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Seven More “Remakes” We’d Love Werner Herzog To Direct

Seven More “Remakes” We’d Love Werner Herzog To Direct (photo)

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Controversy has followed Werner Herzog’s “Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans” right from the start. When word got to director Abel Ferrara that his original “Bad Lieutenant” film was being remade by Herzog and star Nicolas Cage, the outspoken director wished the other outspoken director would “die in hell.” Herzog’s response? “I have no idea who Abel Ferrara is. But let him fight the windmills, like Don Quixote.” To which Ferrara shot back, “I’d rather chase windmills than steal other people’s ideas. It’s lame.”

Ferrara’s protectiveness is understandable, but his outrage is a little excessive, particularly given that, as Herzog’s insisted all along, the new film is a remake in title only. The central premise may belong to Ferrara; this particular execution, with its sweaty atmosphere and iguana hallucinations, is all Herzog. The result is like watching a jazz musician riff on someone else’s composition. You appreciate both the original author’s intent and artist’s interpretation simultaneously. It’s something Herzog has done before, too, first in 1979 with his rendition of F.W. Murnau’s “Nosferatu” and again just a few years ago, when he remade his own documentary “Little Dieter Needs to Fly” (1997) into the narrative film “Rescue Dawn.”

In all of these cases, Herzog’s remakes don’t negate the original, they build upon them, layering Herzog’s unique obsessions atop the existing material (or in the case of “Little Dieter”/”Rescue Dawn,” giving the director a chance to work through his obsession once more). As far as we’re concerned, Herzog has carte blanche to remake any and every film in his own inimitable style. When you start to imagine the possibilities, they all start to sound good. To wit, here seven examples we’d pay to see. And there are many, many more.

11192009_herzogator.jpg“Predator” (1987, John McTiernan)

Adrien Brody was recently cast in the remake of “Predator” that’s going to be executive produced by indie genre guru Robert Rodriguez. After penning the script, Rodriguez handed the directing gig on to “Vacancy” filmmaker Nimrod Antal, which is a shame; this material is tailor-made for a Herzog remake. We’re talking about an antagonist who’s described at one point in the ’87 original in the line, “She says the jungle… it just came alive and took him.” The cruelty of nature is a frequent Herzog theme, with the jungle a frequent setting. He’s never been a big science fiction guy, but that’s fine; his version would just tone down the Predator’s alien origins and instead present the creature as a more ambiguous force of primal, ecological terror. In “Rescue Dawn,” the jungle is the prison; in Herzog’s “Predator,” the jungle would be the killer too.

Still, he shouldn’t have any problem adapting the original storyline to suit his personal taste: just as in John McTiernan’s version, mankind, represented by the elite American soldiers and their enormous weaponry, think they’re hot shit, and the Predator comes along to remind them of their place in the universe. Herzog could bring back his “Rescue Dawn” star Christian Bale, giving the more believably ferocious actor lines to growl like, “If it bleeds, we can kill it,” which come to think of it, already sounds quite Herzogian.

11192009_2012og.jpg“2012” (2009, Roland Emmerich)

It’s a bit surprising, given Herzog’s distrustful attitude towards nature, that he hasn’t made a true disaster movie yet. Then again, many of his fiction films are disaster movies in miniature, stories of destruction on a small scale that are often caused or at least hastened by mean old mother nature. As Herzog himself put it in “The Making of ‘Nosferatu,'” “All my films come out from pain. That’s the source. That’s where they come from. Not from pleasure.” The disaster movie — where onscreen pain becomes the foundation of audience pleasure — could prove fertile ground for Herzog, and something like the recently released “2012,” where the entire planet spontaneously erupts into chaos and every manner of ecological disaster befalls mankind simultaneously, seems like ideal source material.

Since Herzog is known for his intense focus, we wouldn’t expect him to recreate Roland Emmerich’s more macro take on disaster, nor would we expect to see him reaffirm the power of the nuclear family in the midst of global extinction (more likely, he’d just kill everybody off). Best of all, can you imagine the sort of quotes in the press from Herzog about the Mayans and their predictions and the conspiracy theorists who spread them? The possibilities are almost too delicious to comprehend.

11192009_herzoglight.jpg“Twilight” (2008, Catherine Hardwicke)

Herzog already tackled vampires in his version of “Nosferatu.” So you know he likes the bloodsucker milieu, and I’m guessing he’d like the material too. Not that his version would look much like Catherine Hardwicke’s glossy, romantic take on Stephenie Meyer’s epic romance between human teenager Bella Swan and vampire Edward Cullen. Herzog’s “Nosferatu” exhibited a deep skepticism about the traditional vampire narrative and its erotic overtones. Receiving a vampire’s bite in the Herzogiverse isn’t sexy, it’s disgusting; the Count himself is a walking cadaver whose physical features eerily resemble the legions of plague-carrying rats he beds down with every morning. That makes Herzog the perfect choice to make a version of “Twilight” that examines the underlying creepiness in a story about a 100-year-old creature swapping spit with a 16-year-old girl. Naturally, Herzog’s Cullen wouldn’t be anywhere as handsome as the current onscreen Edward, Robert Pattinson. He’d need a contemporary actor who could bring some of the angular corpsiness that Klaus Kinski provided back in 1979, somebody like Adrien Brody. Pair him with a starlet like Evan Rachel Wood, who’s already proved herself capable of feigning romantic interest in a man decades older than her in Woody Allen’s “Whatever Works,” and you have the makings of a classic.


Hacked In

Funny or Die Is Taking Over

FOD TV comes to IFC every Saturday night.

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We’ve been fans of Funny or Die since we first met The Landlord. That enduring love makes it more than logical, then, that IFC is totally cool with FOD hijacking the airwaves every Saturday night. Yes, that’s happening.

The appropriately titled FOD TV looks like something pulled from public access television in the nineties. Like lo-fi broken-antenna reception and warped VHS tapes. Equal parts WTF and UHF.

Get ready for characters including The Shirtless Painter, Long-Haired Businessmen, and Pigeon Man. They’re aptly named, but for a better sense of what’s in store, here’s a taste of ASMR with Kelly Whispers:

Watch FOD TV every Saturday night during IFC’s regularly scheduled movies.


Wicked Good

See More Evil

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is on Hulu.

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GIFs via Giphy

Okay, so you missed the entire first season of Stan Against Evil. There’s no shame in that, per se. But here’s the thing: Season 2 is just around the corner and you don’t want to lag behind. After all, Season 1 had some critical character development, not to mention countless plot twists, and a breathless finale cliffhanger that’s been begging for resolution since last fall. It also had this:


The good news is that you can catch up right now on Hulu. Phew. But if you aren’t streaming yet, here’s a basic primer…

Willards Mill Is Evil

Stan spent his whole career as sheriff oblivious to the fact that his town has a nasty curse. Mostly because his recently-deceased wife was secretly killing demons and keeping Stan alive.

Demons Really Want To Kill Stan

The curse on Willards Mill stipulates that damned souls must hunt and kill each and every town sheriff, or “constable.” Oh, and these demons are shockingly creative.


They Also Want To Kill Evie

Why? Because Evie’s a sheriff too, and the curse on Willard’s Mill doesn’t have a “one at a time” clause. Bummer, Evie.

Stan and Evie Must Work Together

Beating the curse will take two, baby, but that’s easier said than done because Stan doesn’t always seem to give a damn. Damn!


Beware of Goats

It goes without saying for anyone who’s seen the show: If you know that ancient evil wants to kill you, be wary of anything that has cloven feet.


Season 2 Is Lurking

Scary new things are slouching towards Willards Mill. An impending darkness descending on Stan, Evie and their cohort – eviler evil, more demony demons, and whatnot. And if Stan wants to survive, he’ll have to get even Stanlier.

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is now streaming right now on Hulu.



Reminders that the ’90s were a thing

"The Place We Live" is available for a Jessie Spano-level binge on Comedy Crib.

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Unless you stopped paying attention to the world at large in 1989, you are of course aware that the ’90s are having their pop cultural second coming. Nobody is more acutely aware of this than Dara Katz and Betsy Kenney, two comedians who met doing improv comedy and have just made their Comedy Crib debut with the hilarious ’90s TV throwback series, The Place We Live.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Dara: It’s everything you loved–or loved to hate—from Melrose Place and 90210 but condensed to five minutes, funny (on purpose) and totally absurd.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Betsy: “Hey Todd, why don’t you have a sip of water. Also, I think you’ll love The Place We Live because everyone has issues…just like you, Todd.”


IFC: When you were living through the ’90s, did you think it was television’s golden age or the pop culture apocalypse?

Betsy: I wasn’t sure I knew what it was, I just knew I loved it!

Dara: Same. Was just happy that my parents let me watch. But looking back, the ’90s honored The Teen. And for that, it’s the golden age of pop culture. 

IFC: Which ’90s shows did you mine for the series, and why?

Betsy: Melrose and 90210 for the most part. If you watch an episode of either of those shows you’ll see they’re a comedic gold mine. In one single episode, they cover serious crimes, drug problems, sex and working in a law firm and/or gallery, all while being young, hot and skinny.

Dara: And almost any series we were watching in the ’90s, Full House, Saved By the Bell, My So Called Life has very similar themes, archetypes and really stupid-intense drama. We took from a lot of places. 


IFC: How would you describe each of the show’s characters in terms of their ’90s TV stereotype?

Dara: Autumn (Sunita Mani) is the femme fatale. Robin (Dara Katz) is the book worm (because she wears glasses). Candace (Betsy Kenney) is Corey’s twin and gives great advice and has really great hair. Corey (Casey Jost) is the boy next door/popular guy. Candace and Corey’s parents decided to live in a car so the gang can live in their house. 
Lee (Jonathan Braylock) is the jock.

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Dara: Because everyone’s feeling major ’90s nostalgia right now, and this is that, on steroids while also being a totally new, silly thing.

Delight in the whole season of The Place We Live right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. It’ll take you back in all the right ways.