Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Sophomore Slum

The trailer for the Butcher Bros.' remake of April Fool's Day hit the net today, and it's predictably awful, the film looking like what might happen if the characters from Sweet Valley High took a wrong turn at the mall and accidentally stumbled into an R.L. Stine novel.

I realize we haven't seen the final film, and of course I'm a little biased, being a big fan of the original (some call the ending a cheat -- to which I say, "the movie is called April Fool's Day, Holmes!"), but I think it's simply irrefutable that this movie looks like manure. All integrity or artistic value aside, at the very least a contemporary horror movie should feel more intense than one made 20 years ago, right? Not so here, if this trailer is to be trusted.

I don't want to keep harping on the remakes...oh hell, let's harp on them! The most disturbing trend in horror today may not be the predominance of remakes, but the waste of good talent that's going into producing them. The Butcher Brothers were responsible for, arguably, the most original and engaging vampire movie of the decade (the '07 After Dark Horrorfest standout The Hamiltons). The forecast called for great stuff in their second outing, but instead they're treading in lame teen territory not even Kevin Williamson would touch.

And they're not the first horror ingénues to squander their clout on a remake copout. In Haute Tension, Alexandre Asa blended up a near-perfect concoction of emotional intensity and graphic initiative, then followed it up by taking a crap in Wes Craven’s toilet. Might as well call out James Wong and that other guy who did the Final Destination movies, too. They practically own real estate in Mediocre Remakeville after the Crispin Glover Willard redo and the... thing they call Black Christmas.

Who’s next for sophomore shame? Douglas Buck may be in line with his take on De Palma’s Sisters, and the Weinsteins have all but doomed the careers of Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury (the team behind the French sensation À l'intérieur (Inside)) by hiring them to remake Hellraiser.

And while no one’s attached to the Friday the 13th and Nightmare projects festering on Michael Bay’s production slate, the directorial want list is no doubt topped with popular freshmen on the fright scene. After all, why make the grueling climb to new creative heights when you can just sink your career to the bottom of Crystal Lake?


  1. The Ball & Chain said...

    Guess what? The Butcher Bros. recently signed my DVD of The Hamiltons. It's the first autograph I've ever collected or wanted to collect, and I didn't even have to stand in line at one of those convention hall nerdfests to get it!

    And just to crap in your toilet, I have to disagree 150% with your assessment of Haute Tension vs. the HHE remake. Haute Tension was so ludicrous I was laughing by the end. Tension my ass. On the other hand, I left the theater after HHE basking in the afterglow of a serious adrenaline rush. Particularly compared to the original which I'm sure was really super in its day but stands up to the test of time like a fart in a wind tunnel.

    Oh, Mr. Eyes, what would life be like without our gentle agreement to disagree? About practically everything? I still can't believe you don't like Conan the Barbarian. I mean come on. What is best in life? To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women. Arnold should use that as his campaign speech when he comes up for reelection. I'd vote for him, especially if he also started saying "Crom!" with a wide-eyed look of amazement every time the budget doesn't balance.

  2. John said...

    "Two or three years ago it was just another snake cult."