Ah, well fiends. Today is the day. It’s independence day. It’s July 4th. And more than likely, you’re not spending it online looking for horror articles to read! You’re most likely enjoying quality time with quality friends at a BBQ, or prepping for a covert evening of fireworks; either setting them off or watching them.
I don’t know what it is, but it’s inherent in horror fans to want to watch horror movies that take place on a specific holiday on that holiday. No doubt some of you watched RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD yesterday since it takes place on July 3rd. But what about for July 4th?
I guess INDEPENDENCE DAY counts? Sort of? But having just seen THE PURGE: ELECTION YEAR this past weekend, it got me thinking. We need more Patriotic-themed horror. The images of people dressed up as Honest Abe Lincoln or the Statue Of Liberty or Uncle Sam while going purging is pretty iconic. And we could use another horror movie that really capitalizes on it.
Well, there is the 1996 Bill Lustig flick UNCLE SAM. But… well, it’s UNCLE SAM. It’s got some great ideas, an iconic looking killer and a cool concept, yet as a whole, it doesn’t fully work.
Look – I love Bill Lustig’s work. And of his films, I didn’t think MANIAC needed a remake, although that one did come out pretty darned good. Nicolas Winding Refn has got his sights set on producing a remake of MANIAC COP, even though there are already 3 MANIAC COP movies in that franchise, the 2nd of which is probably the greatest action/horror movie. The one that should be remade is UNCLE SAM.
Let’s revisit the trailer and refresh our memories.
All the ingredients are there for a success. Lustig directing. A script by Larry Cohen. A fun cast consisting of Robert Forster, Isaac Hayes and PJ Soles! Maybe it’s the slightly comedic tone prominent in this era of ’90s horror that doesn’t mesh with an otherwise serious horror movie with political undertones. I mean, the concept, as seen in the trailer, is a little goofy. But I wonder if, had they approached it with the same serious tone they did on the MANIAC COP movies, it’d be a different movie.
The whole point of remakes is not to redo an already great movie. Why not do one that almost hits the mark and improve on it? There’s room here for the ultimate Independence Day “slasher” movie. UNCLE SAM is one I’d love to see get another chance!