Where to start with the big remake news of the past twenty-four hours? How about with the version of Park Chan-wook’s Sympathy for Lady Vengeance that Charlize Theron has been trying to make for so long that when it cropped up again today, many people thought it was new. The third film in Park’s “Vengeance Trilogy” features a woman released from prison after years-long confinement for a murder she didn’t commit. After her release, she sets in motion a complex revenge plan.

Back in ’08 Theron was linked to the remake as a producer, and it hasn’t gone anywhere since then. But now Annapurna Pictures (The Master, Lawless) is backing it, with William Monahan (The Departed, London Boulevard) scripting and Theron set to star. That’s a good collection of talent, and Monahan explained in a statement today, “this will be very American — and very unexpected.” There’s no director yet.

After the break, proto-slasher thriller The Town That Dreaded Sundown gets a remake.

So while I think that Sympathy For Lady Vengeance is in pretty good hands, and in fact Theron might be great in the role, a slightly more sad remake bit is the news that MGM wants to remake the 1976 thriller The Town That Dreaded Sundown. The movie is based on a set of murders committed in and around Texarkana in the ’40s, and while it isn’t particularly graphic, the picture has a really effective edge thanks to the raw, vaguely documentary style created by director Charles B. Pierce.

The film hit in ’76, two years before Halloween and therefore before the slasher film boom John Carpenter’s film spawned. But the hooded killer in The Town That Dreaded Suntown was reflected in early Jason Voorhees appearances in Friday the 13th Part II, even as Sundown cranked out a slightly more realistic version of the exploitation vibe of films such as Last House on the Left and The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. It’s a film very much rooted in a specific time and place. Not that it couldn’t be remade — a town terrorized by a killer is a story that can be set anywhere, any time — but it would be nice if a small film like this could just be its own thing. Not that way it works now, I guess.

Variety reports that MGM is talking to writers now, so this one is in the early stages. Here’s the trailer for the original:

Shout Factory will release the original film on Blu-ray next year, as per this tweet:

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