Auteur Horror – Which Remake Do You Want to See?

Happy October, everyone. To celebrate my favorite time of year, I have a new poll for you today, and it concerns both remakes and how much more exciting (and weirder) they could totally be.

Remakes generally get a bad rap, but one of the problems, I think, is that so many of the reboots today are just so utterly generic and uninspired. It’s rare when anyone does anything really new with one — which made me wonder how some of Hollywood’s most unique directors, known specifically for their distinctive voices and styles, would approach remaking a well-known horror movie.

Your mission today, should you choose to accept it, is to pick the horror movie remake that you’d most like to see as created by the director specified. You cannot mix and match the directors, sorry, but I have provided links so that you can glance at a few trailers, should you wish, and get an idea/remind yourself of their aesthetic. I’ve also posted links for the original movie trailers. (Though sometimes I had to use fan-made trailers or just straight clips when the official trailers themselves were useless. House of Wax and Suspiria, I’m looking at you, buddies.)

Here are your contenders:

1. David Lynch (Blue Velvet, Mulholland Drive) directs House of Wax

Two disclaimers: first, the link to House of Wax contains SPOILERS . . . for a 1953 Vincent Price movie, so I feel like you can handle it. Second: I haven’t actually watched said movie. That’s bad, I know. I do know what happens, and I’ve seen the not-at-all close remake (boy, have I), but we’re going to stick with the original today. Honestly, I suspect that a David Lynch remake would stray pretty far from the source material too.

What would a Lynch remake look like, exactly, though? It’s hard to say. But wax museums are just inherently creepy, and Christ knows Lynch could manage to make them even creepier. No doubt it would be erotic, too. I’m unnerved just thinking about it.

2. Guillermo del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth, Crimson Peak) directs Suspiria

Okay, guys, let’s be real here: this would have to be the most gothically gorgeous ballet academy ever run by evil witches. I mean, it would almost be worth actually attending, wouldn’t it? After all, what are a few maggots and dead bodies compared to such beautiful architecture and intensely baroque fashion? (I’m almost positive Jane Austen said something like that once.)

Suspiria in del Toro’s hands? Seriously, just imagine the pure decadence.

3. Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Royal Tenenbaums) directs I Know What You Did Last Summer

Not exactly known for directing films anywhere near the horror genre, Wes Anderson did nonetheless surprise me by creating a pretty creepy chase scene in The Grand Budapest Hotel . . . and I’ve wondered what a horror movie by him would look like ever since. A slasher, especially.

What I’m picturing here is something like this: the usual Cast of Characters, quite possibly a narrator, and of course individual objects on display: Helen’s cut off hair, the blackmail letter, the fish hook, etc. Who wouldn’t pay to watch that?

4. Quentin Tarantino (Reservoir DogsInglourious Basterds) directs Saw

Because, when you get right down to it, Saw is really a movie about two guys sitting in a room talking to each other.

Obviously, there’s a lot of horrific violence too — which I think we all know the QT could handle — but if your movie basically centers around one long and super tense conversation, I mean, who better to write and direct it than Quentin Tarantino?

5. Tarsem Singh (The Cell, Immortals) directs A Nightmare on Elm Street

I didn’t actually see the remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street, but I bet all the money in my pocket right now that the nightmares themselves were pretty mundane.

Here, though. Here I have absolutely no doubt that the dream imagery in this remake would be fantastic, lush and surreal and creepy as all hell. Which is probably what you want from a movie that literally has ‘nightmare’ in the title. The visuals in this thing would be stunning.

6. The Coen Brothers (No Country for Old Men, Fargo) direct The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

Okay, there have been, like, dozens of these remakes, and also sequels, and sequels to the remakes, and prequels to the remakes too . . . but none of them have been done by guys who have actually won multiple Oscars before. And the Coen Brothers don’t seem particularly averse to bloody violence. For that matter, they seem pretty okay with filming stories set in the South, too, and pretending that their movies are based on a real story when they’re totally not.

Honestly, though, I think it could be kind of cool. It’s like Horror for Grown-Ups! At the very least, I assume it would bring horror back to the Oscars.

7. Tim Burton (Edward Scissorhands, Sleepy Hollow) directs The Shining

Okay, I know there are some of you howling, and I get it — but this could be early days Tim Burton, and Johnny Depp doesn’t have to be anywhere near it. (Unless that’s actually a draw. Oh, how it used to be a draw.)

I can see The Overlook being super gothic and weird and hopefully all bent at really strange angles. I can absolutely see how the topiary scene from the novel could work. Burton’s mostly known for the darker, weirder side of family friendly, but seeing more actual horror from him might be kind of interesting. (Alternatively, I’m desperately curious to what the family friendly version of The Shining would look like. Honestly, I almost want to see that more.)

And . . . yep, that’s it. As always, I love to hear your arguments/reasonings, but you never need to justify your choice. Are you only interested in Tim Burton doing The Shining if Johnny Depp plays Jack Torrance? That’s fine, even if that’s not something I, myself, personally want to see. Do you think a Wes Anderson horror movie would be a hilarious disaster that you need to watch before you die? That’s cool too. You can pick for funniest sounding movie or scariest sounding movie. All reasons are valid, unless you’re actively trying to be an asshole.

The poll will be up for one week. Comment to vote, preferably on the blog, but Facebook and Twitter will work fine too. (Or if you know me personally, I suppose you can just tell me — but then everyone’s going to accuse me of cheating, and it’s going to be all your fault.) Please remember, though, that you can only vote for ONE movie. By all means, go ahead and write out your internal struggle, but I do need you to be clear on which one you’re actually voting for by the end, or I can’t count your vote for either.

Coming Soon-Ish: Dean Koontz, Johnny Depp, and Vampires Teaching Sexual Abstinence

Odd Thomas

Well. This looks kind of like cheesy, shlocky fun. It doesn’t look very much like the book I vaguely remember reading about a decade ago, which is kind of unfortunate because I liked that book. But I also like Anton Yelchin and Willem Dafoe, and I enjoy some of Stephen Sommers’s work. If this is more The Mummy and less Van Helsing, it could be a good time.

Transcendence

I haven’t entirely made up my mind about this one.

On one hand, this has a pretty great cast. We’ve got Kata Mara, Morgan Freeman, Paul Bettany, Rebecca Hall, Cillian Murphy, and Johnny Depp — and it looks like Depp is actually acting again, which is really nice to see. Also this is the directorial debut of Wally Pfister, who’s been the director of photography for every single one of Christopher Nolan’s films. As such, the trailer looks great.

Story-wise, though, my interest is . . . so-so. I’d like to see more A.I. stories, but there’s something about the ‘dying man goes into the super computer and threatens humanity’ plot that just doesn’t strike me as very exciting or fresh. There’s hopefully more to it than that, and maybe I’ll become more interested with further trailers and/or rave reviews. Right now, though, the ‘It’s not evil! It’s SCIENCE!’ feel is making me a touch wary. (For that cast, though, I might get past it. Jarvis, Scarecrow, and Lucius Fox all in one movie? Consider me at least a little intrigued.)

Under the Skin

I continue to have no idea what this movie is about and remain surprisingly interested regardless, even though I know it’ll probably end in a bunch of artsy nonsense and confusion tears. Heh. Heir to Kubrick, indeed.

Still, I might try it anyway. I’ve really come around on Scarlett Johannson, and the visuals do look stunning. If nothing else, it might make for an entertaining and ranty review.

Tammy

This is one of the most painfully unfunny teasers I think I’ve ever seen . . . but . . . but . . . Melissa McCarthy, Susan Sarandon, Allison Janney, AND Kathy Bates, all in the same movie? Why? WHY? Why can’t this look GOOD?

Finally . . . Chastity Bites

Oh, I’m totally watching this when it comes out on DVD.

This just seems like a lot of fun, assuming you’re into teenage horror comedies and Allison  Scagliotti. And who doesn’t like Allison Scagliotti? (The correct answer is no one. Haters, don’t even bother commenting.) Not to mention Tinkerballa from The Guild and a cameo by Re-Animator director Stuart Gordon — the nerd force is strong with this one, my friends. Sign me up for some abstinence education and Elizabeth Bathory shenanigans, please.