So Saturday I ended up thinking, and then talking a great deal, about replacements. It wasn’t intentional, I had a friend in the car, and AC/DC came on the radio, the original Bon Scott version of “Dirty Deeds”, which was awfully convenient, so I started blabbering about how difficult it must be who replace, whole hog, your frontman. I can only imagine that this extremely rare feat was possible for AC/DC because Scott wasn’t really the nexus of the band. I mean, he was fucking important, but the Young brothers had originally started the band, and seemingly saw it as their project. Circumstances to the side, it’s an incredible act of solidarity and strength.
Bands just don’t survive the death of their frontman. Sure, you can say NEW ORDER is the closest example, but as their name connotes, they didn’t replace Ian Curtis and call the band Joy Division: the Sequel, they started a new band with new songs and a different sound that was, in terms of longevity and commerciality, actually more successful than the previous.
Can you imagine having to start out with your new singer, and explain “So yeah, he wrote all these songs, but, he died, so now they’re your songs. Pretend you’re him.” That ish is rough.
So this led me to also talk again about Judas Priest, and Rob Halford leaving the band. In one of my very first posts, I inaccurately went into length about him being kicked out of Priest, but I was completely wrong, and clearly didn’t do my homework. Rob was only much later replaced for a reboot of the band, which was the inspiration for the film ROCK STAR, although that story apparently only tangentially relates to the events that occurred in real life.
But somehow in this same conversation, I got talking about replacing the protagonist in a film, which is also pretty rare. I was talking about the only good part of DEEP BLUE SEA, where SL Jackson, just after everything has gone all shark-chomping gives this great speech, something like, “Ok people, we’re gonna do this, and then..” BLAM!!! Freaking giant shark JUMPS out of the tank and gobbles him up where he stands, and you’re all like…. WHAT?! YES!!! This ten second section is almost worth the price of admission, if it didn’t lull you into thinking there might me another good moment in the movie, which there is not.
Anyway, that led me to my favorite example of this phenomenon, which is the ’88 remake of THE BLOB. I’m very very rarely in favor of horror and sci-fi remakes, but this one was not only appropriate, it was awesome. In act one you meet this star footballer player dude, and his cute girlfriend, but also cut to Kevin Dillon, who is at the same time crushing beers in his leather jacket and epic trailer park mullet, revving up enough courage to jump his little jack-knife of a motorbike over this demolished bridge, just for the purpose of being badass—with nobody else around mind you. He’s just pulling sweet jumps for the Knievel of it. Anyway, meteor crash, hobo gets grab-handed by the Blob, and then they’re all at the hospital, where Footbal bro gets nasty awesome eated by the Blob, so much so that in attempting to rescuing him, his arm comes off in Lady Friend’s hands. Incredibly choice.
What’s the point of all this:
1) Parasite villain monsters are still pretty fucking sweet.
2) Kevin Dillon was pretty damn good at mullet/leather/motorbike antics, and that’s pretty metal.
3) I’m strongly considering a switcheroo of this kind in my first act, but am I just grasping at writerly things for no good reason? Do I need saved from my own tendency to overwrite? This and many other exciting answers next time on…