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It's No Hallucination: Jacob's Ladder Is Getting A Remake

The pile of needless Hollywood remakes grows higher, readers. So high, in fact, that there’s no possible way to see the top of the heap from down here. To see it, we’d need to rise to the same level, and to do that we’d need a tool of some kind. A ladder, perhaps…

Mickey Liddell should make sure no one has been slipping him any drugs covertly, as The Hollywood Reporter revealed his company LD Entertainment will be putting its money behind a remake of Adrian Lyne’s hallucinatory cult classic Jacob’s Ladder. It was released in 1990, but just because it has reached cinematic adulthood doesn’t mean it needs to be updated or replaced. I’d even take a remastered version of the original post-converted to 3D over a redo. There’s more than enough frightening shit in this film to last another 30 remake-less years, even if it isn’t the most perfect piece of cinema.

To write the screenplay, RD has hired Jeff Buhler, whose only produced script to date has been Ryûhei Kitamura’ 2008 Clive Barker adaptation Midnight Meat Train. Not that it was a terrible film, but an adaptation of a short story isn’t the best thing to judge a writer on. He’ll be reworking an early version of a script written by Jade Wade Wall, the guy who penned When a Stranger Calls. Has your confidence reached its peak yet?

The producers say they aren’t looking to create a straight-up remake, and want the new film to be more of an homage to the original, bringing a modern point-of-view to an entirely new narrative, while holding strong to the examination of existential questions. I watched Jacob’s Ladder for the first time in my pre-teen years when existentialism was completely unfamiliar and my concept of death and the afterlife were altered forever.

cSo how could they possibly contemporize a story that is steeped in Vietnam PTSD and featured one of the more gut-punchy endings of dramatic horror? I have no idea, but I really hope they substitute the war motif with something else. And considering how the titular Ladder figures into the plot, there’s really no reason to even hold onto this film’s title. Just make an entirely different movie, dammit!

You say you haven’t seen the original, or you’ve taken medicine to block it from your memory? In it, Tim Robbins plays a war vet who finds himself plagued by a series of horrific and violent hallucinations, and discovers the other members of his unit have the same problem. Written by Bruce Joel Rubin (The Time Traveler’s Wife), it wasn’t that popular upon its release, but has amassed a legion of fans who thrive on its balls-out craziness.

It was a departure for director Lyne, more famous for seductive dramas like 9 ½ Weeks and Fatal Attraction, so that leaves every director on the planet as a potential helmer for this flick. Personally, I hope they go with someone like Chan-wook Park (Stoker) who understands how to tell a terrifying story as well as presenting memorable visuals. Who would you guys like to see?

Take a gander at the film’s original trailer below, and remember what it’s like to be alive.

Nick Venable
Nick Venable

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.