Tag Archive | "Cult Film"

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Back To The 80s, Part One: HIGHLANDER Remake In The Works

Posted on 21 May 2008 by Rich Drees

highlanderArt Marcum and Matt Holloway, the two scripters currently receiving praise for their screenplay of this summer’s blockbuster Iron Man, have been hired to pen a remake of the 1980s genre classic Highlander for Summit Entertainment.

The original 1986 film centered on a group of immortals who battle each other through history for a vaguely defined, but powerfully, Prize that would go to the last remaining one. It starred Christopher Lambert as the titular Scottish swordsman. Although it did only average box office upon its release, the film found an audience on home video. The film also spawned a series of sequels that were not well received by fans, prompting them to take the first Highlander‘s oft repeated phrase “There can be only one,” and change it to “There should have been only one [film].” A television series was also spun off and featured the adventures of Lambert’s character’s cousin, another immortal. It was better received by fans and ran for six seasons in syndication.

Peter Davis one of the producers of the original film, is attached to the new version as well. According to the Hollywood Reporter-

Davis said the new Highlander will not just be a remake but will incorporate more backstory elements and prequel aspects that will be fleshed out to expand the story line in a way that is inventive yet faithful to the original story. He also said romance was key to the series’ popularity and would be a central theme in the new film. “I would hate to think that people viewed Highlander as a sword fighting movie because it’s much more than that,” he said. “The issues of an immortal falling in love with a woman and knowing she’s going to grow old and die in your arms, those are very romantic issues to deal with.”

Its nice to see that Davis is aware of one of the underlying themes that made the first film so good. Unfortunately, Davis seems to have not been aware of this when he was producer on a majority of the Highlander sequels, including the universally reviled Highlander II: The Quickening, which attempted to completely rewrite the first film’s backstory concerning the Immortals. Here’s hoping that the “backstory elements and prequel aspects” he is referring to don’t come from there.

Marcum and Holloway have their script Convoy - Yes, a remake of Sam Peckinpah’s 1979 trucker movie – set up at Paramount.

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De Palma’s THE FURY Is Next For A Remake

Posted on 24 April 2008 by Rich Drees

I really think that I’m getting “Remake Fatigue.” I just can’t even work up the energy to write something sarcastic or annoyed by this news of yet another horror film remake.

I’ll just give you the bullet points-

  • Film To Be Remade: Director Brian De Palma’s The Fury (1978), which starred Kirk Douglas and John Cassavetes
  • Studio To Blame: Fox 2000
  • Screenwriters: Brian McGreevy and Lee Shipman

  • How They Got The Job: Based on the strength of their unproduced horror spec script, Of Every Wickedness
  • If Their Spec Script Is So Good, Why Isn’t Fox 2000 Making That Instead?: Recent Fox 2000 releases include Eragon, Alvin And The Chipmunks and 27 Dresses. Does that answer your question?

Via Variety.

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A SWORD AND THE SORCERER Follow Up? Ummm… Really?

Posted on 23 April 2008 by Rich Drees

Somehow this one skated by my attention last week as I was preparing to head out to New York Comic Con, but evidentially, director Albert Pyun will be directing a follow up to his cult 1982 fantasy film The Sword And The Sorcerer. The project, titled Tales Of An Ancient Kingdom will reunite Pyun with his Sword star Lee Horsley.

Twitch had the low down-

The new film casts Horsley as a mercenary general and father to stars Christopher Lambert – himself making a return to the genre that made him an international star – Kevin Sorbo and Victoria Maurette. There are offers out to a number of other significant stars of the genre but nothing is final on those fronts just yet.

Twitch also reports that the film is more “a sequel in spirit than in story.”

Sure, it’s been just over 25 years since the original Sword And The Sorcerer was in theaters, but I say ‘Why not?’ I mean, it is not like Horsley has an impeding Matt Houston reunion project to take up his time. And I am sure that the fact that Sorbo and Lambert being only a couple of years younger than Horsley won’t be too distracting for an audience.

Earlier today, AintItCool reported some follow up casting information, stating that Yancy Butler and Leah Cairns have joined the film’s cast. They also report that production is scheduled to begin on May 5 in Buenos Aires, Argentina and will end on location in Tunisia. They also state that the three-bladed sword from the original film will make an appearance.

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Screen To Stage: CRY-BABY, MINSKY’S, 9 TO 5, and LOST HIGHWAY

Posted on 27 March 2008 by Rich Drees

Four stage productions based on films have shown up in the news recently- One an inevitability, two that are intriguing and one that has my brain hurting itself trying to wrap around the idea.

Let’s start with the inevitable.

A Broadway bound stage adaptation of John Waters’ 1990 movie musical Cry-Baby was a sure bet almost before the curtain came down on the first performance of the previous Waters film-to-Broadway adaptation, Hairspray. Adapting the film for the stage are Mark O’Donnell & Thomas Meehan, the duo who won a Tony Award for doing the same job on Hairspray.

Sent in 1954 Baltimore, the film was a parody of 1950 juvenile delinquent films like Blackboard Jungle and the nostalgia-drenched Grease. The show throws out all of the tunes from Waters’ original film in favor of new music written by former Daily Show writer and producer David Javerbaum and rock band Fountains Of Wayne frontman Adam Schlesinger. Schlesinger is no stranger to crafting rock tunes in the style of different eras, having been nominated for an Academy Award for writing the title song to Tom Hank’s 1996 paean to the rock and roll music of the early 1960s, That Thing You Do.

Although the show is getting a late start in Broadway’s 2007-2008 season, it is still eligible for this year’s upcoming Tony Awards, pitting it against two other screen-to-stage adaptations- Xanadu and Young Frankenstein.

Oddly enough, Cry-Baby: The Musical is moving into the same theater recently vacated by the Tony-winning The Drowsy Chaperon, whose co-writer, Bob Martin, is the writer behind a new musical adaptation of the 1968 film The Night They Raided Minsky’s, which is set for a February 2009 premier at the Los Angeles Music Center’s Ahmanson Theater. (How’s that for a segue?)

The Ahmanson’s 2008-2009 schedule also features the debut of 9 To 5: The Musical, featuring new songs from Dolly Parton, and presumably her famous hit title song from the 1980 movie. Allison Janney is set to headline the cast, taking over Lily Tomlin’s role from the film as the leader of a trio of secretary’s who extract comic revenge on their overbearing and chauvinistic boss.

Our last entry in this roundup is the one that has me most perplexed- an operatic version of David Lynch’s surreal Lost Highway, currently being mounted in England and set to premier next month. Director Diane Paulus is mounting the production next month as a joint venture between the English National Opera and the Young Vic. In an effort to recreate Lynch’s narrative fracturing of the border between reality and fantasy, the production will employ both live and sampled music and several video screens suspended above the stage.

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Ninjas Attack KILLER TOMATOES

Posted on 11 March 2008 by Rich Drees

Kent Nichols and Douglas Sarine, co-creators of the popular internet series Ask A Ninja, are currently at work scripting an update to the 1978 cult comedy classic Attack Of The Killer Tomatoes, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The movie is being produced by Day Of The Dead‘s M. Dal Walton III, with Nichols taking on directorial duties.

With its absurd title and ridiculously catchy theme song, which was a mainstay on the syndicated radio series The Dr. Demento Show for years, Attack Of The Killer Tomatoes was a popular hit on the midnight movie circuit and then on home video.

Contrary to the appearances given by many other Hollywood types remaking classic films today, Nichols and Sarine know they are playing with fire in attempting an remake. The article quotes Nichols as saying, “Attack of the Killer Tomatoes is the masterwork of a generation. We can only aspire to recapture that magic.”

It’s still too early to think about casting, but wouldn’t it be great to see George Clooney, who co-starred in the 1988 sequel Return Of The Killer Tomatoes, come back to the series?

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HELLRAISER Remake Gets New Writers

Posted on 17 February 2008 by Rich Drees

Last month, we told you that Dimension Films’ remake of the Clive Barker horror classic Hellraiser was being pushed to 2009 as the studio wasn’t happy with the script from the project’s co-directors Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury. Now that the Writers Guild strike is over, the studio has been freed up to farm the project out to a new scribe or scribes.

Bloody Disgusting is reporting that the screenwriting pair of Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton have been tapped to take a pass at the script. Previously the pair has written Feast, last year’s Saw IV and the upcoming Saw V.

The Hellraiser remake is expected to hit screens on January 9, 2009.

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More NIGHTMAREs For ELM STREET

Posted on 30 January 2008 by Rich Drees

If you live on Elm Street, you might want to think about stocking up on your favorite caffeinated beverages because that haunter of nightmares, Freddy Krueger is set to be making a comeback.

New Line Cinema has announced that it will be joining with Platinum Dunes productions, the people behind the recent Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Hitcher re-dos, to revamp the 80s classic Nightmare On Elm Street franchise originally created by horror maestro Wes Craven. New Line and Platinum also have remakes of Friday The 13th and Hitchcock’s classic The Birds currently in the production pipeline.

Due to the ongoing Writers Guild strike, no scribe has been hired for the project and it is very probable that they will recast the entire film, meaning no more Robert Englund as Freddy.

While I haven’t seen the their Hitcher remake, I have to admit to not be very impressed with Platinum Dunes Chainsaw Massacre revamp, it striking me as more flash than substance. Nightmare On Elm Street is one of those few horror films where the concept allowed for some interesting character exploration, showing their fears and flaws through dream imagery that Freddy would manipulate to torture his victims. Let us hope that this is not forgotten when development of the film gets underway.

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HELLRAISER Remake Pushed Back To 2009

Posted on 28 January 2008 by Rich Drees

It looks like that forthcoming remake of Clive Barker’s Hellraiser, may not be as forth coming as thought. The folks over at Bloody Disgusting are reporting that the folks at Dimension film who are producing the movie aren’t particularly thrilled with the script turned in by the project’s directors, the French team of Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury. Dimension now wants to farm the script out to another writer(s), but with the Writer’s Guild strike still ongoing, nothing can be done at this time.

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Billy Campbell Wants A Return Of The ROCKETEER

Posted on 10 January 2008 by Rich Drees

The Rocketeer may have come and gone through theaters in a flash in the summer of 1991, but it still retains a cult following a decade-and-a-half later. (Director Kevin Smith even owns one of the film’s original jetpacks and snuck it into the setdressing of his comedy Jay And Silent Bob Strike Back.) Adapted by Walt Disney Studios from the independent comic book series created by Dave Stevens, the movie starred Billy Campbell as a young 1930s pilot who finds a jet pack invented by Howard Hughes and uses it to fight mobsters and Nazis.

Filled to the rim with a love for its pulp thrills roots, the movie barely registered when it was released. (At the time, it had been scheduled to have a Roger Rabbit cartoon short attached to it, which would have drawn more people to the theater, except that the short was pulled by Spielberg, co-producer of the Roger Rabbit shorts, who was having a disagreement with Disney at the time.) Any talk of a potential sequel, and there’s always talk of a potential sequel when a film comes out, pretty much died right then.

Campbell still says that he loves the film, and recently told MTV Movie Blogs that he would welcome a chance to strap on the leather jacket, art deco helmet and jetpack once more to soar into a sequel.

I was talking to [writer] Dave Stevens just the night before last. We always talked about having a sequel. [Unfortunately] the movie didn’t make as much money as Disney had hoped and that coupled with the acrimonious relationship that the director [Joe Johnston] and the studio had contributed to them not even considering it… I’ve always wished for a sequel to The Rocketeer. I thought that would have been really neat. It could have been great.

But would Disney be amenable to having another go at the franchise if the film’s other, now higher-profile, stars – Jennifer Connelly, Alan Arkin (both Oscar winners now) and Terry O’Quinn – were to return?

I think the question really is, is the public clamoring for period-set, pulp-flavored adventure? That may be answered this summer with the release of Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skulls and The Mummy: Tomb Of The Dragon Emperor.

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Stallone Has DEATH WISH

Posted on 05 November 2007 by Rich Drees

With the success of Rocky Balboa under his belt and the growing interest in the upcoming Rambo sequel, it certainly seems that Sylvester Stallone’s career is on an upswing. Apparently hoping to capitalize on that momentum, Stallone is currently in talks with MGM to star and direct in a remake of the 1974 Charles Bronson vigilante flick Death Wish.

While Stallone scripted both the new Rocky and Rambo films, the Death Wish re-do will be written by Michael Ferris and John Brancato, who are responsible for Terminator 3 and the upcoming Terminator Salvation: The Future Begins.

The project is part of MGM’s current plans to build a series of tentpole franchises by raiding the studio’s 4,100 title library for films to remake. Currently available in their library for reuse are all films produced by the studio after 1985 as well as a majority of the output of the former United Artists, Orion, Polygram, Samuel Goldwyn and Cannon Films, who owned the Death Wish franchise.

Via Variety.

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