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January 13, 2009 |

By Dustin Rowles | Lists | January 13, 2009 |

2009 has already been called “The Year of the Remake,” but I suspect most years over the last decade have been called “The Year of the Remake” at some point. Granted, 2009 does look to have more than most years, but in many cases, at least they’re adding “3D” to the title. Of the countless remakes scheduled to be releases in 2009, I see only one that doesn’t make me want to rip out my eyeballs and plunge a wooden steak into my heart (just to be sure), and that’s The Wolf Man, and only because it stars Benicio Del Toro and Anthony Hopkins. Most of the rest look like quickie remakes (mostly of the horror variety) meant to collect huge opening weekends and slink off into the remake ether. Here’s the worst offenders, in order:

10. The Taking of Pelham 123: With Tony Scott in the director’s chair, and Denzel Washington and John Travolta in front of the camera, this one actually has a chance. But still: Why you gotta disrespect a 70’s classic? It also portends a trend where Hollywood runs out of horror flicks to remake, so they start going after 70’s classics, starting here and working their way through DeNiro and Pacino’s oeuvre until 2015 sees a Godfather remake.

9. Piranha 3D: This remake of the Joe Dante (Gremlins) horror film about piranhas inadvertently being released into a lake (John Sayles penned the original script) is fairly difficult to get too worked up about, if only because the original sucked, too. Alexanda Aja (Mirrors, The Hills Have Eyes) is attached, which means that, while it may be pointless, at least it’ll be pointlessly bloody.

8. The Last House on the Left: Another remake that won’t exactly twist your panties in a knot. Wes Craven’s original didn’t shake the world, and the trailer for looks fairly bland, but benign. On the bright side, it’s another movie that’ll keep the text-messaging, half-wit teenagers occupied and out of movie theaters where better fare is playing.

7. My Bloody Valentine 3D: I’m less concerned with sullying the memory of the original as I am with why they are bothering. It was a shitty film in 1981, and Jenson Ackles, Kerr Smith (RIP), and 3D technology sure as hell won’t make it any better. Plus, come on: You can’t release My Bloody Valentine in January, even if number two on this list is cockblocking your Valentine’s Release date. Plus, it comes from Patrick Lussier. His last film? White Noise 2, which went straight to DVD. This movie will be released this week. Get excited!

6. Land of the Lost: It’s never a good idea to remake a television series, especially one like “Land of the Lost,” which only worked in the context of 1974, back when it didn’t take much to impress an audience with special effects. People who grew up with the show may have some campy nostalgia for it, but that doesn’t mean they’ll be interested in a Will Ferrell remake chock full of crappy CGI dinosaurs. That said, it’ll make eleventy cajillion dollars because America just can’t resist Will Ferrell, even if most of the target audience never even heard of the original television show.

5. Hellraiser: Clive Barker’s 1987 Hellraiser was awesome as all hell; you just can’t improve upon it, and hiring a foreign director (Pascal Laugier) with a reputation for hardcore gore doesn’t make the decision a better one. We’re used to Wes Craven giving up the rights to everything he owns, but does the other master of 80s horror have to follow in his footsteps (that said, I’m stoked that, in 2010, there will finally be a big-screen adaptation of The Thief of Always, although I’m less excited that Shrek 2’s director is attached)? There is only one Pinhead, y’all. The world doesn’t need another one.

4. Barbarella: It’s listed as a 2009 release date, but with director Robert Rodriguez and Barbarella’s attached star Rose McGowan on the outs, who knows if it’ll make it to the big screen this year. If it doesn’t, it’s for the best, because the original was an incoherent mess that was marginally titillating for the time period. Although, a remake of the film may portend a remaking of the band, Duran Duran, which actually may be an ever bigger reason to root against it.

3. Fame: The 1980 original ushered in an entire decade worth of absolute cheese — do yourself a favor, and never, ever rewatch the original. I’ll grant that they can’t do worse than the Irene Cara flick, but by bringing in Kelsey Grammar, Bebe Neuwirth, Megan Mullaly, Charles Dutton, and Debbie Allen in to be the instructors, the remake will undoubtedly focus too much on the teachers and not enough on the students, who are comprised of a bunch of teenage no-names. Unfortunately, this, folks, is what High School Musical begat. It’s only fair, I suppose, since the original Fame begat HSM (related: Look forward to a Zac Efron remake of Footloose in 2010).

2. Friday the 13th: Halloween has been remade, Nightmare on Elm Street is due to be remade in 2010, and Friday the 13th make it a Freddy/Jason/Michael trifecta: The three most sequelized, most famous horror movie franchises of all time are being crapped right back out to a new generation. Rob Zombie already screwed up Halloween (and he’s also continuing the sequel trend with Halloween II), so it’s only natural that Michael Bay would bring back Jason for another series of sequels that will, undoubtedly, culminate 20 years from now in another Freddy vs. Jason: Now in Smell-O-Vision movie before the whole goddamn thing starts all over again (my guess is that Michael Bay will still be producing the third-generation of remakes, too). And this remake has Jared Padalecki, so you know they’re reaching for the stars! At least it’s not PG-13, so we can get a small amount of enjoyment from watching Jason kill off another series of haplessly obnoxious 30 year olds depicting teenagers.

1. A Christmas Carol: Here is all you need to know about Robert Zemeckis’ remake, which uses the awful animation technique he used in Beowulf and The Polar Express: Jim Carrey will be playing not only Scrooge, but all three ghosts — past, present, and future. Also, this is an early image from the film:


The 10 Least Wanted Remakes of 2009

A Seriously Random List XLI / Dustin Rowles

Lists | January 13, 2009 |

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here or follow him on Twitter.

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