The remake craze in Hollywood trudged on Monday with the announcement that Universal picked up the rights to redo the bizarre 1983 horror David Cronenberg flick, Videodrome. Ehren Kruger, a co-writer of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is set to write the script.
The announcement merely continues the disturbing trend of the studios picking up movies of the mid (or even late) 80s and remaking them. We’ll also supposedly be seeing “new” versions of Romancing the Stone, The Last Starfighter, Back to School, Clash of the Titans, Short Circuit, etc. Movie audiences are simply going to have to sit through a CGI version of the 80s.
The concept of a remake is not a new one in the movie business, but the audacity of making most of a decade’s successful films less than a generation since the originals played in multiplexes reveals just how crippled by fear Hollywood has become.
With conglomerate overlords relying on movie studios to make up for losses suffered by other divisions of a given corporation, studio executives at all levels are afraid anything less than a hit will cost them their jobs. The best way to secure that hit is to have a big premiere weekend, so studios look to familiar titles to guarantee a safe opening.
Along the way, the odds of any studio taking a risk of spending time and money on an original idea — from script to screen — are dwindling rapidly in the new remake-happy culture. We may not see the real cost of that lack of originality until years down the road as there’s so little out there to inspire new writers and filmmakers.
The current generation of creative folk in Hollywood might point to Star Wars or Raiders of the Lost Ark as their inspiration. The pros assisting them and waiting to move up might look to The Matrix as their eye-opener. But what are kids watching these days that will spark their creative fires? A remake of Footloose?
As one agent told me this week, “The studios are no longer in the development business. They’re only interested in the ‘sure thing.'”
And, somehow, a shiny new version of The Swarm (no kidding) is what this new Hollywood considers “a sure thing.”
What do you think about a Videodrome remake?