Hollywood. Motion picture remake capital of the world. Yet, with an endless supply of movies and scripts to reuse, their choices of late have been questionable at best. The blogosphere has been abuzz with critics and reviewers castigating the most recent theatrical debacle, Will Farrell's ill received LAND OF THE LOST. Alas Hollywood is a leviathan. Like Godzilla it is fierce and unstoppable with goals mere humans fail to comprehend. Surely the executive who greenlit LAND OF THE LOST probably assumed it would be a cakewalk to take some 70s era Saturday morning TV show (whose movie rights they probably picked up for a song and a dance) and hire some hack script writer to "re-envision" it by updating it to modern times and adapting it for that all-important 'tween demographic! C'mon a PG-13 low brow comedy starring Will Ferrel, how could you lose, right?
I'm sure that executive probably wished he'd greenlit some Alf, Saved By the Bell, The Facts of Life, Eight is Enough, Happy Days, Benson, or F Troop: The Movie instead. But she (or he) didn't so I'm going to dust off an old post and share an grand idea with Hollywood that's got EASY MONEY written all over it.
Since vampire themed movies and series seem to be "in" right now how about revisiting a Hammer Studios classic: The Karnstein Trilogy. You know, that series of movies about Sheriden Le Fanu's Carmilla? It's a literary classic. EASY MONEY!
More precisely what we are going to produce is a new three movie arc similar to the one put out by Hammer Studios. Remember vampires are "in" they're "hip" and "cool" and both adults and 'tweens love 'em! Better yet you can have your cake and eat it too. Film all the nudity and gore you want, edit it for theatrical release in both PG-13 and R versions. Milk that audience. Or, heck, just release it to theaters PG-13 then release the UNCENSORED super duper DIRECTOR'S CUT to a special edition DVD. EASY MONEY!
Thus, for your consideration, I present my take on re-Inventing the Hammer Karnstein Trilogy. Are you listening Hollywood?
First: Return to the source.
Second: Nix the pseudo-Satanic Devil worshipping mumbo-jumbo and replace it with psuedo-Occult mumbo-jumbo suited to the time period.
Third: Re-write the scripts as part of a larger interlinked story arc.
Fourth: Alter the line-up so "Twins of Evil" becomes the lead-in "prequel" movie of the trilogy. This will require a bit of rewriting as it needs to set the stage for "Vampire Lovers" and should provide some background for Carmilla, thus making her entry in "Vampire Lovers" part of her flight from the Witch/Vampire Hunters of Twins of Evil leaving Lust to become more of a suspense thriller ghost story.
Fifth: Any of the following actors who are still alive and willing to appear in a movie should be worked into these remakes via cameos, bit parts, &tc: Udo Kier, Dame Edna, Helen Mirren, Tom Baker, Paul Naschy, Sandahl Bergman, Max von Sydow, and any other genre regular I might have forgotten who'd be willing to appear.
That said you need name talent. But not just any name talent. We need someone in this that will pique an audiences curiosity, get them interested in the movie based just on the strenght of name recognition. That said here's one possible casting route. .
Of course it may be a bit tricky getting these gals to want to appear in such a movie franchise. You don't want to break the bank on actors salaries so, if they can't be convinced, you'll need a back-up plan. Which, EASY MONEY, should probably begin with a open casting call. Preferably looking for actual twins. You'll probably save money this way. I know, crazy idea, but it just might work!
Calm down. You can still hire models, if you must, but, EASY MONEY, you know how the game is played these days. Product placement is everything. Why not, say, get Hugh Hefner to PAY YOU to give his playmates a cameo. Talk about product placement! Wink, wink nudge, nudge.
All kidding aside, Hollywood, you really can do this thing. Yes you can. So let's get serious and begin with. .
Twins of EvilBring this closer in line with the facts established in the written story (which will really be what Vampire Lovers is about) as much as possible for a prequel. I've got a solid cast outlined that's sure to be a box office hit, might need to alter the story a little, but don't lose any of the salaciousness. Here we are introduced to Carmilla and at least two attendants, as there was a woman in the coach and a coach driver who must escape with her. Thus this can serve as the reason for her flight in the second movie.
Here's a sample cast, just to give you a general idea of what could be. Not saying there aren't better choices out there but, at present, these actors would probably be fairly decent choices. Besides I know you're probably jonesin' for a name recognition fix.
Gustav Weil. . . .Sean Bean
Dietrich. . . .Ben Kingsley
Maria Gellhorn. . . .Mary-Kate Olsen
Frieda Gellhorn. . . . Ashley Olsen
Ingrid Hoffer. . . .Claudia Black
Countess Mircalla. . . .Milla Jovovich
Count Karnstein. . . .Gil Bellows
The Vampire LoversDefinitely keep the innocent Sapphic subtext but tighten the story up a bit here or there. Mainly by showing how alone Laura is so that the audience sympathizes with and better understands why she so readily welcomes Mircalla. It's that innocent hunger for friendship resulting from isolation and loneliness, in addition to Laura's naïveté, which Mircalla preys upon. That was something the original movie glossed over. Also the movie needs an new ending suitable as a set up for the final movie in the trilogy arc. Not too many changes otherwise, aside from fresh costuming and sets, of course.
General von Spielsdorf. . . .Pete Postlethwaite
Baron Joachim von Hartog. . . .Steve Railsback
Laura. . . .Alyson Hannigan
Mircalla Karnstein. . . .Milla Jovovich
Emma Morton. . . .Kirsten Dunst
The Governess. . . .Jennifer Aniston
Lust for a VampireA few changes. As in the original a young woman attends a boarding school however she is not Carmilla raised from the dead by blood ritual. Rather she is merely a possible Karnstein descendant (Clarmila) who becomes possessed by the spirit of Carmilla. Similarly Giles, rather than being some satanic acolyte, now merely becomes an older man desperate to hold onto life who, through a series of events, learns of the true nature of the spirit possessing Clarmila and seeks to help the spirit take over her body en total so that he might become immortal. Too, more time should be spent developing the school setting, specifically the teachers, their classes, and student interactions. Thus this version is played more as a suspense thriller perhaps in the Suspira vein with lots of misdirection as to what's really going on. Viz. Clarmila may not be Carmilla but what if her classmates believe her to be her reincarnation at the beginning only to find out, after accepting she's not, that Carmilla's spirit is possessing her! And what of the mysterious Mircalla, the student no one seems to know?
Mircalla Karnstein. . . .Milla Jovovich
Clarmila. . . .Laura Prepon
Giles Barton. . . .David McCallum
Miss Simpson. . . .Helen Mirren (principal)
Janet Playfair. . . .Summer Glau (dance teacher)
Margaret Daunse. . . .Lake Bell (music teacher)
Not sure about the rest of the cast for this one. Obviously it would need a lot of "schoolgirls" and a few background characters. Did I mention the need to cast a LOT of NUBILE "schoolgirls"? C'mon all those 'tween gals? In a lesbian vampire movie? With the political climate the way it is this could be promoted as a gay anthem movie. Play your cards right and straight guys will flock to see this along with the entire gay and lesbian community. EASY MONEY!
Or you can grow a set and shoot political correctness in it's rabid head and just hire every Playboy and/or Penthouse playmate you can find and tell the MPAA to f--- off so they'll REFUSE the movie certification. I doubt 'tweens have changed all that much from my youth. Well, okay, they may be a bit more jaded about sexuality given what they have access to via the Internet but that's all the more reason NOT to pull the punches and make a dumbed down sanitized PG-13 piece of drivel. Besides nothing draws a crowd like people telling them they are NOT allowed to see something. Quote the MPAA's outrage in your ad copy. EASY MONEY!
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Copyright © C. Demetrius Morgan