Somewhere in the Middle:

  • Dawn of the Dead – While I was a fan of the original, sometimes these dead movies just go on too long and infiltrate too many things. I have got zombie exhaustion. This movie was just okay, nothing great. The roof scenes were funny and the ending was sad, but a lot of it was super cheesy, but not a good kind of cheese. It just wasn’t something I was jumping up and down over. Not everything needs to be freaking remade! (Are you sensing a pattern here?)
  • Rob Zombie’s Halloween – The original 1978 film is one of my favorites, so naturally, I was justifiably conflicted about it being remade, by Rob Zombie of all people. His own ideas are great, but I am not sure remakes are his forte. The beginning was awesome, with little Daeg Faerch playing Michael, and doing a damn good job of it too, and Sheri Moon as his mother. I love her to pieces, so the beginning was totally fine with me. Gory, unrelenting, haunting. Once we get to fifteen years later, Michael is definitely creepy in the sanitorium. But why does he kill Ishmael? That was probably one of the saddest things I have ever seen. And the guards raping a female inmate was completely unwarranted. Anyway, he escapes. I like all the actresses who play Laurie, Lynda, and Annie, especially Danielle Harris (who was so cute as Jamie in H4&5!). But the acting and teenage goofiness seemed a little fake to me, like they were trying too hard. I also did not like the kids who played Tommy and Lindsay. Not cute and they were obnoxious. I liked the killings, they were pretty brutal. That is why I am so-so about this movie. I like some  parts, but not others, and cannot really box it into the category of ‘like’ or ‘dislike’.
  • Rob Zombie’s Halloween II – This one is along the same vein as the first. Normally, I do not like changing the original story, but I liked that Annie survived the first one. I also like that Laurie is a vegetarian. And I most definitely like the gore, especially of the unrated version. Fucking relentless, man! But, I do not like Laurie’s constant bitching, especially after finding out who she really is (Michael’s sister). I know it must be hard knowing your brother is a serial killer and tried to kill you, but really? You are really annoying in this one, particularly at the party, and the psychiatrist’s office. It just got on my nerves for some reason. I also am not sure how I feel about Michael’s mother showing up with a white horse, and Laurie pretty much being insane. That seemed cool for a minute, but the more I thought about it, it seemed a stretch. However, it was interesting and I want to see if they continue that in the third one.
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street – I had the same misgivings about this as about all the other films that didn’t need remaking or retelling or revamping. It is so overdone. Some of the death scenes were pretty cool, though, and Kyle Gallner’s really cute. But that’s besides the point 🙂 Jackie Earle Haley is kind of creepy as Freddy, but mostly just looks awkward, like he couldn’t master it or make it his own. Of course, Robert Englund will always be Freddy, so there’s really no contest here. I do like how they elaborated on the back story, because in the other films, people seemed to forget that he was a pedophile and child murderer! I like how they made it darker, more sinister. Eh, it’s just so-so. Definitely not the worst remake I’ve seen, but not the best either.

What do you guys think?

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About Aloha Mister Hand

28, horror-loving chick, lover of animals, movies, and her boyfriend.

12 responses »

  1. rwhyan says:

    Totally agree except I really didn’t like Rob Zombie’s H2 at all, it felt forced and kind of just got weird! The others are spot on, the first halloween remake is so unlike the original in the sense of how brutal it is, there was hardly any blood at all in the 1978 version. A Nightmare on Elm Street would have been a good remake if it weren’t for the brilliant Robert Englund, you just don’t replace someone like that. The problem with the remake was that it just didn’t feel like a Freddy movie. Some of the visuals, however, were fantastic. Great post!

    • Hey, thanks! You’re right, it definitely did not feel like a Freddy movie. I just wonder sometimes how they get these movies greenlit, considering the fan bases of the originals. Weird. H2 was strange, but I love the violence in it. Haha, that sounds gross, but it was just brutal. It did get kind of weird though. I don’t like how he killed Loomis, either. That’s just a no-no. *lol*

  2. I ageed totally with your worst and best remakes, but I am going to go my separate way on these. Nightmare on Elm St. was the most forgettable movie; I actually rented it twice ‘on demand’ because I forgot I had seen it the 1st time. Don’t remember one thing about it now, not one character, not one killing. Dawn of the Dead remake is my 2nd favorite zombie movie of all time (NotLD is 1st, of course). Some of the best zombies, best kills, and tense sequences in zombie movies, to me. The 1st fast-moving zombies in a film. The little girl zombie scene in the start of the movie, creepy as hell, the whole next scene driving thru town, The fat lady zombie, the zombie baby, the escape scenes with the thousands of zombies surrounding the trucks – all fantastic IMO. Had a little lull in the middle but can’t complain. The Zombie Halloween’s, I would agree, middle of the road. Liked them both for their intense brutallity but will never make my top lists and I still prefer the Carpenter Classics.

  3. Good post! Thought you might have some interest in my on location photos of Dawn of the Dead
    http://imagery.redbubble.com/sets/126853/works

  4. HorrorBore says:

    Hmmm…So-So remakes…I can buy it. But of course when you remake something, you have to try to live up to the original. As well as everything that made that original great. Dawn of the Dead…well…they came close. I absolutely love Zombie movies, whether they are cheesy, bloody, or funny (example: I will watch Shaun of the Dead over and over again hahaha). Not to mention this movie caused me to change my entire zombie survival guide. I had never thought about them running, so I had to start running….damnit hollywood.

    Like you, I love Rob Zombie when he has a blank canvas to work with. His unique vision and dark mind take movies to a whole new level. Much like Clive Barker did with the Hellraiser series. (I would love to see Rob Zombie get his hands on these for a remake) What he did with Halloween is made you feel sympathy for Michael. How awesome is that?!?! You felt sorry for a kid that you knew was going to grow up and viciously murder people. It takes a little dash of genius to do that.

    Nightmare on Elm Street was an EXTREME let down to me. Don’t get me wrong, picking Jackie Earle Haley to replace Robert Englund was perfect! But why….why for the love of god, did they take away all the cheesy one liners that made Freddy a loveable demonic character? That’s what those movies were…blood, guts, fear, and comedy.

  5. I’m quite surprised that you found ‘Dawn of the Dead’ 2004 to be just so-so! I loved the opening ten minutes and the stock footage opening credits. Even though it was highly stylized and I prefer Romero’s original bare bones satire, I still consider myself a fan of the remake. As far as Rob Zombie’s ‘Halloween’ remakes are concerned, I’m with everyone else who says that Carpenter’s boogieman original is the best. I liked Zombie’s 2007 remake alright, but I actually stand in the minority of thinking 2009’s ‘Halloween II’ is a better film. It was more his own than ‘Halloween’ 2007 and I was impressed how he blended a late 70’s/early 80’s slasher horror film with a 40’s Universal Movie Monster film. Even if aspects of it are weak, especially the acting (What the fuck was up with the hammy performance from Malcolm McDowell?), I still liked his monster mash-up.

    As far as ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’ is concerned, I dislike the Wes Craven original and I have never found it particularly scary. I’ve tried to like it multiple times throughout my life but I have never cared for. I’ve never liked Freddy (or Jason, for that matter) and no matter how hard I try, I can never force myself to enjoy the original, despite its classic status. I stayed far away from the remake of it.

    • Haha, thanks for the comment! I totally get what you are saying. H2, the remake, did feel more Zombie’s own and especially with the excessive brutality. I agree that the acting was not that great! The remake of the Nighmare was not that good, I guess it wasn’t as bad as some remakes I’ve seen, but it didn’t really do anything for me. Thanks! 🙂 I enjoy your insights!

  6. I thought I would drop you a line because, having read two of your entries on this subject now, it appears from my perspective that you are missing a few things. A couple of essentials about storytelling, as it were.

    Regarding your earlier review of the FT13 remake, one thing you need to understand is that whilst there was a place for cheapie, knock-off horror films in the 1980s, it nowadays takes a lot of money to just get a film off the ground. The remake’s budget, I would not be surprised to learn, was as much as fifty or even a hundred times that of the original. And that means, whether for good or ill, the makers have to work to get a much larger audience. Which entails giving the audience an actual plot. They have to have a credible reason for the characters to be in that place. They have to have a credible reason for one of the characters to be in conflict with another. And on and on it goes. If the original FT13 script were being sent to studio heads today, it would be being sent back with “please feed me” scratched on the front page in bright red pen. This is years of semi-professional writing and attending basic screenwriting courses talking here.

    Other than that, a nice write-up. I look forward to reading more at a later time.

    By the way, in response to a previous comment, they took away all the “cheesy one liners” in the Nightmare remake because they are not, never were, and never will be part of the original conception of the character. Another concept that today’s “storytellers” do not get is that with an entity one is supposed to be scared of, more is less. The films where Freddy was a joke machine have nothing on the films in which he was barely seen.

    In closing, I would like to ask if you have already written up the recent “remake” of The Thing. If ever there was an example of missing the point completely, that remake has it in spades.

    • I’m missing a few things? Okay, it doesn’t really matter to me how much they spent on the F13th remake, it SUCKED! This just proves that big money pictures do not make them worthy. I know the original Nightmare story was meant to be darker and scarier, and like I said, I didn’t hate it, it just wasn’t that great. I haven’t seen the “new” remake of The Thing, because it doesn’t look great and obviously I’m not a big fan of remakes! Thanks for the comment! 🙂

      • Perhaps I worded it slightly wrong, but the point that I am trying to get across here is that all films, irrespective of genre nowadays, are made with one goal in mind. And that is to make the largest amount of money possible. As I said, it takes a lot of money now for studios to even start production, so a film like the original FT13 is never going to get so much as a look-in. This is not a put-down, but simply a statement of a sad fact.

        The first FT13 film is estimated to have cost $550,000 to make. Even by 1980 standards, that is as cheap as chips for the film industry. The reason why there have been ten sequels and a remake is because it grossed somewhere in the order of 39.7 million US dollars. That is a seventy-two-fold and change return on investment if you believe the myth that every cent of the gross goes to the studios. Even in those days, a film making that much money at the box office guarantees a big push on home video (where the real money is, and was, made), and a lot of sequels. But the point I was trying to make is that when you are only throwing $550,000 into the production, you can afford to cut some corners in terms of getting good actors or writing a script with a coherent story arc.

        FT13 the remake is a very different beast, and people wanting to analyse it as a piece of storytelling need to understand why. A nineteen million dollar budget does not sound like much, but whilst production and distribution costs continue to increase manifold, revenues from the box office have remained static and even declined. Not to mention that if a film does badly at the box office, it will get less of a premium position at the video store, and command less favourable terms to the studio when a television licensing deal is struck. So the people making the film have to compromise a bit in terms of finding ways to appeal to enough of an audience to make an on-paper profit. That means that simply having a bunch of anonymous horny young adults go out into the woods to get killed is not going to cut it with executives today. Again, not putting down anyone or any film, it’s just the ugly reality behind the myths.

        One reason I actually prefer the FT13 remake is because in all instances, the people who do go out to camp in Jason’s woods are given credible reasons for doing so. Simply wanting to reopen an old Summer camp that was closed in suspicious circumstances really was not enough for the storyteller in me even when I was a child. Going into the woods to find an abundant supply of marijuana (which was a good trade product when I was a teenager) or to find a missing sister, on the other hand, is. But these are things that I could go on about all day and get nowhere with, so I will just leave all of that for consideration. For the record, I do not believe either film is particularly good, but if I were one of my university lecturers, I believe one script would scrape by with a 3 whilst the other would be a 1 (on a scale of 1 to 7 with shades between each).

        Regarding the remake of The Thing, your instinct is dead-on. It is not that great, and the people making it clearly did not get what made the Carpenter film so awesome. The “scares” in this remake are like the equivalent of having some annoying git bashing cymbals together behind your head every time you are meant to be “scared”. The one thing that they did get right, however, is the casting. The heroine and the man she ends up working with in the final scenes are dead on, with the Norwegian men on the base also being very credible. But the director seems to have thought that if Carpenter could make people jump out of their seats showing so little, he will get greater reactions by showing everything. *sigh* You know how it goes.

  7. I absolutely loved the remake of Dawn of the Dead (although the politically correct voice in my head has *big* issues with the shot of Muslims in prayer during the opening credits)

    Agreed on the others though – Rob Zombie’s Halloween should’ve been divided into a prequel and a remake. Plus – why make Laurie such an unlikable character?

    A NIghtmare On Elm Street was pretty poor, though I did think Jackie Earl Haley made for an excellent Freddy.

    • You loved the Dawn of the Dead remake? Really? Eh, I thought it was okay! I do think they made Laurie sort of unlikable, especially in the second Halloween, and Haley did do a pretty nice job as Freddy, though I agree that it was pretty poorly made! Thanks for the comment!

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