We currently live in a world where remakes, reboots, revivals, and other titles which mean something similar are constantly churned out by the Hollywood machine. Most of our favourite horror classics have already been re-envisioned for 21st century film fans, and for the most part, they’ve been hit-or-miss.
Still, regardless of what you think about the endless stream of Hollywood remakes of iconic horror cinema, at least they’re all licensed properties. The same can’t be said for many international remakes of horror classics, which have often been shameless copycats that didn’t bother taking the conventional route in their efforts to retell a familiar story for domestic markets. I’d argue that these movies are charming and make the existence of remakes warranted.
That said, even if you’re not a fan of such films, you might find their history fascinating. And if you want to learn more about the subject, Iain Robert Smith’s upcoming class at London’s Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies, titled International Remakesplitation: The Horror Meme from the Turkish Exorcist to Dracula in Pakistan, will shine a spotlight on some of the finest rip-offs from around the world.
The event will take place on January 10 at London’s Horse Hospital from 7 PM – 10 PM. Tickets are £10 in advance / £11 on the door and can be be bought here.
Check out the press release for more information about the event:
This lecture will introduce students to the world of horror ‘remakesploitation’ – international exploitation remakes of successful horror films that were often unlicensed and aimed primarily at the domestic market. For example, in 1974 the celebrated Turkish filmmaker Metin Erksan directed Şeytan, a near shot-for-shot remake of The Exorcist (1973), albeit with the Catholic iconography replaced with equivalents from Islam. This was part of a global trend for producing unlicensed reworkings of William Friedkin’s film including the blaxploitation film Abby (1974), the Italian-American rip-off Beyond the Door (1974) and the re-release of Mario Bava’s Lisa and the Devil with additional scenes under the title The House of Exorcism (1974). Similarly, in 1967 the Pakistani director Khwaja Sarfraz produced a loose remake of Dracula(1958) titled Zinda Laash that recreated many elements from the Terence Fisher Hammer film but with the notable addition of ‘item girl’ dance sequences – thereby creating one of the most unique adaptations of Bram Stoker’s novel.
Surveying a range of examples of horror remakesploitation from around the world, this lecture uses Richard Dawkins’ concept of the ‘meme’ – a cultural equivalent of the biological gene that spreads and mutates in a manner analogous to evolution – to explore what these films can tell us about processes of cultural globalization. What changes were required, for example, when the Ramsay Brothers reworked Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) in their Bollywood film Mahakaal (1993)? Or when filmmaker Mehmet Aslan directed a Turkish remake of Sergio Martino’s classic giallo The Strange Vice of Mrs Wardh (1971)? Or when Sanjay Gupta produced an Indian remake of Oldboy (2003)? Illustrated with numerous clips and posters from this international phenomenon, this class will investigate these processes of cross-pollination to explore how the horror genre adapts and mutates as it travels around the globe.