Horror movies derive most of their power and enjoyment (you sicko) from a combination of novelty and surprise.The novelty: how the filmmakers will have this particular bad guy stalk and kill the good guys. The surprise: OHMYGODLOOKOUTBEHINDYOUDREWBARRYMORE!
Nevertheless, because horror movies are eternally popular, Hollywood remakes the biggest ones, as they would any genre of film. However, horror movies also boast extremely devoted and defensive cult bases, so time will tell if this weekend’s Evil Dead reboot is as good as Sam Raimi’s original 1981 classic, despite Sam Raimi’s seal of approval and active involvement. Here then are 10 more notable horror remakes.
Friday the 13th (2009)
There was once a rumor that they were going to eventually make 13 Friday the 13th movies. But after sending camp drowning victim/supernatural hockey mask-wearing murderer Jason Vorhees to space, hell, and Freddy Krueger, the franchise ran out of steam at 11 movies. So in 2009 they rebooted the franchise by remaking the original 1980 film, set at the proven horror setting of a summer camp full of libidinous teens getting brutally murdered.
The Wolfman (2010)
This one was delayed for years, and it’s tricky to remake those classic Universal monster movies. Lon Chaney is an icon, and Beneicio Del Toro is a good choice to replace him, because he’s already a wolfman.
Village of the Damned (1995)
Yes, it’s a remake of the 1960 horror standard, but it’s directed by Halloween horrorsmith John Carpenter, so it’s arguably better. Also, the spooky little Aryan kids make the adults do way, way more violent stuff than they could get away with onscreen in 1960. Village of the Damned is most notable for its super-famous, post-peak-popularity cast, such as Kirstie Alley, Mark Hamil, Linda Kozlowski, and Christopher Reeve in his final starring role before that paralyzing horse accident.
The Last House on the Left (2009)
The original from 1972: horror icon Wes Craven’s first film, and basically porn made of violence. The remake: also deeply uncomfortable, but better than it had any right to be due to the casting of Garret Dillahunt, the marvelous character actor from Winter’s Bone and Deadwood.
Dawn of the Dead (2004)
George Romero’s ‘70s zombie movie was fraught with heavy-handed satire (the zombies are descending on a mall because consumerism is zombielike HAHAHAHA). The remake is more akin to a season of The Walking Dead, playing up the claustrophobic terror of being in a see-through prison. And it’s got the dad from Modern Family convincingly playing a badass.
Little Shop of Horrors (1986)
Definitely an improvement on the original, a quickie, only slightly funny B-movie shot for about $85 by Roger Corman. The Frank Oz-directed remake is a film version of the stage musical based on the first movie, and it’s got a soul-singing cannibalistic plant, cameos from Christopher Guest and Bill Murray, and Steve Martin as Elvis-as-sadistic-dentist.
The Good Son (1993)
In the early ‘90s, Macauley Culkin starred in every movie that came out. The studios had to occasionally throw him a bone for starring in family-friendly garbage by allowing him to play occasionally against type, such as a sadistic wee sociopath in The Good Son, a gender-switched unofficial remake of The Bad Seed.
The Omen (2006)
The 1977 version was a legitimately good movie if still a horror movie, a classy joint with real actors (like Gregory Peck), in the vein of The Exorcist. The remake, I would venture to guess, was only made so they could release it on Satan’s birthday, which was 06/06/06.
The Shining (1997)
In 1980, Stanley Kubrick directed the psychologically terrorizing and also bloody screen adaptation of Stephen King’s The Shining. King never much liked the movie, even though literally everybody else on earth did, so in 1997 he authorized, oversaw, and wrote the script for another version of The Shining, which aired on ABC television. It starred Steven Weber, the guy from Wings. Because what do Kubrick and Jack Nicholson know about filmmaking? Not as much as the guy from Wings.
The Wicker Man (2006)
When remaking a movie, you have to update certain staid and stale references so everything makes sense. You know, for the kids. So when they remade the creepy 1973 horror movie The Wicker Man, they added on to the burning wicker man, the island’s method of ritualistic human sacrifice to ensure a harvest, with a face-cage of bees. Beeeeeeeeeees.