To use the current Hollywood vernacular, My Bloody Valentine is a “re-imagining” of the 1981Canadian slasher film of the same name. This new film is the sort of re-make, sequel and revamp where the basic concept and characters have been retained but it is essentially a whole new film. As in the original version, a small mining town is being menaced by a crazed miner who wears an identity concealing gas mask and dispatches his victims, predominantly, with a mean looking pickaxe. After massacring a bunch of teenagers he is then supposedly killed. However ten years later the murders start again and it seems that the survivors of the previous massacre are the primary targets. But is it the same miner who is again doing the killing or has somebody else inherited the gas mask, boiler suit and pickaxe? The big mystery that the film wants the audience to ponder is who the killer may be. However, the real mystery to My Bloody Valentine is whether it is supposed to be hilarious self-parody or if it is a classic example of a film that is so bad it’s good.
The original 1951 film The Day the Earth Stood Still is one of the all time great classical Hollywood films. It was the first significant Hollywood science fiction film and one of the first films to ideologically engage with the political climate at the time by tackling anti-Communist/Cold War paranoia. Despite its big budget it was a narrative driven film with more emphasis placed on dramatic action rather than spectacle and effects. The eclectic and reliable director Robert Wise, who began his career in film as the editor for Citizen Kane (Orson Welles, 1941), directed the film and the legendary film composer Bernard Herrmann wrote the music. Herrmann’s use of the theremin for the music in The Day the Earth Stood Still was hugely influential, making the theremin the standard sound for all science fiction soundtracks throughout the 1950s. The idea of remaking such a definitive and important film seems at first glance to be incredibly foolhardy, however this new 2008 film should not be automatically dismissed. It is by no means as good as the original but by taking the central premise of the original and maintaining its core ideology in order to address contemporary issues, this remake becomes a film that is worth considering.
German director Michael Haneke (Caché, The Piano Teacher) has remade his 1997 Austrian film Funny Games as an almost shot-for-shot English language version. Funny Games U.S. now introduces a new audience to Haneke’s deeply upsetting message-film about complicity with cinematic violence.