REMAKE TRIPLE-THREAT!Ernest Dickerson's SURVIVING THE GAME (1994, 96 min.) on Vudu for the first time.More of a direct lift from Richard Connell's original story from 1924 than a direct remake of 1932's "The Most Dangerous Game." And yes, by my definition that would mean "Hard Target" (released a few months prior) is as much a remake of "TMDG" as "Surviving the Game." Back off, man! I'm invoking FTM's almighty LOOPHOLESPLOITATION! :-DSeriously, "Surviving the Game" has a collection of manly badasses (Dutton, Hauer, Busey, Murray Abraham, McGinley... OK, stretching it on the last two!) chasing after homeless Ice-T in a game of too-bored-and-rich folks wanting to hunt the ultimate prey. Despite being a little green in the acting department T has great screen presence. Director Ernest Dickerson ("Juice") knows how to frame the Pacific Northwest landscape and utilize Stewart Copeland's heroic score to make the action scenes feel bigger than they are. It's a little clunky at spots, but "Surviving the Game" has enough great scenes (Gary Busey chews the fuck out of his minutes-in-close-up lengthy story about a dog) to make it worth a look. Recommended.BARB WIRE (1996, 98 min.) on DVD.Garbage post-apocalyptic setting (the one free city in all of the States during 2017's Second American Civil War, aka the Trump Administration), Pam Anderson makes an unlikable hero even less appealing than the cast of a 70's Italian 'giallo,' and nothing/nobody in this story is remotely worth caring for. That said, if you watch "Barb Wire" aware of its deliberate similarities to the plot/characters in "Casablanca" (close-enough to squeeze this into REMAKE!, because LOOPHOLESPLOITATION 2.0!) then there is a smidgen of a reason to watch. Everyone else, steer clear of this hotness of a mess. A-fucking-void!THE FOG (2005, 100 min.) on Hulu for the first time.If I had a camera filming me as I watched this remake of John Carpenter's classic scary tale about supernatural pirates seeking revenge of the descendants of those that wronged them centuries prior, it would have been more entertaining that this soulless 2005 flick. Seriously, my butt-ugly facial expressions, dumbfounded looks, constant grabbing of my thinning hair whenever my face wasn't buried in the palms of my hands and repeated exclamations ("Oh, no you didn't!" "Say what?" "Oh, hell no... 'F' that!," "Where did that shit come from?" "Carpenter, you sellout!," etc.) on a smartphone video would deliver more bang-for-buck joy than watching Tom Welling (playing "Nick Castle"... get it? BARF!) look utterly lost as to why he's even in "The Fog" to begin with. We get it, future Superman. We all have Veronica/Betty-type trouble between on/off-again ex Maggie Grace and too-hot-and-young-to-have-such-an-old-kid brunette Selma Blair. AAARGGHHHH!!!I'll give '05 "The Fog" this much credit: the two or three times it ventures into its own path and doesn't awkwardly re-shuffle scenes/characters from the '80 movie (including a WTF! ending for one of the lead characters I honestly liked and didn't see coming), it feels for a minute or two as a justified remake. Then the rest of "The Fog's" desperate, self-imposed need to spring loud noises, loud music stings, LOUD FOG (because what the original needed was CG fog that screamed with a first-person POV) and sanitized-of-any-edge 'PG-13' violence reminds you why the original is such a horror classic. A-fucking-void, easily my worst Junesploitation! experience so far... and I just saw freaking "Barb Wire!"
BODY SNATCHERS (1993, dir. Abel Ferrara)I am pleased with this day because it gave me a reason to dig into my collection for a first-time watch. I own two remakes of Invasion of the Body Snatchers: the 1978 film of the same title and this. Though the 1978 remake has a great reputation, I decided to go with Ferrara's version. I definately am not disappointed.What Body Snatchers does well is draw the viewer into the film. As the tell-tale signs of an alien takeover become evident, I was eagerly waiting for the next part of the story to come. Entertaining it is. The script is smart, the characters well delineated, and the cast is better than one would expect. In addition, the practical effects are very effective. The conclusion may be the weak point, yet it remains a satisfying ending, nonetheless. Body Snatchers is one worth seeking out.
My Bloody Valentine 3D (2009)This movie is fun. I was disapointed there was no flying eyeball, but you can see where the 3D was taking big swings. I mean there is a jaw flung at you. And that is a lot of newspaper text flying at you very fast in the opening credits.The kills are mostly over the top and effective, and it's bloody as all hell, even if it is mostly CG blood. I also thought the Soap Opera vibe worked for the movie, small town shenanigans. And Ackles, Smith and King's performances really lean into this. It is the most violent CW piolt I have seen.
The CW needs some more extreme gore.
The Town That Dreaded Sundown (2014)Does it really count as a remake if it takes place in a universe where the murders actually happened and the original movie exists? I don't know, but I'm still counting it. While I can appreciate the film's attempt at a retro, 70s throwback aesthetic despite being set it 2013, it was really more distracting than anything else. I'd say I liked it better than the original just for being more interesting, but not by much.
Satan's School For Girls (2000)A fine tv movie, and a decent remake. Some really bad acting, and clunky dialog but moderately enjoyable. Beth's sister has turned up dead, an apparent suicide. Beth doesn't but that story and enrolls in the college where her sister had been attending under a false name to try and uncover the truth. What she finds is a cross between Suspiria and The Craft, but much less enjoyable than either.
The Wolfman (2010) and The Mummy (2017)Started off with the Wolfman, and then ended up watching The Mummy as well as a dubious "bonus" movie for the day. I hadn't seen either movie in its entirety before, and felt fairly confident that I wasn't missing out, but this seemed like a good time to check them out.Their reputations are fairly well earned, but I don't want to just take a bunch of easy shots at movies that are already widely disliked so I'll simply say that I think Sofia Boutella was great casting for The Mummy and as much as I disliked everything about how Universal was pushing the Dark Universe I would have liked to see her get some more time in the role (in better movies ideally).
For all my sins, and also for Universals, I don't hate the Wolfman. At least the first two acts.
Joe Johnston is certainly a capable director and Benicio del Toro would be a great pick to play a werewolf even if they didn't have Rick Baker doing make-up. I think if they had a bit more time to do with the movie without having to resort to as much CG, and to tighten up the screenplay a bit they would have had something, but what got released just doesn't quite come together for me.It certainly ranks higher than The Mummy (2017) or Van Helsing (which thankfully isn't a remake or I'd have been compelled to rewatch it), but it's not something I'm likely to revisit.
Prom Night (2008, dir. Nelson McCormick)A PG-13 remake of a bland 1980 slasher about 25-year-olds stalked at their prom. Why did I watch this?
Conan the Barbarian (2011)I was originally just going to write: Dear Marcus Nispel, Go fuck yourself. Love & Kisses,Robert E. Howard...but I’m kind of OCD and I like to make these all around the same length. This is officially more thought than anyone who made this piece of shit put into it. Howard’s Conan stories are among the best pure pulp adventure stories ever written, something the John Milius/Arnold Schwarzenegger adaptation understands (even the low-rent sequel at least understands the appeal of Conan on some level). This version is dull and ugly and clueless about what makes Conan interesting. There’s a moment during the climax where villain Stephen Lang (natch) looks at Conan and says out loud (because that’s the kind of movie this is), “I don’t like you anymore” and all I could think was that he took the words right out of my mouth.
"Evil Dead" 2013, Dir. Fede AlvarezThis reminds me of Zack Snyder's Dawn of the Dead remake. Both filmmakers seemed to understand that they couldn't replicate the magic of the originals, so they just went all out on the gore and terror. Alvarez must've had a blast making this; the absurd amounts of blood and gore alone makes this worth a watch. Jane Levy gives it her absolute all in a role that must've been torturous at times and Lou Taylor Pucci somehow manages to be less creepy as a deadite than as a "normal/alive" human being.
Nice - I really like the 2013 Evil Dead too and having just watched Snyder's Dawn (oh wait...not to be confused with Dawn of Justice) I agree that's a good comparison.
THE OLD DARK HOUSE (1963) William Castle remakes James Whale’s classic. While Whale’s version had that wry macabre humor, Castle’s version is full-on slapstick comedy. While the gloomy atmosphere of Whale’s original is missed, this remake isn’t a total loss, especially in how the cast seems game for anything. And dig the opening credits, animated by Charles Addams himself! Bonus #Godzillasploitation: GODZILLA VS. MEGALON (1973) If Godzilla wasn’t a superhero before this, he is now. He teams up with freakin’ Jet Jaguar to fight Gigan and newcomer Megalon. This made-for-kindergartners entry is really a Jet Jaguar origin story, followed by a monster brawl that’s more slapstick than supercool action. And Godzilla and Jet Jaguar shake hands at the end? Where’d Godzilla even learn to do that?
I'm loving your Godzilla reviews! I'm seriously tempted to just watch Godzilla movies for the rest of the month and creatively fit them into the daily categories.
Thanks! I initially thought about just watching Godzilla each day no matter what the category was, but I worried that might be a jerk thing to do.
Suspiria (2018) Dir. Luca GuadagninoI figured this was the perfect day to finally get around to seeing this - bad idea. It was like watching a 2 and 1/2 hour film as dull and drab as Phantom Thread with the same extended, gratuitous blabber but with body contortion bullshit and some gore. The last act (there are 6 - why?! cause Ballet, of course!) provide for some interesting scenes but at that point I hadn't connected to the story nor the characters in any way so I was just happy it was over. There is really no way to justify the runtime and the cop-out declaration that "this is not a remake but a reimagining" is indicative of how much Luca is a bullshitter to try and get people to see this. Dance school. witches. That's it. Good try, Luca. (The pretentiousness of this guy has always been unbearable to me, honestly. One of the reasons I was reluctant to see this. Just search interviews or even something as basic as "IMDB quotes". I mean, even to call this film "Suspiria" is pretentious enough). No dice on this one for me at all.
A lot of people whose opinions I respect loved this one, but sadly my thoughts on it much more closely align with yours Chaybee.
I agree, Ross. Lots of people I love dug this movie. Can't agree on them all but no love lost. Especially over movies.
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I was going to try to check this one out today too, but the run time scared me off.
Whoa shots fired!SPOILERS:Nothing but respect for you Chaybee, your cred is beyond reproach. Aside from Tilda Swinton's embarrassing old man makeup/performance I really liked it, especially the last act. Sorry to hear you didn't like it.
I'm still undecided. It's either a masterpiece for me or prentious. I feel it's a thing line.
That's a huge thin line, Lindsay. If it means anything, there are a ton of pretentious masterpieces that work, much of which I love.
Matt , appreciate the kind words man. I was hoping I'd like it. Just wasn't meant to be. And I was in great mood too 😊
Cape Fear (1991) - first watchWith today's podcast, this seemed like a good choice. Also, I've been meaning to delve into some pre-2000's Scorsese (I had only seen Taxi Driver and Goodfellas).Whiskey mixed with Pepto Bismol? Should I try drinking this?De Niro is seriously scary in this. But also seems like he'd be a fun guy to hang around, smoking cigars, relaxed fit Hawaiian shirts, sailors cap, and cruising about town. Literate and with a fine southern accent. I think I would pass on the boat ride however.
The Wolfman (2010, dir. Joe Johnston)It wasn't terrible, but I didn't like it very much. The original is my favorite of the Universal monsters movies and easily one of my top 5 horror films. So I won't bore you with listing all my little problems. I'm happy they at least made it a horror film and not an action movie, like the other of the monster reboots. What a low bar. At least they got the genre right! It has it's moments, but the new things they added are really lame. I'm all for changing things in a remake, I just want the new stuff to be good. I will say Hugo Weaving steals the movie and I would gladly watch a sequel with his character fighting Dracula.
The Stepfather (2009)I’m going to be honest, I mainly watched this because I know Patrick and Heather will be covering it on Corpse Club soon. It was a very bland remake with a very bland cast, but somehow it was still pretty watchable. I don’t know, I just can’t find much to say about this one.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011, dir. David Fincher, First Time Viewing)It's glossy and easy to look at, well-acted, and has a nice score. That's about all the positives I can say about it. There's really not anything here you haven't seen a hundred times before. This movie should have been 90 mins tops, not 2 hours and 40 mins. Skip it unless you're a Fincher completionist (which I no longer am).
Dawn of the Dead (2004)Though I would normally be inclined to be annoyed about a remake of one of the greatest zombie movies ever, I actually enjoyed this quite a bit. It's too bad Zack Snyder doesn't make more movies that don't rely on hyper-stylization over substance (and have a running time of under 2 hours). A very worthwhile remake to check out.
OCEAN'S ELEVEN (2001):Probably not the best remake, but it might be my favorite.
The Hills Have Eyes (2006)Brutal and unrelenting, with amazing gore effects and an aesthetic I really loved. Expands on, and surpasses the original (though no dog has a flashback here, so maybe it’s a wash with Part 2).
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007)Technically, this is not a remake. It is an adaptation. I have failed. I am a disgrace. I should be punished. I should be purged. As far as horror movie musicals go, this one was adequate. People are murdered to death in this. If you are going to have your throat cut, you might as well get the best damn haircut you've ever gotten.
Always (1989)Steven's Spielsberg's best movie, lol. It's not terrible. It's a remake of 1943's A Guy Named Joe. When I was a kid, I'm pretty sure I saw most of this. Dreyfuss is always good. Holly Hunter is in peak physical shape. John Goodman is jolly. If I die, I would prefer a young Audrey Hepburn. Not from Breakfast at Tiffany's, though. That is racist as hell.
Sorcerer (1977)So, Bill. You just made The Exorcist and The French Connection. What will you do next? Well, I want four stories from four different locations converging together. Ooh. Where? Mexico! All practical, too. I got these trucks that I want to cross this bridge. A bridge? Yeah. But this is no regular bridge. It's going to be like crossing that bridge in The Temple of Doom. But that hasn't come out, yet. But it will. And you'll see. You will all see! Not even the director of American Graffiti can stop me now!
The Crazies (2010)The Crazies is a 2010 American science fiction horror film directed by Breck Eisner, with a screenplay from Scott Kosar and Ray Wright. The film is a remake of the 1973 film of the same name with George A. Romero, who wrote and directed the original, serving as an executive producer. Starring Timothy Olyphant and Radha Mitchell, it focuses on a fictional Iowa town that becomes afflicted by a military virus that turns those infected into violent killers. The film was released on February 26, 2010 to generally positive reviews from critics, and was a modest box office success.Timothy Olyphant. End of story.