Sunday, April 29, 2012

10 Slashers That Could Benefit from a Remake: THE MUTILATOR (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!).


"By Sword. By Pick. By Axe. Bye, Bye!" - one of the best slasher film taglines, ever.

The Mutilator told the story of a young boy named Ed who accidentally shoots and kills his loving mother while cleaning his father's gun. Years later, his now-crazed father stalks him and his friends as they vacation at the family's beach house, and eventually wipes out the friends while trying to get to Ed.

By the time The Mutilator was released, interest in the slasher genre had pretty much begin to dry up. The Mutilator a no-budget shlock that lacks the style, personality, atmosphere, and creativity that made earlier slashers so much fun. The film seems uninspired in most parts, but the one thing that The Mutilator did live up to is its name - the gore factor is really the only reason why The Mutilator has retained any type of cult status. And because of its cult status, it deserves another shot - gorier and nastier, with a better rounded story. 

The Concept

What the original 1985 film really had working for it was the very basic plot - insane father is driven to kill his offspring. It also had those shocking death scenes, from one character getting impaled in the groin with a fishing gaff to another character being completely cut in half, crawling on the ground with his intestines dragging along. While undoubtedly tasteless, The Mutilator at least followed through on one of its promises.

Over the decades since its release, The Mutilator has become known for its gore, so the gore is essential in the remake. But the gore should be nasty and intense, in the vein of I SAW THE DEVIL and THE RAID: REDEMPTION. Too often, teenage slashers are glossed over - even SCREAM and Friday the 13th, while gruesome, don't fully commit to the nastiness and violence. The Mutilator remake must.

When looking at things to fix, the story for The Mutilator is the best place to start. First of all, our protagonist accidentally shoots hit mother and kills her. Years later, he seems rather normal, considering that he committed matricide. Realistically, that would mess a kid up a little bit more. Rather than having the kid literally kill the mother, it might make more sense for the mother to die of natural causes related to child birth. This still happens a lot, and the grievingly insane father could be driven to madness through his wife's death and the sudden realization that he must now care for a new baby... or three.

That's right. Three children - triplets - should be the targets of the insane father in The Mutilator. Why? Well, for several reasons - it gives them more friends for their crazy daddy to hack up, it adds an emotional bond, and it also leaves room for a sequel (could one of the kids become the next "mutilator?"). Also, going back to the original backstory with the mother dying in child birth, the insane father could be so overwhelmed with three babies that they literally could drive him mad. His solution: killing them in a very Andrea Yates-inspired way by drowning the newborns. But he is stopped by his sister-in-law and her husband, and committed to a hospital for insanity. Meanwhile, the sister-in-law and her husband could take the kids in.

Now, for daddy. In the original film, it is never really specified what makes the father suddenly snap after all those years and try to kill his son and friends. However, if he has been in a hospital for the past twenty years, the father will eventually be released back into society, and follow his wrath on his family. Of course, the three triplets known very little about him, but they eventually start to figure things out.

The triplets, now all college aged, bring their friends home for Fall Break to their New England beach house. As tensions arise between the three siblings and their guests, they are unaware that someone has been watching. Oh, and the mutilator is prepared with a tool-shed full of weapons. I mean, he has to live up to his classic tagline; "By Pick. By Axe. By Sword... Bye, Bye!"

The Plot

Twenty years ago: a beautiful, loving, sweet woman dies on a hospital bed while giving birth to triplets. Her ruling, military-man husband James is overcome by grief. The woman's sister Deborah and her husband Harrison come to help James care for the triplets. One night, James is left alone with his newborn sons; he is unable to cope with his wife's death and the new responsibility, and blames the babies for losing the love of his life. He attempts to drown them in a bathtub, but Deborah and Harrison arrive in time to save them. James is taken to a mental hospital, and the triplets are taken in by their aunt and uncle. 

Present day: Deborah wakes up after a nightmare. She goes downstairs to get a glass of water. Hears a noise, discovers the door is open, and assumes its the house caretaker. She goes back upstairs to discover Harrison is dead. She is then attacked and gruesomely killed by... James. He's back. 

The next day: Michael, one of the triplets, arrives at the house with his girlfriend, Hudson. They can't find anyone, except for Grady, the house caretaker. It isn't long before Michael's brother John and his lady-friend Annabel show up. And then Thomas, the third triplet, rolls up with his rowdy posse of fraternity brothers; Russ, Kevin, and Ian. 

While Thomas and his crew parties, Michael and John both become concerned about Deborah and Harrison's whereabouts. As they investigate the house, they discover the truth about their father. But the phones are down, and everyone's cell phones have mysteriously disappeared. And soon, people start disappearing as well.

SPOILERS: But here's the twist - Michael and Hudson discover that James actually committed suicide shortly after being released from the hospital. When they try to find Thomas and John to relay the information about their biological father, they discover a tool-shed filled with mutilated bodies. As it turns out, Thomas has taken up daddy's homicidal ways after hearing about his real past and what happened to James. And now, Michael and Hudson have to find any survivors and escape the new mutilator - Thomas! 

The Gore

As mentioned, this movie is all about the red-stuff. We're talking about serious carnage. To do this, the villain - good ol' daddy James - needs to be pretty much inhumane. He needs to get the sick enjoyment out of his mutilations that real-life serial killers do. Make it scary, intense, and graphic. But not over-the-top and humorous like HATCHET, but really intense and, at times, sick.

When people buy tickets to a movie called The Mutilator, they know what they're getting themselves into. But the movie needs to exceed their expectations. If they're expecting some goofy gory fun like Hatchet, give them I Saw the Devil and make them squirm in their seats.

The Characters 

Michael Cooper. Male, 20. Good looking with a quiet, sensitive lack of confidence. Dedicated and smart.

John Cooper. Male, 20. Athletic and handsome. A genuine and logical guy. He makes sure those he cares about are taken care of. Just a really great guy. 

Thomas Cooper. Male, 20. The rowdy, careless, rebellious Alpha-Male. He doesn’t mind pushing his brother’s around. Has a lot of attitude. 

Hudson. Female, 20. Michael’s fun, energetic girlfriend. Pretty, athletic, youthful, and adventurous. 

Anabell. Female, 20. John’s ultra-sexy girlfriend. An attractive college girl, although a little bit bitchy and conceded. 

Russ. Male, 20. Thomas’ sex-starved roommate. Funny and always horny. He’ll make a move on any girl he deems “worth it.” 

Kevin. Male, 20. Thomas’ football star best friend. Black. Good-looking and funny, with a ripped body. An athlete. He’s used to getting what he wants. 

Ian. Male, 20. Thomas’ chubby buddy. Technological and kind of a geek. His friends suspect he’s a virgin, but he swears he’s not.

Harrison Cooper. Male, 40s. The triplet's uncle and adoptive father. Casual and calm. A guy who made it rich easily.

Deborah Cooper. Female, 40s. The triplet's aunt and adoptive mother. Hospitable and caring. She worries about the triplets more than anything.

Grady. Male, 60s. Black. The Cooper’s beach house caretaker. Cool and funny - he was probably the man in the 70s. He knows about the triplet’s brutal past. 

James Degrutte. Male, 40s. The triplet's maniac, biological father. He tried to kill them once, and will try again... and again... and again...

Final Thoughts

1985's The Mutilator is by no means a good movie. It's not even a good slasher movie, and if it weren't for the gore the film wouldn't have any fanbase. But there were some decent ideas in The Mutilator, and its a shame to let it go to waste with the schlocky, tasteless original. Now that makes The Mutilator a very worthy film for a remake. 

Just think, after all the movies that have surpassed The Mutilator in terms of nastiness, it's time to give the mean daddy another shot at slicing and dicing. And with today's technologies, nothing can be left to the imagination. Who needs an R-rating? Just skip the semantics and give us the Uncut remake.

No comments:

Post a Comment