Sunday, August 29, 2010

Total Remake, plus Zombie Ants, Germans, More

•Normally, when you think of hive minds being invaded by brain-controlling, zombie-making parasites — and I know you do — you are thinking about a dark potential future (or at least Washington, DC — speaking of which, if you haven’t already watched this weekend’s Freedom Watch, airing again tonight at 7 and 11, note that it features Mort Zuckerman explaining his concerns about Obama fiscal excess and the effect on Democrats).  Nature has been fighting creepy struggles involving mind-controlling parasites for millions of years, apparently.

This revelation leaves me wondering, as E.O. Wilson might put it, why everyone isn’t studying zombie ants.  Then again, militaristic and imperialist ambitions could take on whole new, more terrifying forms if militaries around the world really figured out the mechanics of mind-controlling spores, so maybe the zombie ant phenomenon would benefit from a period of benign neglect.

•Speaking of turning people into arthropods, I have only recently learned (from Byrne Hobart) of the most disturbing horror movie premise of all time, as notoriously explored in the film The Human Centipede, about a German scientist whose goal is to do something which is far worse than whatever you’re imagining, and which I will not describe on this blog but which is explained on Wikipedia, for the not-easily-sickened.

•Real-life Germans may not be much saner, given not only their history of producing dark or violence-admiring thinkers such as Marx, Nietzsche, Hitler, Heidegger, and Carl Schmitt — not to mention, apparently, plans for a cannibalism-themed restaurant.  What is wrong with German people?

•In other movie news, Paul Verhoeven — whose films, he admits, have been influenced by his youthful fascination with the Nazi conquest of his native Holland — plans to look at Dutch colonialism in Indonesia in his next film, which sounds interesting to me.

•Less promising, I fear, is the plan to let the director of Underworld remake the 1990 Verhoeven movie Total Recall, which, as Scott Nybakken likes to point out, is an already-perfect film.  There is no way the Underworld guy is going to improve it — and presumably without Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sharon Stone, or Michael Ironside, just for starters.  It’s as foolish a fool’s errand as remaking The Wizard of Oz.   How about a J.J. Abrams remake of Blade Runner while we’re at it?

The only way I think a Total Recall remake could be made worthwhile, at least as an exercise in metafiction, is if the protagonist kept having the sneaking suspicion that instead of reality he’s experiencing…a remake.  (By the way, if you rewatch the original Total Recall — and you certainly should — you’ll be struck by how heavily The Matrix, which came out nine years later, must have been influenced, to put politely, by the pill-vs.-illusion scene.)

•On a brighter (and at the same time darker) note, the protracted legal wrangling over whether Peter Jackson will be able to produce two Hobbit movies has led Guillermo del Toro, who eventually had to give up on plans to direct the films, to make plans instead to direct H.P. Lovecraft’s Antarctic horror classic (imitated in The Thing, the first X-Files movie, and other works) At the Mountains of Madness…in 3D…co-produced by James Cameron.  This may prove to be, at long last, the first big-budget movie to do Lovecraft justice.  Can Cthulhu be far behind?

•Finally, the aforementioned Nybakken, himself a veritable ayatollah of rock n’ rolla, notes that you can live one of the greatest sci-fi series of all time — and skip Burning Man — by attending a three-day Mad Max reenactment.  Good practice for the end times, after the empire collapses.  But tomorrow: a look at Emma Watson.


Byrne said...

When a friend showed me the trailer for The Human Centipede, my first reaction: “Why are Germans always typecast as performing horrific, sadistic medical experiments? Oh, right. That.”

Dave said...

Todd, I’m glad you posted this about the Human Centipede, because now I got the joke when Stephen Colbert mentioned it during the Emmy’s!