Remakes are something we as movie fans have come to expect from Hollywood. Why think up something original when you can use a tried and true story that has name recognition and an already built in audience? This time though, a classic Criterion release is getting the remake treatment. Arthur Crabtree’s Fiend Without a Face (Spine #92) is getting the chance to shine again on the big screen by none other than genre filmmaker Roy Frumkes, who made the fantastic documentary Document of the Dead, about the making of George A. Romero’s Dawn of the Dead.
Frumkes has been friends with the original producer of the classic sci-fi/horror hybrid, Richard Gordon and struck a deal with him to remake the film, but he isn’t going about it in the typical fashion. ‘…I set my own deadlines: The option started January 1, and I gave myself two months to write the first draft of the script, which is done, and one month to research it. I’ve wanted to do this film for 40 years, so I already had it all in my head, and it wasn’t hard to write. What I didn’t have was the technical information; I’m no science buff. Now I’m interviewing scientists, getting the technology straight.’
The original film took place at a scientific installation where telekinesis has been experimented upon and through it all have created brain creatures which leap and literally suck out the minds of their victims. It’s known as a high-water mark in genre filmmaking in England, with its advances special effects and it’s slow build until the thrilling climax. But Frumkes notes that while he loves the original’s pace, he might be changing it up a bit.
‘I believe that since so many people have seen the original, I can’t wait for the third act to show the fiends,’ he says. ‘They’re going to come in in act two, and then the third act is something completely new; it goes in a different direction there.’
He’s planning on not helming this film, looking for an able minded director to call the shots while he takes a backseat and does what he loves best, which is writing and producing and getting the money together from various sources to get the film made.
Frumkes has also been busy on a sequel to Street Trash, his famous schlock horror film about a poisonous booze that the homeless drink and die horribly when drinking it. Sadly, we shall probably never see the original Street Trash amongst the prestigious Criterion Collection.