Personal blog - and temporary home page until new website is finished - of writer, editor and graphic artist Christopher Mills

Friday, March 21, 2008

"...When The Autumn Moon Is Bright..."

I'm a big fan of the old Universal Monster movies of the 30's and 40's (end even the 50's; i.e. The Creature From The Black Lagoon). I haven't written much about that particular pop culture obsession in this blog because, well, over the last few years, there hasn't been much new and interesting to discuss. All the major films of the cycle hit DVD long ago, and even the collectible market's been kinda thin the last few years. (And even if it hadn't been, I couldn't afford to buy any toys nowadays, anyway....)

When it was announced a year or so ago that Universal was remaking The Wolf Man, well, frankly, I didn't much care.

After The Mummy "remake" turned out to be more of an Indiana Jones knock-off than anything resembling the Karloff (or Tyler or Chaney) original(s), followed by the fetid abomination that was Van Helsing... well, I didn't have much confidence in the studio doing justice to the character and film that's probably my favorite of the original Universal Monsters series.

In recent months, though, I have to admit, I've started to allow myself a little hope. Plot synopses online suggest that this one really is a remake of the original film's storyline, and the casting sounds interesting, with Benicio Del Toro playing the Lon Chaney Jr. role and Anthony Hopkins assuming Claude Rains' role. And further fueling my burgeoning – if cautious – optimisim, this past week, photos were released of Rick Baker's reimagining of the classic Ken Pierce Wolf Man make-up...

... and I like it.

I mean, I'm not surprised that the make-up's great – this is Rick Baker we're talking about, after all – but I'm impressed that they're using make-up at all, instead of going strictly for a CGI cartoon.

I understand that Del Toro's a big fan of the original 1941 film, and is also a co-producer on the remake. Dare I hope that this one will be respectful and be a worthy remake of a legendary – and damned fine – horror classic?

We'll see....


Charles Gramlich said...

Del Toro is a good actor so there is hope. I did like the Mummy remakes, the Indiana Jones style, but they were certainly very different from the original

El Vox said...

Yeah, I can see why you'd be skeptical of any remakes, generally, they're a miss (with me anyway). The Blob remake during the 80's was sort of interesting, and though I think the original War of the Worlds is the winner the remake had some interesting moments. A few shed new light or direction or a new spin on things, but most should let the classic or original film be.

I used to enjoy those Universal films too, and bought the Revel (I think it was) model kits back in the day. They may have been gross and made my parents wonder why their son enjoyrd such monstrosities, but for a kid with imagination, they were too cool. There's one monster film that came out on DVD not too long back called Monster Squad, which I have on my Netflix list, but supposed to be good that I've yet to see. I'd also wondered if they were ever going to put the 80's Werewolf TV series with Chuck Conners on DVD, but I guess not. I'd like to see those again.

NoelCT said...

Having read the script (not hard to find online), I have to say I'm really looking forward to this. It's a deep, twisty, psychological werewolf tale that wraps things around a clever family conspiracy. The makeup is just the icing on the cake.

What worries me is that the director was replace just two weeks before filming (from Mark Pellington to Joe Johnston, both of whom have completely different styles) and that another writer was brought in for a hurried, last-minute rewrite.

Such news doesn't usually bode well for a film, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Craig Zablo said...

I'm holding out hope that this will be a winner... I wasn't a fan of most latter day werewolf movies like An American Werewolf in London, Wolfen or the Jack Nicholson version... still THIS could be a winner!

NoelCT said...