Five Horror Film Remakes That Are Actually Good
It’s true, I would very much like to make this list a top ten but I am hard-pressed to think of ten horror (or otherwise) film remakes that don’t suck. I realize some remakes suck more than others and even a handful are okay (… at best) but, at the end of the day, when we’re dealing with good, well-crafted, high quality remakes it seems they’re rare diamonds amidst an expansive, horizonless rough. There are five, however, that I think are of utmost quality and I’ve done my best to detail why below. Feedback, as always, is encouraged and welcome!
The Fly (1986)
David Cronenberg generally does things quite right and his 80s take on The Fly starring Vincent Price from 1958 is thoroughly spot-on. Cronenberg modernized a woeful tale of the dangers of science and applied to it today’s generally more ambitious, narcissistic society with stunning results. Not only does The Fly feel like a Cronenberg film through-and-through it doesn’t even feel like a remake per se making it one of the best of the best. The ending, in classic Cronenberg tradition, is lovingly crushing and emotionally jarring and is amongst his best.
Invasion Of The Body Snatchers (1978)
Invasion Of The Body Snatchers has some pretty heavy sci-fi leanings to it (very much like another film on this list) but the horrific elements stand on their own two feet well enough to make it valid for this rather short list. While the 1978 version is certainly more visceral than the 1956 original the plot and atmosphere are both groomed to fit the original’s standards while living up to the remake’s aspirations making Invasion Of The Body Snatchers a true success. This is often considered to be one of the best remakes around and I’m in no position to argue!
Night Of The Living Dead (1990)
Tom Savini is a well-known name to horror fans and the one full-length film he directed that anyone cares about (after all, have you seen Chill Factor: House Call? … I didn’t think so), Night Of The Living Dead, is one of those shameless remakes that wears its original inspiration on its sleeve proudly. One of the major problems I have with remake films is that they generally have a certain audacity about them that often makes it seem like the remake is somehow trying to trump the original and this sort of perspective is, needless to say, disastrous – some Hollywood-hired director isn’t going to be able to top directors like De Palma or Castle so, really, why even bother? We all know why they bother, of course (here’s a hint: it starts with an “m” and ends with a “y”) but, again, the results are almost universally appalling. Anyway, with Savini’s take on Romero’s masterpiece we’re given a film that simply tries to pay tribute to its original source material respectfully and sincerely and this is earnestly achieved ten times over. Sure, the 1990 picture isn’t anywhere close to being as masterful as Romero’s original milestone but those familiar with the 1968 original will certainly have a blast watching Savini’s undead-laden bloodbath.
Nosferatu: The Vampyre
Werner Herzog is not known for being a horror director and with good reason because, well, he isn’t – nevertheless, he’s an exceptional director and is perhaps one of the most talented alive today. His take on Murnau’s legendary Nosferatu from 1922 is a truly breathtaking cinematic experience that is easily one of the most profound I’ve had. From the cinematography to the sets to the acting we are delivered a film that is supreme on all levels and then some. Like the Night Of The Living Dead remake, Herzog was clearly not looking to modernize or thwart the original’s legacy but, instead, to pay tribute to it and, believe me, if there was ever a success to be had from such a perspective this is a it. A masterpiece!
The Thing (1982)
Although John Carpenter’s The Thing could be considered in part a sci-fi picture I feel that the horror elements are more than abundant to make this a qualifiable movie for the list. Based off of the 1951 film The Thing From Another World and the literary work that inspired it – Who Goes There? by John Campbell – Carpenter took all of the buildings blocks from said film and built something truly intense, horrific and pessimistic with his unique take on a threatening, form-changing alien entity from the deep, dark reaches of the cosmos. The Thing is universally applauded by horror fans and for good reason! If you haven’t seen this one do so like your life and future depended on it because, who knows, our world could be next …