Mark Hartley has already gifted us with two stellar documentaries on exploitation cinema (Not Quite Hollywood, Machete Maidens Unleashed!) and will soon cap off his trilogy of awesome with next year’s Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films.  While that documentary is coming together as we speak, what does Hartley have in store for us beyond the wondrous tale of Menahem Golan & Yoram Globus?  I’ll let the man tell you himself…

“After I finish this crazy trilogy of mine with Electric Boogaloo, I’ll leave the documentary filmmaking to real documentary professionals.”

It seems Hartley has developed a taste for feature filmmaking.  First up on his to-do list?  A remake of Richard Franklin’s 1978 cult horror film, Patrick……….which just so happened to be featured prominently in Not Quite Hollywood.  The project just secured funding and is aiming for Summer 2012 start with a budget of $4 million.  Sharni Vinson, Richard E. Grant, and Rachel Griffiths have already been cast and I’m sure a few more will join in the coming months.  Anthony I. Ginnane (Thirst, Escape 2000) is on board as producer, just as with the original.  Here’s the synopsis…

After killing is mother and her lover some years before, Patrick is the comatose patient in room 15 of a remote, private psychiatric clinic run by the secretive Dr Roget, who treats him as a guinea pig in his bizarre studies of life and death. When Kathy, a nurse who has recently separated from her boyfriend, begins working at the clinic, she is instructed to care for him. She is disturbed by Roget’s treatment of him and somehow feels that Patrick is trying to make a connection with her.

When Kathy realizes that the lifeless murderer can communicate, she is shocked but compelled to prove her theory. Patrick has psychokinetic powers which he uses to talk to Kathy by transferring his thoughts to a computer. As Patrick’s communication becomes stronger, strange and terrifying events begin to occur. Patrick has feelings for Kathy and his affection is about to manifest itself as a deadly, bloody obsession.

With that out of the way, I have a confession to make.  I have yet to see the original.  Shameful, I know, especially for a massive horror fiend like myself.  This is something I will soon rectify.  None of that changes the fact that it is a cult classic that is held in very high regard in most circles.  Most of us tend to scoff at the horror remakes that are constantly being tossed our way.  And why wouldn’t we?  Most of them have been pieces of shit.  It’s no wonder that we’re watching the events surrounding The Evil Dead remake with wary eyes or that most of us are still cautiously optimistic about the Elijah Wood-fronted redo of Maniac.  We’ve been burned enough times in recent memory to know better.  Before I voice my own opinion on this particular remake, here’s a few words from Hartley on his ideas for the project…

“We’re sort of giving it a creepier, Gothic flavor, very much in a similar style to THE ORPHANAGE,” reveals Hartley, who will direct. “There’s much more of a backstory for Dr. Roget, and Patrick has dream sequences and flashbacks where he’s out of the bed. We don’t want to turn Patrick into Freddy Kreuger; we like to think of it as a love story with a body count. The great thing about the original was the fact that here’s a guy with unlimited powers, but all he wants to do is use them to manipulate the events in that nurse’s life to make her fall in love with him. So we’ve kept that central premise and really upped the ante.”

Other elements will be altered, however. “The first PATRICK, as much as it’s a really interesting film, is very much of its time. It’s predominantly set in one hospital room, and we’re trying to open it up. To be honest—and I’ve said this to Tony—it’s not that scary when you watch it now, and we’re all about giving it those jolts. Obviously, I’m a fan of PATRICK, and I want people who’ve seen the original to appreciate the remake, so we’re certainly putting nods to the first one throughout the film, but we’re not doing a Gus Van Sant PSYCHO. I believe Jamie’s remake of LONG WEEKEND [released in the U.S. as NATURE’S GRAVE] suffers because they used the original script, and when people love these films and know them so well, there’s no way that they can embrace a film that’s so similar. We learned a lesson there, and we’ll try to tailor our PATRICK for modern audiences.”


Since currently I have no ties to the original, I don’t have a single reason to be anything other than excited for this project.  I’m going to go out on a limb now and say that between the three remakes I mentioned, this one probably has the best chance of turning out well.  Mark Hartley might be a first-timer when it comes to crafting a piece of genre fiction.  That cannot be argued.  He is, however, a first-rate documentarian and has more than proven himself as an authority on genre and exploitation cinema.  Part of me is saddened by the fact that he is walking away (at least for the time being) from something that he is great at, but the rest of me is excited for the possibilities that his future career as a genre filmmaker hold.  Only time will tell if my instincts are correct.  Until then, I will sit back and anxiously await the arrival of his next two projects.

You’ve gained my trust and loyalty, Mark, so now it’s time to show me what you’re really made of.  In the immortal words of the great Tom Atkins, Thrill me!!!.


Sources | Inside Film, Twitch Film