Saturday, April 23, 2011

We Don't Need No Imitation.

I made a comment in my early days of Twitter (last month) that sounded so uncharacteristically snotty that I had to feel myself up just to believe that the hands that typed it were actually mine:

"I refuse to follow anyone who is excited about the Suspiria remake."

Now, if you know me, you know I don't just roll out that kind of comment for my health. I posted it only after a celebrity I was following tweeted about the remake, and how psyched they were that David Gordon Green was directing. And a few replies to my tweet did seem to support that level of enthusiasm. So, okay—David Gordon Green is very talented, directed a film I enjoyed very much (Pineapple Express), and made the notable The Night of the Hunter-esque Undertow. Fine, fine and fine.

But, you see—the thing is, I don't care if Dario Argento himself was remaking Suspiria (and, recalling Argento's sentiment on remakes at his panel my husband and I attended at a WOH a year ago, I'm assuming that Dracula 3D will be an entity unto itself). I also don't care that he released the rights to Green for the remake (releasing the rights is not exactly the same as giving one a shining endorsement—and Argento held out on those rights for a while). And I really don't care if some remakes have ended up being better than the original source material (The Thing, The Fly). I do care that George Romero (aka my favorite director of all time) was able to recover some semblance of copyright from Tom Savini's NOTLD redux. But unless we're in some kind of imminent danger of losing the original print of Suspiria—due to a newly-discovered freak bleeding of the Technicolor Rome dye transfer some 35 years on—there is no need to remake the film.

I'm hung up on this remake thing too, sister.

I'm passionate about this, and about not remaking films in general, because I truly believe that remakes are so distilled to the point that the original meanings (cultural, or in Argento and Daria Nicolodi's case, Disneyesque Grand Guignol of the Snow White fable) are lost until only motive (money made off the nostalgia of never-beens) remains. Isn't it bad enough that the Goblin score has been used to pitch other films (Black Swan and Jane Eyre)? And speaking of Goblin, the latest word is that the legendary Italian prog masters' music is being appropriated for the remake. I hope this is just speculation and not reality, as 1) I doubt Goblin are hurting for money, 2) Goblin are renowned worldwide and hardly need the publicity, and 3) I assume that Claudio Simonetti and co. would be in alignment with Argento's original vision and would rather eat American pizza and say they love it than subvert Italy's cherished horror legacy by participating in a remake.

Anyway, the show will go on, much ado will be made, we'll keep hearing phrases like "true to the original," and Argento will probably be coaxed into handing out supportive promotional sound bites to remake producers as if he were the neighborhood hermit on Halloween. What's in it for me? Well, repeated airings of Suspiria on IFC and elsewhere, perhaps a midnight showing at the Nuart—and the self satisfaction of knowing that the remake will come and go like many others before it.