making plans for a new version of Carrie. This is hardly surprising news given that even when Hollywood thinks they're being original they're still remaking stuff. Take Steven Spielberg's War Horse, which is currently in release? Sure, it's based on a book and a play, but the overriding sense of what that film boils down to is little more than a sorta remake of some John Ford movies with chunks of Gone with the Wind copied wholesale (just with horses in place of humans). Even with a filmmaker like Kimberley Peirce (Boys Don't Cry) supposedly in the director's chair, I doubt there's much hope of this new Carrie coming anywhere close to threatening Brian de Palma's original 1976 film as the definitive adaptation of Stephen King's story. There have been sequels, made-for-TV remakes and even an Off Broadway musicals so it's little surprise that they finally went back to the original well and decided to simply remake it. Still, the news stinks.
Oh, sure, the writers and the director (whether it be Peirce or whoever replaces her, what with the curse that the likes of she, Patty Jenkins, Courtney Hunt and Mary Harron have hanging over them) will claim that they're "going back to the original text" - they already have, claiming it will be "more grounded" whatever that means - but why is that always seen as such a beacon of hope and trust? You know what, Brian de Palma's film probably avoided the original text for a very good reason and it may have something to do with why Stephen King's personally stamped remakes of Carrie and The Shining feel so unnecessary. De Palma, and Stanley Kubrick for arguments sake, found truly cinematic ways to tell King's story. King, on the other hand, seems to suffer from what I call "Harry Potter syndrome", where book adaptations are judged on how much of the book they include rather than how a book is reshaped and molded for cinema. It's like how instead of getting one really great concluding film for the Harry Potter franchise, we got two yeah-okay-they're-good-but-what's-the-point films simply because they didn't have the balls to cut chunks of JK Rowling's prose for fear of pissing off the fans. It's for people who judge a film's worth based on how many of their favourite bits were there and it extends to the marketing as well - "oh my god, this poster includes my fourth favourite secondary character!! best poster ever!!!!" You get the gist.
Still, back to Carrie. While I can't say I was surprised, I certainly didn't greet the news with the same amount as anger as some others. If the project does go ahead then there's one of two end results. One, it's good and who can complain about a good movie? Or, two, it sucks and we all just get another example of why Hollywood's fascination with remakes needs to end. Still, an even bigger reason that I greeted the remake news with such ambivalence was because of this and this and this. These remake ideas of horror classics pop up all the time and while the ratio is still too high for my liking, some serious big names in the genre have had their remakes axed from the Earth. And rightfully so. Carrie will always be around and a remake will probably eventuate at some moment in time, but until it does let's just relax and hope it doesn't go down the route of...
Or maybe they should. Just for the lulz.