And why not?



Last night I had a terrible dream about Sylvester Stallone.

I had dozed off watching the remake of Get Carter. In my dream I was watching the entire back catalogue of Michael Caine's films, but they all featured Sylvester Stallone in Michael's roles. I saw Sly as Lt. Gonville Bromhead in Zulu. I watched him manfully battle bees in The Swarm, and worst of all I saw him punch Barbara Hershey in the face in an unfortunate out-take from Hannah and Her Sisters.

Since the dream my mind has been reeling.

I have been unable to focus. I keep having panic attacks in which members of my family are Sylvester Stallone.

I keep on getting the unsettling feeling that my daily life is just a series of bad Hollywood remakes in which the key players are Sly or 'Marky' Wahlberg. When I go to the newsagent I find the kindly Indian woman has been replaced by Rene Russo and my postman now looks uncannily like Anthony Hopkins.

There are just too many remakes. Halfway through films I get a terrible sense of déjà vu, before realising that the film I'm watching is a remake of some 60s series I saw on TV. Mission Impossible, The Saint, I Spy…all coming soon on a big screen.

They are even making a big screen version of Blockbusters, with Kurt Russell as the angry loner who must cross a deadly nuclear board by solving riddles.

I decided the only was to combat the remakes was to pre-empt them. If unimaginative film directors were simply going to remake old films, then I would have to remake modern films in an old-fashioned style to try to beat them at their own game. Nothing confuses a film-maker more than finding out the lo-budget indie flick he made last year is now in fact a remake of a critically acclaimed 1970s Czech film about God and morality.

From that tiny acorn of an idea, my mighty fantasy oak has grown. At the moment I have Alfred Hitchcock working on the 1954 production of the 'original' Terminator, with Cary Grant in the Michael Biehn role, Jayne Mansfield as Sarah Connor and Victor Mature as the Terminator.

After that, I will be working on the 'original' Pulp Fiction, with a sombre Robert Mitchum doing John Travolta and Humphrey Bogart out-Brucing Bruce Willis as boxer Butch Coolidge. I will then demand that Quentin Tarantino returns his best screenplay Oscar to the Academy and apologises to actual screenwriter William Faulkner, whose work he sordidly ripped off.

My next plan is to sneak into the publisher's that do film books and add backdated entries to verify my all-new, original fantasy productions. Soon, it will become accepted wisdom that Meet the Parents is a remake of the classic Jacques Tati vehicle Je Suis Le Chien Fou and no-one will be able to mention American Pie without a nod of the head towards Peter Bogdanovich's black-and-white original.

Critically, I'm on to a winner. Critics are vain, pretentious types, perpetually in love with the past. They'll favour original films over remakes every time. According to one Hollywood writer, Hitchcock's version of Terminator is 'all-the-more terrifying for rarely showing the robot villain, but rather suggesting his presence through terrific cinematography.' It's easy.

Tim Burton described his version of Planet of the Apes as a 'reimagining' of the original film. It was, of course, terrible. I have been busy 'reimagining' a world in which Mr Burton decided to become a milkman instead of a film director. What a beautiful world it would be, although I doubt my milk would taste as good. Still, a small price to pay.