The horror remakes- a debate that has long plagued the horror community causing more internet fights in the past twenty years than the 80-year-old Boston Red Sox and Yankee fan debacle. If you’re a member of the horror community, you know exactly what I speak of.
This is also the only time I’m probably ever going to talk about Rob Zombie’s Halloween – so you can possibly guess where this is going and the answer is yes, I’m fully prepared for the Zombie fans to come at me.
Actually, I’m about as threatening as a teacup chihuahua with three teeth, so be gentle.
Anywho, my personal take: I rather enjoy the bulk of remakes. Ironically, as much as I cuddle nostalgia, I fear the fuzzy feels of such damage any new take on a beloved horror classic may get in the way of giving a tried and true GOOD reboot a chance. Sometimes, the remake/reboot surpasses the original; while others fall so flat, it can makes us absolutely PISSED that a movie studio butchered a horror tale/icon into a steaming pile of shit. In any regard, the classics are always there by our side, like a faithful friend in times of sadness, rage, and happiness. So, are emotions appropriate when a remake just flat out sucks? I think so. We as fans are what drive this genre and we can make or break the industry. It’s entertainment and while I wholly appreciate an artist’s perspective and their visions to do as they please with a creator’s consent, you better be prepared to answer to a legion of fans that put said property on a pedestal- much like an old friend.
That being said, let’s first get into five horror remakes that are so joyous and beautiful, even the original can barely hold a flame to them.
The Thing (1982)
I think it definitely goes without saying John Carpenter’s vision of The Thing is so mind-blowing, that when horror fans speak of it, they talk about this version 99% of the time.
The reimagining of the 1951 sci-fi classic The Thing That Came From Another World, directed by Christian Nyby was part of the alien and science-fiction film phenomena that plagued the 1950s’; and it’s truly hard to believe that the reboot made 30 years later, was beat down into “elitist critic” oblivion by a bunch of newspaper cinematic snobs. YEAH I SAID IT. However, the horror fans have the final say and have made this movie, and rightfully so, as a top tier horror classic surpassing the original in the past almost 40 years and a film that serves as a rite of passage into the horror genre world. Carpenter’s tension driving alien “who dun it” and “who is it” theme along with state of the art masterful effects, and hey an adorable bearded Kurt Russell, is the perfect if not THEE example of how to remake a horror film the right way.
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The Fly (1986)
Much like with Carpenter and The Thing, David Cronenberg delivered a horror movie staple with his body-horror reboot masterpiece, The Fly. Again, with stellar performances from both Jeff Goldblum and Geena Davis, Cronenberg and Goldblum managed to elevate this weird science fiction catastrophe into a full-blown horror story of love, desperation, gore, and tragedy- the type that earns Oscars people.
The Fly originally released in 1958 by 20th Century Fox starring Vincent Price, is surely not forgettable by any means and is a classic in its own right. However, Cronenberg’s nightmare scenario that unfold son screen in his vision of the cautionary tale is not just one of the greatest remakes, but one of the greatest horror movies, ever. PERIOD.
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The Blob (1988)
Masterminds of horror Chuck Russell and Frank Darabont collaborated to bring this nightmarish Jell-O commercial to life; and we haven’t been the same since.
The Blob of 1988 largely shares the same plot as it’s counterpart released 30 years earlier. But thanks to the relaxation of film censorship and advances in practical effect, ol’ Blobby now has the ability to dissolve faces and hide inside bodies, while forming tentacles to grab it’s victims and turn their limbs into blood soup. The original 1958 film starring Steve McQueen, although considered a classic, stands nowhere near Kevin Dillon and his magical mullet made exactly 30 years later. Russell’s film is superior in every way imaginable, and in my opinion, one of the finest horror movies to watch.
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House Of Wax (2005)
2005’s House of Wax is one of those rare remakes of a remake that takes hints and cues from another movie that has zero to do with the wax films altogether- and nails the fuck out of it.
Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra, the 2005 version is loosely based off of the 1953 movie starring Vincent Price- which is a gem in itself by the way but doesn’t really follow the same formula of plotlines other than murdering people and turning them into wax figures. The 1953 film is based off 1933’s Mystery of the Wax Museum, starring King Kong‘s Fay Wray and is closely related in the storylines. Now, 2005’s House of Wax takes all these elements and THEN some from 1979’s Tourist Trap and we have a pretty good and goddamn horrifying horror movie. In the case of Tourist Trap, it feels so painfully obvious with a ton of similarities between the two flicks; watch them back to back and you’ll see what I mean.
House of Wax 2005, has gotten a lot of underserved shit over the years and I’m not so sure I understand why. The film is grotesquely executed in such a way where the films before it, were yes, skivvies inducing given the subject matter, but they look like Barney and Friends in comparison. I hate to say that about a Vincent Price movie that I actually love to death, but it is true. Plus we get to see Paris Hilton get a rod shoved through her skull. Who wouldn’t enjoy that?
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Dawn Of The Dead (2004)
George Romero’s 1978 classic Dawn of the Dead didn’t need a remake. In fact, I would consider the whole trilogy untouchable. Yet here we are with the collaboration of James Gunn and Zack Snyder and they pulled it off beautifully. Not bad for a pair of comic book move guys; but hey stranger things have happened like cough, David Gordan Green and Danny McBride rebooting Halloween.
Snyder’s Dead is great in the sense that it respected the original and then made it relevant to audiences of the time. The horror and dread of being trapped in a mall during a zombie apocalypse embedded into the mind of a whole new generation along with some gruesome kills, without a doubt this remake commands our respect. Let us not forget a zombie gave birth to a zombie baby as well in this version; a scene I so happened to watch in theaters while I was eight months pregnant. And the answer is YES, I was fuckin’ horrified. Thanks Snyder for almost putting me into early induced labor.
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Now… The Remakes that make me want to vomit.
Keep in mind, this is purely my own opinion, much like every other wanker blogging on the interwebs. But, seeing as how I have a platform here, I’m gonna go ahead and give my unsolicited ramblings on these remakes that are just pure SHIT.
A Nightmare On Elm Street (2010)
UGH. This has to be on the tip top of my list for not only the worst remake, but WORST horror movie EVER. I realize that’s a bit dramatic given that there truly are worse films out there. However, the fact they turned my Nancy into a sniveling coward, is unforgivable.
The character of Nancy Thompson that Wes Craven gave us is one that many fans, women especially, look towards as a very strong, and inspiring female presence in the genre. It was just extremely disappointing to see her so frail. I understand the trauma of sexual abuse could paralyze someone, but as with the original Krueger franchise, it was very merely hinted at; not a full blown storyline which is what I really believe absolutely ruined this remake. Sometimes things are best left unsaid and turning a beloved horror icon into an in-your-face CHIMO, was probably the worst idea ever.
Halloween II (2009)
I’m a fair horror fan- Zombie’s 2007 reimagining of Halloween wasn’t perfect by any means- but it didn’t suck so bad I walked out of the theater like it’s sequel. Yeah, that happened.
Halloween 2007 has it’s own problems for sure, but it doesn’t hold a candle to this hot mess. Let’s get this straight buster, Myers is NOT Voorhees. Can we drop the whole mommy issues bullshit, please? I don’t want to have sympathy for Michael Myers, which was thrown in my face enough in the first installment. He’s a killing machine that Loomis said best, “purely and simply evil…” and THAT’S it! We don’t need white horses, “living dead girl” mommy, and Laurie Strode acting like a trashy hoe. It’s Zombie though, all his characters are the same. BOY, I CAN’T WAIT FOR WHITE TRASH LILY MUNSTER- said no one ever.
Oh look. A shot for shot remake of one of the greatest and innovative horror films of the twentieth century. We didn’t need this, thanks.
As far as remakes go, I can understand retooling a film to make it more modern for audiences to get behind. But, with the 1998 remake of the Hitchcock classic, it nothing more than a huge waste of everyone’s time. As much as I adore Vince Vaughn and he can actually play creepy well, when you pick a film to redo like this, you’ve already set yourself up for failure. Plus Anne Heche is NO Janet Leigh and is just so unlikeable; so we don’t even feel flinch when she gets the shower treatment. It’s like, great now fuck off into the sun already with your annoying ass.
Never remake Psycho. EVER.
The Omen (2006)
How do you make a movie about the son of Satan and make it boring? Well, here we are at another almost, shot for shot remake that doesn’t have the spark or tension drive as the original.
I feel for Liev Schreiber. He’s an AMAZING actor and he carried this movie the best he could. Alas, a badly written script on a great film isn’t enough to keep anyone entertained. Also, it doesn’t help when the kid playing Damien already kind of looks like he will rip your limbs off with his eyes alone. What made The Omen so great, was the fact Damien didn’t look like the Antichrist we would expect, and a lot of the story centered around mom and dad possibly just losing their damn minds. But hey, I suppose the promo for releasing an Omen movie on 06/06/2006 was good enough to reel people in, eh?
Oh boy. This was just a shit show of epic proportions. Carrie was the first film adapted by Stephen King back in 1976 and he’s stated many times it’s the book and later movie that gave King his big jump in his career. That’s a lot of pressure for anyone if you’re going to remake this horror tale and you better get it right. They of course, did not.
Carrie is the type of story that can do well with a reimagining, however it needs to stay solely in the 70s’ and keep that energy and timeline, or modernize and do it right. This version doesn’t stray very far from the original, except it’s modernized in a very unpalatable way. It adds nothing exciting and even Julianne Moore is so obviously trying to channel Piper Laurie into her performance; so much so it’s comedic and nothing more. Also, Chloë Grace Moretz is a great actress, but her take on the role Sissy Spacek made iconic, falls so flat that you don’t even care about her character-which is the biggest fail in this movie. The sympathetic circumstances that surround Carrie’s life make the story what it is. Horrifying, tragic, and remorseful. We just don’t give a shit here. Hell, The Rage: Carrie 2 was 100 times better than this. Actually I don’t have anything bad at all to say about that sequel. I rather enjoy it. As a matter of fact, go pick it up or stream it if you’ve never watched that. You’ll thank me later.
Well, that about sums it up as far as the good, the bad, and the real ugly horror remakes in my humble opinion. Let’s discuss down below your thoughts. Do you agree with my picks? Am I an asshole shitting on a movie you love? Eh, either way it’ll make for good conversation. Drop a comment below and let’s talk about our favorite, and not so favorite horror remakes!