After the success of The Last Exorcism, director Daniel Stamm was tapped to remake Pascal Laugier’s deeply religious French horror Martyrs for Dimension Films.
Years later, it never came into fruition. Instead, Stamm got behind the camera for another remake, 13 Sins, which is now on all VOD platforms. In speaking with Movies, he says the Martyrs remake script was “spellbinding,” a “beautiful character study of how far you’ll go for an insane friend,” and “one of the best scripts I’ve read, probably ever.” So what happened?
“..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.”
So, while the rights have switched hands (thankfully), it sounds as if the remake is still a go, just at a lower budget. Do you guys want to see this? I’m curious to see if the dark finale remains intact…
The 2009 film, which had shades of Rosemary’s Baby, followed Lucie, now 25 years old, who sets out to get revenge on the people who attacked and permanently scarred her when she was only 10 years old.