Tuesday, December 16th 2014
Why did the remake start off with the Freelings than switch to the Bowens?
A little news on the remake. One of screenwriter David Lindsay-Abaire's earlier drafts of the script was a more literal remake of the 1982 film: it featured all the members of the Freeling family (Steve, Diane, Dana, Robbie and Carol Anne) along with Dr. Lesh (though her first name was changed from "Martha" to "Brooke"). It also took place in Cuesta Verde. However, eight months later Lindsay-Abaire delivered a revised draft that changed the names of all the family members (the Freelings became the Bowens: Eric, Amy, Kendra, Griffin, and Madison, with Dr. "Brooke Lesh" changed to "Dr. Brooke Powell" (according to the IMDB, her first name apparently changed again by the time of shooting: "Claire"). And in this later draft, Cuesta Verde became "Willow Point."
Why change the names? Did the original character names seem too "old" for the modern era? Or was the change made for legal reasons? It is interesting to note that Warner Brothers now owns the original film (at least the home video distribution and broadcast of it), while MGM retains ownership of the two sequels (and is doing the remake in conjunction with Fox 2000 Pictures/Ghost House Pictures).
Here's a "Variety" ad from Monday May 11, 1981 announcing the first day of filming.
Found it at this Ebay auction.
Deleted Scene featuring Beatrice Straight and a never before seen character!
from the St. Mark Collection
Above is a deleted scene featuring Dr. Lesh (Beatrice Straight) and her mentor at the University, Dr. Anthony Farrow. Farrow was portrayed by the late veteran actor Edward Ashley, star of many classic Hollywood films including 1940's "Pride and Prejudice" (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0039049/). This scene featured the two characters discussing the video tapes Lesh's team filmed at the Freeling house, and Farrow's suggestion that Lesh bring in "her big guns" to help (Tangina). It also featured a bit of foreshadowing as Ashley notices something interesting that materialized with the pile of jewelry that fell from the "bilocation" point in the ceiling. While sadly this scene was cut from the film, it was featured in the novelization by James Kahn.
As to whether footage from this scene still exists, the answer is.....YES.