Lifetime's remake of the classic afterschool special Mother, May I Sleep With Danger? was only vaguely similar to the original 1996 movie that starred Tori Spelling as Laurel, a college student who slowly learns that her controlling boyfriend is actually an escaped murderer.
James Franco's version of the film added lesbian vampires, a production of Shakespeare's Macbeth—yes, Shakespeare played a big role in this cinematic classic—and a discussion of gender and sexuality politics as told through vampires in literature. So many layers!
But strip away the supernatural elements and pseudo-intellectual discussion and you're left with a TV event that did pay tribute to the original version. Here's how:
The Opening Montage
While MMISWD: Original Version opened with fresh-faced high schoolers jumping out of a jeep after school while happy ‘90s female singer-songwriter pop played, MMISWD: Francofied replaced the Jeep with a vintage convertible, the high schoolers with a Craft-esque girl gang of lesbian vampires, and the singer-songwriter pop with sexy goth music.
The Main Players
Spelling returned for the remake, but instead of playing the victim who eventually got hip to her boyfriend's evil ways, she played the clueless mother. Ivan Sergei, who played the original abusive boyfriend, instead played a college lit professor entertaining his class with a discussion about vampires and sexuality (and Dracula as a queer metaphor, too).
The Doomed Romance
Though the romances in both movies involved three parties, the remake version was flipped on its head. In 1996's original, it was Spelling's boyfriend who was evil and her dopey classmate with a crush who ended up helping to save her life. But in the new version, it's Leah's (Leila George) girlfriend, lesbian vampire Pearl (Emily Meade) who's the good guy and dopey classmate with a crush who becomes the villain when he tries to date rape her and kills her mother after being turned into a vampire.
The Twist Ending
In the original movie, Spelling's character ignores the most basic of horror tropes: nobody's dead unless you see them die on screen. In the final moments, we see Sergei's bad guy at it again, with a new persona and a new girl. In the remake, dopey classmate (now a vampire) bands together with Pearl's former vampire girlfriends to prey on more unsuspecting college students. They look really gnarly after a graveyard battle with Leah and Pearl, though. (Those crazy kids are presumably busy living happily ever after as vampires together.)
What did you think of Mother, May I Sleep With Danger? Better or worse than the original? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!