Cannes 2013: Cut-Throats Nine Remake

Keitel & Mikkelsen head west

In development since at least 2009, the remake of the obscure cult Spanish western Cut-Throats Nine finally looks set to go ahead, following an international deal struck by Canadian "genre distributor" Raven Banner Entertainment. Harvey Keitel, Mads Mikkelsen and Jordi Molla have been attached for years, with Kris Holden-Ried (Underworld: Awakening) and Julian Richings (Cube) just joining. Rodrigo Gudino (The Last Will And Testament Of Rosalind Leigh, which also featured Richings) is the director.

If you haven't had the considerable pleasure, the original Cut-Throats Nine involves a lone cavalry sergeant escorting the titular chain gang across hostile territory, trying to keep his daughter safe from his murderous charges and identify which of them killed his wife. There's also the small matter of the actual chain binding the prisoners, which is a camoflauged horde of gold, and the real reason for making the journey. Things don't go so well when the Nine realise they're actually completely superfluous to the trip and therefore expendable.

It's a peculiarly bleak and brutal film, with jarring gore setpieces more familiar from the horror genre than the western: its IMDb keywords are, amusingly, "Prisoner / Disembowelment / Cruelty / Splatter / Shot in the head / Shot in the eye / Burned alive / Throat slitting..." and so on. The slice of scurrilous explotation was released in 1972, directed by Joaquin Romero Marchent, who also made Seven Hours Of Gunfire and I Do Not Forgive... I Kill!.

The cut-throats are more the film's focus than the soldier, so we'd suspect that Keitel, Mikkelsen and Molla are all part of the chain-gang rather than the cavalry, although there's no confirmation of anyone's role thus far. Reflecting the film's bloody vibe, though, Gudino is the founding editor of Canadian horror bible Rue Morgue, and the Cut-Throats Nine remake comes courtesy of the magazine empire's offshoot Rue Morgue Entertainment. Moves into actual film production seem to be becoming a trend in the horror press at the moment: Fangoria and Bloody Disgusting have recently made similar inroads. Perhaps we should follow their lead?

All involved will be gunning for further deals at Cannes over the next few days, and everything being well, shooting will finally start on the film in the early part of 2014.