought it would be hard to not want to see this. Turns out it’s not. Samuel Bayer directed Smells Like Teen Spirit so I guess thats why the talkback went on that tangent. Kurt recut it though because he hated the Tylenol ad look of the thing. We don’t have to get into this here because it’s a no-win debate but Nirvana are great. It’s not like they just blew up after he died. They were massive before than. I imagine if you don’t like them though it was very annoying to see SAINT KURT on t-shirts and mags. for years after. We do get the 4 hour Never Sleep Again doc. a least partly because of this shitty remake though. So at least fans got something out of it. I saw a clip having to do with Peter Jacksons idea for Nightmare 6 and it was a great premise.

  12. Didn’t Platinum Dunes do the Last House on the Left remake? That was actually a pretty good movie.

    But yeah a couple reviews over on AICN killed all interest in this movie for me, even though Harry went ape shit for it.

  13. The (awful, awful) Friday the 13th remake truly did seem to have a breast fetish, but probably the most horrifying thing in whole movie was…I mean, I was trying to recall the characters a few days ago and I was like, “Well, there was the girl with the fake tits, and then there was the next girl with the fake tits, and there might have been another girl too.” It was this parade of really bad implants UNTIL you get to the last third, when it forgets it’s a horror movie and becomes soft core porn, and begins showcasing some truly amazing real breasts. But Platinum Dunes’ utter ineptitude managed to even mess that up: if it had been in the FIRST half hour it wouldn’t seem so awkward but it’s at exactly the WRONG point in the movie, right when the pace is picking up and you don’t want to go off on narrative tangents. Even a totally gratuitious, basically irrelevent, marathon sex scene between two characters you have zero interest in and which just goes on and on to the point where you’re like, “For god’s sake, they haven’t come yet!?”

    It’s like they watched the Getaway Remake at some point and went, “Oh, hey, an endless NC-17 sex scene that just arrives out of nowhere and serves zero purpose! Great, we need one of those!”

  14. they were great tits though ….and the only things worth stickin around for by that stage . Rob Zombie could learn a thing or two from those tits.

  15. I love the term “breast fetish”, as if it’s a pretty obscure aspect of the female form for someone to find attractive.

  16. As anybody of you know I hate Halloween II. I really wish I could muster up that same amount of hate for Friday the 13th but it’s so boring and mediocre I just can’t do it.

    Well I’m gonna be a glutten for punishment as I’m scheduled to see this on Monday and I’m sure I’m gonna hate myself for it.

  17. I have to admit that I am 100% planning on sucking the devil’s cock this weekend and seeing this movie. I can’t resist. I don’t know, I don’t really have a great justification other than I love the old NOES movies, even the worst ones, and am curious as to how this will stack up. Also, I’m compelled to see most every R-rated horror movie that comes out, to show my support for studios not releasing watered down PROM NIGHT REMAKE style awful bullshit.

    Also, I love horror movies enough that I can usually find something to like even in the worst ones. I’ve watched enough z-grade trash that at the very least I bet I’ll appreciate this one’s professionalism, even if it (likely) turns out to be total dog shit.

  18. Vern, I applaud your bold stance of not paying to see a movie that you think will suck. If more people did this, well, we probably wouldn’t be discussing something called a NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET remake in the first.

    Instead, you should go see HARRY BROWN. That’s what I’m doing. I’ve said this before and I’ll say this again, but I will see any movie where an aged leading man gets in touch with his inner Bronson and reminds the world what a man looks like onscreen.

    I want one with Elliott Gould next.

  19. Jareth Cutestory

    April 30th, 2010 at 8:36 am

    MY INNER BRONSON starring Roberto Benigni: “Tu mi turbi, fucker of mothers.”

  20. The way I feel about Platinum Dunes is kind of how George Carlin felt about politicians; sure they suck, but they don’t exist in a vacuum. Platinum Dunes is pretty much making the exact movies the public and the fans (as much as they bitch about it) actually want to see; I know that because those are the movies they’re actually going to. So, they suck because the public sucks. “This is the best the system can produce”.

  21. I paid money to see “Sorority Row”, although I’m not sure that was really a remake of anything (there was a film called “the house on Sorority Row” but the two didn’t seem to have much in common other than the title). Plus I enjoyed it, in the way that you can enjoy bad titillation without taking offence.

    But yeah, I didn’t bother to see the remakes of “Chainsaw” and I didn’t pay to see “Friday 13th” (borrowed it) so I won’t waste any money on this.

  22. Stu, everybody likes breasts, but there’s attraction and obsession. That movie was like, “Look! Look! Tits! Yeah!!!”

    And yeah, Ms. Third Act Sex Scene was truly blessed by mother nature. Whew. I don’t condemn that actress at all for taking it off in a slasher movie; when you’ve got a rack like that, it should by all means be recorded and immortalized for all time. Jullania Guill, we love you.

  23. Mr. Majestyk – I’m not sure if you were joking but I could get behind an Elliot Gould comeback. I’m not sure he would work as a badass but I would like to see him shake off that dopey father figure he played on FRIENDS.

    My favorite movie of his is SILENT PARTNER. Easily one of the finest, unsung pictures of the seventies. Christopher Plummer is also great in that and it’s directed by a Vancouver son. Horray!

  24. Jareth Cutestory

    April 30th, 2010 at 10:52 am

    I’m probably easier on those OCEANS 11 films than many people, but even I felt a bit of a pang when I watched Elliot Gould in those films. His performances were fine, but so one-note. There was more they could have done with him.

  25. I was kind of joking, but I would seriously watch a DEATH WISH-style movie with Gould in it. He needs to get out of that jokey rut he’s in and bring back a little of that LONG GOODBYE world-weary toughness.

  26. Brendan – I think its their way of backing out of their covenant with Bay without having to publicly admit that they were wrong in the first place.

  27. I was at the AICN screening of this movie this past Wednesday, and I have to disagree with Mr. Beaks. The movie is nowhere near as bad as he makes it out to be, but that doesn’t mean that it is that good either. I would say that it is better then many of the Nightmare squeals, but overall it is just OK. If I have one big complaint about the movie is that it lacks suspense. It has its moments of tension and lots of cheap scares, but no suspense. My brother who saw it with me said he felt it was paced more like an action film then a horror film. It just keeps coming at you and never really slows down enough to allow any real sense of suspense to build. To compare it to another recently made horror film that I enjoyed I would say it is the opposite of House Of The Devil. Where House Of The Devil was all suspense with little action or kills, this new Nightmare movie feels like nothing but chase sequences and kills. Actually I would like to see what Ti West the director of House Of The Devil would have done with this movie. I probably would have liked it more.

  28. That CGI recreation of the ‘Freddy pushing through the wall above sleeping Nancy’ scene that they show in the trailer ended any curiosity I had about this one. Wouldn’t touch it with a ten foot pole.

  29. There was a clip I saw that seemed kind of cool, where this girl was running away from him in a pharmacy and it kept flashing from Nightmare Land to Reality Land, but it still looks bad. It seems like they’re making his face look more generic or something, which I guess makes sense because that’s what they did to Leatherface and Jason. They made them look bland in the name of making them look “realistic.” I actually auditioned for the Jason one as a fat guy that gets killed with a hockey stick, but apparently that didn’t even make it in? So fuck those guys, right?

    I don’t have kids yet, but in five or six years when they’re old enough to watch Texas Chainsaw, I’m gonna do my damnedest to make sure they never learn of the remakes.

  30. Never had time for MrBeaks. He’s an idiot. That he thinks Nightmare on Elm Street was Nancy’s movie says it all (and hoped it would be Tina’s!?! Disappointed it was Freddy’s…Hell, surprised it was Freddy’s ????!?). He doesn’t even get horror. No doubt, he thinks Hellraiser was Kirsty’s movie too… 60 seconds (total) of pinhead delivering 8 quotes spawned 7 sequels, but if MrBeaks saw any he wouldn’t have got them.

    I think it’s a mistake for you Vern to let MrBeaks enduring stupidity tip your decision not to see a film you know you want to see. Practically any other reason would be okay with me. I think you are changing Vernsey. Your review of Boondock was the first of it’s kind – the bad elements of Faraci’s mean-spirited, childish reviews and the narrowness of Harry’s. Kickass was the second of that kind. And this marks the third. I’m wrong about lots of stuff so whatever, but that same transformation is my experience of what I’m sensing. Beautiful poisonous caterpillar into an ugly brown death’s head moth. Mebbe still a bad motherfucker, but not as pretty.

  31. “If I have one big complaint about the movie is that it lacks suspense.”

    Charles – What you expect from most modern American horror? The dumb masses think “horror” is the jump scares but as we’ve discussed elsewhere here….THE SHINING, THE CHANGELING, and mother fuckin’ THE HAUNTING are great horror movies. Not because shit jumps out, because of what “might” jump out.

    I mean we never see anything really in HAUNTING, yet that shit still sends creeps up your skin.

    More creeps than all those dumbass worthless Platinum Dune pictures combined, past, present, and future.

  32. I will say that they did a good job with Freddy. Jackie Earle Haley nails it and the make up and effects they did on Freddy’s face look good.

    RRA, you are right that most modern horror films leave a lot to be desired. Modern horror films often have better budgets then their predecessors and they look good but they lack substance. They are like a really hot chick that may look good but is dumber then a bag of rocks. I think part of the problem is many of the horror films you referenced where made for adults. They are cerebral horror films. The horror films they make now are made for the MTV crowd, and are mindless visual spectacles.

  33. AU –

    I like Beaks, he’s definitely alot better than alot of these other jokers whose reviews I also read. I don’t think you should call him an idiot because you disagree with him, especially when your stance is that the main character of A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET is not the main character of A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET.

    I’m not letting Beaks change my view, he just helped me trust my instincts. I haven’t read any full reviews because I’m waiting to see it when it hits DVD. I’ve only read headlines, but in fact Harry’s is the only one I’ve come across so far that did not say it was garbage. Since all these guys have been easier on previous Platinum Dunes movies than I would’ve I think there’s a good chance this will not be the first ever good movie that they make and also the first one misunderstood by everybody.

    I don’t remember you having a problem with me doing the same thing for FRIDAY THE 13TH, and I made the right decision there. Platinum Dunes has never made a remake that wasn’t an insult to the audience made to cynically get money out of suckers like us on the opening weekend. I don’t think I’m an asshole for exercising enough restraint to stop being one of those suckers.

    (not that I blame anybody who does. I paid to see fucking GHOST RIDER. I’m a chump. I’m just taking time off for this one.)

  34. Jareth Cutestory

    April 30th, 2010 at 12:44 pm

    AU_Armageddon: You have to go back and read Vern’s Platinum Dunes and TRANSFORMERS reviews – his stance on these films was arrived at in an incredibly reasonable manner. He admitted his biases, researched the source material, gave the films a
    sincere shot, and arrived at a principled conclusion.

    And did you actually read Beaks’ review? I’m usually the first guy to dismiss most of the AICN reviewers, but Beaks does a good job interpreting the motives of the Platinum Dunes guys in his review. Or course, if you have a better description of their business plan, I’d love to hear it.

  35. Nancy was also the star of the two best Elm Street sequels, so I think that makes a pretty good case for why making her character a wimpy weakling in the remake is probably a bad idea. Not that I can really say for sure, being a conscientious objector and all.

  36. Going back to something Dieselboy asked way up there – no, Platinum Dunes didn’t do the LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT remake. Actually that was produced by Wes Craven himself. Like with THE HILLS HAVE EYES he hand-picked the director (Platinum Dunes likes commercial and video directors who never did features before, Craven likes Europeans with one or two features under their belts but not too well known in the U.S. yet) and developed the script with the writers.

    But Craven doesn’t own NIGHTMARE like he does those ones, so he wasn’t involved in this. I mean just because he was intimately involved with two of the best of the wave of modern horror remakes and also created the series doesn’t mean they should care what he thinks unless contractually obligated to.

    (in the strikes column though, THE HILLS HAVE EYES REMAKE II was fucking terrible, and he actually co-wrote that one. I wish I could’ve told him about my idea THE BEVERLY HILLS HAVE EYES.)

  37. Let’s all just agree that the truly awful NIGHTMARE review over at AICN is Harry’s.


    It’s a perfect combination of all his bad habits. It’s a borderline incomprehensible series of ejaculations of how he feels about the movie, without any descriptions of the film itself, plus a bunch of useless digressions thrown in. I’m not saying that a good critic needs to write out a shot-by-shot breakdown of the film, but I do expect for a critic to show their work and cite actual examples from the movie. Just look at this little mini-masterpiece of a paragraph:

    “More than ever before this is a HORROR MYSTERY. Freddy is all at once, scary, sardonically funny and powerfully sympathetic. Jackie Earle Haley plays Fred Krueger as a human being. And he plays Freddy as pretty much a nightmare. They bring us face to face with the true monster of Freddy Krueger which wasn’t the hand knives, wasn’t the dream powers… it was that Fred Krueger was a child molester. (No, they don’t SHOW that) But they give you scenes that will give you the creeps – while also giving you enough to believe that it may be possible that Krueger was burned alive for something that could very well have been the concoctions of pre-school age children. After all… there was no trial of Fred Krueger. No kids on a stand pointing to where on a doll they’d been touched. No jury of his peers. No day in court for Mr Krueger. No, this was always a case of vigilante justice by the involved parents – then hushed up, forgotten and put away.”

    That’s just a bunch of vague chatter about the backstory in the film, with only a brief allusion to “scenes that will give you the creeps.” Most of the review reads that way. I don’t, man, that’s fucking fine if you’re just bullshitting with some friends about the film, but totally does not cut the mustard as film criticism. I don’t know why I even bother to read Harry’s reviews.

  38. Harry Knowles does the most annoying thing in every single one of his reviews. He types a first paragraph. The second paragraph always starts with “You see” and then two paragraphs of why he’s such a big fan. I gotta say. I sometimes find it bullshit that this guy could be in love with every single movie he’s ever watched in his entire life.

    I also think it’s incredibly tacky when he points out all the movie posters and trailers he has. His self esteem has gotta be really low all of the time.

  39. On the bright side, I just got Yippee Kai-Yay and it’s great. I mean, the first chapter has a review of Gymkata.

  40. me too man. me too.
    what a shame.

  41. i couldn’t quite finish Harry’s review. it was far too sloppy.

  42. Lawrence – funny, someone at AwardsDaily forums was bitching about Harry regressing, in regards to his IRON MAN 2 review.

    I would argue the opposite, I think possibly the poor guy’s problem is that he’s not progressed. I can’t deny, I used to read the guy back in the late 90s, when I was growing up and finally willing to belief that you know what maybe the mainstream are a bunch of dicks who are wrong about some things.

    Now, alot of AICN I would say are dicks who are wrong about some things. I mean the only two critics to have ever passed through that gate if you ask me, Vern and Foywonder, are so consistently interesting in their reviews.

    Yes they say if something is good or doodoo, but sometimes they get inspired into tangents that are even more entertaining and intellectually compelling than said picture itself.

    And Massa is funny whenever he(she?) goes off on a rant over the most trivial shit. I’m certain ANT BULLY isn’t as good as his whole Rush Limbaugh-type communist paranoia rant.

  43. Just want to add that the new book has a really good selection of reviews. Well done. It’s hard to prove this but I’m seldom what you would call enthusiastic. The day I got that book though I smiled from ear to ear. Love having maybe my favorite review THE WARRIORS in print. Thanks Vern.

  44. Just as much as I think Mr. Beaks is to harsh on the film Harry is equally to complementary of it. The film makers didn’t shit the bed but it is no where near as good as Harry makes it out to be. I will say that based on the conversations I heard in line and in the theater the AICN audience I saw the film with was ready to hate the movie. Much like Harry I was worried that the movie was going to be a pile and it was going to be a very nasty and uncomfortable Q&A with the director and producers after the screening, but the audience seemed to enjoy it based on their feed back during the Q&A. I don’t think I have ever been to a screening that had such an underlined level of tension. It was like the audience was ready to run the film makers out of town with pitch forks and torches if they didn’t like the movie. The tension was palpable and film makers could feel it. At one point I went to the bathroom during the movie and one of the producers was nervously pacing in the hallway outside the theater. He knew what he would be facing if the screening went poorly. I will say that I am glad that I didn’t pay to see the movie and would not have paid to see it if I had not got into the AICN screening, but I didn’t leave the theater angry or totally disappointed. Like I said in my previous post it was OK.

  45. I think the problem with Harry is at this point he is to close the the industry that he critiques, and it is hard to be objective when you have personal relationships with the people who create the films you are reviewing. I also feel that he romanticizes certain movies because of the relationship he had with the movie or character in his youth. His reviews often seem to be more about his personal relationship with movie and his viewing experience and less about the actual merits of the film.

  46. Also CallMeKermiT beware of The Losers. The Losers is no sleeper like Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. There are some good things about the movie, but it is almost completely ruined by heavy handed over the top music video style direction. It is like every shot has to be in slow motion and cut to some popular rock song. It completely takes you out of the movie every time you start to enjoy yourself. Do to some fun action and good performances I didn’t completely hate it but I wouldn’t recommend it. I probably enjoyed the Nightmare remake more then The Losers but that is not saying much.

  47. Kermit: I liked THE LOSERS. It’s a PG-13 action movie, and and I treated it as such, so those stylistic tics Charles mentioned didn’t take me out of the movie because I wasn’t all that in it in the first place. It’s basically just a lark. The action was pretty easy to make out and the tone was light and funny, which I appreciated after so many dour, joyless popcorn flicks like the new CLASH OF THE TITANS. I particularly liked Jason Patric’s performance as the villain (Who knew that guy had a sense of humor?) and the big final stunt with the plane and the motorcycle. (Was that the plan all along? Did they actually do that on purpose? I like to think they did.) And after KICK-ASS and THE LOSERS, and with IRON MAN 2, THE A-TEAM, and THE EXPENDABLES on the way, I’m ready to declare 2010 as The Year of the Rocket Launcher.

  48. As I said elsewhere, I liked THE LOSERS too. It’s a nicely made squad movie, you know what I’m talking about. Good humor, good action, a nice start to the summer blockbuster season.

    And yeah Jason Patric seemed to really quite himself playing the bad guy. I liked that detail that he doesn’t even remember the very act in his “busy schedule” which threatens his bad guy empire.

    I also just dig that detail of two of these badass guys on this badass special ops squad working in a doll factory to pay their bills.

  49. I kept waiting for somebody to walk up to Patric and say “And you must be Max.”

  50. Mr. Majestyk – I liked that scene of Patric at Dubai. I won’t spoil it for the rest of you.

  51. Well I came here from AICN so I will put in a good word or two for Harry Knowles, as I see it.

    First of all, some of his reviews, especially the negative ones (yeah, it’s not the film critic’s job to be negative, but I gotta say that with limited time and money to spend on films I’d always prefer to know what to avoid so that I can spent those things on films I will probably like / love) are a lot more balanced than a lot of you are saying “NoES” was. (Ironic acronym, given what everyone else is saying about the film.) He was dead-on in his criticisms of “The Matrix: Reloaded” (which I loathed) and “Minority Report” (which I thought was a massive waste of some fantastic ideas, actors and setting). He was the ONLY mainstream reviewer anywhere to seriously criticise “Pearl Harbor” when it came out, and while the “serious” reviewers generally panned “Transformers”, Harry was the only AICN reviewer to do so.

    And on the positive side… Sometimes I think he gives a film a shot where others just dismiss it, sometimes unfairly. (Maybe this is the case here, although the reaction is so one-sided that I doubt it. Anyway, I’m still not going to pay money to find out.) Plus his review of “Lost in Translation” was what convinced me to see it when I wouldn’t usually have done so, and that’s probably my favorite film ever. So thanks for that one Harry.

    On the negative side… he sometimes seems to let his “fanboy” side influence his reviews. Again, maybe this is the case here, I don’t know. I certainly think it was the case when he reviewed the Star Wars prequels. On the other side of the coin, I think he gave “Spiderman 3” more of a panning than it deserved (although so did a lot of people for that one, so maybe it’s wrong to single him out). Very often he’s more cautious about being negative about a film than I would be (“Superman Returns” comes to mind).

    Plus, when he absolutely lets rip on a film, it’s often funnier coming from him than it would be from others (although Vern’s reviews of “Cursed” and “Chaos” would certainly take the crown of great bad movie reviewing from anything Harry’s written IMO.) The last one I remember was “Terminator: Salvation”, of which I think it’s fair to say Harry is not a fan, and it showed.

    Oh, and yeah, I know it’s “wrong” to focus on the negative reviews. My justification is 1) they’re often a lot funnier and thus more entertaining, and 2) a review of a bad movie can often say more about how to make a good movie than a review of a good movie can. Case in point: Vern’s “Cursed”** review, which if I remember correctly deconstructed the process of making a movie as bad as that and pointed out exactly what was wrong with that process, and what could be done to improve it.

    **I actually watched “Cursed” on TV purely on the basis of that review, which is maybe not what was intended. Sorry Vern!

  52. Craven’s NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET was influenced by Roman Polanski’s REPULSION. Somehow, I doubt that the great tradition of mid-20th century European art films served as inspiration to the folks at Platinum Dunes.

  53. I haven’t been able to force myself to read one of Harry’s reviews in it’s entirety since Terminator Salvation

    his style is just too sloppy and overlong, I find myself losing interest quickly and unable to finish them

    of course I do have ADHD

  54. RRA & Mr. Majestyk, Jason Patrick was very good in The Losers. The scene with Patrick in Dubi is great. I thought he and Chris Evans where the best part of the movie. I am glad you guys enjoyed the film. I just hated how over directed it was. I wish the director had just trusted the writing and the performances instead trying to wow me with unnecessary visual gimmicks and editing. I am all for flashy visuals when it enhances the storytelling, but that is not the case in The Losers. I think much like the new Nightmare film I would have enjoyed this movie much more if it were directed by someone else. I would bet John Hyams would have made a much better movie.

  55. Jareth Cutestory

    April 30th, 2010 at 10:31 pm

    Paul: Here’s what I learned from Knowles’s “review” of THE MATRIX RELOADED: he mentions how boring he thinks guns are, then goes on to say that he wishes the world of the Matrix had cool weapons like those in TRON, which leads me to believe that a.) he is incapable of separating the movie he has already made in his head from what is presented on the screen, b.) he sees the entire world through geek-tinted glasses with no self-awareness whatsoever, c.) he has no understanding of the themes or versimilitude of THE MATRIX (ie. the significance of dodging bullets), d.) he is partially illiterate in film grammar (because Neo could have been throwing turnips at all those Smiths and the Warchowski’s would have found a way to make it look cool, e.) Knowles likes glowing frisbees.

    Oh yeah, and he seemed compelled to fault the film for not explicitly showing those werewolves and vampires that the Oracle mentioned. Hope he enjoyed UNDERWORLD, which is basically what he was asking RELOADED to be.

    RRA: I liked Foywonder’s stuff too. And Alexandra Dupont was a good reviewer, especially after she set aside some of the Dorothy Parker affectations.

  56. I posted this on another forum but two things occurred to me while I was watching the behind the scenes of the original Nightmare on Elm Street after watching the original movie for the first time.

    * Note: I haven’t seen the remake quite yet for I have decided not to give them my money and catch the movie as a rental or through other means that don’t require paying for movie.

    1. The 10-cent spandex * not latex * wall trick.

    Think about this carefully, the filmmakers commissioned out to a visual effect studio and paid a handful of digital artist for a CGI effect that ultimately didn’t work compared to 10-cents worth of spandex of a man pushing against the wall.

    2. “Art from Adversity”

    I heard this expression from the Red Letter’s Phantom Menace review and I really think it applies here in this case if not most remakes lately.

    The original Nightmare had studios turning it down, budget problems, a short schedule, unsure how certain effects would be done, no real ending in place the first time around and so forth. The end product however turned out really good.

    It also helped that Wes Craven really cared about the project and was tinkering with it for years on end before finally making it

    Now compared that to the remake, I highly doubt the people involved had many roadblocks if any in place for the movie being made. Heck, the fact that it’s a franchise name alone means the movie would guarantee a profit regardless of quality.

    While I don’t doubt the director of the remake had some love for the original, I don’t think he cared as much as Wes did nor did he had anything to prove with this remake.

    For all the guy could care, he could just go back to making music videos for Green Day.

    But yea, just some food for thought….

  57. To be honest, if you want to go and see the film then go and see it! It’s like your deniying your right to vote or some shit. I fancy the remake and if we are truly honest there are only a couple of good Freddy films anyway. 1and 3 in my opinion. When it hits the UK I’ll try and check out in the cinema first but I don’t get a lot of time to view the big screen as I’m busy with my business, writing and raising my daughter. I guess that’s why I’m pissed off. If you have the chance to go and see it, you want to check it out then fucking buy a ticket, relax and watch the film! Easy as that!
    Can’t wait to get your book though.

  58. Charles – Tell me, that over-directing or whatever it was how you described your problem with the movie….couldn’t the same be said of all these other recent movies who are filmatically insistent in telling everyone that this is a comic book?

    Which really I’m kinda more and more not digging. I mean for fucks sake, THE WARRIORS was a comic book adventure without needing stupid panels or graphics to tell us that. The story was just that, plus the costumes and art direction and all that stuff.

    Then Walter Hill add to give us that silly Director’s Cut which actually made people glad that Paramount was right to turn him down on those things back in the day.

    Or another comic book movie without telling obnoxiously everyone that it’s a comic book…..THE CROW.

    Sure based off a (not so good) obscure comic book at the time, and while Alex Proyas (back when he could direct a decent movie) has his cinematography being overtly influenced by German Expression as he did also on DARK CITY….the script is a good comic book violent adventure fantasy.

    I liked the LOSERS, in spite of or without the comic book graphics.

  59. Solo – Considering your upcoming elections over there, no wonder you think this NIGHTMARE remake is about the same pleasure as casting a vote.

    I would rather cast a vote for NBP than pay to watch that shit in theatres.

  60. I cast my vote for HARRY BROWN and I don’t regret it. It was quite satisfying to see a man of Michael Caine’s stature dealing out some righteous justice. And Vern, you can add this one to the onscreen “IS” list. The title card reads MICHAEL CAINE IS HARRY BROWN.

  61. Mr. M – Wheenver HARRY BROWN comes over here to DVD, I’ll go check it out. Sounds almost like a British mix of DEATH WISH and GRAN TORINO.

    I mean really, these dumbs fucking with Caine. I guess they didn’t see GET CARTER.

  62. Caine is super badass, almost without trying. He does this amazing thing that the kids of today could really learn from. They call it “hitting what you shoot at.”

    I’m trying to think if there’s a single actor, alive or dead, that I wouldn’t watch in a DEATH WISH-style movie. I mean, for me not to want to see it you would have to suck in a way that doesn’t even make me curious as to how you would fuck it up. Maybe Mike Myers? No, that would be such a train wreck that I’d have to watch it. Hayden Christensen? No, he was only good in the prequels when he was going blood simple, so maybe that’s his forte. Marlon Wayans? As long as he wasn’t the sidekick, I’d probably check it out.

    Does anybody have any suggestions as to the one actor you wouldn’t want to see, ironically or otherwise, in a vigilante picture?

  63. A toss-up between Woody Allen and Frank Langella, I think.

  64. I would so watch a Frank Langella vigilante movie.Would Woody direct his? I can’t decide whether that would be a pro or a con.

  65. RRA, I didn’t feel that way about Kick Ass. I really enjoyed it. I do understand what you are talking about. Like I said in my previous post I am all for some visual flair if it adds something to the story, but it seems like more and more it is gratuitous and unnecessary and takes away from the film instead of enhancing it. QT used to get knocked for his lack of visual flair in his older films like Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction, but I wish more film makers would just leave the camera alone and let the performances and story be the focus instead of drowning them in slow motion and quick cuts.

    Mr. Majestyk, thanks for the recommendation on Harry Brown. I really want to see it. Your right it is hard to think of someone that you wouldn’t want to see in a vigilante picture. I would even be down for a bloody hard R Tony Danza revenge flick.

  66. Ok, I thought of one Chris Kattan. I can stand that guy. I was going to also say Jon Lovitz, but that might end up being unintentionally entertaining. For example “John Lovitz is Old Boy”. I would watch that.

  67. Vern –
    I dun agree with you but ta for reply. There’s a subtle difference between saying someone is the main character, and saying this is someone’s story (as Beak’s said), but I say that for argument’s sake as it’s irrelevent here as also, I dun think that the main character is the person who spends the most amount of time on screen or even appears to be the primary focus of the story. I’m not arguing it’s the most memorable character (else Gone with the Wind would be Rhett Butler’s story as who the fuck remembers Scarlett’s name – just as with Pinhead, they remember “Frankly my dear, I dun give a damn” – I say that having watched it more times than Die Hard, not to quote cliche.).
    I’m not saying it’s neccessarily the villian or most fanatastic character either – else Predator would be Predator’s story, but it’s not which is why the sequels were pointless and fairly dry, Predator was exactly like watching McMahon stories and watching the older WWF, as it wasn’t Arnie’s story either, it was a badass character ensemble (including the Predator) and I think Rodriquez is the first person to get that with the Predator 5/Predators coming up.

    I didn’t mind with Friday 13th review. That was different as I was referring to a trend, or rather, warning signs of a cynical transformation that raises hairs for me only at the level of deja vu (with the likes of Faraci’s writing, not Moriarty who’s always been an idiot of same type to me as Nick, and also not like say Ebert who really hasn’t changed much despite decades passing, perhaps a shade more conservative). Dun get me wrong, I love your work, I just think I’d be remiss not to chime in and say what I see happening. As I said too, I accept I could be wrong and often am – prolly amplified by fact that I dun think your thoughts on Platinum Dunes are entirely fair (even though grounded in reason). Also I think there’s an argument that not going does make you an asshole though so I dun agree with you there either.

    As to Ghost Rider, that does make you chump so we agree on that. To be a little fair though, Ghost Rider was one of few films made where I live and I knew people involved so had a heads up that it was doomed to be unwatchable long before it played. That aside, I’d like to think I would’ve sensed a rat in the trailer and not have paid to see it – but prolly wrong there too. I paid to see Transporter 2 twice in 2 months because I forget I saw it already and only discovered that cos I reviewed it twice to a friend who said I reported hating it the first time as forgettable minus 1 scene, and really enjoying it 2nd, raving about 1 scene. Same scene at least…

    Jareth – I’ve read everything from Vernsey and accepted his reasoning with transformers and the other PD reviews inc chainsaw which I actually liked (verns reviews and the movies themselves, all cept transformers 2). I read Beak’s full review too which I normally wouldn’t have at this stage as the new nightmare is one of few films I havn’t seen, but I wanted to be certain how I felt before posting here. At this stage I was just speakin up to give Vern’s a heads up even if mebbe I’m off base. Honestly, I’m still goin out of my way not to post many thoughts on Vern’s site else I’d be ranting here most days going off at posters calling you all cocksmoking faggots and some such as you clearly are. Thus, I’ll just slide back away again quietly k…

  68. Well, I thought GHOST RIDER looked hilariously terrible, so I wanted to see it. I was only half right. Then when it turned out to be a huge hit I felt like an asshole for contributing. This is the same way with Platinum Dunes. I hate all of their remakes that I’ve seen, every one of them so far has clearly showed that the filmatists had no clue what was great about the originals, most of them are widely hated movies and all of them have made a profit from suckers like me who have to see them on opening weekend like we’re collecting them all.

    So I’m interested in seeing it as a scholar of Freddyology and I will see it, but since I know I’ll probly hate it I’m gonna wait until the money doesn’t go to the assholes who keep burning me over and over again. People always complain about remakes but then they go to see them and that’s why they keep making them. I’m not gonna do a complete boycott but Platinum Dunes has earned one.

  69. I rarely download and/or watch crappy cam jobs of new movies, but this is the type of movie I’d make an exception for. Because I want to get in on the discussion but would never intentionally pay to support these robber barons. Bonus points for watching a Platinum Dunes movie in a format that makes their too-pretty cinematography look like utter shit. Anyway I’m not sayin’ you should do this Vern but I’m kinda sayin’ you should do this Vern. Or just pay for whatever deserves it in the multiplex and see Fredo instead. Of course my suggestions aren’t exactly striving for excellence in an ethical sense here so do what you gotta do.

  70. Philosophical quandary: Is striving for excellence always ethical? Discuss.

  71. Mr. M – What did ole Jesse VEntura always say?

    “Win if you can, lose if you must, but ALWAYS CHEAT!”

  72. @ AU_Amrageddon

    Ok. The main character isn’t the person who spends most of the time on screen, or is the primary focus of the story, and it’s not the most memorable character, the villain, or most fantastical character either?

    So how do you define the main character? And what’s the subtle differentiation that makes it X’s story if it’s not the main character’s story?

  73. Stefan – I’ll answer that, although AU may have a different idea: it’s the focal-point character for the audience. There’s always one, even in ensemble flicks (for example, in “The Thing” it was MacReady, although when he’s suspected of being a “Thing” it shifts to Windows for a while). You may not always know what this character is thinking (which especially applies in detective / mystery stories, for example) and they may even be corrupt or have hidden agendas, but they’re still the character whose viewpoint you see, even if what they’re thinking about it is different to your judgement.

    Who wouldn’t I want to see in a vigilante flick… Ronnie Corbett. (non-British who don’t know who he is, he was in “Fierce Creatures” with John Cleese, Michael Palin, Kevin Kline and Jamie Lee Curtis. Seriously, watch this shit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y0C59pI_ypQ (Corbett’s the short bloke in the chair). Take one look at the guy and you’ll understand.) The weird thing is that comedians / comic actors often make the most convincing psychos (as ultimate evidence of this I present to you John Goodman, he of a thousand “supportive father” roles in crap like “Coyote Ugly”, playing a pretty fair portrayal of the devil itself in “Barton Fink”.) Although I’d LOVE to see Ronnie Corbett as someone who’s just completely off-the-rails, I somehow don’t think he could pull it off.

  74. HARRY BROWN fans might be interested in this: http://www.youtube.com/user/SPfilmsireland

    I think it’s getting a UK release this summer, dunno’ about the rest of the world.

    It’s a slight plug, ’cause I know the guys who made it. Sorry anti-pluggers.

  75. There’s a subjective distinction between “protagonist” and “coolest character in the movie”. The protagonist is the character to which the plot happens the most. The protagonist of A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET is Nancy. The protagonist of HALLOWEEN is Laurie. THE THING is more of an ensemble than either of those movies, but Macready ends up being the protagonist in the end. In a monster movie, the antagonist ie. the monster usually ends up being the coolest character. The coolest character in A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET is Freddy. The coolest character in HALLOWEEN is Michael Myers. THE THING has a shapeshifter for a monster and Kurt Russell flies helicopters drunk and has a magnificent beard so Macready is both the protagonist and the coolest character in THE THING. Anyway, point is, different classification, the protagonists of HALLOWEEN 3-6, 8 (Laurie back for 2 and 7) and A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 2, 4, 5 and 6 (Nancy back for 3 and 7) are not Michael Myers or Freddy. I can’t remember the names of the protagonists in those movies, they were mostly girls who ran around and screamed a lot. And ironically, the more the movies skimp on this character and turn the cool monster character into the protagonist, the more they seem to turn out like microwaved dogshit. Platinum Dunes is making a very good case for this theory right now in fact. Note: I am not saying that antagonists shouldn’t go through some of the character beats that a protagonist would, just saying that often the reason why these monsters are still so effective is because they were used to perfect effect, usually sparingly, the first time out the gate. Think of Michael Myers in HALLOWEEN, Freddy in A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, and Leatherface in THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE. You barely see them. We don’t know protagonisty things about them like where they found their tie and chainsaw, how many children they bad touched and the type of vile hillbilly things their stepdad said. They’re mysterious icons of hatred and death, and that’s all you need to know.

  76. RRA, :-). You made me laugh today!

  77. So did anyone else check out the NOES remake this weekend? I gotta say, I thought it was acceptably okay. Nothing great, but it had some clever ideas (micronaps, 7 minutes of brain function after death, etc.) some funny touches (computer entering sleep mood, use of “Dream” by the Everly Brothers), a handful of decent scenes (the pharmacy morphing into Freddy’s boiler room), and it slowly built its way up to an entertaining finale. I know people have been down on Platinum Dunes for hiring good cinematographers for some reason, but I consider it a plus that the movie looked nice and professional. Not something I’m in any rush to see again, but certainly not a travesty.

    It didn’t help, though, that I watched the original the night before. The biggest problem with the remake is how somber it is… the kids are all mopey and boring. In the original, they may not exactly have been well-written or especially well-acted, but they showed signs of personality, they had sense of humor, etc. In the remake, they all sit around with Droopy expressions on their faces, making sad eyes at the camera. Obviously as a human being I don’t want to see them die, but it’s hard to care too much about any of them because none of them are particularly likable.

  78. ” know people have been down on Platinum Dunes for hiring good cinematographers for some reason

    Dan- The reason I think people get angry about that is because it adds to that sense that Platinum Dunes considers themselves and their ‘product’ as inherently superior to the movies they’re screwing with.

    Obviously anyone can make a horror classic, right? And those poor fools in the 70’s and 80’s didn’t have CGI, so how they possibly be expected to make relevant, valuable works of art? They didn’t know any better.

    No, to make a horror classic, you don’t need things like a strong screenplay, a solid cast playing well-developed, three dimensional characters, any kind of subtext or originality whatsoever. Just, uh, just rewrite one those scripts with references to cell phones and google, spray some Hollywood grime and blood on some twentysomethings who are open to showing their boobs, and make sure everything is shot to look really pretty.

    Because clearly, the way to improve TCM is to make sure it looks like every other fucking Hollywood horror piece of shit, instead of Hooper’s approach, which is snuff film-esque. That’s a little to upsetting for the Friday night crowd of shrieking girls and their boyfriends. They might get, like, scared or something.

  79. Jareth Cutestory

    May 3rd, 2010 at 8:31 am

    Mr. Majestyk: I’d pay to see a vigilante movie starring Yahoo Serious. “He’s Serious … about REVENGE!”


    John Waters
    Thora Birch
    Ken Leung
    Don Knotts
    Vincent Schiavelli
    Helena Bonham Carter
    Clint Howard
    Linda Hunt
    Whoopi Goldberg
    David Thewlis

  80. I would pay money to see the revenge movie where Adam Sandler gets revenge on the gang that brutally murdered Rob Schneder and David Spade. Well, technically I would pay money to see a movie where Rob Schneider and David Spade get brutally murdered, because I’d probably leave after seeing that, then just Youtube the clip over and over again. And over. And over. And over.

    In conclusion, Derp.

  81. Brendan,

    I’m not questioning anyone’s reasons for disliking these movies. I’ve just noticed that a lot of reviews (especially on the internet) and comments seem to single out the cinematography for derision because it, uh, looks good. Certainly good cinematography does not immediately make a movie good. You could take the prettiest shots in the world and piece them together in an incoherent manner, or use those images to tell a worthless story. But, come on, you know, credit where credit is due. The movies DO look nice, and that isn’t a bad thing. Don’t shit on the cinematographer for doing a good job lighting a bad movie.

  82. I don’t think anyone is shitting on the cinematographer. They’re shitting on the production company for deciding to go with such a slick, glossy look in the first place. The grimy quality of 70s and early 80s horror films does a lot to make them creepy, and you can’t really replicate that when the movie looks like a Pantene commercial.

  83. Jareth Cutestory

    May 3rd, 2010 at 9:03 am

    “Don’t shit on the cinematographer for doing a good job lighting a bad movie.”

    Insert Chritian Bale joke here.

  84. Majestyk,

    Not to belabor an argument of little importance, but at least in terms of NOES, the glossy look is fairly consistent with the sequels. Save maybe the original, this series was never much one for any sense of grittiness. It’s always been about polish and special effects.

    I’m sure someone could make a good point about why the cinematography works against these films, i.e. your preference for a “grimy” quality, but that’s not really the arguments I’ve seen. Mostly I’ve noticed this sense of almost “how dare this studio use its resources to make a professional looking product?!” which I don’t understand. But I don’t know, I don’t exactly have a list of links to these reviews that I can provide to back my point up, so maybe I’m creating an imaginary conflict here.

    But this does raise some questions I’d be curious to hear your (and others’) thoughts on.

    1) Can’t a good horror movie have slick looking cinematography? (I’m thinking ALIEN/ALIENS, THE HILLS HAVE EYES remake, other good studio horror films)

    2) Should the Platinum Dunes movies even bother to TRY to look grimy? Wouldn’t that just seem forced and unconvincing? Can we give them credit for doing anything well, or is their whole conception so heinous that they simple don’t bring anything worthwhile to the table?

    3) I love the grimy look of low-budget horror movies from the 70’s and 80’s too, but is it possible that we sometimes give those movies too much credit? Maybe some of those movies just look cheap, and the griminess wasn’t really an artistic/aesthetic choice?

    Any ways, I know this isn’t really that interesting of a topic but I am curious to hear others thoughts.

  85. I think slick-looking cinematography is a way to make the less-than-adventurous demographic Platinum Dunes is going for feel safe with the product (i.e., movie) they have purchased. It looks just like TV, so they know it’s a brand they can trust. It’s the same reason some Americans will travel to other countries and go to McDonald’s, rather than exploring the local cuisine. The problem is that feeling safe is the last thing you want in a horror movie, which just goes to show you the goals the production company has for its product. Rather than trying to unveil some primal horror, they just want it to look “professional” (whatever that means, since plenty of professionals suck at their chosen professions). Especially when dealing with this particular remake, which (although I haven’t seen it) seems almost entirely made up of the greatest hits of the original version, only shinier, it stands to reason that people might focus on the cinematography, since it’s the only substantial difference between the two versions. The reason that people get upset about it is not because the cinematography sucks, but because implicit in it is the idea that glossy photography is all an audience needs to swallow the same old shit all over again. If it’s possible for cinematography to be condescending, I think Platinum Dunes has found a way.

  86. Jareth Cutestory

    May 3rd, 2010 at 9:45 am

    Dan Prestwich: I like how MARTYRS is shot a bit on the rough and gritty side at the beginning, kind of unfocussed and random, but gets increasingly cold, sterile and anticeptic as the film progresses. I think the way the film was shot really demonstrates how the look of a film can contribute to the mood of a film as well as underscore its themes.

    Likewise, LOST HIGHWAY starts out really flat and dark, with very little depth of field or colour, then kind of explodes in the second half.

    On the other hand, you get stuff like MIDNIGHT MEAT TRAIN which just looks clean and slick with no real purpose. It’s pretty, but much of the impact of that film is drained away because of all the blue filters. It didn’t need to be a gritty film, but it would have been better if it employed its aesthetic in a more meaningful way.

  87. Majestyk,

    I’ve read theories like that before, and I think you make an interesting point, but not one that I agree applies to these Platinum Dunes remakes. I do think there are a lot of generic studio comedies and crap like that, that have a boring but polished look that reminds me of television commercials, which makes them all the easier to passively consume in large quantities. But these PD horror movies, with their shadowy lighting, extreme close ups, elaborate special effects, vaseline smeared lenses, all that show-offy crap, etc etc, doesn’t really remind me much of TV. Except maybe something like CSI, but even then I feel like those shows go for a false, unearned grittiness moreso than slickness (although I don’t really watch those shows, so I may be wrong).

    Also, to be fair, there are several ambitious TV shows out there right now with excellent photography. Even a 2-camera sitcom can make excellent use of blocking and whatnot.


    Yes, all of those are excellent and examples, and maybe help make my point. I’m kind of a big tent person, I think grimy photography AND glossy photography have their place in the genre. Both can be used well, or used poorly. It’s more about how the filmmaker wields them than one being inherently better than the other.

  88. Maybe the TV comparison was off-base, but I think there’s still something to be said for the idea that Platinum Dunes thinks that all they have to do to make a remake commercially viable is to update the cinematography. When everything else about the movie is second-rate at best but somebody polished up the photography to a high sheen simply so the trailer will look nice and earn them that crucial pre-backlash first weekend money, maybe you can understand why the cinematography attracts so much derision (through no fault of its own, really. Like a talented drummer in a shitty band, the DP is doing good work on a bad project). They think they can fool us by making everything look shiny, as if that’s all it takes to “improve” on a classic.

  89. Majestyk,

    A polished turd is still a turd, no doubt.

    It sounds to me more like we’re getting at a philosophical difference on this issue more than a technical. Personally, I don’t get offended by these soulless, cash grab remakes the way some others do because I don’t think it tarnishes the original’s legacy in any way. If anything, it just reconfirms the original’s status as a classic.

    And hell, I mean, I liked all of the NOES movies, and unless I missed something, I’m pretty sure PART 4: THE DREAM MASTER wasn’t some painstakingly crafted labor of love from a director plumbing the darkest depths of his soul; rather it was simply a nice, polished studio project by a director with visual flair. Which is more or less how I feel about the remake, except it’s not as good.

  90. Jareth Cutestory

    May 3rd, 2010 at 10:44 am

    I guess for me it comes down to what I’d call “literacy,” for lack of a better word. Whatever misgivings someone might have about their work, no one would question that Carpenter or Craven are literate in the film vocabulary of their genres.

    I guess the second question I’d put to any Platinum Dunes supporter would be: can their chosen directors demonstrate a similar literacy, not just sensitivity to the needs of the marketing people. Aja’s version of THE HILLS HAVE EYES is the only remake I’ve bothered with, and I’m not sure it provided me with much of an answer.

    Question number one, of course, would be: does your script have anything to say? If the answer is “no,” then literacy is only going to take you so far.

  91. Jareth,

    When you talk about a script having something to “say,” does that mean you think all good horror movies need some sort of subtext or message to be good? Or can a horror film make up for a lack of supposed substance if it’s truly terrifying, or richly atmospheric.

    Personally, I don’t think any of the guys Platinum Dunes has hired to direct their movies have shown a “literacy” on the level of a Carpenter or Craven, but on the one hand that’s okay because I don’t expect every director to be a genius, I am sometimes willing to settle for simply “good.” Of course, these PD directors don’t always rise up to that level either… but I think some of the PD remakes have had well constructed sequences and whatnot. I mentioned earlier that the pharmacy sequences in the NOES remake is a memorable one, as nice blending of suspense and dream weirdness with some nifty special effects. I would be shocked if this Samuel Bayer fellow ever amounted to anything more than middling, but he did craft a cool sequence or two.

  92. I think the reason the cinematography is mentioned alot is just because it seems like that’s all they care about. It’s the most identifiable trademark of Platinum Dunes other than suckiness, sweaty hot girls (but usually no nudity) and utter joylessness (other than FRIDAY THE 13TH which has a couple laughs).

    I actually was fine with how the CHAIN SAW remake looked, and in case anybody doesn’t know this it was actually done by Daniel Pearl, the cinematographer (or director of photography? I actually don’t know the difference) of the original, but in a different style. That’s pretty cool.

    When it comes to NIGHTMARE though I would hope they’d put effort into that aspect. A dreamy atmosphere is obviously important to these movies. Because they’re about dreams, in my opinion.

  93. Jareth Cutestory

    May 3rd, 2010 at 11:36 am

    Dan Prestwich: I don’t think that all horror films necessarily need to have a subtext about the world, like Romero’s message about consumerism. But I like to think that a competent horror film will have something to say about the genre itself. Style is a site of meaning as much as narrative is.

    The original TEXAS CHAINSAW’s makes a bold aesthetic statement; likewise EVIL DEAD. I would think that anyone who is considering a horror re-make should at the very least ask him- or herself what s/he has to say about the themes of the source material, not just the wardrobes and special effects.

    Vern: They’re having an interesting discussion over at Cinematical about whether or not this joylessness that you describe has killed off Freddy, Jason and Meyers.

  94. I wish some of the reviews I’ve read were half as thoughtful or interesting as what folks have posted here. Thanks everybody.

  95. Also, Jareth, well put. And I’d certainly agree none of the folks who have directed for Platinum Dunes have shown much facility for making a “bold aesthetic statement.” No doubt, none of the remakes are going to go down in history as classic like the originals did.

  96. Jareth Cutestory

    May 3rd, 2010 at 12:42 pm

    Dan: I like your point about how a bad remake only re-affirms the genius of the original. And of course you could include bad sequels in that statement. I’m sure a lot of ink will be spilled trying to figure out if the ELM STREET remake is any worse than THE DREAM MASTER.

    I’m one of those cold-hearted bastards who expects every sequel to justify its existence, and the criteria I’ve set for a sequel is pretty high. I’ll try to keep your point in mind the next time I’m confronted with an unwanted sequel (ie. PREDATOR).

    Maybe there’s more reason to be flexible with re-makes, if only because there is a long tradition in literature and film of new authors and directors putting their stamp on the source material.

    The less said about prequels the better.

  97. I don’t have a problem with remakes or sequels shitting on the reputation of the original. I just want a decent movie, and for various reasons many (if not most) remakes don’t deliver. I think some of it is that you can only do so much with someone else’s idea. The whole thing has been done before, so rather than inspiration striking the filmmakers like lightning, they’re just trying to repackage as many preexisting elements as possible. So you’re stuck going through the numbers, occasionally trying to change something just to justify your existence. Your range of expression is limited to execution, rather than conception, so it naturally comes off superficial most of the time.

  98. Jareth,

    Yeah, I mean, worse case scenario, a bad remake can underline everything that was great about the original by getting it all wrong. And it gives nerds something to be smug about on the internet, as well as give them an excuse to champion one of their favorite films. So I don’t see why people get so worked up over these remakes, seems like a win-win.

    But there’s certainly nothing wrong with holding sequels and remakes up to a certain standard, maybe my standards are just too low. I do think, possible due to the proximity effect, that people are holding some of these remakes to higher standards than they held the original films’ sequels. I’m going to be totally glib and throw this claim out without providing any evidence, but it seems like there’s a lot of people who like NOES sequels for the very same reasons they hate the remake. Ditto FRIDAY THE 13TH.


    All great points, I’m definitely not arguing with you that a lot of remakes suffer from all those things you mention.

  99. Dan, I think the reason why I can tolerate a crappy sequel more than a crappy remake is that at least they have to come up with different things to happen. In NIGHTMARE 2, Freddy didn’t just come up out of the bathtub and menace Nancy again. Even in a series as repetitive as FRIDAY THE 13TH, they knew they couldn’t have Jason repeat all the kills from the last one. The overall structure was the same, but the details were different. I can be more forgiving of a series that goes on so long that they start throwing crazy shit out there, like the animated sequence in NIGHTMARE 5 or the video game kill in FREDDY’S DEAD. I’d rather see that than a movie that says “We have no ideas” and just replays the best moments from the first movie, but drearier and with better photography.

  100. Oh also, since it seems like hardly anyone else on these boards went and saw it besides me, good job everyone sticking to your guns and not seeing the NOES remake. You are all far more principled than I am.

  101. Majestyk,

    To be fair, the F13 and NIGHTMARE remakes both stray quite a bit from the plots of the original. NOES has a heroine with the same name as the original’s and steals a few iconic moments from it (none done was well, obviously) but it’s structured as more of a mystery (who is Freddy? What connects all his victims? etc), has a different cast of (disposable) characters, throws in some new twists on the premise (I mentioned the micronaps earlier, there are some other touches as well). I guess the first half or so is similar in broad outlines to the original, but it’s more or less doing its own thing by the end. That doesn’t mean you’ll like any of it, but its miles away from, say, THE HITCHER remake, which follows the original beat by beat with only minor cosmetic changes.

  102. Jareth Cutestory

    May 3rd, 2010 at 1:36 pm

    Mr. Majestyk: One of the Horror Squad guys watched all the ELM STREET movies in one sitting and had this to say about the video game sequence:

    “The scene goes on far too long, maybe ten or more minutes, and with each passing moment, it manages to find unique and terrible ways to top itself, to somehow get even worse. The fact that the scene culminates with a joke so specific to its time (and oh-so very, very terrible) is like the rotten cherry on the top of a crap cake.”

  103. I guess I’m more talking about the set-pieces than the actual story. Maybe the NOES remake has more going for it than I’ve heard, but I’ve read that they redid the bathtub scene, the gore fountain, the goopy steps, the wallpaper Freddy, the ceiling kill, the bodybag, the claws along the pipe, and pretty much everything except for the goat. These scenes might be in service of a slightly different plot, but I’ve still seen them before.

    As for the video game sequence and other sins of NIGHTMAREs past, I think I have a higher tolerance for camp than most people. I’ll take ludicrous datedness over somnambulant seriousness anyday.

  104. Hmm, I don’t want to drag this conversation out beyond reason, but let’s just say that some of those things do happen, others don’t (gore fountain, although there is a similar image to it), and some things happen that are similar but reworked versions of them (goopy stairs become quicksand floor). But honestly, with the exception of the ceiling kill, which is an extended sequences, most of those are brief moments. Invariably, they are not done as well as the original, that’s for sure, but in a few cases the moments work as a winking reference to the original.

    I mean, come on, claws along the pipe? You’re talking about 5 seconds worth of screen time. That’s like complaining that Freddy’s wearing the same outfit in the remake.

  105. PS let me re-iterate that I rank the NOES remake as “passably okay.” I thought it was reasonably entertaining, but nothing special. I’m only defending it because it seems to be generating a lot of vitriol when, at worst, it should be getting a casual dismissal.

  106. Maybe I was reaching on that one. My point is, the main reason I didn’t see the movie is because every second of the trailer was an image I’d already seen before. The claws on the pipe thing was just one of a string of xeroxed shots.

  107. Can’t fault you for not wanting to see it. You’re taking a principled stance, and I was a total whore.

    And, honestly, I’m probably just wrong about the movie, or crazy. It’s rocking a 15% on Rotten Tomatoes, which is low even for a horror movie. Basically putting me in an elite club with Richard Corliss’s Time Magazine review, and Harry Knowles’ awesomely incoherent stream-of-conscious rant vaguely relating to the film on AICN.

  108. Don’t do it, Vern. Sure, we’d all like you to for selfish reasons, so we can read your review. But I can wait. Don’t encourage the fuckers.

    Haven’t the sequels to most of these remakes flopped? HHE 2, CHAINSAW 2, HALLOWEEN 2…some of them, like BLACK CHRISTMAS, BLOODY VALENTINE and WHEN A STRANGER CALLS, haven’t even been sequelized, unless they’ve quietly gone straight to DVD and no one told me.

    Kind of defeats the purpose of “rebooting” these “franchises” (or “remaking these movies,” to use the quaint parlance of yesteryear) and suggests that audiences are already tired of this type of recycling. Maybe the message will slowly sink in. That or they’ll run out of shit to “re-imagine.”

  109. I watched it and it was fucking bad. I mean like fucking bad.

  110. Just came back from seeing it. Verdict: Worst. Fucking. Piece. Of. Shit. Ever. Seriously. Fuck. It made Rob Zombie’s Halloween look like John Carpenter’s Halloween by comparison. And that’s being generous. At first I thought I could laugh at it; you know like in a Halloween 6 sort of way. But there is so-bad-it’s-good; then there’s so-bad-it’s-depressing. Remake on Elm Street is a case of the latter.

  111. You guys heard about NEVER SLEEP AGAIN? I don’t know if I should do an official review, maybe a separate “blog post.” But it’s this new documentary about the entire Elm Street series. Heather Langenkamp produced and narrates. They interview all the directors, most of the actors, effects guys, etc. and go through every one of them chronologically. And it’s 4 hours long.

    I just picked it up and I haven’t watched the whole thing yet but I finished part 4 and now they’re talking about Freddy merchandising and the Freddy’s Nightmares TV show. It’s much more complete than you expect and they bothered to get access to clips from other movies they mention and Siskel and Ebert reviews and stuff like that. Also they’re pretty candid, often admitting different things that sucked or who they thought was an asshole (mainly Chuck Russell, director of part 3). Obviously this is not for non-fans but if you’re as interested in these movies as I am it’s incredible, like the DVD extra that’s way too good to be a DVD extra. And they even have cool credits that re-enact some of the famous scenes in stop motion animation.

    Some trivia I’ve learned so far: the rotating room from NIGHTMARE 1 was re-used in BREAKIN’ 2. The actress who played Patricia Arquette’s mom in part 3 in real life is the mother of the actress who played the new wave girl who does the funny dance in FRIDAY THE 13TH V. James Cameron once ran into people from part 4 and asked how they were bringing back Freddy this time and Renny Harlin said “A dog pees on him.”

    Also, you will all be happy to know that about 90% of the coverage of part 2 is about how gay it is and how many of them had no idea until later.

  112. Vern, you sold me. Consider it queued.

  113. I’ve been psyched as hell to see it, but Netflix doesn’t have it, which is way pissing me off. But then, I own the entire series on DVD, so maybe I should just shell out the money to buy it.

  114. Jareth Cutestory

    May 7th, 2010 at 4:11 pm

    You know how sometimes the special features on a dvd re-release of a classic film ends with a real upbeat message about the impending re-make? “And now, a whole new generation can experience the thrills in the upcoming re-imagining by Platinum Dunes! It might just surpass the original!” That would be so lame if NEVER SLEEP AGAIN ends that way.

  115. Frank Booth – Unfortunately they are never going to run out of shit to re-imagine. It’s ironic that the one movie I thought they might be able to improve on turns out to be one of my least favorite films of the decade, but there you go.

    Incidentally, I’ve just realised that your name is Dennis Hopper’s character in “Blue Velvet”. Which BTW is my favorite David Lynch film, easily. I’ve been reading and responding to your comments on this forum for months now and it’s never once occurred to me before. Subtract me ten internets for that gross oversight…!

  116. Jack Burton (“Big Trouble in Little China”; at least I haven’t completely lost touch!) – you really ought to know better and have nobody to blame but yourself. Let this be a lesson!

    Was “Sorority Row” done by Platinum Dunes too? While I admit it’s complete dross, and the ending is a total let-down, it’s definitely in the “so bad it’s hilarious” category rather than the “so bad it’s depressing”.

  117. Majestyk – I agree with the “bad sequel” being more tolerable than the “bad remake”, with one HUGE caveat, which is when the bad sequel actually IS a bad remake. Two really obvious cases where this has happened: “Terminator 3” is pretty much identical in terms of plot to “Terminator 2”, but not done as well; and – going back to my youth here – “American Pie 2” is like a horrible unfunny remake of the original “American Pie”, which is very good for what it is, with the same actors playing essentially cyphers of their previous characters with no humour or soul to speak of. For the record I enjoyed T3 despite its glaring flaws, and I despised “American Pie 2”. I could mention “Superman Returns”, which also has basically the same plot as the original, but I’ve been into that one elsewhere.

  118. Jareth Cutestory

    May 7th, 2010 at 6:48 pm

    Paul: Just wait til frankbooth asks you out for a night on the town; they’ll be no mistaking who he is after that. Hint: don’t order the Heineken.

  119. ChopperSullivan

    May 7th, 2010 at 8:59 pm

    Just saw the remake on bootleg cam. About what I expected. Incredibly bland, dull characters, no effort or imagination at all. I didn’t hate it, because it’s so lifeless and forgettable it’s hard to really give a shit enough to be mad about it.

  120. Paul,

    who’s David Lynch?

  121. Oh, just some obscure arthouse director, you probably wouldn’t have heard of him.

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