When it comes to remakes, no movie is sacred, and this seems to be especially true of horror movies. Classic haunted house movie Poltergeist is on the remake agenda, as is American Psycho, and the new version of Carrie is set to arrive in theaters later this year. There are countless other horror movie remakes currently stewing in development, and now it seems that the strange and frightening 1990 film Jacob’s Ladder will bet he next to join them.
The original film, which was written by Bruce Joel Rubin and directed by Adrian Lyne, is about a Vietnam war veteran called Jacob (played by Tim Robbins) who returns from the war and is plagued by violent, extended hallucinations of monsters and demons in the city around him. Convinced that his visions are the result of more than just a bad case of PTSD, Jacob seeks out his old platoon-mates and tries to get to the bottom of what is driving him insane, only to find himself running up against walls of silence and confusion every way he turns.
THR reports that LD Entertainment, the production company behind recent horror movies such as Black Rock and The Collection, is financing a remake of Jacob’s Ladder, with screenwriter Jeff Buhler being brought onboard to write a new script based on an earlier draft by Jake Wade Wall (A Stranger Calls). Buhler is currently best known for adapting Clive Barker’s 1984 short story “The Midnight Meat Train” into a script, the film of which starred Vinnie Jones and Bradley Cooper. The Midnight Meat Train is heavy on gore, though pretty light on genuine scares, and is a fairly watchable horror movie despite its flaws.
Jacob’s Ladder is a classic of 90s horror, and is genuinely horrifying stuff with some iconic scary scenes. It also hasn’t aged badly at all; the script may have been ten years old by the time it was finally produced, but the film in no way looks dated and contains some impressive camera tricks and special effects.
It seems as though the producers of the remake feel the same way, as they apparently do not intend to tell the same story again, but will instead “pay homage” to Lyne’s film and “contemporize the story with new situations and characters” whilst still exploring similar existentialist themes. With that in mind, it’s difficult to see why they would call it a remake at all, rather than just going with an original title and set-up, but given that Jacob’s Ladder has grown a great deal in both popularity and acclaim from its humble indie roots, perhaps it’s understandable that LD Entertainment would want to maintain an explicit connection.
Like the idea of a modernized Jacob’s Ladder, or do you think there are some films that should just be left alone?