“He Who Controls Spice Controls The Universe!”

A few months ago, as you may or may not remember, I took part in the Clarion West Write-a-Thon. Donors could purchase a movie review, should they opt to do so, and a man named Tom did.

Here is everything you need to know about Tom:

1. Tom is an assistant nurse manager of the ICU, one of the departments I work in.

2. Tom is a gigantic movie buff, like, he’s seen way, WAY, more movies than I have.

3. Tom’s movie opinions are completely wrong roughly 90% of the time.

Tom immediately jumped on the chance to purchase a review, and then, fiendishly, spent the next two months going back and forth on what he wanted to make me watch. Would he give me something he thought I’d genuinely enjoy, despite my fairly minimal interest? Would he give me something so ridiculously terrible that it would totally redefine the so-bad-it’s-AWFUL genre? These were hard considerations, and Tom delighted in proposing different alternatives every day, but in the end, the knowledge that I had never seen David Lynch’s Dune proved too much for him.

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And so, good people, let us begin our journey into the world of Dune, a place of spice, Chosen Ones, gigantic worms, and winged underoos.

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And the Great Horror Remake Shall Be . . .

Last week, I asked (and in some cases, begged) you to pick which classic horror movie you’d most like to see remade. It turned out to be a pretty tough battle, but in the end a victor arose.

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Quentin Tarantino remaking Saw!

Now I need to need cast this. Who are we thinking in the room — shall we stick to standard Tarantino regulars, like Christoph Waltz and Tim Roth, perhaps? And who should be Jigsaw? I mean, it has to be Samuel L. Jackson, right? Or would he be far too obvious? Well, that’s the problem remaking movies with a Big Twist: it’s kind of already ruined for you, unless you change the twist, of course. But the original had a pretty good one.

Coming in at a close second place: Guillermo del Toro remaking Suspiria. The bronze medal, meanwhile, must be split between Tarsem Singh’s take on A Nightmare on Elm Street and the Coen brothers’ take on The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Total Loser Award is surprisingly given to no one because everybody got at least one vote, even Tim Burton and Wes Anderson, who I feared for the most.

Honestly, I could probably watch all of these remakes. David Lynch doing House of Wax would probably be my own personal least favorite, knowing that Lynch rides the line for me between Awesomely Disturbing and Unpleasantly Icky. If I personally had to pick one, though . . . yeah, it would probably be Wes Anderson doing I Know What You Did Last Summer. I doubt it would be the most successful of the proposed reboots (I suspect del Toro could do some pretty fabulous things with Suspiria) and would probably function best as a dark comedy instead of a true slasher . . . but man, I want to see it anyway. The whole idea of it just delights me to no end.

Well, that’s it for our annual Halloween-themed poll, everyone. As always, thanks for playing!

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.

“The Owls Are Not What They Seem.”

I’ve probably mentioned this before, but when it comes to movies and television, I get spoiled for everything. It’s partially my own fault: I read entertainment sites and top ten lists for fun, but even without that, I really do have a knack for stumbling over spoilers in the most ridiculous and unlikely of places. To give you an idea, here’s a list of some of the things I’ve been spoiled for — some of which were completely understandable, and some of which were TOTALLY NOT OKAY: Battlestar Galactica, Dollhouse, Citizen Kane, The Prestige, Skyfall, The Others, Vertigo, The Brothers Bloom, Don’t Look Now, Sleepaway Camp, Frailty, etc.

But recently I realized that somehow, despite this, I’d gone my entire life without being spoiled for Twin Peaks. At the tender age of 27, I still had no idea who had killed Laura Palmer, despite the fact that the show had aired over twenty years ago. So when I saw that the entire series was up on Netflix Instant, I was like, “Mek, we’ve gotta watch that shit, and we gotta watch it now.”

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So we did. And as a result, not only do I now know who killed Laura Palmer, I am completely and utterly obsessed with Twin Peaks.

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“Yes, That’s A Human Ear, All Right.”

So, my sister and I are house sitting. She’s already gone to bed, and I’m sitting on the couch, flipping around a bunch of movie channels that I don’t usually get to watch. David Lynch’s Blue Velvet starts to play. I’ve never seen it. The only David Lynch movie I’ve ever seen is Mulholland Drive, and I saw it so long ago that I can’t even remember if I understood it or not. Anyway, all I know about Blue Velvet is that a dude finds a severed ear, and that Dennis Hopper is somewhere in there. I figure, I’ll give it a whirl.

Man, I’m not bright sometimes.

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