Remakes are now the norm in movie-making – it’s much easier to redo a character, movie, and franchise that has already got butts in seats than it is to make come up with something new that does. Here is a selection of the movie remakes of classic horror that I was too curious not to sit through – and some that I wished I hadn’t. From the worst to the best, let’s do this!
Proof that giving a pretentious indie film-making carte-blanche to do whatever he wants is rarely a good idea. Gus Van Sant made this shot-for-shot remake of Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho because he could, and that is not a good enough reason.
My Bloody Valentine
My Bloody Valentine tried a novel route through remake town by splicing together an opening that basically takes care of the original story, freeing it to do its own thing. It’s a pity that its own thing is utter nonsense that criminally wastes the charisma of Jensen Ackles.
Friday the 13th
Coming out the same year as My Bloody Valentine, and starring the other Winchester brother in the lead, Friday the 13th tries to smooth out the inconsistencies of the original franchise’s portrayal of Jason Voorhees. He is made the main killer from the start, and now he can run quite fast, and that’s about all it has going for it.
This is the standard these remakes are hitting if Rob Zombie’s Halloween is seen as one of the better efforts. I hate this movie, but I have to give the director credit for trying something different with this masked killer. Michael’s upbringing is explored in greater detail by giving him the typical Rob Zombie family of white trash, but it goes some way to making his actions more consistent than say, the most recent Halloween.
A Nightmare on Elm Street
Wes Craven is a horror god as far as we are concerned, so we aren’t dumb enough to think that the Platinum Dunes remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street is better than the original; it’s barely as good as most of the sequels. What it does do, and what is crucial to its success in my eyes, is to remember that Freddy Kruger was an abuser of children, abuse that has traumatized a generation of kids that he has come back to kill. This makes him scarier, it makes it easier to root for the kids, but it also means that its way less fun than the original. I think that’s probably a good thing.
I love the Evil Dead franchise so much that I was really prepared to hate this remake, but it’s easily the best of the bunch. It’s the simplicity of the premise, the schlock and gore, and the decision to focus on Jane Levy’s Mia, plus the cyclone of gore at the end that makes this the best remake of a classic horror movie. The reason for this is most likely die to the Deadites not being personified as your classic stalk-and-slash villain allows us to care a little more about the people that are being brutally murdered, and empathy is key in making this shit work.
By Kevin Boyle
Image credit: Interrogating Ideology with a Chainsaw