‘Martyrs’ Remake Script Was “Spellbinding,” Says Stamm

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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.

 
  • niahflame

    No need for a remake.

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  • Disassembly

    I sincerely hope the remake stays in development hell. This is a film that should forever stay uncloned.

  • horrorking95

    This sounds like total shit. I literally face palmed! Martyrs isn’t supposed to be ‘entertaining’ for eff’s sake! This is everything wrong with Hollywood horror. They don’t have the balls to make a proper weighty and harrowing film like Martyrs. Martyrs is one of the best horror films ever made and really shouldn’t be tampered with. I’m with @Disassembbly. I hope this stays in development hell for a very long time!

  • K-Dogg

    Agree with everyone above……Not needed.

  • Mortis-Dei

    Making Martyrs “entertaining” would be like putting happy sunshine and rainbow stickers on Rembrandt’s Nightwatch.

  • coldblood

    I think it’s safe to say that MARTYRS is for hard core horror buffs and not for mass consumption. Not just for the intense violence but also for the depth of the story. The average person just doesn’t want to be freaked out that bad or have to think that much.

    Remaking MARTYRS is like trying to re-paint the Mona Lisa. There wouldn’t be that much money to be made and everyone would still just want the original anyway.

    Instead of fucking with a classic, may be the studios should just take more risks on original ideas. They didn’t thing that SAW or PARANORMAL ACTIVITY were going to be big hits, but guess what…….

  • https://www.facebook.com/WhereDarknessLurks WhereDarknessLurks

    I NEVER want to see a remake to this brilliant film. If we ever get one, it will never live up to how fantastic the original is – especially with the way it would be warped and twisted so far away from what the film entails. This is a perfect film as is, and should be seen as such. Even so, were the director of the terribly abysmal The Last Exorcism so much as touch Martyrs, it would be the biggest slap in the face as a horror fan. I never never never want to see this be remade!!!!!

  • kevinhorror

    I have no qualms with other people enjoying these hardcore horror films. I have liked a few that were dark. But its wrong to say that audiences like myself don’t want to think too much. Many things i could point out in that statement that are false. Deep thinking is not mutually exclusive to extreme horror films. Many films of other genres had me thinking about life and death and everything in between. But, more than anything, I personally want to have fun at the movies, or watching a DVD at home as most people who enjoy the movies. Watching a dark, depressing, soul crushing movie isn’t fun, isn’t entertaining, and frankly those movies have no re-watch factor. I love Halloween, its a fun, scary, slasher film and i can watch that every week. I love Se7en, probably David Fincher’s serial killer masterpiece, and even though it has a somewhat down ending, its still a mesmerizing beautiful film. If I had to choose, 9 times out of 10, I will choose a fun horror film over an extreme horror film. And thats ok.

    • WalkWithMeInDarkness

      I’m with you. Agree 100 percent.

      • anezka

        The point is that Martyrs was made as a hardcore film. There is no point in trying to make it be entertaining. I am all for having both kinds of films, so each one can pick their favourites. Personally, I like both kinds, depending on my mood. I am against trying to remake to change the style though. It is like trying to remake Friday the 13th into a extreme film. It wouldn’t work. Some films are not meant to be taken seriously whilst others are not meant to be fun.

        • djblack1313

          anezka, VERY well said. i agree.

        • Mr.Mirage

          And there it is: yep. Not meant to be a light-hearted romp through the woods with two buddies.

          That said, though… what would the religious end of this film look like if made in America? Snake handlers? Rev. Phelps cries out from Hell?

  • huntermc

    I agree – no need for a remake, unless they only thing they’re changing is to put it in English in order to reach a wider audience. But let me guess, they were going to keep one girl alive until almost the end, then one would die to sacrifice herself so the other could escape, etc. Typical predictable Hollywood ending we’d see coming from a mile away.

    But that’s what why the original was so legitimately shocking, even for jaded horror fans. There is no happy ending, just brutality and utter hopelessness.

  • RubenVeritas

    NO NO & No.

  • djblack1313

    this sounds atrocious. the original is perfect. perfect.

  • mobstar67

    Martyrs remains one of my all time fav horror films and whoever had the rights sounded like they were gonna massacre the film..
    however now that its switched hands I would not be completely opposed to another writer or director taking a crack at it…
    I mean the original masterpiece is not going anywhere ..
    I remember the moans and groans about “Let The Right One In” and how we were gonna kill that one too and that worked out fine… Shit there have been several very well done remakes that are so well done they surpass the original…
    Its clear they were on the wrong path with this one but now that its in new hands I would be open to see it re worked as long as if it were left in capable hands..

  • anezka

    This film is a masterpiece. I refuse to watch any remake of it.

  • aphroditeboy

    I’m one of the few here not opposed to a remake if it is done well and they make it unique, but still do the original enough justice. I wouldn’t want a cheap bastardization, but a reimagining is always interesting to play with all the “what-if” scenarios.

    The original is one of the hardest films to watch for me due to the majority of the film centering on the brutalization of the main female protagonist by those much larger and more physically powerful than she is. As someone who is 5 foot 9 inches and weighs 116 pounds, it gravely disturbed me.

    • djblack1313

      aphroditeboy, i agree w/ you. i think this movie is pretty perfect but i MUCH MUCH prefer the 1st half of the flick (the revenge part). once the repetitive torture of Anna starts the movie becomes a chore to sit through. the ending is awesome too! i still wonder what Anna told that old vile woman.

      • aphroditeboy

        I agree entirely. The beginning of the film was astonishing. When Lucie burst through the doors and started shooting up the whole household, I was legitimately shocked into awe. One of the problems I actually felt was that they killed off Lucie’s character too early when she was really a much more interesting character than Anna. Though, that may have been the point they were trying to make as well, that with Lucie gone and while going through the horrific torture, Anna really came into her own as an independent person.

        My theory was that what Anna whispered into the old woman’s ear was her last act of revenge. She either told her something so horrible that the woman couldn’t live with it, or so beautiful that she would be willing to kill herself to attain it. Either way, I feel like what Anna whispered to her was deceptive. And based on what the final line was “keep doubting,” I also kind of thought that maybe what Anna said was something to invalidate the whole philosophical mutilation and martyring of these young women in the first place, which is why the Mademoiselle shot herself.

      • mobstar67

        I am also unopposed to a remake…I mean the original film wont disintegrate after they remake it so if there gonna respect it like Alexandre Aja’s Hills Have Eyes” or Matt Reeves “Let Me In” were handled I’m all for it…More horror the better…

  • ThunderDragoon

    Although I wasn’t one of the people to go all gaga over the movie, I agree with the people here who say it doesn’t need a remake. I’m so tired of Hollywood remaking foreign movies. Do something original, FFS.

  • oneofthosedeadfckers

    Martyrs is one of the few horror films besides A Serbian Film that made me uncomfortable. It’s story was shit as far as I’m concerned but the horror and overall atmosphere was exceptional. The ending of Martyrs is one of the most memorable scenes in horror imo.

  • Labrosse

    Might as well remake A Serbian Film, it’s not entertaining enough, it’s waaay too dark. Actually no, fuck that, Begotten, remake Begotten, it must entertain people dammit, otherwise it’s no good. *headdesk*

    • M.a.r.y.

      Labrosse,
      your comment is priceless. Entertaining remake of Begotten :))))

      • Labrosse

        Thanks. I wonder how that would actually play out by the way…

    • ImPetrified

      Lmao, you are the man.

  • zibby

    The original movie sucks. Pure torture porn, nothing else.

  • zibby

    To be honest, for something like 1/6th of the movie there was an interesting revenge plot. If in the remake they could expand that part and cut the torture porn to the bare mininum, directly to the end, then it would be much better than the original.

  • ImPetrified

    Director: “Oh man this’s cool, but it’s boooring!! And it’s in FRENCH too, so I can’t tell what’s going on! Let’s make it more exciting guys!”

    Producers: “Yeah yeah let’s keep the other chick alive! So we can have TWO women being misogynistically battered at the same time! Americans love that shit! Yeah yeah yeah, keep the jism pumping their face with that shit! Money money money!!”

    BD.com: “Maaaatrys remake?!?!? Hells yeah! let’s pimp this out to ever gore-hound on the net! Money money money money money!”

  • joesey

    i can’t believe they wanted to Americanize this movie with a remake! Such bullshit! It doesn’t need to be remade b/c they’ll just fuck it up. I saw the American version of We Are What We Are and it fucken stunk! It blew! Some things are better left untouched especially a brilliant horror movie like Martyrs!

  • Feonix

    I watched Martyrs randomly one day, with no idea of the plot. Boy was I surprised lol.. what a film. It has been etched into my memory ever since. That is how I want it to stay, I don’t want to see a low budget remake… because it will only ever be that, and what is the point? There is only one reason – to squeeze a few bucks out of it’s name. It is a sad situation.

  • Dr_Dread

    Martyrs is the one horror film that really messed me up. I too watched it on a whim while looking up some good foreign horror films. After the film was over I took a bit of a break from horror movies in general. I loved the film but hated it at the same time. I think it is that powerful. I’m usually fine with remakes as I think it’s interesting to see a new take on films that I love. However, I kind of hope that this is not made. I seriously doubt that any remake can recreate the impact the original film had on people who dared to watch it. I hate that movie but at the same time it is one of my favorite horror movies of all time.

    Whenever people say they are horror fans I ask them if they have seen Martyrs. If not I recommend they check it out but warn them that it is an extremely powerful movie. I need to watch it again and see if it is on Amazon Instant video. Wonderful film and I’m not surprised that people found the script powerful.

  • DANTEarg

    So, this guy, Daniel Stamm, dares to compare Martyrs with..SAW??? no wonder he directed The Last Exorcism, he just doesn’t get horror, apparently he doesn´t get it at all.

    • mrm1138

      You completely misread what he said, which was, “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.”

      In other words, he’s saying the American producers took Martyrs and tried to TURN IT INTO SAW to make it palatable to American audiences.

  • DeadInHell

    It’s sort of funny how many people are indignant at the mere suggestion that the remake of Martyrs might be “entertaining”. What exactly is wrong with that? Since when should horror not be entertaining? Psycho, The Exorcist, Halloween, all entertaining films and also classic, quality horror. Hell, High Tension (a fellow entry into the French new wave) was plenty entertaining despite the extreme violence and suspense.

    This is the problem with modern horror. There was a time when horror could be entertaining AND horrifying. Now we just get torture porn and pseudo-snuff films that are completely and utterly joyless, that entirely lack entertainment (or any other) value. Is that really the only kind of film you guys want to see? Or is it just the allure of the modern French horror scene and all of the self-glorifying pretentious wannabe film snobbery that comes along with it that has you all so wrapped up?

  • Matty Matt Loria

    No. No. No. Leave it alone. Period. End of story.

  • Maxime C

    No. No. No. Leave it alone. FOR EVER!

  • joeshmo447

    Great movie! Terrible ending though I hate movies that leave it open to “your” interpretation like really? Such a cop out. I’m all for the remake just tell me what she said to the lady at the end!!!

    • huntermc

      What she told the lady at the end was supposed to be something so mind-shattering that she blew her own brains out. If they actually told the audience, there would have been mass-suicides everywhere!

      • joeshmo447

        Lol! Still it makes me really really interested in the ending , did the director or anybody explain it a little?

  • Nora Noron

    I hate the idea of this, but I would love to see Emmy Rossum play Anna. But I really, really don’t want to see this remade. You know what was spellbinding? The actual movie. Boo.

  • randallflagg666

    For the love of God LEAVE THIS MASTERPIECE ALONE….bad enough they were planning on a happy ending with both girls alive anyway

  • Brenda L. Araujo

    No! I don’t want a remake!

  • Jonny

    So, there’s no way Americans can do a Remake as intense, disturbing and violent as an original? To pay this film respect, just don’t make it if it’s to be cut in half.

  • Shit

    I still haven’t gotten around to watching this… Guess now I have plans tonight :D