For a while now there’s been rumors of a remake of the John Carpenter cult film They Live. And for a while all horror films seemed to be remakes, with three of Carpenter’s films remade, and with a remake of Escape From New York still not totally dead. Director Matt Reeves is taking a page from the John Carpenter handbook. They Live was based on a short story called “8 O’Clock in the Morning,” and Reeves says he’s now adapting that instead of the film – according to Deadline Hollywood.
The reason why it’s just like John Carpenter is that when Carpenter remade the Howard Hawks-produced (and from all accounts directed) 1950′s sci-fi classic The Thing he went back to the original source material instead of trying to recreate the original. As such it’s revered as one of the best remakes because it’s not really a remake at all.
For Reeves, who just directed the Let the Right One In remake Let Me In, it’s a smart move in that it’s going to be a completely different take on the material, so he won’t just be a remake guy; Let Me In was very similar to the earlier film, and mostly beat for beat.
The original showed that the aliens around us were – basically – the richest 1% who used the media to control the population with lies. A direct remake would invariably attack the polarized national media. Reeves suggests it would be more personal paranoia. Likely the title will stay the same.
The original is very much a cult film, and inspired Shepherd Fairey’s Obey artwork. But They Live is definitely worth a look, and is the most political film Carpenter ever made. It’s fairly quotable, and features a fight scene between “Rowdy” Roddy Piper and Keith David that goes on for eight full minutes.
Are you sad no one will say “I came to kick ass and chew bubble gum” in the remake?