Gaywatch: Oh, The Horror!
By Tim Parks
Ever since I was younger, I have been fascinated with horror and science fiction movies, but not in the tearing wings off of insects, and wondering how, I too, could dissolve a body in a vat of acid kind of way.
And, with the advent of ever more spectacular special effects (like making botoxed actors and actresses appear to actually have facial expressions), so many classic horror and sci-fi movies have been remade with varied results over the past few years. As a fan of those two genres, I always approach any remake with a sense of trepidation, sometimes to be pleasantly surprised.
The remake of Dawn of the Dead improved on the original fright fest with its scarier version of the undead taking over the earth, one mall at a time. King Kong was also a very good remake, and no, I am not talking about the pedestrian 1976 version with Jessica Lange, but the 2005 one with Naomi Watts.
But, there have been some remakes that have suffered from a raging case of sucktasticness.
Take for example, Rob Zombie’s version of Halloween. I appreciated the attempt at more back story on the masked killer, but, I’m sorry, making Michael Myer’s mom a stripper, just so your real-life former stripper/actress wife can get a movie gig is pretty sad!
Now comes news of a Michael Bay produced remake of Friday the 13th and a Clive Barker approved retooling of Hellraiser!
Enough slaughtering of sacred cows already, unless…why couldn’t the good ole Hollywood powers-that-be see fit to really give these remakes a true makeover, IE, making them as films to appeal to gay audiences or even by incorporating gay storylines?
Why that’s so crazy, it just might work!
Oh, Make Me Over
Lon Chaney was the silver screen’s first boogeyman with such silent film turns as The Hunchback of Notre Dame and The Phantom of the Opera. However, his 1927 film London After Midnight is likely his most famous, due to the fact that the last known copy was burned in a fire!
That’s not smoke I smell, it’s a remake ripe for the taking, and a way to give faded Hollywood actress, Faye Dunaway, a role to sink her teeth into as the vampire Chaney originated. And, the producers of said remake could save a bundle on special effects makeup, as Dunaway has almost morphed into an almost exact version of Chaney in that film in real life, sans make up.
During the 1930’s and 1940’s Universal Studios was arguably the king of the horror movie genre, but every king needs a queen, and here’s a way to gay up two of their tent pole series.
The Invisible Man could be updated with a gay man over forty constantly checking to see how many e-mails he receives on a hookup site daily, until he is driven insane!
Hopefully, the third time is the charm for Pamela Anderson in the marriage department (fingers are crossed and tongue is firmly planted in cheek) with her recent nuptials to Rick Salomon. But if not Pammy could resurrect The Bride of Frankenstein! Only this time out the Bride is the one making a man from just the good parts of all her husbands to create the perfect groom – we know what part of Tommy Lee’s she’ll be using, and Kid Rock’s mug is pretty frightening, but the jury is still out on Salomon’s contribution.
One of the moodiest horror films to come out of the 1940’s was The Cat People; maybe it just needed a spanking and a nap that always helps me when I am in a mood. Anyhoo, this film was already remade in 1982 with Nastassja Kinski (before the giant maw of career obscurity ate her up), as a woman who turned into a panther when sexually aroused. This movie could be remade as a lesbian cougar on-the-make thriller and re-christened Hello, Kitty! starring Sigourney Weaver.
The 1950’s were a golden era of science fiction movies, ranging from the radioactive mutated ants of Them! to an altruistic alien visiting our planet on The Day The Earth Stood Still and there was also Rock Hudson pretending he was straight – oh, that wasn’t a sci-fi movie, just a sad sign of the times!.
One way not to flood the already saturated remake market would be to have two men go at it – get your minds outta the gutter; I am speaking in a cinematic sense, geesh. When The Incredible Shrinking Man takes some ExtenZe male enhancement pills, he becomes The Amazing Colossal Man and quite the popular date to boot!
During the 1960’s, Roger Corman proved that atmospheric adaptations of Edgar Allan Poe stories (most of them starring the incomparable Vincent Price) done on a shoestring budget could be very profitable for American International Pictures. So, why not a modern reworking with The Brad Pitt and the Pendulum, which could just feature the hunky actor shirtless standing over an open hole (interpret that anyway you’d like), spouting Poe inspired dialogue?
A “kaiju” is a Japanese word meaning “strange beast,” as in Godzilla. One of my favorite kaiju flicks was War of the Gargantuas, about two warring gargantuas, duh! Since both Kirstie Alley and Valerie Bertinelli are current Jenny Craig spokespeople, they should be recast in this movie rematch to see who will emerge victorious as the one and only large and in charge lady hawking that healthy food!
With all of the celebutants getting into trouble with their hard partying antics, perhaps a retooled comedic version of Night of the Living Dead starring Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan as zombie gals on the go and out looking for brains, booze and boys, could serve as both an interesting buddy flick and a cautionary tale –also starring Kiefer Sutherland as “Dad.”
“The Exorcist,” the movie about a possessed girl needing her mouth washed out with holy water, has been considered one of the all-time scariest movies (personally, it makes me laugh – true story!). In “The Man-o-rexorcist,” a group of gay men begin worrying about their friend, Terry (played by Dennis Quaid), who begins to exhibit signs of possession, like spewing a healthy spray of split pea soup and curse words. A priest is called in – only it turns out that Terry was just getting a jump start on “The Gay Pride Diet,” by becoming manorexic, since his hometown was all out of Tic Tacs and Diet Water!
Imagine a sheltered town in Anywhere, USA, frozen in time during the ’70s and ruled by a group of men with telepathic abilities intent on ruling the world and you’ve got The Village People of the Damned.
Alien anal probing, anyone? Well, that’s what you’d get with Closet Encounters of the Third Kind (a remake of the Steven Spielberg UFO opus), in which a spaceship full of gay aliens are forced from their home planet because they are of the homosexual persuasion. Shamed, they land on Earth and try to ass-imilate as undercover humans on the down low (with that knack for a good ole probing firmly intact), until they realize it is better to just be themselves two-fold, living among us as gayliens. Talk about men being from Mars and Uranus.
Before Carrie goes off to the prom to meet her fate, she receives a visit from the guys from “Queer Eye.” Carson finds her just the right dress to accent her “dirty pillows,” while Kyan does her hair justice, but not knowing of the night’s events, gives her a red henna rinse to make her blue eyes pop. Thom replaces Carrie’s mother’s religious articles in the house with some tasteful décor, Ted teaches her how to eat a “pig in a blanket” (nudge, wink), while Jai does nothing – seriously, what was his purpose on the show?
Life is not easy for the American Queerwolf in London, who drops a pretty penny to have his back waxed, only to have that hair sprout back come full moon time.
The Children of the Cornhole pitch a hissy fit and dispatch of their right wing town elders by bitch slapping them to death, after they decree attending a Hilary Duff concert as too controversial for the youth!
“They’re queer!” gasps a young girl, whose parents purchase the plot of land and builds their dream home, where the vacated 2200 Club stands empty. Spectral towels float throughout the house, those keys you’d wear around your wrist (so I’ve heard) rattle at all hours of the night, as does a bone chilling disembodied call for “Locker 15, we have a room ready for you,” and each ghostly visitation is preceded by the heady aroma of poppers in Poltergayest. (Thanks to my friend Kurt for that idea)
When a Booty Calls chronicles a very “friendly” gay man, who receives countless mysterious calls from a stranger, only to realize that they are just from some trick he’d forgotten about.
The Sixth Sense has nothing over the power of The Gaydar for a straight woman hoping to find love in West Hollywood! “I see gay people!” is the movie’s tagline – too bad she can’t!
Cut! Print! That’s A Wrap!
Perhaps Hollywood will rethink the remake. At least this year’s bombastic third remake of the 1956 sci-fi flick, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Invasion, attempted to find a gay male audience by removing the word “snatchers” from its title, so it’s a start. Until next time, that’s all of the news that’s fit to print.
This article was originally published in October 2006.