This week, the re-make of George A. Romero's The Crazies comes out. The original film, made in 1973 for $270,000 with no Hollywood stunt men (and a lot of its crew doubling as actors) has developed a cult following since its first release. I'm going to make a safe assumption that the 2010 version cost considerably more to make, but is it going to be an improvement on Romero's film? Or will people shake their heads on the way out, saying, "Why did they bother?"
I know why so many re-makes get made - clearly they're a safe bet. The original sold a lot of tickets, therefore a re-make, or a "re-imagining" as the marketing people like to say nowadays, will also shift some seats. Particularly in a time of recession, safe bets often seem like the only bets worth taking.
But the last few years has seen the Hollywood horror vaults in particular well and truly plundered. Where there is an original horror idea, it gets trampled under the feet of executives searching for something - anything! - that worked before. The remake of Black Christmas comes to mind. Nothing could be scarier than the original 1974 movie (the man living in the attic is the most terrifying idea EVER), but the 2006 remake still stank up a storm. On the other hand, a lot of people, myself included, think the Alexandre Aja version of The Hill Have Eyes is well up there with Wes Craven's original.
I heard a terrible, terrible rumour last night - that Scorsese and De Niro are thinking of getting involved in Taxi Driver 2, or even worse, a re-make. I've had enough of cutting the business types slack. Times may be tough, but they can't be this bad. Step away from the vault and go and hire some people to write some new stuff! And Mssrs. Scorsese and De Niro, that includes you. Things aren't that desperate, are they? Really?