Should Paul Verhoeven’s Showgirls Be Remade?

Should we run the risk of remaking this record Razzie winner? Although he’s not directed a film since Black Book...

Daniel Mumby

Contributor

Should we run the risk of remaking this record Razzie winner?

Although he’s not directed a film since Black Book six years ago, Paul Verhoeven’s name has been bouncing around the internet as a result of two of his best-known films being remade. This year we had the remake of Total Recall starring Colin Farrell, which was by all accounts deeply disappointing, and in 2014 we will be treated to a rebooted RoboCop (if “treated” is the right word).

Assuming that it takes money, as Total Recall did, which other of Verhoeven’s films should the Hollywood remake machine be targeting next? Anything from Starship Troopers onwards is in far too recent memory, while his early and highly-regarded Dutch-language work isn’t well-known enough for American audiences to be pulled in: there are few out there who would be hyped just from hearing the words The Fourth Man, Spetters or Soldier of Orange.

Assuming that we also exclude Flesh and Blood, on the grounds that any remake would require a humongous budget, that leaves us with two options. Basic Instinct is now 20 years old – old enough for sex-mad teenage boys not to remember it – but Sharon Stone is still very much in the public eye, and the failure of the recent sequel still haunts executives’ minds. That leaves us with an interesting question: should Hollywood take the plunge and attempt to remake Showgirls? And leading on from that – is there a chance that the remake could actually be good?

Reasons For A Remake

1. The Original Isn’t Any Good. At All.

Let’s be perfectly honest: Showgirls is a really bad film. Whatever you think about the Razzies, Showgirls is the low point of Verhoeven’s career – even Hollow Man is better. It’s the one time that absolutely nothing about his approach worked for him: the nudity was gratuitous, the violence uncalled for, the dialogue was risible, and the prominent female characters were horribly written and badly acted. The film has a cult following because of how shockingly bad it is, with fans celebrating with vivid irony the awfulness of lines like “different places!” and the infamous “everybody got AIDS and s**t”.

Most of the ire that’s generated when it comes to remakes comes from the fact that the originals were pretty good to start with. There was no need to remake Total Recall, just as there’s no reason to remake RoboCop. But when you’re starting with something this bad, something that’s a car crash on every level, it’s almost impossible for a remake to be objectively worse, and so there’s no harm in having a bash.