How Can We Save the Bride of Frankenstein Remake from Being the Worst?

When the Bride of Frankenstein met the Frankenstein Monster, she was shocked and horrified.  Her iconic scream was the scream of “DO NOT WANT!!!”  This is actually quite sad because the time the Monster has spent with a blind man has taught him about kindness and companionship, and her rejection reaffirms his status as the monstrous Other.   Given Jame Whale’s own sexuality, it’s hard to not read Bride of Frankenstein as an empathetic allegory about the demonization of the homosexual.  And, if nothing else, the Bride’s one fabulously fierce diva.  Simple logic dictates that I love that movie to pieces.  

But if you put a movie on an altar of love and adoration, Hollywood’s going to feel morally obligated to remake it.  And by remake it, I mean shit all over a perfectly good thing.  Bride of Frankenstein‘s no exception to the Hollywood rule, so when I read the news on of an upcoming remake , I totally put on my Bride face like it was my Sunday best:

bride of frankenstein

The Risky Biz Blog claims that Neil Burger, the director The Illusionist and The Lucky Ones, will be writing and directing.  I haven’t seen either of these movies, but I’ve heard The Illusionist is really good, so I guess things could be far worse.  Ehren Kruger could be tapped, so that’s something.  But it’s not enough to stop me from being angry enough to shit diamonds.

I’ll inevitably get pissy about any remake that messes with a key film in the development of my movie taste, or any movie I just happen to really love, because virtually all of them end up being brainless, soulless exercises in corporate greed and Hollywood’s inability to put faith in (or even look for) original, intelligent material.  The rare remake that does work, like John Carpenter’s The Thing or David Cronenberg’s The Fly, requires a truly original take on the material and a talented director.  Without having seen any of his movies, I can only say this much about Neil Burger:

neil burger silverfox

That’s all good and well, and I’d totally have his adopted Asian babies if he bats for my team, but that’s just not enough to cut it.  I can’t stop the remake train from leaving the station, but since I like you (‘cos you’re pretty), Mr. Burger, let me offer you a few suggestions on how to stop the Bride of Frankenstein from being an utter train wreck.

First suggestion: DON’T DO IT!  Though I’m sure a studio gig is indubitably lucrative, let someone else screw their career with this bad idea to end all bad ideas.  You’re messing with a classic, and critics and movie lovers and horror aficionados will tear you to shreds unless you deliver something truly astounding.  James Whale set the bar impossibly high, though, so why even attempt this career suicide of a jump?  It just isn’t worth it.

Second suggestion: See first suggestion.

Third Suggestion: Be Todd Haynes, and make this your Far from Heaven.  Besides being one of my absolute favorite movies, Far from Heaven holds a deep respect for a particular style and aesthetic of filmmaking and an attempt at recapturing it for a modern audience.  Bride of Frankenstein would be ass if you try to modernize it, so it’s really about recreating the setting and style of Whale’s classic: expressionistic, ambiguously European, and hazily reminiscent of the 19th century.  Added to that, take note of the way Gus van Sant utilized color in his remake of Psycho.  Don’t try to recreate a black-and-white palate as an homage; embrace color in all gaudy glory!  Bride of Frankenstein‘s a seminal homo allegory, so bring a camp sensibility to your movie.  

Essentially, Mr. Burger, be gay.  Not for me (though that’s perfectly acceptable as well), but for Bride of Frankenstein.  Remember: she’s a diva, and divas must be worshipped.

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