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part of a small rebellion | by maryann johanson

question of the day: What classic horror films actually deserve to be remade?

Another Friday, another remake of a horror flick that didn’t really need to be remade. The Stepfather opens today (without benefit of press screenings, which is the SOP of late), but we’ve also had, in recent months, remakes of Sorority Row, Halloween II, and Friday the 13th.

Now, it’s easy to understand why these movies keep getting remade: They’re cheap to produce and nondiscriminating teen audiences flock to them, so they’re guaranteed moneymakers. But that’s not a satisfying reason for lovers of actual good authentically scary horror movies: the reason to remake a movie for us is because there’s something new to said today that could not be said 30 years ago in the tale of, say, a psychopathic gym teacher who wreaks murderous havoc on his students in a twisted attempt to extract vengeance for all the purple nurples he received as a student in that very school.

What classic horror films actually deserves to be remade? And what new things could those remakes have to tell us that the originals didn’t?

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD, feel free to email me. Responses to this QOTD sent by email will be ignored; please post your responses here.)

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  • LaSargenta

    King Kong. I think there’s a lot of potential new things to say (or new ways to say them) about ecology, racism, sexism, and quite a few other topics.

    Oh, wait. That was done.

    And with Adrien Brody!!


  • LaSargenta

    …oh, and I pray no one remakes The Shining.

  • Bill

    ‘Frankenstein’. Plenty of good stuff there to revisit.

  • Hank Graham

    I’d like to second “Frankenstein,” but with the additional stipulation that it be with Frank Darabont’s script.

    For those who don’t know, it was Darabont’s very wonderful script that got the interest going which got “Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein” produced. Unfortunately, Kenneth Branagh changed the script extensively, and ruined it.

    And this is just me, but I think it should look *exactly* like the illustrations in Berni Wrightson’s illustrated edition of the novel. Wrightson’s illustrations gives a new take on the creature that makes him very scarily other-than-human, and we have the technology now to produce it.

  • hank Graham

    Also, I’d like to see a re-make of “The Mummy” that doesn’t go for campy humor, but for obsessive love and dread. Someone should take the “Curse of Anubis” episode of “Jonny Quest” as a template.

  • Maybe it’s the result of being an ethnic half and half but a perverse part of me has always wanted to see an interracial remake of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

    But I suspect that might already have been done. And if it is ever done again, it will be done badly…

    A more up-to-date–and serious–remake of Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde would be welcome too. (And no, the version with Sean Young doesn’t count.)

  • For that matter, I always wanted to see a far more intelligent remake of From Dusk to Dawn done by somebody other than Rodriguez and Tarantino but I suspect John Carpenter’s Vampires–which I hated–is the closest we’ll ever get to that.

  • Hdj

    They should remake “Don’t look Now” its a great film that I really wanted to like better, I was never a huge fan of Donald Sutherland, he’s a good actor but I really didn’t need to see him buck naked.
    Also I don’t think Venice was a gothic enough setting for “Don’t look now”s mood. The setting felt to touristy .
    Remake it with a better location, sexier actors , same plot, same direction, new look, and it just might be considered one of those remakes that surpasses the original

    RT: i’m stoked for the Wolfman remake

  • Bill

    @Hank – check out the TV movie (TNT original i think) version of ‘Frankenstein’ with Patrick Bergin and Randy Quaid. i don’t know anything about Darabont’s sript, but for my money, the perfect ‘Frankenstein’ movie would look a lot like this one.

    and i second ‘Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde’. and i’m also stoked for ‘Wolfman’. our darkside fantasies never get old.

  • Jim Mann

    Deserve to be remade or should be remade? Lots of old horror films are great films that, on that level, “deserve” treatment. Most of what Universal did early on was quite good.

    The problem is that when these films get remade, the result is overdone. Universals films — Frankenstein, Dracula, The Bride of Frankenstein, and so on — were all short: a bit over an hour to an hour and a half or so. And they were often understated. Modern remakes tend to be two hours with lots more over the top stuff.

    Likewise, King Kong was a great film. Jackson’s remake was good, but it fell short of the original, in part because Jackson couldn’t resist going over the top on it.


  • Brad

    Salem’s Lot. Originally a Stephen King novel, and filmed for TV. I think it would be well-served as a theatrical production though, and this time add in the short story “Jerusalem’s Lot” (set in the same town from the Night Shift anthology) as a prologue.

    I would suggest Children of the Corn, but I vaguely recall hearing that was getting remade. No, I don’t consider slasher movies to be scary either, but they get lumped in as horror.

  • Dan

    Movies like Slaughter High deserve to be remade. You can include the cheesy humor, but add in some dread and creative death scenes — and character development.

  • BTM

    I wouldn’t mind seeing a remake of The Thing, BUT (and this is a big one) only if they kept the CG to a minimum, and mainly used the latest in prosthetics.

  • Hdj

    remake of the Thing ? I rather the prequel supposedly there was going to be a film with the story of the outpost that first found the thing. If I heard correctly the thing is a indirect sequel to the Howard Hawks film . In the remake they go back to the remains of the norwegian outpost, and they watch a film of the people forming a people chain measurement around the space craft just like they did in the Howard Hawks version.

  • Lucy GIllam

    I would actually love a good remake of The Shining, but the book is too internal to translate well to film. I would adore a remake of Christine, maybe as a four-hour miniseries.

    However, what I would really, really love is an actual faithful adaptation of “Fall of the House of Usher.” No making the narrator Madeline’s lover! It changes the whole dynamic.

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