Sommerleigh Pollonais – Senior Writer
Last time on REDMANGOREVIEWS (cue suspenseful music)…Remakes and Reboots Suck!
Now that everyone’s caught up (or for those who missed out on that list, click here to check it out), I wanted to take a look at the flip side of this coin, because while the words Remake/Reboot causes most people (including moi) to groan out loud, they aren’t ALL bad. In fact, there are those rare instances when a remake actually manages to respect the original content, while adding or expanding on it in a way that makes the movie just as good and, dare I say, sometimes even better than its predecessor.
It’s like what soft serve did for ice cream!
Here are some of my favorites and TOP 5 HORROR REMAKES ACTUALLY WORTH WATCHING:
#5 The Crazies (2010)
If you didn’t know 2010’s The Crazies was a remake, don’t feel too bad, as even some hardcore horror fans never heard of or saw the original 1973 film that was made by none other than horror master himself, George A. Romero. (And if you’re still lost, he’s basically the father of zombie movies, kicking things off with Night of The Living Dead).
The Crazies updated version starred Timothy Olyphant (Justified/Santa Clarita Diet) and Radha Mitchell (Pitch Black/Silent Hill) and like 28 Days Later, uses the zombie trope in a way that feels fresh and entertaining.
The remake is well-acted, well-directed, and has a great sense of tension and dread all the way to an ending that leaves you wanting more. And while it was only a moderate success at the box office, it’s most definitely considered superior to the original by both critics and fans alike.
#4 Suspiria (2018)
I don’t think there’s a single horror fan out there who won’t have Italian director Dario Argento’s 1977 Suspiria on their list, of best horror movies ever made. It’s one of those movies that has held up perfectly due to its unique visual style, its progressive rock soundtrack by band Goblin and its ability to keep your eyes glued to the screen while having nary a story you can follow (it’s all about the visuals folks).
So when director Luca Guadagnino announced his plans for a remake, people thought this was gonna be as big a disaster as the #1 film on my list of Worst Horror Remakes (aha! You thought I let you read this list without checking out that one too. No such luck amigos!) What most people didn’t know was Luca G is a huge fan of the original film. So instead of trying to replicate it like a pair of knock-off Chinese sneakers, he made a movie that holds on to some elements (like the dance school setting and the supernatural themes) and added his own unique style, and a fully-fleshed out mystery you enjoy seeing unfold.
I might lose my hardcore horror fan card for saying this, but as much as I love Argento’s version, 2018’s Suspiria is the movie I prefer.
What can I say, I love a good mystery. Plus Tilda Swinton is amazing in everything.
#3 Child’s Play (2019)
You guys have no idea how much I struggled with this one.
The original Child’s Play holds such a special place of terror in my heart. No boast, but I really don’t scare easily (ask any of my family and friends who have tried and failed to “make me jump”) yet there is something about dolls, specifically ventriloquist-looking dummies, that give me the heebie-jeebies.
When I saw the 1988 version of Child’s Play, I ran home (literally) and demanded my Mom get rid of all my dolls. But as much as Charles Lee Ray gave me nightmares, I really love this remake!
I went to see it with every intention of hating on it. But the more I thought about it (and re-watched it), the more I think Child’s Play 2019 is just as good, and in some cases, even better than the original.
I feel like a traitor typing these words, because I know how much Chucky’s original creator Don Mancini didn’t want this movie made (you guys can Google for more info on what went on behind the scenes) but I can’t pretend that I didn’t think this updated take on Chucky works (AI instead of Possessed by Serial Killer), or that Mark Hamill didn’t do just as great/creepy a job as Brad Dourif. Or that the kid act-okay here’s where I draw the line because Alex Vincent as little Andy Barclay was perfect!
It’s a tie for me with this one guys. Chucky got an upgrade and I ain’t mad at him.
#2 The Fly (1986)
As old as this next movie is, there’s still one older. Yes people, the movie that introduced us to the sex god brought to Earth that is Jeff Goldblum, is a remake of The Fly (1958).
While the original was a commercial success and it’s the movie that made Vincent Price, Vincent Price (that’s a Sesame Street joke only some of you will get) a household name, the version of the story with scientist Seth Brundle who accidentally gives himself fly DNA while trying to invent teleportation is the one 99.9% of movie goers would be familiar with, and for good reason.
David “King of Body Horror” Cronenberg and Academy Award-winning makeup designer Chris Walas (Enemy Mine/Raiders of The Lost Ark/Scanners) took what could’ve easily been a goofy, forgettable tale and made it into nightmare fuel (I legit threw up when I saw this movie for the first time).
As good as the original is, the race wasn’t even close and the 1958 version is left pleading “Help me! Help me!” Sorry old boy, but The Fly 1986 is remake gold.
#1 The Thing (1982)
Did you really think any other remake was gonna be at the top of this list?
If you did, firstly, you have not been reading my horror blog and I’m offended! (Jus’ kiddn’). And secondly I challenge you to come up with a horror movie remake that is superior to the MOST PERFECT HORROR MOVIE EVER MADE!…Sorry…I’ll calm down now.
All jokes aside, John Carpenter’s version of the 1951 movie, The Thing From Another World (which is based on the 1938 novella Who Goes There?) is one of those few movies of this genre that has held up so well it’s nigh impossible to remake it again (although Universal and Blumhouse are about to give it the old college try)…*sigh*
We have practical effects unlike anything that came before, brought to gruesome life by an All Star Team of creators like Rob Bottin (Robocop/Total Recall) Erik Jensen (The Howling) and the man, the myth, the legend, Stan Winston (creator of nearly every awesome special make-up effects you’ve ever seen on screen!)
We have a score composed by Ennio Morricone (I can’t even BEGIN to list this man’s work so check out his Wiki page for details), the perfect isolated location (middle of nowhere Antarctica) which lends perfectly to a story that breeds paranoia. And we have a cast of amazing actors led by Carpenter’s go-to-guy and Star Lord’s Daddy, Kurt Russell.
This movie right here, is the ONE reason I don’t completely hate the idea of remakes, because you never know if one might end up being your favorite movie of all time. Thanks JC. No, not that JC, the one that made this movie you goofballs.
So while the average remake/reboot/retelling is nothing more than a cash grab that plays on your nostalgia, we have to remember, just like us, there are Writers, Directors and Actors out there, who love the original films enough to not only revisit them, but to put their own original stamp on them, making something good (and sometimes even better), than what came before.
…Until of course someone inevitably comes along and makes a remake of the remake. Those people can go take a long walk off a short cliff.
‘Till the next one folks!
For my Top 10 Horror Movies of the Decade you can click here.
Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think eating Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apoclaypse comes. Double Tap Baby!