If it Ain't Broke... by Dev Jarrett

 

Hi, I’m Dev Jarrett. I’ve written a bunch of short stories and a couple of novels. The first novel was Loveless, published by Blood Bound Books in 2013. It’s the story of a ghost haunting a Georgia lake. Permuted Press published my second, called Dark Crescent, just a few days ago. It’s the story of an accidental psychic who uses his newfound talent to prevent a savage murder, then unwittingly becomes the murderer’s next target. Further up the pipeline, my third novel will also be published by Permuted next February. It’s called Casualties, and it’s about a soldier back from Afghanistan who must fight a demon in the Arizona desert. After that, well, who knows? I’m working on a number of other projects at various levels of intensity. Werewolves, dolls, vampires, sea monsters...all those stories and more are coming.

Today I want to talk about the strange phenomenon in Hollywood of remakes. I love movies. Whether I’m watching them in the theater, or at home, or anywhere.  And I’m open to many different kinds of movies. I have a few lines I won’t cross—I’ll never sit through any Madea movie, for example—but I try to keep an open mind about most things. But remakes? Damn. It’s cheating. It’s cashing in on nostalgia and taking something already created without adding anything.

Why would these jokers try to redo something that already exists? The list of remakes is long and getting longer every season, and seems to be especially prevalent in speculative film genres. Poltergeist, The Amityville Horror, Evil Dead, Carrie, and on and on and on.  I’m not even counting the remakes of truly excellent foreign-made films (Ringu, Let the Right One In) or the endless superhero franchise reboots—I mean, eventually they’ll give us a movie of The Hulk that’s not crap, but by then, who knows if we’ll even care?

A few of these, granted, are pretty good. But for every Evil Dead, we get twenty shitbombs like Psycho, or The Invasion. Why? Is it because filmmakers know that we know the originals and will go see the remakes just so we can bitch about them?  Could be. I know I went to the theater and laid down too much cash to watch the new version of Poltergeist. Just because you can enhance effects cheaply with CGI, that doesn’t mean you should. (Now I’m picturing some porcine movie executive licking a finger as he counts a roll of bills in his fat-fingered hands, laughing at me and saying, “Suckahhh!”) I regret seeing it BIGTIME, and the next remake of anything I see will be on Netflix, after I’ve exhausted everything else (so, basically, that means never).

I understand one of the main rationales behind remakes is to “give a fresh vision” to old favorites, but that’s horseshit.  The Wizard of Oz came out in 1939, and I was born in 1971, over thirty years later. Do any of us—or even our kids—need a new version of that? Of course not. How about Casablanca? Or maybe Gone with the Wind? The very idea is stupid.

I don’t pretend to know the business side of it, but it seems like buying the rights to remake a movie, particularly a successful one, would be more expensive than buying the rights to a new story. Are people in Tinseltown too scared to gamble on something new, or are they so mired in their own past that only the things they watched as kids can excite their passion? So many of the books I’ve read recently have such potential to be great on a big screen, but many will simply vanish into obscurity as folks remake Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure and The Neverending Story. 

I hope that one of these days, the movie executives who are remaking these movies will realize that they have limitless untapped resources for new ideas. Maybe they’ll finally understand what most of us know as common sense: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

* * *

Dev Jarrett is a writer, a father, a husband, and a soldier in the US Army. He’s a “recovering redneck” who'll probably never get all the red Georgia clay out of his pickup truck's undercarriage. He’s a Chief Warrant Officer 4 who’s lived all over the world but is currently stationed in the heartland at Fort Riley, Kansas. During the day, he works to defeat terrorists.

At night, the other monsters come out.

He’s had many short stories published, both online and in print, and Dark Crescent, available now from Permuted Press, is his second novel. His first novel, Loveless, is available through your favorite retailer or directly from Blood Bound Books.

Dev’s next novel, Casualties, is coming in 2016 from Permuted Press.

You can find Dev online on Facebook, Twitter, and (if you want to see all the gory details) here:

http://devjarrett.weebly.com/