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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.

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Give Back

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.

Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…

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A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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GIFs via Giphy

Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.


Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.

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WTF Films

Artfully Off

Celebrity All-Star by Sisters Weekend is available now on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Sisters Weekend isn’t like other comedy groups. It’s filmmaking collaboration between besties Angelo Balassone, Michael Fails and Kat Tadesco, self-described lace-front addicts with great legs who write, direct, design and produce video sketches and cinematic shorts that are so surreally hilarious that they defy categorization. One such short film, Celebrity All-Star, is the newest addition to IFC’s Comedy Crib. Here’s what they had to say about it in a very personal email interview…


IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Celebrity All-Star is a short film about an overworked reality TV coordinator struggling to save her one night off after the cast of C-List celebrities she wrangles gets locked out of their hotel rooms.

IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Sisters Weekend: It’s this short we made for IFC where a talent coordinator named Karen babysits a bunch of weird c-list celebs who are stuck in a hotel bar. It’s everyone you hate from reality TV under one roof – and that roof leaks because it’s a 2-star hotel. There’s a magician, sexy cowboys, and a guy wearing a belt that sucks up his farts.


IFC: What was the genesis of Celebrity All-Star?

Celebrity All-Star was born from our love of embarrassing celebrities. We love a good c-lister in need of a paycheck! We were really interested in the canned politeness people give off when forced to mingle with strangers. The backstory we created is that the cast of this reality show called “Celebrity All-Star” is in the middle of a mandatory round of “get to know each other” drinks in the hotel bar when the room keys stop working. Shows like Celebrity Ghost Hunters and of course The Surreal Life were of inspo, but we thought it
was funny to keep it really vague what kind of show they’re on, and just focus on everyone’s diva antics after the cameras stop rolling.

IFC: Every celebrity in Celebrity All-Star seems familiar. What real-life pop personalities did you look to for inspiration?

Sisters Weekend: Anyone who is trying to plug their branded merch that no one asked for. We love low-rent celebrity. We did, however, directly reference Kylie Jenner’s turd-raison lip color for our fictional teen celebutante Gibby Kyle (played by Mary Houlihan).


IFC: Celebrity seems disgusting yet desirable. What’s your POV? Do you crave it, hate it, or both?

Sisters Weekend: A lot of people chase fame. If you’re practical, you’ll likely switch to chasing success and if you’re smart, you’ll hopefully switch to chasing happiness. But also, “We need money. We need hits. Hits bring money, money bring power, power bring fame, fame change the game,” Young Thug.


IFC: Who are your comedy idols?

Sisters Weekend: Mike grew up renting “Monty Python” tapes from the library and staying up late to watch 2000’s SNL, Kat was super into Andy Kaufman and “Kids In The Hall” in high school, and Angelo was heavily influenced by “Strangers With Candy” and Anna Faris in the Scary Movie franchise, so, our comedy heroes mesh from all over. But, also we idolize a lot of the people we work with in NY-  Lorelei Ramirez, Erin Markey, Mary Houlihan, who are all in the film, Amy Zimmer, Ana Fabrega, Patti Harrison, Sam Taggart. Geniuses! All of Em!

IFC: What’s your favorite moment from the film?

Sisters Weekend: I mean…seeing Mary Houlihan scream at an insane Pomeranian on an iPad is pretty great.

See Sisters Weekend right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib

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