Horror film remakes always get a bad wrap.
But should that always be the case?
It’s not like remaking horror films, is even a new thing. Film makers were doing it, as far back as the 80’s.
So let’s examine a little deeper.
In a recent, ‘Original v Remake Battle’ poll, we did on Twitter, the votes cast were nearly all in favour, of the original films in the most part.
But some were quite close, as the remakes weren’t entirely that bad.
The poll was done, on 10 films overall, and here in part 1, we will look at the first 5 that featured. I tried to pick films, where the remake wasn’t an outright disappointment.
For example, the 2010 Nightmare On Elm Street remake.
Do all horror film remakes really deserve the ‘Naughty Kid In The Corner’ kind of reputation that they’re getting? Here are the results.
Here, we have two films, which are classics in their own right. The 1986 version, with the use of superb practical effects, and advances in technology, allowed the film to become more relevant in its time. In 1958, Vincent Price starred in the original version of ‘The Fly’. It’s a classic in the sense that film is pure, 1950’s Sci-Fi, and really speaks of it’s time. In 1986, renowned director, David Cronenberg, cast Jeff Goldblum, who was delightfully dark and completely superb, in the role of Seth ‘The Fly’ Brundle. His transformation is hard to watch at times. And the end of the film descends into a world of violence and chaos, in this dark and at times, gory and brutal reimagining. Making this a true, timeless, classic of the Sci-Fi/Horror genre.
Again, we have two films which in my opinion, are both superb. 1977, would see the directorial, master of suspense, John Carpenter, write and direct the film, Haloween. He would cast Jamie-Lee Curtis in the lead role, as the character Laurie Strode. Together, they made this suburban slasher, a timeless masterpiece, and a template for all future slasher movies to work from. Halloween, would also be the start of a long running franchise that spawned numerous sequels. 30 years later, In 2007, ‘Shock-Rocker’ Rob Zombie, brought us his dark, and twisted reimagining, of the 1977 classic. Scout Taylor-Compton, played the part of Laurie Strode and Malcolm MacDowell, stars as Dr. Samuel Loomis. The talented, gorgeous Scream queen, and Hatchet actress, Danielle Harris also features, alongside ‘House of 1000 Corpses’ and ‘Devils Rejects’ star, Sheri-Moon Zombie, who also happens to be Rob Zombies wife. Given the success, and popularity of Zombies reimagining , the above mentioned, were to return for a sequel, simply titled H2.
It has to be said, that this is probably the worst comparison of the bunch. 1959, would see the Horror maestro, of the ‘golden age’ of horror, Vincent Price, star as Frederick Loren, a man of wealth, who offers a group of people $10,000 each, if they come to the ‘House On Haunted Hill’ and spend the night. The sum would be paid, If they survive the night. A truly inspired performance by Price, really shows why this film has stood the test of time so well. 40 years later in 1999, a re-imagining of the classic was to be released starring Geoffrey Rush, and Famke Janssen. Rush plays the part of Stephen Price (How fitting). This time, the group of people invited to the spooky house, are each offered the princely sum of $1 million dollars, of they survive the night, and the ghostly figure of the evil Dr. Richard Vannicut. It has lots of blood and gore in the right places, and some genuinely frightening moments, but not enough. My main problem with this film, is that, a lot of the stuff that happens in the film, seems shoved in, for no apparent reason, and doesn’t offer anything to the story. For example, the roller coaster scene. It was to receive mostly negative reviews.
In 1980, fresh off the back of making the Sexploitation/Revenge Horror, Last House On The Left, with horror master Wes Craven… Sean S. Cunningham used his profits earned, to make Friday the 13th. ‘Camp Crystal Lake’, is setting in this story of slaughter. A mother is out to avenge the death of her son, Jason Voorhees. Councillors are picked off by crazed killer played by Betsy Palmer until she finally meets her match and a grim fate at that. The film would be followed by 10 sequels, if you include Freddy vs Jason. It is not until part 3 (the 3D one), that Jason, puts on the legendary hockey mask, now synonymous with the character. In parts 7-10 of the franchise, everyones favourite villain, Kane Hodder, plays the maniac behind the mask, to great effect, and it really was a massive let down to fans, that it wasn’t him, that got to square off, against Robert Englund, in Freddy vs Jason. In 2009, we got a reboot of Friday the 13th, were a rich, daddies boy, takes his friends, to his dad’s cabin, on crystal lake. The group discover a boarded up Camp Crystal Lake, where Jason is waiting, and guess what happens? The film is produced by Michael Bay, and directed by Marcus Nispel. The same director who did the 2006 remake, of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Which is also produced by Michael Bay. The writers and director haven’t tried to reinvent the wheel, and mess with, or change Jason’s origin story, which I’m happy about. The positives, that can be drawn from the reboot, are that there is lots of boobage on display, and plenty of sex, and lots of violence. Some of the kills are bit strong. For example, the girl in the sleeping bag. Just…OOF…And the Asian guy in the tool shed, and actually, pretty much all of the killing sequences, are pretty awesome, and have their own unique charm. And it has to be said, Derek Mears does a really good job as Jason. I prefer the bigger built, Kane Hodder style Jason, to the tall skinny style, like in Freddy vs Jason. Although the action sequences are good, and the story of the missing Sister, does hold up very well, some of the acting and dialogue leaves a lot to be desired. With such lines as “You nearly pressed the start button on a whoop ass machine”, “Your tits are stupendous”, and “You have perfect nipple placement”, the script writer who wrote these lines, was surely a literary genius. This is just few of the negative aspects, of a film that was received, to mixed reviews. But overall, in my opinion, this isn’t a terrible film, and I don’t believe, it deserves the overly negative comments people give it. If you compare this reboot, to the nightmare on elm street reboot, Jason is a clear winner over Freddy, all hands down.
In 1979, the godfather and creator of the zombie movie, George A. Romero, released the epic, Dawn of The Dead. The film, is set in a shopping mall, full of zombies, where the main protagonists, must fight to survive the zombie hordes, that have set upon them, using only the amenities they have readily available. This film really took on screen gore and brutality to the next level, in mainstream cinema, and featured the legendary line, “When there is no more room in hell, the dead will walk the earth”. 2004 saw a remake of the film, which in it’s entirety, is really very good. The film features zombies that are hyper aggressive, and can run, very fast which is frightening in itself. The film has lots of kills, and blood and gore, organs and intestines being ripped out, and is really a very enjoyable watch that is respectful, and a great homage to the original.