Ripping Off the Good Stuff
It’s been a hell of a week filled with overtime and vet visits, so I’m going to totally rip-off my friends at the Mass Listeria podcast (http://masslisteriapodcast.com) and go over a few properties that I feel deserve a reboot, remake, sequel, rehash, etc. This is assuming of course that the trend towards rehashing the past continues. I am all for original material but it seems that Hollywood is not, so here’s a list of some stuff that’s been done before that’s should be done again, in no particular order.
Let me make this very clear; I love The X-Files. Not in that hipster doofus way that I “love them” because they gave Vince Gilligan his first job, not in the ironic way that the 1990’s is so “cool,” and certainly not in the apologetic “well they were good for their time” crap that so many former fans lay on so thick these days. I love The X-Files for what the show was and still is; one of the most accessible science fiction programs of all time. Fox Mulder, as played by David Duchovny, and Dana Scully, as played by Gillian Anderson, are two of my favorite characters to ever appear on television. The chemistry between the two, along with the creepy atmosphere and tongue in cheek humor are still copied by shows far and wide.
Besides The Twilight Zone, I would be hard pressed to think of another genre show that comes anywhere close to having the mass appeal that The X-Files did at it’s height. The only one that springs to mind is Lost, but Lost never hit quite the same saturation point. The X-Files internet fandom also laid the groundwork for the virtual presence of every show that followed it.
Did The X-Files have problems? Absolutely. The storyline became muddled, it went on too long, the last feature film wasn’t that good, but these are not reasons to not give the property another chance; they are lessons to learn from. Just think of how good the conspiracy storylines could be now. The original run of The X-Files was in the infancy of the internet when anyone who believed in conspiracy theories was considered a nut who wore tin-foil hats. Now it seems that everyone believes in one or two of them at least, and terms like truther, and birther, and ancient alien theorist make the national news. There has never been a better time for a show like The X-Files to come back, either on TV or as a movie series.
IDW has just recently started publishing X-Files comics again with show creator Chris Carter’s cooperation, and Carter himself has made reference to a possible reboot or continuation. Here’s hoping that it goes beyond talking. If I got my way I would want one more movie with the original cast and then a reboot a few years later, but at this point I would take either. Hopefully there will be something new on the horizon as far as The X-Files goes, but until we know for sure: trust no one.
Kolchak: The Night Stalker-Not Starring Johnny Depp
Speaking of The X-Files, Kolchak: The Night Stalker is the series that most inspired the format of The X-Files and also happens to be one of my favorites. Kolchak started out as an unpublished novel by Jeff Rice called The Kolchak Papers. The rights were bought by Dan Curtis, it was adapted by Richard Matheson, and then turned into a TV movie called The Night Stalker, directed by John Llewellyn Moxey. The movie was a huge hit that spawned a sequel (The Night Strangler, written by Mathis and directed by Curtis) and a short-lived series called Kolchak: The Night Stalker. In the movies and series Carl Kolchak is a reporter, played by Darren McGavin, who always seems to get caught up in supernatural stories. Simon Oakland is the only other character in both the movies and the series, playing Kolchak’s long suffering boss, Tony Vincenzo. The charisma between the two actors is great and the movies are especially good, with The Night Stalker being one of my favorite vampire movies of all time.
The great thing about Carl Kolchak is that the mythology of the character isn’t quite as deep as something like The X-Files or Lost. A creative person/persons could really come in and do a lot of different things with the character. Frank Spotniz, one of the creative team responsible for The X-Files, attempted to do just that in 2005 with Stuart Townsend (Lestat in Queen of the Damned) in the Kolchak role. No offense to anyone involved, but that series was Night Stalker in name only and had none of the fun or the scares of the original and audiences quickly turned it off. It didn’t make it to a full season.
Which leads us to now. The latest new I heard is that Johnny Depp is interested in playing the role of Carl Kolchak, and although I don’t dislike Johnny Depp, to me he is an incredibly bad choice for Kolchak. Darren McGavin had an everyman quality about him that Depp isn’t very good at. Even when he tries to, he doesn’t come off like a regular guy. Depp has played “weird” for too long and I doubt he would approach the role of Kolchak any differently. Edgar Wright has been rumored to be attached to it and that would be okay at least.
Will Johnny Depp play Carl Kolchak with Edgar Wright directing? Probably not. This, along with 8000 other genre movies will probably be left by the wayside when the geek ship finally capsizes in a few years, but I really hope that someone gets a hold of Carl Kolchak one day and does him justice. The right person could build a hell of a franchise off the character, so here’s to them! I want to believe!
That’s right, I said it. C.H.U.D. You got a problem with it? I didn’t think so.
For the uninitiated (if you’re uninitiated with C.H.U.D. we can’t be friends), 1984’s C.H.U.D. (written by Parnell Hall and Shepard Abbot, directed by Douglas Cheek) tells the true story of Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers, C.H.U.D.’s if you will, that terrorized people in New York City in the 1980’s. They are/were humans, hence the humanoid part, that got into radiation and turned into mutants. They started eating the homeless people that live underneath NYC because, like the Checkers slogan says, “you gotta eat.”
All joking aside though, C.H.U.D., and movies like it (i.e. Critters, Ghoulies, Waxwork), are perfect remake fodder. I’ve never understood why studios remake movies like Halloween and Texas Chainsaw. Those movies have never left the cultural lexicon so just do sequels. They don’t need an explanation/origin/reboot, but something like C.H.U.D. could be made for next to nothing and have a built in audience of b-movie horror fans ready to watch it, and the audiences won’t be nearly as angry if someone messes them up.
Just so no one gets upset, I will point out that there is a sequel to C.H.U.D. called C.H.U.D. II: Bud the Chud (written by M. Kane Jeeves and directed by David K. Irving) that was released in 1989. I have never had the pleasure of checking it out but it is my understanding that it is more of a comedy than the original C.H.U.D. which, as stated before, is based on a true story.
So there you have it! Three properties that I hope someone takes an interest in during these remake/reboot/rehash loving days. So if you run a studio and want me to help you get these off the ground I will be more than happy to help, especially for a C.H.U.D. remake.
The truth is out there…and it’s filled with C.H.U.D.’s.
Until next time…