Returning to the Rear Window

This weekend, Disturbia takes a stab at retelling the classic Alfred Hitchcock story Rear Window. And it does so unabashedly. But it’s far from the first film to do so. Here’s a list of the very best attempts to reinvent Hitchcock.

Rear Window (1998): We begin with a straight-up, made for TV remake, starring the late, great Christopher Reeve. Now this really isn’t all that great a version, but is most notable as it was the film in which Christopher Reeve came out of forced retirement to play a role that allowed him to be paralyzed. It was Superman, fighting for his career. And it was a beautiful thing to see. If only it were a better version of the movie.

Body Double: Brian De Palma’s sleazy and voyeuristic 1984 sex-thriller which would become something of the proto-thriller from which films like Fatal Attraction, Basic Instinct and The Hand that Rocks the Cradle would draw inspiration. This time, the guy isn’t handicapped, but instead suffers from severe claustrophobia – a nod to Hitchcock’s Vertigo (where the main character was afraid of heights).

The Simpsons: In one of the better early Simpsons episodes, Bart breaks his leg and is forced to sit in his room. But when neighbor Ned Flanders begins acting strange, Bart suspects Ned might have killed his wife, Maude. Fans of the show will remember that it was all just a big misunderstanding, and Maude would be killed several seasons later by a terrible t-shirt gun mishap. What’s interesting about this is that it is the rare Rear Window knock-off/parody in which the person isn’t actually a killer.

Abominable: The recent independent horror film picked up by the Sci-fi network and released on DVD late last year – this takes Rear Window and has fun with it. When the wheelchair-bound character peeks out into the back of his house, instead of any old murder, he sees Bigfoot killing a girl. Now he has to convince the police that not only was there a murder, but Bigfoot did it. All while a group of bubbly, occasionally topless teen girls are spending a weekend in the cabin next door. A movie that truly understands its goofy, monster movie roots, and never takes itself too seriously.

C. Robert Cargill - - - Email Me


Austin-based Cargill, who not only loves but owns The Cutting Edge, writes on movies and DVD two times a week.