Thursday, August 23, 2012

Another Remake I Don't Mind

Chloe Grace Moretz as Carrie
I was not quite a High School Freshman when I first read Stephen King's debut novel "Carrie" in 1974 (yes, we've established that I'm old). It was set in 1979, the year I was going to graduate. In my class was a young lady who very much reminded me of Carrie: shy, odd, withdrawn... in the callous way that young teens can be cruel, my friends and I occasionally referred to her as 'Carrie' (I very much regret that, by the way).

When Brian DePalma's amazing film adaptation came out in 1976, I was stunned by not only Sissy Spacek's and Piper Laurie's performances, but also DePalma's direction. I'd never seen a movie like it and I was in awe. I can't even tell you how many times I've seen Carrie since then. Certainly more than a few dozen. And it never fails to move and entertain me. Those split-screen shots are just incredible.

Flash forward 36 years later and director Kimberly Pierce (Boys Don't Cry) is currently shooting a theatrical remake (I don't want to talk about David Carson's 2002 TV remake, which despite a script by Bryan Fuller and good performances by Angela Bettis and Patricia Clarkson, failed on almost every level), starring Chloe Grace Moretz (Let Me In); Julianne Moore (The Kids Are All Right) and the always amazing and underrated Judy Greer. And despite what one of my fellow horror bloggers has to say about her, I think Moretz is one of the finest young actresses working in film today and I can't wait to see what she does with the role. As for for Moore - she's been robbed of awards before (her performance in Far From Heaven is just heartbreaking) and I imagine her take on religious zealot Margaret White will be nothing less than amazing.

DePalma's film, as good as it is, is a little dated and a bit corny (the tuxedo scene always seemed out of place, even way back then) and the TV version is bound by the conventions of the medium. If anyone can pull off a decent remake, it's Pierce, who demonstrated an intense insight into the psyche of an outsider in her first film (which garnered Hillary Swank her first Oscar).

Spacek and Laurie both earned Oscar nominations for their performances in the original, but AMPAS' aversion to Horror as a serious genre kept them from winning. Let's hope that Pierce can work her magic and earn her leads the awards their predecessors deserved.

The original also featured Scream Queen PJ Soles (Halloween); Broadway superstar Betty Buckley; TV superhero William Katt; Steven Spielberg's first wife Amy Irving; DePalma's ex-wife Nancy Allen; brilliant comedienne Edie McClurg and the second film appearance by alleged masseur-groper and avowed Scientologist, John Travolta (he was in a terrible, though iconic little horror movie called The Devil's Rain, previously). What a cast! 

And while I have every confidence that Pierce will deliver a competent and frightening version of King's novel, I doubt she'll be able to top this:

And the less said about the two productions of the stage musical, the better.

More, anon.

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