Hollywood does not seem ready to discard its obsession with remakes and re-imaginings quite yet. For every original concept or literary adaptation you can be sure, hot on its tail, is a modified version of someone’s cherished cinematic memory. When it comes to remakes it seems that the ’80s horror movie genre always takes a huge hit. The Hitcher, Stepfather, Day of the Dead and The Fog are just a handful of ’80s classics (well maybe classic is a bit strong) which have gotten a new coat of paint that they never really needed. If we are lucky these films will entertain, but more often they become another in a long line of soulless cash grabs.
People love nostalgia so the reasons behind these remakes are quite clear, people will pay to see them. But people will also pay to see these franchises resurrected in a slightly different way. Direct sequels can be hit and miss, but at least we recognize the characters and mythos involved. The other way to go is to structure the feature around a different format instead. Hannibal and Bates Motel (though originally novel adaptations) are two examples of films turned into TV shows. Warner Brothers seems to be going this route, with its digital production division Blue Ribbon announcing that one of the many projects it has under development is a new series based on those extraterrestrial flying fur balls, Critters.
Critters was a New Line Cinema franchise which started in 1986 and has four films in its cannon. It involved some rather nasty little alien creatures called Krites, who whizzed around the room like Sonic the Hedgehog and had a tendency to shoot their quills, as well as their teeth, into people. As well as having a slightly disturbing element to them, the Critters movies are most fondly remembered for the sense of humor that accompanied all the mayhem.
Now relatively little is known so far about Warner Bros Digital return of the Krites, but the news did spark off a reaction with the fans, like Jordan Downey (Thankskilling). Downey decided that he wanted in on this new Critters return and he left quite an inventive calling card to grab people’s attention A short movie called Critters: Bounty Hunter, which is a simple tale of hunter vs Krite, that you can watch below. This shows that you can continue a franchise successfully without reformatting it…
As you can see the short retains the spirit of the first two Critters movies with keeping the action contained in one small, recognizable location. The action is fast paced and quite tense in places, but the trademark dark humor remains (nothing better than hearing an alien swearing in his native tongue!). The attention to detail is superb, with the bounty hunter design looking very much like it did when it was first seen way back in 1986, and the Krite itself looking just as menacing as ever. Below is an extract from Jordan’s YouTube channel telling us a little about the production of the short.
Critters: Bounty Hunter was completed from start to finish in under two months with a small budget and an even smaller crew. All in, a total of six people worked on the movie: Myself, Kevin Stewart, Ricky Fosheim, Nick Soole, Troy Smith and Gina Luciani. We shot for two nights at a house in Mammoth Lakes, California. The Critter puppet was built by Troy Smith who worked with us on both ThanksKilling movies. Our crew handled everything from building the bounty hunter costume, learning the VFX required to pull off the glowing head, scoring, title cards, sound design, etc. We’re proud of what we pulled off with limited resources and can’t wait to share this with everyone. Turn up the volume and hit HD – We hope you enjoy our fun little take on Critters!
Sacha Feiner did a similar thing a few years ago with his great short movie – taking the cue from the reality break in Gremlins 2 – creating movie segments with Gremlins interference.
Sacha’s work was done as a fan project much like Jordan’s project. Now whether this plan works for Jordan and his crew with regards to getting him a job is anyone’s guess, but one thing is for sure. He has certainly gotten the respect of Critters fans worldwide, and even if nothing comes of it, we will always have this short.
Images: Jordan Downey, New Line Cinema, Warner Bros.