Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Going Green.

When it comes to remakes, I'm pretty much against them. Sure, there are the usual suspects that we give a pass to, like The Fly, The Thing, The Schlemmylammadingdong. My favorite remake is Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Oh my Godot, I love that film. Look, you put Donald Sutherland in just about anything and I'm going to love it. Plus Leonard Nimoy, plus two strong actresses I've always enjoyed watching (Brooke Adams from Shock Waves and The Dead Zone, Veronica Cartwright in Everything Else). And my good gravy, a young Jeff Goldblum. So hot.

But, speaking of so hot, what about films like Eli Roth's upcoming The Green Inferno? If The Remake is widely considered by purists to be the redheaded stepchild of horror cinema, what then do we think of its hip older sibling, the "Homage"? Now, this subgenre plays fast and loose with the rules. "We're not really a remake of anything; we're an homage." Yes, but you're surely capitalizing on what was before, and isn't that what remakes do? An homage can be even less dishonest than a remake if it isn't done right (Rob Zombie's House of 1,000 Corpses and Roth's original homage, Cabin Fever, were not my cuppas), but I can think of two, Zombie's The Devil's Rejects and  Ti West's The House of the Devil, that were awesome. Hobo With A Shotgun didn't bore me entirely.

Alrighty, so what have we got here? We've got the name itself, The Green Inferno, whose origins I won't bore you with, because you already know. We've got a jungle. We've got Heart Of Darkness meets The Most Dangerous Game meets Eat Drink Man Woman. All winding down to the inevitable movable feast. Okay. So, what is the point? 

Omigod indigenous peoples, I paid hells a lot for this hair.
Well, for me personally, I think the point is what we have now which we did not have before. For one thing? No found footage. And that would blow my mind if I wasn't already way over that motif to the point where I expect better these days. But what I'm really interested in is seeing how Roth interprets Cannibal Holocaust for a new generation entirely raised and reliant on technology, a demographic that operates in memes, speaks in texts and is generally considered to have a crippling sense of self-entitlement. The kids in The Green Inferno think they're doing alright outta sight, sitting in that little plane headed off to save the rainforests and the people dwelling within them. Reminds me of a constable whose search for a missing child in Summerisle became a one-man mission to save the entire island. Wonder what became of him.

And I love this. I could argue that while we carry on about The Green Inferno's comparisons to Cannibal Holocaust, we could also point to films like The Wicker Man as inspiration. Or even Straw Dogs or I Spit On Your Grave in the sense that an idyllic retreat could prove to be anything but. Wherever you go, there you are. Add to that the arrogance of youth, which is not unlike that of religion when both are activated by a deep sense of well meaning. These kids in The Green Inferno think they're going into the rainforest to help, but A) the help is very one-sided, unsolicited and subjective; and B) they do help, just not in the way they expect or want.

I had a chance to see The Green Inferno last year, but I was 39 and knocked up, and my doctor gave me the whole is-it-worth-your-baby spiel (which also kept me out of all the Halloween theme park mazes). No, it wasn't worth my baby, but I think it's sometimes worth revisiting the old familiar ideas and running them through a new filter; in this case, the 99 Percenters. Is this deliberate? I don't know; I'm really just speculating. Or maybe I am just projecting in the hope that the new guard of horror isn't simply disguising their homages as remakes, and then defending their timely relevance out of convenience.