The next attempt to resurrect the Re-Animator line of undead misadventures will reportedly be a 3D remake of the original film. Shock Till You Drop tell us this rehash will come courtesy of producer Ray Haboush and Brian Yuzna, director of the Re-Animator sequels and producer of the first entry, which I take to mean that Stuart Gordon most likely won’t be involved. A gutting shame because I had him pegged as the one chief of the Re-Animator team with genuine aspirations for the series.
Last we heard, Gordon was developing House of Re-Animator, a sequel that would take the walking-corpse antics into the White House but that on-again, off-again prospect probably won’t survive the threat of a more market friendly 3D remake. Besides, until President Obama makes a popularly accepted screw up, the concept of evil zombies in the Oval Office will seem a little out of touch with the zeitgeist.
Those who know me “from real life” won’t be at all surprised to see me writing a Re-Animator piece as I typically mention the film at least three times a week. I don’t think it’s a particularly good film, and indeed I reckon it is in many respects rather wonky, but I rather dearly love it. Re-Animator is always my example of a guilty pleasure. I can’t defend all of it’s filmmaking choices – indeed, some leaving me feeling rather dirty – but I still treasure it. It does have genuine brio and a trio of really, really zippy, bright performances from David Gale, Barbara Crampton and, most fun of all, Jeffrey Combs.
There are bound to be many dismissive arguments to come over the matter of 3D filmmaking. I’ll agree with the naysayers only in so far as that 3D isn’t, yet, a fully field tested and popular medium for movies. Despite the potential for stereo cinema to revolutionise film in exactly the same ways as surround sound, colour and widescreen aspect ratios, there’s a crazy strong resistance in many quarters, as well as an even wider sense that 3D films rarely amount to little more than sideshow attractions. I’m sure that the arrival of yet another 3D horror film, particularly one as flat-out wacky as a Re-Animator rehash isn’t going to help the matter. (See the still from the original at the top of the post for a pretty loud whisper of how the remake might abuse the 3D).
Silly, gory romps are already designed as carnivalesque attractions, even without the stereo imagery, so I see no surprises that when the My Bloody Valentine pick axe comes swinging it does so right out of the screen. 3D gives the Barnums of the splatter world another toy, and one they make great hay (not to mention gold) from but to see 3D as only being a bolt-on gimmick for films with all the ambition of a theme park ride is to grossly undervalue the format’s potential for a radical upheaval of all cinema. The language of film will need to shift a phase to best accommodate this second eye, but the artistic benefits are more than worth the work, understanding, dedication and development required.
I think we’re going to have to wait for James Cameron to get past Avatar and on to his promised “smaller” drama to get a real and sustained example of 3D when stripped of the typical genre shenanigans. I’m certainly looking forward to Avatar, but there’s a growing part of me that just wants to leapfrog it and get onto that potential case maker.