Halloween (the holiday, not the movie) is imminent and a remake of Suspiria is working its way through theaters. What other horror property might actually benefit from a full-fledged remake?
To clarify, we want to differentiate remakes (which start the story over from scratch) from sequels or whatever the 2018 Halloween movie is supposed to be.
At first glance, I thought this week’s Roundtable would be a rather simple topic to cover, but then I realized in my quest to find something truly worthy of being remade that Hollywood has tried to relaunch almost every popular horror film made in the past 50 years.
Therefore, I’m going off the board ever so slightly (some of you will argue this isn’t a horror film, but it has enough scares to qualify) and risk a sacrilegious statement by saying it’s high time Universal thought about a remake of Jaws.
I know what you’re thinking – the original is perfect and why mess with perfection? Well, they messed with perfection three times before, so why not give it another shot, this time going back to the original story.
Let’s hire someone like Sam Rockwell to take on Chief Brody, Jesse Eisenberg to play Hooper, and for those of you who think Robert Shaw is irreplaceable, say hello to Ian McShane as Quint.
Get Spielberg on board as a producer, then hire someone like J.J. Abrams or Kathryn Bigelow to direct, and Universal might have another classic for a new generation.
I don’t see remakes, or specifically horror remakes, as necessarily a bad thing. Anyone who rails against them as a whole should have their viewing privileges revoked for both The Thing and 1978’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers as punishment. But I do think a different approach can be taken to remaking films. Rather than taking a beloved classic, updating it to include cell phones and skinny jeans, and then running away with fistfuls of opening weekend box office cash, why not remake films that could have been better, ones that have a kernel of a good idea but were poorly executed the first time around? Two that spring to mind are The Bye Bye Man and The Hexecutioners. At their core, both have decent premises, but neither delivered a very good film in the end. Why not see what could be done with those ideas, if they were given a little more money and someone different to direct?
M. Enois Duarte
As much as I love Fred Dekker’s original take on sci-fi horror and teen/college raunchy comedies, I think a remake of Night of the Creeps would be pretty awesome to watch with a contemporary audience. Of course, the filmmakers would need to hurry up before the current zombie craze loses its popularity. Then again, the alien body snatchers theme is perhaps not a familiar premise with modern moviegoers, so it’s possible much of the humor and satire will go over most people’s heads. In either case, I would enjoy watching a modern take on this ’80s cult classic.
Screamers is a 1995 horror movie that has always seemed like a missed opportunity. It’s an adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s short story Second Variety, which would seem to have just the right amount of content to make for a great film, but I’m still waiting. There was a short Kickstarter project filmed in the UK in 2014, but that was very small in scope and budget. Apparently, a new project is in the works in Hollywood, but I won’t hold my breath. At this point, a great venue might be a Black Mirror episode, since the obvious themes of humanity and technology culminating in horrific events and actions would appear to be the mainstay of that series. Dammit, with the Alien and Predator franchises in such sorry states, we need more to remind us of the value of the sci-fi horror genre.
Adam Tyner (DVDTalk)
What’s the point in remaking a horror movie that’s already good? I’d prefer to see a remake of a film with a promising premise that, for one reason or another, just couldn’t stick the landing.
Case in point: The Happening. As dreadful as the final product is, there’s at least the germ of something potentially compelling. The prospect of people all around you taking their own lives in front of you is as nightmarish as it gets. The toxin that’s to blame appears to be inescapable. There’s the persistent dread that those you love most deeply – someone who may even be within arm’s reach – could at any moment grab a claw hammer and smash in her own skull.
It’s a concept that ought to be endlessly suspenseful, with any character potentially killing themselves at any point, seemingly without provocation. It could be and should be incredibly atmospheric, building on both the paranoid thrillers and nature-run-amok genre pieces of decades past. And, for the gorehounds out there, it lends itself to all sorts of disturbing, ghastly, dementedly imaginative visuals.
I get that The Happening is too recent and too reviled for a remake to be in the cards anytime soon. Still, with a more competent screenplay and a director capable of evoking vaguely passable performances from his cast, I think there could still be something there.
Like others have said, I’ve always believed that there’s little point in remaking movies that were actually good the first time around. The most promising basis for a remake should be a movie that perhaps had a good premise but didn’t execute it very well. To that end, I nominate Dreamscape, in which Dennis Quaid plays a smug psychic grifter who gets roped into participating in a shady scientific research project that sees him projected into the apocalyptic nightmares of the President of the United States.
The 1984 film has a nifty concept, but its corny plotting and laughable special effects haven’t aged well at all. With a clever writer to make something decent of the script and with improved modern production values, a remake could play like a smart, horror-focused version of Inception.
What horror movies would you remake? List them off in the Comments.