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Cinedigm To Create Shared Universe From 10 AIP Remakes

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Despite being among one of the most influential producers and filmmakers of all time, Roger Corman was not in the blockbuster business. Roger Corman knew his audience and knew what they wanted to see, so he made those movies and he made them cheap. But from what Corman lacked in budget, he made up for in passion, imagination and a reckless rebellion against logic and good taste. And for that, and the numerous cult classics which came from that era, horror and exploitation fans will always be grateful.

Now, before I move on to the news at hand, I have to make it clear that I am very much a fan of Cinedigm. They take risks and release provocative films, from which they’ve earned my respect. And I will also say that I will always give a film a fair shake, as there’s nothing that can unjustly kill a film faster than unfounded, preconceived notions.

That said, when Variety announced Cinedigm would be launching a shared movie universe in the vein of the Marvel movies with 10 resurrected American International Pictures titles, I can’t say that I was thrilled. Before I share my opinion on the matter, I owe you all the facts of the story: all ten films will be written by SNAKES ON A PLANE producer Jeff Katz, and will be produced by Katz, ROADRACERS producer Lou Arkoff and THE BREED producer Hal Sadoff. All ten films will share a universe with interconnected characters, locations and storylines, and aims to shoot this September with directors and cast to be announced soon.

The ten American International Pictures titles being remade as a part of this universe are as follows:

  • Edward L. Cahn’s GIRLS IN PRISON (1956)
  • Roger Corman’s VIKING WOMEN AND THE SEA SERPENT (1957)
  • Bruno VeSota’s THE BRAIN EATERS (1958)
  • Edward L. Cahn’s THE SHE-CREATURE (1956)
  • Roger Corman’s TEENAGE CAVE MAN (1958)
  • Edward Bernds’ REFORM SCHOOL GIRL (1957)
  • Roger Corman’s THE UNDEAD (1957)
  • Bert I. Gordon’s WAR OF THE COLOSSAL BEAST (1958)
  • William Witney’s THE COOL AND THE CRAZY (1958)
  • Roger Corman’s THE DAY THE WORLD ENDED (1955)

Cinedigm will handle the release of the films, including theatrical, DVD/VOD, TV and CONtv, Cinedigm’s upcoming digital streaming network. Katz has called the upcoming films “indie comic book movies… unpretentious [and] R-rated,” and their appearance on CONtv will allow for “binge watching at the feature film level.”

Now, while that sounds potentially good and fun, the fact is that there’s something wholly uncomfortable about this whole situation. It just all seems very unwanted and unnecessary, and in a way that, if it doesn’t work out, will once again be blamed on the horror audiences rather than those producing said works. In fact, three of these films have already been remade during Showtime’s mid-nineties exploitation experiment, with John McNoughton’s remake of GIRLS IN PRISON, Jonathan Kaplan’s remake of REFORM SCHOOL GIRL and Ralph Bakshi’s remake of THE COOL AND THE CRAZY, and even those films seem much more interesting than remakes set in a universe of aliens and monsters.

The bottom line is that, while I’m normally supportive of remakes if conceived and executed with the best intentions, I’m just not convinced that’s whats going on here. I don’t even mind if the films are remade individually, really, but the connected universe of said movies puts a self-aware spin on these titles, and basically admits that they’re going for the “so bad it’s good” angle out of the gate. It’s stripping the imagination from American International Pictures, and that sucks.

I really hope I’m wrong, and that come 2016, I’ll be eating crow while binge watching 10 goddamn AIP remakes.

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About the author
Ken W. Hanley
Ken W. Hanley is the Managing Web Editor for FANGORIA and STARLOG, as well as the former Web Editor for Diabolique Magazine and a contributing writer to YouWonCannes.com. He’s a graduate from Montclair State University, where he received an award for Excellence in Screenwriting. He’s currently working on screenplays, his debut novel "THE I IN EVIL", and various other projects, and can be followed on Twitter: @movieguyiguess.
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