We all know we’re in a cinematic age of remakes, reboots, makeovers and sequels, so the news the Backbrain’s just heard regarding the latest giant monster flick remake won’t come as much of a surprise to anyone. Not as such. But the old classic that’s now being remade is so obvious a choice, the surprise is that no one’s done it yet.
King Kong‘s been done, once in 1976, but more recently in spectacular fashion by Peter Jackson (2005). Godzilla‘s been done (though really it was more like a remake of The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms) and is about to be done again, hopefully more Godzilla-worthy. These are the big guns. There’s even been talk of a remake of Them! the giant ant flick, though little follow-up information has been forthcoming. Gorgo received not a remake but a short-film sequel, in Waiting for Gorgo. But again, the films these two were based on exist somewhere up the top of the monstrous heap.
There are, however, a plethora of rather woeful giant monster films that have an enthusiastic fan following who would welcome seeing their favourites tarted up for the new millennium. One pretty well from the bottom of the heap is The Giant Gila Monster (US-1959; dir. Ray Kellogg). Fun but — sorry, guys — pretty bad when looked at in terms of grander cinematic qualities. Which makes it, I would have thought, a prime candidate.
It seems The Indy Film Co-op has taken the gila monster by the claws and has decided to give the “classic” B-film a much-needed revamp. Principle photography begins on 1 December (tomorrow). We’re told that it will be in colour, though done as a period piece set in the 1950s. Co-producer Bill Dever and co-director Jim Wynorski revealed that “The monster will be a combination of practical FX, a live lizard and CGI!”*
Playboy Playmate Julie McCullough will be contributing her … presence, along with Terence Knox, Matt Austin, Ellen Kingston and Jenna Ruiz.
Bill Dever and Jim Nielsen are producing**, with Tony Randel (Hellbound: Hellraiser II, Fist of the North Star) and Jim Wynorski (Chopping Mall, Not of This Earth, The Return of the Swamp Thing, Dinocroc vs. Supergator and a million other things, including a heap of unmentionable soft-porn parodies) sharing the director’s chair.
Kellogg’s original film notably featured a real lizard blown up (metaphorically speaking) to giant size, trashing toy trains and other vehicles, a heroic teenage Steve McQueen type who has to save the day with a hot-rod and a sexy girlfriend, and lots of 1950s rock ‘n’ roll. Check out the trailer:
As soon as we hear more, we’ll let you know.
Meanwhile, if you’re feeling at a loss, you can watch the entire original The Giant Gila Monster on the Cinema of the Backbrain. Here is your virtual TICKET!
* A live reptile will no longer be used for the FX.
** Bill Dever is now the producer of the film. He is also writer on it.
Source: Bill Dever and Jim Wynorski via Avery Guerra. Written by Robert Hood.