Phantasm

You read the headline correctly. The number of horror classics that could be remade outnumbers the number that shouldn’t be. I’ve bought into it. I’ve seen enough good examples of remakes done well to no longer balk at the announcement of a new one outright (and I’m sure 5 more will be green-lit by the time I’ve finished typ…okay 5 more just got green-lit…); and if early word on the new Evil Dead picture is to be believed then it’s just one more punctured notch into the human-skinned belt of worthwhile horror remakes. No horror picture is safe from being resuscitated and put back through a brand new shiny meat grinder. Sometimes we get unexpectedly tasty ground sirloin; and sometimes we get mildewy grotesqueness reminiscent of “The Stuff” (which could use a remake). Talented filmmakers will make a good picture while talented accountants will make money. Sometimes both can be satisfied, and that readily occurs in the production of a horror remake because they’re cheap to make, easy to sell, and fun to play around with. They’re the pancakes of the film industry. Almost any horror picture is capable of being remade well given the right kind of people with the right kind of attitude. While it feels like everything’s already been remade, there are still a few stragglers that haven’t. Here are 5 that shouldn’t and 10 where an update might not be so bad.

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Phantasm Commentary

Experiencing Don Coscarelli’s latest, John Dies at the End, was a trip at South by Southwest. Actually, experiencing any of Coscarelli’s films are a trip of one kind or another, and the guy is such a pleasant film maker you can’t help but want to hear him talk about his earlier works. That’s why we’ve chosen Phantasm this week. One of his earliest works, it was this horror film that landed Coscarelli on the industry map, turning its success into a full-fledged career that continues to this day. It’s also his scariest and arguably his best to date. But, as interesting as it is to hear Coscarelli speak, it’s good to have friends, and he’s brought three of them along for this commentary track. The DVD box boasts Reggie Banister, who plays the guitar-wielding ice cream guy, Reggie – Pretty sure the part was written for him – but he doesn’t appear on the commentary. Instead, it features the other two leads, Michael Baldwin and Bill Thornbury, and the Tall Man himself, Angus Scrimm, who isn’t even listed on the box. Regardless, we’ve got the writer/director on board and three of the film’s main actors, so grab a seat and check out all the things we learned from hearing these men talk about Phantasm. It’s the commentary that’s got balls. If you haven’t seen the film, I regret the euphemism already.

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IWalkedWithAZombie

The zombie film you may not know about. Long before Romero, there was Tourneur, a director that mastered the art of suspense and terror without any special effects. Leave your comfortable seat, avoid the theater this weekend, and head for the tropical hell of the Caribbean where the dead that walk the night aren’t nearly as scary as the living.

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