We’re on the verge of a new trend in Hollywood – or at least a subtrend of the major trend of remaking old material into shiny new crap. That subtrend, with Star Trek rebooted, Tron Legacy coming out this year, Planet of the Apes getting a reboot, Alien getting a prequel, and the announcement that commercial and short director Carl Rinsch would be taking over the Logan’s Run remake, is the draw of looking to the 70s and early 80s for usable sci-fi material to work with.
So with that in mind, much like my list of toys that should just be adapted already, I decided to look at films that Hollywood might as well put on their short list for remake status. For now, I’ll stick with the 1970s and work my way to the 1980s if needed.
I wouldn’t be surprised if I saw these announced by the end of the year.
7. Time After Time (1979)
The Pitch: Fictional H.G. Wells travels through time to find Jack the Ripper.
The Remake: I have to admit that this would appeal not only to my steampunk fandom, but also my historical fiction love. The point being that it’s not such a bad idea. The original is a fun sort of ridiculous, but it also hits on the idea that Jack the Ripper would fit in better in modern times where killing seems rampant. Plus, if they do remake it, I have a killer idea for the theme song.
Hire Gregory Hoblit to direct and make it for $40 million.
6. Silent Running (1972)
The Pitch: All of earth’s plants are dead except the ones we stashed near Saturn.
The Remake: The environmental sci-fi flick is just getting ramped up, and it’s high time to remake this bad boy. The original is sort of slight and pointless, but the remake could be done as a film about one man’s struggle to avoid the impending destruction of all the plants and of himself as the space station he’s on is headed straight for Saturn. Okay, so that’s the plot to the original, but I’m saying it could be executed way better.
Hire Duncan Jones to direct and make it for $5 million.
5. Westworld (1973)
The Pitch: Yul Brynner is a robot Jonah Hex if Jurassic Park was about cowboys.
The Remake: Since Jurassic Park has already done the theme-park-run-amok theme to perfection, it seems obvious that studios would try to shoehorn this remake into that mold. Take an eccentric man who’s invented a ridiculously exact theme park featuring the Old West – as portrayed by lifelike androids. Then, add a dash of computer virus that catches everyone off guard, and the whole crew has to fend for their lives as they are stuck inside.
Hire Sam Raimi to direct and make it for $20 million.
4. Dark Star (1974)
The Pitch: John Carpenter and Dan O’Bannon make fun of the future, and a beach ball attacks everyone.
The Remake: Since they are already attacking one Carpenter property, it only makes sense that they’d look to others in his repertoire – even if they’re comedies. A bunch of people are on a space station having a great time, but then an alien attacks the ship. If it sounds like Alien, it’s because O’Bannon took a lot of his own ideas and used them for that, too. It’s a fantastic movie, and I can’t see a remake adding anything to it (especially since Alien is getting its own prequel treatment), but it seems like an obvious target from a remake-hungry Hollywood.
Hire John Carpenter to pull a Ridley Scott and make it for $10 million.
3. THX 1138 (1971)
The Pitch: No one can have sex, but everyone has to do drugs.
The Remake: I’m treading on sacred ground here, and Hollywood would do well to shy away from this one if they know what’s geeky good for them. However, I couldn’t put Star Wars on this list with good conscience, could I? Especially when some consider that it’s already been remade by Lucas. Hey-o. This Dystopian future is dark and will most likely to be boiled down to a sci-fi Prison Break by executives.
Hire Robert Duvall to direct and make it for $777,777.77 adjusted for inflation.
2. Demon Seed (1977)
The Pitch: A computer wants to have sex with Julie Christie just like everyone else.
The Remake: The simplicity of this film might just have something going for it. An attractive woman married to a scientist who invents a sentient computer that then imprisons her in her own home until it births him a child – not bad on the casting front anyway. Plus, it has some renewed relevance with the announcement this week of scientists making synthetic lifeforms that will eventually kill us all.
Hire Paul Verhoeven to direct and make it for $30 million.
1. Soylent Green (1973)
The Pitch: Man’s problems are over as a benevolent company makes really great plankton chips for everyone.
The Remake: As a comment on the food industry, the remake would undoubtedly become preachy and have the difficulty of either succumbing to the same twist the original had or feeling the need to reinvent the wheel into something that doesn’t work nearly as well. By now, everyone knows the twist that Soylent Green is Tyler Durden, so it would be nearly impossible to remake. Still, I have a feeling it’s just around the corner.
Hire Danny Boyle and make it for $10 million
Honorable Mentions: Rollerball (again), Quartermass Conclusion, and The Foods of the Gods.
What classic 70s sci-fi do you think Hollywood will eventually mine for material?