Remake. Just the very word sends shivers down the spines of many horror fans and feels them with a sense of dread in general. Let’s face it, how many times have you heard that one of your favorite horror films was being remade and you were immediately filled with rage seconds later as a result? It’s happened to me more times that I can remember and my initial reaction every single time I hear that one of my beloved horror films is being remade is that whoever is doing it is going to ruin it.
While this is usually the case most of the time there are still some remakes that really aren’t that bad. Hell, some of them are actually better than the original in some ways if you ask me (though this is a very rare occurrence). At the same time the biggest majority of remakes suck sour frog ass and are made by companies such as Platinum Dunes (aka Satan’s Studio) that don’t know the first thing about the source material and only make remakes for the money (which is odd since most of them bomb at the box office) without any love or respect for the original (which is unforgivable in my opinion). I personally hate remakes but will admit that there are some that are actually awesome. Without further ado I give you my personal list of 5 horror remakes that sucked and 5 that are pretty damn good.
Be warned as there may be spoilers!
Let’s start off taking a look at my picks for the worst remakes:
I always had a bad feeling that Nightmare on Elm Street was going to be remade and my fears became a reality in 2010 when this piece of cinematic garbage hit theaters. Essentially the people responsible for unleashing it on the world (Platinum Dunes, surprise, surprise) took everything that made the original so awesome and groundbreaking and threw them into the trash. Not only was it poorly cast and written but the acting was atrocious to boot. I have always really liked Jackie Earle Haley and though that he did a kick ass job as Rorschach in Watchmen but he sucked out loud as the iconic Freddy Krueger and was a piss poor replacement for Robert Englund (it could have been worse though as Billy Bob Thornton was rumored to be playing the part at one point). Freddy looked more like an alien than anything else and his voice was just downright grating and annoying. The film itself was a boring mess that was all over the place and I am truly amazed that I was able to sit through the entire thing without gnawing my wrists off. Some horror films-especially the classics- just shouldn’t be remade and this is a perfect example.
04 – Prom Night (2008)
I love the original Prom Night and have always thought that it was an underrated gem. When I heard that it was being remade I knew that it was a bad idea and when I saw the ridiculous trailer for it I was certain it was going to be a complete and total turd. I saw it one night on cable several months later and was completely right. It has absolutely NOTHING to do with the original and the premise is just idiotic and horrible in general. The original is about someone taking revenge on a group of friends on prom night due to their connection to the death of a little girl years earlier. The remake is about some psycho teacher stalking a former student that he is obsessed with while she and her friends are attending prom. Not exactly the same thing, huh? The remake doesn’t mirror the original in any shape or form (other than the characters are at prom) and I have no idea why it is even considered to be a remake. I thought that it was boring, silly, and featured one of the lamest killers in the history of horror cinema (seriously folks, Jay Mohr was more intimidating in Cherry Falls, which is really saying something). The original Prom Night is a great slasher flick with an awesome cast and some pretty damn suspenseful scenes. The remake on the other hand is just another forgettable PG-13 “horror” flick aimed at high school kids that should be avoided at all cost.
03 – Sorority Row (2009)
Sigh. This thing is supposed to be a remake of the superior House on Sorority Row from 1983 but fails on every conceivable level. It is basically a rip off of I Know What You Did Last Summer(which is pretty bad in its own right so I am not sure why anyone would want to imitate it) with a bunch of annoying characters that I couldn’t wait to see die. The death scenes are all stupid (and usually involve a female character getting something shoved in her mouth which I can only assume is supposed to be some sort of oral sex metaphor or something) and the killer looks like he picked up the lame outfit that he is wearing at the local Good Will store (and don’t even get me started on the stupid tire tool weapon that he uses from time to time). I always thought that the original kicked all sorts of ass and was creepy in its own way, but the remake is anything but. As a matter of fact much like the remake of Prom Night Sorority Row has pretty much nothing to do with its predecessor aside from the fact that the characters are in a sorority in both films. Avoid unless you enjoy poorly written films loaded with super irritating characters and a killer who turns out to be some pretty boy who couldn’t be intimidating or scary no matter how hard he tried.
02 – The Wicker Man (2006)
Everyone that knows me knows that I detest Nicolas Cage. I think that he is without a doubt one of the worst actors in the world and with the exception of Raising Arizona all of his movies are unwatchable. His performance in The Wicker Man is a perfect example illustrating the fact that this guy just cannot act whatsoever. I really dig the original and had little hope for it once I heard the rumors that it was being remade. After finding out that Cage was involved I knew that it was going to be a real stinker, and as luck would have it I was correct (I watched it against my will one night at a friend’s house that was dying to see it for some unknown reason despite by protests). Now I’m not certain but I’m pretty sure that most film schools across the world most likely show this film to students to let them know what NOT to do when making a film of their own. It is ridiculously bad to the point that it literally gave me a headache while I was watching it and not even making MST3K-like comments at its expense made it any more enjoyable. If you want to see Cage at his worst as he runs around punching women in bear costumes and screaming incoherently about bees then this is the movie for you. If you doubt my claim that this is one of the worst remakes (and movies) ever just go to YouTube and pull up the video that covers all the worst scenes (which make up the majority of the movie) that take place. Avoid at all cost unless you are a glutton for punishment.
I love Charles Kaufman’s (brother of Troma co-founder Lloyd) disturbing 1980 film and think that it is a classic, so you can imagine how unhappy I was when the news broke that Darren Lynn Bousman (of Saw fame) was helming the remake. From what I could tell early on it had nothing to do with the original and I was exactly right. Instead of a tense, creepy film about a trio of women being attacked, brutalized, and held captive by a demented old woman and her two equally twisted sons in an old shack in the middle of the woods we get this extremely idiotic home invasion movie in its place. Not only is Mother’s Day without a doubt the worst horror remake of all time but it is also the worst movie in the history of the motion picture if you ask me (if actually dethroned the likes of The Pelican Brief, Con Air, and Armageddon on my personal list of worst movies of all time, which is a feat in itself). It is a slap in the face not only to Kaufman, but to all the fans that love the original and should have never received the green light to be made in the first place. The writing is horrific, the directing is a joke, the acting is pathetic, and there is not one single likable character anywhere to be found. I don’t know if Rebecca De Mornay (who plays the evil mother) was just that desperate for work or had a car payment she needed to make when she signed on to appear in this turd but she should be ashamed of herself for doing so (as should everyone else who had anything to do with it). Absolute trash that makes watching paint dry or grass grow seem more interesting. If you are ever approached by someone to watch it just run away as fast as you can as it is your only hope (unless you enjoy poorly written films loaded with obnoxious, annoying characters and an ending so silly that it is almost painful).
Now that we’ve gotten through that (are you guys still with me?) let’s take a look at my picks for the 5 best horror remakes:
5. My Bloody Valentine
Being a huge fan of the original I was more than a little nervous when I found out that My Bloody Valentine was going to be remade. However I felt a little better about things once it was announced that Todd Farmer was handling the writing duties as I thought he did a bang up job on Jason X. Still, I wasn’t convinced that it was going to be anything special and skipped seeing it when it was initially released until several friends told me that it was awesome. I finally gave in and watched it when it on DVD one night and ended up really digging it. It is violent as hell and has some very kick ass death scenes (the one with Tom Atkins takes the cake) and is just a fun movie in general. I enjoyed it even though Farmer mixed some things up and made some changes from the original, but I appreciated the fact that he kept essentially the same characters and premise intact for the most part. It has an awesome 80’s slasher flick feel to it (which is should have) and even though I think that the original is superior the remake isn’t too shabby by any stretch of the imagination. I think one of the things that made it work was the fact that Farmer has respect for the original and did a great job of at least acknowledging it existed, something that is pretty rare when it comes to most horror remakes.
I’m not going to lie, the 1971 classic scared the living piss out of me (and my mom, who had years of nightmares after she saw it) when I was a kid and I loved every minute of it. I thought that it was a bad idea to remake it as I was sure it was going to suck out loud until I found out that Crispin Glover was set to play the title character. I have always been a huge Glover fan and thought that he would be perfect for the role thanks to his overall weirdness and general creepiness. To my delight he knocked it out of the park with his performance and did just as good a job (if maybe not even a little better) that the great Bruce Davison did back in the day when he was cast in the same role. I thought that the movie was pretty damn awesome and aside from the scene where the cat is killed (which is totally unnecessary and pointless if you ask me) I really dug it. A few changes were made (especially the ending) from the original but I thought that they worked. If you haven’t seen this movie then I suggest you go check it out as soon as you can (along with the original if you haven’t seen it too), especially if you are like me and have a phobia of rats (which I think was caused by watching the original, Deadly Eyes, and Of Unknown Origin).
3 Dawn of the Dead
I know that what I am about to say isn’t going to be popular and that it may result in our office being hit with a ton of angry emails but I have to admit that I have never been much of a fan of Romero’s zombie movies. I have always been bored to tears by them and as such I think that the remake of Dawn of the Dead is superior to the original in many ways. I was lucky enough to see it at a Midnight showing when it first came out and I had a blast (the other audience members did as well as they were really into it). I think that the first ten minutes or so rule and the cast is just awesome. I know that some people hate the running zombies (like the ones that appear in this movie) but I have always preferred them over the slow, lumbering ones that move like they have starch in their underwear as I think that they are just more intimidating in general. This movie is action-packed and in addition to there never being a dull moment you have no idea which character is going to live and which ones are going to die as none of them are ever really safe and could become zombie chow at any given moment. I thought that this film was kick ass on every conceivable level and I love the ending (if you are expecting a happy ending then you are in the wrong place). Dawn of the Dead is definitely on my list of top 25 favorite movies of all time.
2. The Thing
What can I say about this excellent film that hasn’t already been said a thousand times before? It is a modern masterpiece and is one of those films I could watch a million times and never get bored with. The Thing has everything necessary to make a great horror film. We get John Carpenter’s flawless directing, an excellent cast, an awesome, creepy premise and an ominous tone that conveys just the right amounts of hopelessness and helplessness. Best of all though are the kick ass special effects (which were done by the scary talented Rob Bottin) that look better than any crappy CGI effects that take place in most modern films. This movie is entertaining, scary, and just loads of fun to watch. While the original is pretty damn good in its own way Carpenter’s vision completely blows it away on every level. Without a doubt one of the greatest remakes-and films in general-of all time.
1. The Blob
The summer before I started high school I saw the trailer for the remake of The Blob when I went to see Short Circuit 2 (don’t judge!) at the theater during a family vacation in Florida and it scared the shit out of me (the bit where the guy gets sucked head first down the drain of a kitchen sink really freaked me out). I had seen the original when I was a little kid and it didn’t faze me because it was so damn cheesy, but the remake bothered me because it was so hardcore violent (to the point I have no idea how they managed to get an R rating from the MPAA). We get so many awesome and brutal death scenes I don’t even know where to begin. In addition to being loaded with scenes of people being melted the movie itself is just a fun ride and I always have a great time with it whenever I watch it (which is usually at least once a year). I love the premise as well as the title creature (who is really pissed off this time around) and dug the subtle changes that they made from the original that made things a little more modern (such as the Blob’s origin). Unlike the original it isn’t cheesy or hokey in the least and while some people may argue that it is a little dated I think that it holds up pretty damn well. I keep hearing rumors that yet another remake is going to take place soon and I dread to even think about it as I am sure that the Blob itself is going to be a shitty looking CGI mess. I love this movie with all my heart and think that it is one of the most underrated horror movies ever. If you haven’t seen it you need to do so as soon as possible. You can thank me later.
There you have it folks, my list of the top 5 horror movie remakes that ruled and 5 that sucked. Please feel to agree or disagree (or share your picks), I love hearing your feedback!