I think Daniel Stamm is a very credible director: I loved The Last Exorcism, and I am hearing that his remake of the superb cult film 13: Game of Death, titled 13 Sins, is very good indeed. However, I draw the line at a remake of Pascal Laugier’s stunning exploration of violence and death, Martyrs, getting the remake treatment. I don’t care who’s remaking it, you just don’t do it, not a film of that intensity and raw power.
Thankfully when Stamm was due to begin work on his Martyrs remake, he instead decided to remake 13: Game of Death, meaning that the Martyrs remake was shelved, temporarily. The US remake is still on the cards, and is still expected to happen on a very low budget, but alas it does not sound like Stamm will be the person to direct.
In an interview with Movies, Stamm opened up about the Martyrs remake, and talked about what he called a “spellbinding” script which Dimension Films were looking to remake. Here is what Stamm had to say:
“..the French had done these 30 pages of just mind-numbing, repetitive violence, which is genius because it makes you feel the actual horror of that stuff, but there is no entertainment value,” says Stamm of the original film. “And so the Americans come in and go, ‘We have to spice this up and make it more entertaining,’ so suddenly it’s 30 pages of Saw that just didn’t work.
“The American remake keeps both girls alive, whereas the French version kills one of the girls very early. If you keep both of them alive this gives you a really great chance to have this psychological play between them and the torturers. Everything was going great creatively, and then the call comes in. ‘The option ran out a week ago and the French producers now want so much money that we can’t make the movie.’
“I think they’re now back to making the movie for like $1 million, really low budget, which I think you could almost do, it’s just there’s this philosophy in Hollywood that you can never go back budget-wise. As a filmmaker you are judged by that. And then there’s also this concept I was unaware of called plateauing, where if you’re a filmmaker who makes two movies in the same budget bracket, that becomes your thing. You are the guy for the $3 million movie, and then that’s all you do. And so my agents wouldn’t let me do the $1 million movie, because then that’s it for you, you’ll supposedly never get that bigger budget.”
I don’t care for a Martyrs remake at all, the original is powerful stuff, and is not the sort of film that needs remaking to find a bigger audience. Martyrs is a harsh, brutal film that will probably be too strong for the casual horror fan, and a film that serious horror fans will seek out due to its reputation alone. Those that want to see it will see it, and an English language remake won’t change that.
Then there is Stamm’s comments saying “there is no entertainment value”. That statement right there is a reason to celebrate that he is no longer remaking the film, because Martyrs is anything but entertaining, and it is not meant to be entertaining. Sometimes films come along to challenge the viewer, make them think, make them upset, disgusted but in awe of its genius. Martyrs is that sort of horror film, and I am so but it is not meant to be fucking entertaining. If you want entertaining, go and watch The Lego Movie, for God sake!
Let’s hope this Martyrs remake stays where it is, in development hell. In fact, just burn the bloody script!