Doubling up on some cannibal flicks in the battle of Most Appetizing Adaptations. Do you prefer originals or remakes? Hardline anti-remake? Not aware that there is an original foreign version, or not care at all?
Spoilerfic breakdown comparison on what’s the same and what has changed in both versions after the break (along with many pictures of food I’ve been gobbling up the past few months)
1. Location settings: The original was shot entirely in Mexico City while the remake trades in the 2nd/3rd world urban setting for the more rural/mountain woodsy Catskills of upstate New York. There are quite a lot of things that have been flipped/reversed between the original and the remake.
2. The Family Dynamic : in the original, the father dies at the very beginning leaving behind his wife, two sons and one daughter. It takes a few minutes longer for the mother to die in the remake leaving behind her husband, two daughters and one son. The gender reversal plays a big part in the difference between both versions. The original family relied heavily on the father that passed away that the original mother had essentially given up, leaving the children to decide to continue their cannibalistic ways (mainly from fear of starvation).
3. The Family Dynamic part 2 : The children in the original are closer in age range than the remake version in their teens, and each character has a different relationship with each other and their mother. Several things about the original children that is missing from the remake: the implied incest, the favoritism, implied homosexuality, and the power struggle between the family after the father’s death. In the remake, the youngest and only son isn’t of school age yet, and is essentially not much of a factor in the main story, which is more of the power struggle between the unwielding father and his two daughters, who are undecided on upholding their “tradition”.
4. Things in the remake that are not found in the original : there is a larger religious aspect told through a backstory (and long flashback) on how their ancestors eventually resorted to cannibalism (not mentioned at all in the original other than there is a ritual involved before their meal). There are more characters involved in the story such as the family doctor who ended up being the main “investigator” in the story, the family’s next door neighbor (played by Kelly McGillis) as a semi-love interest and the young policeman who is the eldest daughter’s “love” interest. Weather also plays a part in the remake. There is also a part of the story involving sickness/disease from partaking in human meat.
5. Things in the original not found in the remake : There is a larger story involving whores. There is also a larger part of the movie devoted to the children “hunting” their would be / almost / actual victims. The length of time between their patriarch’s passing and their hunt for their next meal happens almost instantly over a few days. The hunting part is minimized in the remake (It feels like weeks have passed from the mother’s passing until their actual “meal”). There’s almost a black comedy about the mother’s disapproval of the victims that were brought back home (i chuckled at some of the lines). There isn’t a significant amount spent on the victims in the remake in comparison.
6. The focus and how it ends : The original, by the time you get to the end, is about a family struggling to survive …. as cannibals. After the news of the father’s death reached the family, the mother initially had decided to just let the family starve. The family grew “closer” and more united in that goal (of not starving) as the movie progressed. In contrast with the remake which focused more on the struggle between the father and his two daughters, as the family started breaking apart as the story progressed. So much so that the father tried to poison his whole family near the end when he realized his children wanted to leave. The remake is a bit more heavier handed on the “keeping family together” / “maintaining the family traditions” theme.
Only the daughter in the original survives (though a nice twist of events). In the remake, the two daughters end up eating their dad in anger over him trying to poison them/keep them from leaving. They were finally free of their father’s control…but they ended up fulfilling their father’s goal of them maintaining their cannibal tradition.
We’ll now segue from a long post about cannibal movies,
to lots of pictures of food: