Saturday, April 28, 2012

10 Slashers That Could Benefit from a Remake: FUTURE KILL (1985)

Now that we're well into 2012, something has occurred to me: it's the first year in a decade that has no slasher remakes scheduled for release. While the remakes have swooned the box office with usual great success, very few horror film movements have drawn up as much protest as the dreaded remake craze did.

It's pretty obvious, looking back, as to how studios and producers chose which slashers were deemed worth remaking - they were the slashers that were original moneymakers upon their original release. HALLOWEENTHE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACREFRIDAY THE 13THPROM NIGHTTHE HILLS HAVE EYES, and A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET were all monster successes and pop-culture phenomenon's. Even more cult-y slashers like BLACK CHRISTMAS and MY BLOODY VALENTINE had earned a solid enough reputation to guarantee a solid fanbase.

But when you really think about it, doesn't the thought of remaking more well-known slasher films seem to sort of juxtapose what a remake stands for? Shouldn't they be remaking films that are less-known and more dated, to bring them to a modern-day audience? While 2012 might not have any remakes on its schedule, I can guarantee you that a second wave of remakes will eventually come along. But when it does, it should be focusing its efforts on the movies that actually could benefit from a redo. As we take a break from remakes in theaters, here's the ten suggestions for films to consider a redux for, and ways to take the original movie and make it fresh and modern without spitting in the face of the original's fans (here's looking at you, Rob Zombie!).


The mid-80's were filled with a lot weird movies. And Future Kill is definitely the peak of weirdness. Just look at the trailer. While an initial box office disappointment, the film gained cult status largely due to several cast members from the original The Texas Chain Saw Massacre starring, and also because of its cool poster art by famed artist H.R. Giger. The movie attempted to mesh comedy, science fiction, fantasy, and horror, but only succeeded in the comedy aspect, largely due to the outrageous costumes and make-up.

The plot of Future Kill revolves around a crazed toxic waste protester-turned-inner-city gang leader named Splatter, who leads his gang members on a hunt for fraternity brothers that he accuses murdering the gang's original leader. It sounds like it should be a sequel to THE WARRIORS, right? Well, it's more like a parody of The Warriors, and ultimately not even a good parody. 

While The Warriors remains a cult classic that should not be charged with a remake, the idea of revamping Future Kill into being more of a science fiction slasher with better effects and less drag-queen college kids is actually an interesting idea. Think about it - combining themes from the 1985 original Future Kill, The Warriors, THE ROAD WARRIOR, and ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK, a really cool 80's movie extravaganza would have new life!

The Concept

It's not that the concept of Future Kill was bad, it's just that it wasn't executed well. As mentioned, the movie should have been similar to 1979's The Warriors, and for all intents and purposes we can assume that at first it was supposed to be like The Warriors. So for the remake, it would be wise to examine The Warriors.

The main difference between The Warriors and Future Kill is that the protagonists of The Warriors is a gang trying to get through New York to back to their home turf on Coney Island, but in Future Kill the protagonists are several annoying frat brothers. While making the protagonists frat bro's instead of gang members increases the tension, there also needs to be a better explanation to how these kids manage to battle the gang, and why they are even on gang territory to begin with.

Future Kill's "frat bro's versus gang members in a dystrophic future" plot can work in a remake. And the force that drives the plot - the fraternity brothers trying to escape certain death at the hands of the sadistic gang members - must remain the same.

But there are tons of things that can be redone in a newer version of Future Kill. The most obvious change is the fraternity brothers themselves, who were an unlikable cadre of morons in the 1985 original. Here, this group needs to retain their brotherly love but also become more dangerous as survival mode kicks in. With each increasing attack from the gang and death among the group, these college boys start to want the gang's blood just as much as the gang wants theirs. By the end of the movie, who are the savages? This very similar to The Hills Have Eyes' theme.

But how do these simple-minded college boys come into contact with the evil gang members to start? In the original, they played a prank on the gang and kidnapped their leader. This was where the movie immediately went sour; not only are the kids incredibly dumb for kidnapping a gang leader, but the gang itself seems corny if their leader can be so easily captured. The remake must start with escalation - the gang messes with the college boys, then the college boys mess with the gang in revenge, and then all hell breaks loose and the college boys are trapped in the gang's territory. Why not make the college boys apart of some protest, or some college-sponsored organization to clean up the city?

The film's main antagonist, Splatter, must remain. In the remake, Splatter must be responsible for killing the gang leader, and pinning the crime on the scapegoat college kids. You see, now Splatter is the gang leader, and he can run the gang however he wants. Of course, with a name like Splatter you would expect a lot of gore at his hands, so Splatter's idea of managing a gang includes terrorizing and killing other gang members and citizens.

Ultimately, a remake of Future Kill should be a symphony of 80's post-apocalyptic homages, but with action and style over comedy and corniness. The heroes need to be likable, and the all-male cast should lead to a testosterone-fueled thrill ride that leads to blood, murder, and mayhem. Get ready for the future of Future Kill.

The Plot

The boys of Sigma Phi are known around campus for being OLD SCHOOL-kinds of college kids. They are like ANIMAL HOUSE. Or any other famous college fraternity-set raunchy comedy. They drink, they smoke, they bang girls, and the party. For most of them, classes come second to having a great time. But when they push their campus too far with a huge party, those frat brothers responsible are forced to participate in... community service.

As part of an inner-city rejuvenation plan, the frat brothers are forced to help "clean up the streets," by both literally cleaning and by educating inner-city children on the importance of school, grades, sports, etc. But it isn't long before they wander off course, and as everyone knows, "When night sets, you don't want to be around..."

On the other side of the law we have the Mutants, a fraternity of their own: a ruthless gang fighting for power on the streets. One of the Mutant members, Splatter, believes that their leader, King Louise, is betraying them. Secretly, Louise is working with the city government to help rebuild the city. Louise fears that some of his gang members, including Splatter, have lost touch with the Mutant's original message - to rid the city of toxic wastes.

It isn't long before the fraternity brothers and the mutants have their first run in, where the Mutants taunt the boys. And in retaliation, the boys pull a prank on the Mutants. After pulling the prank, the boys run back to their bus, thinking they've made is home free - but the bus has left without them! Now, stranded on the savage streets, they boys must outwit the mutants!

While hiding out, the boys witness an argument between King Louise and Splatter, which results in Splatter killing Louise. And when Splatter realizes that the boys witnessed the whole thing, he pins the murder on them. Now with an angry mob of Mutants chasing them through the streets - with vengeance on the brain - the boys of Sigma Phi must kill to live, or plan to die!

The Action

A remake of Future Kill would have to be a thrill ride from start to finish. The beginning could borrow from said comedy classics like Animal House and Old School to introduce the fraternity brothers, but then once the boys hit the streets and meet the mutants, this should become a combination of STREETS ON FIRE, The Warriors, The Road Warrior, Escape from New York, and The Hills Have Eyes. We're talking about an all out war!

The film would have to be violent, and both sides would suffer from substantial losses. The movie's focus on the bond between the fraternity brothers would mirror the bond of the Mutant gang, so with each death things would only escalate into more fury. Of course, in the end of the movie where the lead fraternity brother faces off against Splatter in a one-on-one showdown, it would be no-holds barred; neither side has anything left to lose, but everything to gain from one more kill.

The Characters

Conrad. Male, 22. Handsome and strong in an athletic, all-American way. Not really the smartest, but lovable in a goofy, dopy way. Despite his flaws, he is the type of guy who will do whatever it takes to protect those he cares about.

Kane. Male, 23. The President of his Sigma Phi chapter. He's shorter and older than the rest, with leathery skin from too much tanning and beard he tries to make work but really doesn't. Suffers from a Napoleon complex.

Joey. Male, 22. This is the guy who organizes and throws the parties - he knows how to have a good time. He's rowdy by nature, but always gets the girls. There aren't many nights when you won't find him rolling on Ecstasy.

Byrnes. Male, 22. Privileged and extremely rich college boy. He's attractive, but his cockiness kills it. He's a total bro, and often comes off as a douchebag. Best friends with Conrad.

Rooney. Male, 20. The youngest of the Sigma Pie members. He's shy and naive, choosing to be more friendly and gentle than rowdy and raucous. He likes to have a good time, and gets drunk very easily. 

Colin. Male, 20. Cool and relaxed Sigma Pie member. He kind of floats through life and loves it. The type of kid who never really had to worry about anything. Funny and cool. One of the nicest kids you'll ever meet. 

Splatter. Male, 30s. The manipulative, sneaky, and evil Mutant who wants to be the leader of the gang. He ultimately yearns for power, and wants the Mutants to take over the city. He is obviously insane, but also calculating and sinister. 

Pain. Male, 30s. The squirly, twisted Mutant and right hand man to Splatter. He gets a sick pleasure out of others pain. There are definitely hints that he has sexual fantasies about torture. 

Charcoal. Male, 30s. Black. Huge, massive, mean, dominating Mutant. What he lacks for in speech he makes up for in pure massive intimidation. Half his face is horribly scarred from an acid burn. 

Shark Tooth. Male, 40s. A derelict that King Louise banished from the gang, who now lives amongst the hobos of the city. He has sharp, constantly bleeding teeth, and is known for cannibalism. A true creep. 

Vulture. Male, 40s. Smart, meth-head doctor who works for the Mutants. Back when he had a medical license he was nicknamed "Dr. Death". Aside from his medical skills, he is also an expert in torture and pain. 

King Louise. Male, 40s. Leader of the Mutants. After years of working against the law, Louise wants to see a change - he believes that his club has lost focus of what it originally stood for. He is murdered by Splatter.

Final Thoughts

Movies that should be remade are movie that had cool concepts but poor execution. Future Kill is one of those movies, and a remake would be an interesting adventure. There really isn't anywhere to go but up from the 1985 original, so there's nothing to lose in a remake attempt. 

Making more likable protagonists and giving the story more of an edge would make Future Kill more appealing. The 80's were filled with tons of post-apocalyptic thrillers, and they've been starting to make a comeback in recent years. Why should Future Kill be excluded?

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