“The real question is why, when the original was so good?” asked Stephen King yesterday regarding a remake of teen scream Carrie. “I mean, [it’s] not Casablanca, or anything, but a really good horror-suspense film, much better than the book.”
Which really says something about the nature of Hollywood. When the creator of a movie’s title character is as out of the loop and against the project as we are, something’s gone wrong.
King’s reasons for loving Brian de Palma’s evocative 1976 film adaptation of his first novel? “Piper Laurie really got her teeth into the bad-mom thing.” Hell yeah she did. King relents on just one thing regarding the newly-announced remake: “It would certainly be fun to cast. I guess I could get behind it if they turned the project over to one of the Davids: Lynch or Cronenberg.”
While I don’t really agree with the Lynch or Cronenberg mooning (have either ever proven they can handle the twitchy, sensitive minefield that is teendom?), a disastrous remake could be avoided if the filmmakers adhere to just a few rules…
Cast an unknown. Hey, I love Chloe Moretz as much as the next Kick-Ass fan (the kid’s disarmingly smart), but she’s not Carrie. An unknown actress would work best for this role. Sure, Sissy Spacek’s casting in the original film followed her phenomenal success in Badlands. That was in the ‘70s, though. Times have changed. That said, I’d be interested to see Elle Fanning’s take on Carrie.
Don’t restage the bloodbath ending. We saw it in ’76, and it was horrible, and beautiful, and hideously mesmeric. Nothing can possibly match it, and 21st century filmmakers are sure to make it into a histrionic mess. Do something different. Surprise us.
Ignore technology. Nothing’s more annoying than remakes simply trying to ‘update’ their predecessors by shoving in an iPhone and having characters drop Twitter references. It’s achingly uncool. So ignore the new technology; just give us a story.
Speak to Guillermo del Toro. This guy has a hundred little eager fledgling filmmakers attached to his desk by strings, and has proven uncannily brilliant in choosing new talent to create exceptional horror films (The Orphanage, Julia’s Eyes). Talk to him, he’ll point you in the right direction.
Watch The Rage: Carrie 2. Then do the exact opposite of everything they did with that shameful excuse for a belated sequel.
Don’t try to be too clever. This is probably the most important. The original story is beauty in simplicity: a bullied young girl gets revenge on her classmates for torturing her. That’s all we need. So keep it simple, train your lens on the characters, and let the movie make itself.
Edited to add: I dare the Carrie remakers to simply adapt the hysterically camp Carrie stage musical for the screen. Go on. It’d be hilarious...