MONTREAL — Bob Clark, Canada’s most famous filmmaker who is not actually a full-fledged Canuck, is having a good year. And that’s despite the fact that Clark’s most successful film, “Porky’s,” was nudged aside in the Canadian record books this year.
Clark is an American but he lived in Canada from 1971 to the early ’80s, and that’s where he made his best-known pics, including low-budget horror cult faves “Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things,” “Deathdream” and “Black Christmas” and horn-dog laffer “Porky’s.”
And a remake of Clark’s “Black Christmas,” the 1974 sorority-house murder tale that’s often described as the pic that set the stage for later slasher pics like “Friday the 13th,” is coming from Dimension on Dec. 25, written and directed by Glen Morgan.
All this remake action comes after years when Clark kept busy working well below the Hollywood radar.
“Porky’s,” a low-brow sex comedy from 1982 that’s a source of embarrassment to most Canadian film historians, still remains far and away the top-grossing Canuck film ever, with global ticket sales of $250 million. But “Porky’s” can no longer lay claim to the title of Canada’s top-grossing homegrown film anymore. That honor now goes to the bilingual action-comedy “Bon Cop, Bad Cop,” which earlier this year passed “Porky’s” record $10 million box office take in the Great White North.
“Records are made to be broken,” Clark said recently by phone from Toronto, where he was attending a screening of “Porky’s” tied to the release in Canada by Maple Pictures of a box set containing the three “Porky’s” movies. (Clark directed the first two.) “We’ve held the record long enough.”
Clark is more focused on the upcoming remakes of his earlier pics.
Howard Stern is overseeing the remake of “Porky’s,” which will be called “Howard Stern’s Porky’s,” and Clark thinks the shock jock is the perfect man for the job “because he is so much a part of the rebellion/sexual freedom idea.”
Many in the Canadian film biz cringe at the thought that “Porky’s” — a pic about a bunch of horny teenagers in South Florida looking to get their rocks off any way they can — is the country’s most successful film. But Clark refuses to make any apologies for the pic.
“‘Porky’s’ was about anti-Semitism, about racism, it’s not just about boys with erections,” claims Clark. He then adds, pun intended, “It was a seminal film.”
Clark — who splits his time between homes in Los Angeles, Vancouver Island and Toronto — will helm the new version of “Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things,” which likely will shoot in the spring in Vancouver. It is a Canadian-British co-production.
The remake of “Deathdream,” an anti-Vietnam War horror pic, likely will shoot next year as well.
Clark says his horror films are being brought back to life 30 years later simply because “there’s a trend to remake horror movies and they’ve done pretty well (at the box office).”