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Remakes You May Not Know Are Trapped in Development Hell

Pet Sematary movie art

In this business a lot of planned and proposed pictures never see creation. There are a myriad of reasons for these projects falling through the cracks, but I think the most common reason is the simple fact that some studios aren’t entirely confident in the financial gain they stand to make, or, in some cases possibly lose. No one wants to bet on the long shot, execs want the guaranteed winners. They want the money making machines moving overtime, and sometimes, even with bright, promising franchises, the puzzle pieces just don’t come together. Here are a handful of remakes that were once high on Hollywood’s priority list, but have since become lost in development Hell.

I Know What You Did Last Summer

The only reason the idea of remaking I Know What You Did Last Summer sounded like a swell idea was because Mike Flanagan was once attached to helm the reboot. Flanagan, about three years ago, spoke to and sounded very optimistic about the project.

“It’s a really neat take. It’s a whole new deal. We’re not interested in doing the same thing again with the eliminated teenagers and the fisherman.”

Apparently Flanagan, whose career has absolutely soared over the last few years, doesn’t think the new take they had planned is all that “neat” anymore. That’s actually unfortunate because, while I Know What You Did Last Summer was a fun Scream knockoff, it really hasn’t aged well, and it plays out like a dreadfully sloppy production these days. It could have been awesome to see this film done right, and rightfully terrifying.

Maybe in the next life.

Interview with the Vampire

Hollywood has been dabbling with the notion of an Interview with the Vampire reboot for what feels like forever. To be entirely honest, I’ve got zero interest in seeing it happen. The casting was all wrong back in ’94 when they first adapted Anne Rice’s story, and it’s not likely going to be any better in 2017.

Josh Boone is a talented director, and perhaps he could have made some movie magic happen here, but I’m not even convinced the horror landscape has room for another Interview with the Vampire in 2017. I think we’re all still recovering from that Twilight debacle, so the romantic vamps of the world are probably best waiting until the memories of those horrible Teenie Twilight flicks exit our memory banks forever.

Besides, as of this year we’ve been hearing that Anne Rice herself will play a big hand in another adaptation of her epic vampire saga, this time designed with the intention of landing on the small screen. Maybe that medium will work a bit better than another full length feature.

The Birds

Remaking The Birds sounds like every bit the bad idea that remaking The Crow is. The Crow was Brandon Lee’s film, and his performance was so riveting that no matter who they cast to replace Eric Draven, it will never work. You can’t take that movie away from Lee – it’s his – no matter who you are, and maybe Hollywood is finally realizing that. Well, we’re talking about the same scenario with The Birds.

Alfred Hitchcock’s ultra-tense coastal terror piece was assembled around the powerful presence and endearing beauty of Tippi Hedren. Hedren was more than a cornerstone, she was the brick and mortar and the pulse. And she’s not going to be adequately replaced by any dame in the business today, I’m sorry to say.

But let’s just be real here, anyway: The Birds is one of those rare masterpieces that should never, under any circumstances be touched again. Let Hitchcock’s classic be what it is – Hollywood already defecated on Psycho… let’s let this be the sacred gem that it is.

Jacob’s Ladder

I bet you didn’t realize Jacob’s Ladder was high on the remake list just a year or so ago. The reason you may not be in the know on this one is because it seems even Hollywood is terrified of it. Tim Robbins’ depiction of a tormented Vietnam veteran is one of the strongest onscreen performances that history has produced. It’s a top 10 –all time – performance, and it will leave you feeling filthy, afraid, paranoid, disoriented and hopeless. And Tim Robbins made that real. He hit that once in a lifetime role right out of the park, and it’s best if no one goes hunting for that one, because it is long, long gone.

Just the same, David M. Rosenthal was on top to remake the film, and according to Rosenthal, who spoke with Dread Central noting that his “version of Jacob’s Ladder will have a more contemporary and diverse look at the world of military families. My version of Jacob’s Ladder is all about the ‘coming home’ process as opposed to these guys in the field still having battles in their minds, so it’s much more personal and emotional.”

That sounds interesting, except, the original film was also kind of about the post-war battles waged in a veteran’s mind. That’s not the entirety of the story, I’m certain you know (seriously, if you haven’t seen Jacob’s Ladder yet, watch it immediately, it’s a sublime piece), but it sounds like Rosenthal is basically just telling us he’s going to make the same movie in a current setting. That idea does absolutely nothing to interest me. Let’s hope this idea stays lost forever.

Pet Sematary

Oh lordy… please, for the love of all that is amazing about film, don’t let Pet Sematary get the remake treatment. Some films are so jarring, so mortifying, so paralyzing, that they should never even be mentioned in “reboot” discussions. Pet Sematary is still one of Stephen King’s most frightening tales, and director Mary Lambert did everything perfectly when shooting that original film.

You cannot replicate the terrifying “sister scene.” You cannot replicate the eye-popping performance of Miko Hughes, who gifted us lightning in a bottle and performed with such refinement as to greatly defy his years on this earth. And finally, no matter what, you simply cannot ever find a man as large, warm, emotional, selfless and tender as the late, truly great, Fred Gwynne. The man embodied the term legend. You can’t pull the legend from the film and think you’re going to produce a winner.

Pet Sematary is a movie that holds up perfectly after 28 years. It’s still a paralyzing film and the featured characters still live inside of our hearts. This one isn’t, and it never will be broken, so let’s not try to rush to “fix” it. Please?

About The Overseer (2283 Articles)
Author of Say No to Drugs, writer for Blumhouse, Dread Central, Horror Novel Reviews and Addicted to Horror Movies.

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