What Happened to Tobe Hooper’s White Zombie?

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The remake of the film starring Bela Lugosi

About a year ago, this site broke the news that Tobe Hooper was developing a remake of the 1932 film White Zombie, starring Bela Lugosi.

During my conversation with Hooper recently, as we looked back at the making of The Funhouse, I questioned him about the status of the redo. He lamented the project’s demise. A case of it not coming together due to “rights issues.”

“It was really heartbreaking,” admits screenwriter Jared Rivet, the man behind-the-scenes with Hooper during White Zombie‘s development. “The movie is clearly public domain, but there were question marks about uncredited source material. Tobe and I had been working with [producers] Mike Menchel and Steve Whitney to get that made for two years. I wrote the script on spec working really closely with Tobe in 2007 and we kept doing revisions and making tweaks to it off-and-on over the next two years while we were also trying to get other projects off the ground.”

So, what did we miss out on? “It was going to be a very wild take on the original. We followed the same plot – for the most part – but cranked everything up. A lot of the stuff that was only hinted at or implied in the Lugosi movie, we were going to show and take to extremes. The violence, the sex, the weirdness. And working on it with Tobe was an absolute pleasure, an experience I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world. Considering how twisted and insane our script was, it was kind of surprising that we got as far as we did with it – and we honestly came really damn close to getting it made. And it’s unfortunately not even the first time I’ve been involved with a remake project that ended up going in the toilet because of rights issues the producers didn’t see coming or couldn’t have planned on.”

Rivet also worked on a screenplay for Dead Daughters, a remake of the Russian film, that was in development at Gold Circle Films. Hooper, presently, is circling a few potential films which we’ll hopefully hear about in the near future.

Source: Ryan Turek, Managing Editor