A lot of people despise remakes and until recently, I had always felt this way too. This was until a couple of years ago when I went to see An American Werewolf in London at Midnight Movies at The Curzon Soho. This is probably my all-time favourite film (along with Big Trouble in Little China and Withnail & I). It was a midnight screening, and there was a fancy dress disco beforehand – with Joana And The Wolf playing in the bar. Before the film was screened John Landis was interviewed by Kim Newman, and Jenny Agutter was in the audience. Basically, I was in fanboy heaven.
John Landis was likeable, witty and charming – then right at the end of the interview, he announced brazenly “I just sold the rights of An American Werewolf to be remade…”.
A silence fell across the room; the audience were not happy, including me. I felt betrayed. But then he said this, which is lucid and logical, and very hard to disagree with – so I forgave him:
“One of two things will happen: either the remake will be really good – in which case what are you worried about? Or the film will be really bad – but that won’t detract from your love of the original; you will probably even love it more. Either way, it will probably make a new generation of fans check out the original film. And with the money I can make a new film of my own…”
So now I don’t begrudge any remakes, sequels, prequels et al.
And thinking about it, lots of classic films are remakes – John Carpenter’s The Thing, Brian DePalma’s Scarface. And look how many times Dracula has been reinterpreted…