Two Masters Of Horror Talking Remakes

So, you know I hate remakes. And you know I’m not alone. I think it has to do with the word “remake” implying, at least to me, that the original was not made properly and must be made again by more competent, talented people. I have no problem with musicians “covering” songs. A “cover” at least shows some degree of reverence toward the original- who says they’re resinging or rerecording “God Only Knows“? No one ever says they’re going to rewrite “The Great Gatsby.” Inspired by, based on, or at worst a retelling of, but not a rewrite. Can someone claim to have repainted The Birth of Venus? Copied, yes. Repainted, no. Remake just sounds indifferent and disrespectful to the original. But, hey, this is just me bitching. Let’s take a look at a couple people who are actually affected: John Carpenter and Dario Argento.

In an interview with MovieMaker Magazine, Carpenter laid out his philosophy on remakes at the first question:

Jason Matloff (MM): What’s up with all these remakes? It feels as if your whole filmography is being recycled.

John Carpenter (JC): It’s a brand new world out there in terms of trying to get advertising. There’s so much going on that if you come up with a movie that people have never heard of they don’t pay attention to it—no matter how good it is. So it becomes, “Let’s remake something that maybe rings a bell and that you’ve heard of before.” That way, you’re already ahead. I’m flattered, but I understand what’s going on. They’re picking everything to remake. I think they’ve just run down the list of other titles and have finally got to mine.

He sees it as a business thing that’s pretty much out of his control. But it seems like he’s forced himself to be artistically ambivalent, saying, “When I was younger and they said, ‘Well, we’re gonna remake Halloween,’ I went, ‘Aw shit, why? Come on guys, don’t do that!’ My years in the business have taught me not to worry about what you can’t control.” Carpenter goes on to say he views the remake as “somebody else’s movie, not mine” and is unconcerned with any changes.

In an interview for the DVD release of his movie Mother of Tears, Dario Argento gets into his view of remakes. When asked about his involvement in the remake of Suspiria, Argento says he isn’t, nor does he wish to be, involved and “I hope they respect the idea and don’t do other things. They some times remake films and the film is totally different from the original. In this occasion, I hope not.” He says he’s worried this remake will prompt other filmmakers to remake his other films and reiterates that he hopes “they don’t just use the title and change everything.”

There you go. Two directors seeing their movies getting remade and having different opinions on the subject- Carpenter doesn’t really care and Argento isn’t exactly thrilled and worries how the remake will reflect on his work.

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