Weekend Roundtable: Horror Movies Worth Remaking

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.

Shannon Nutt

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.

Deirdre Crimmins

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.

Brian Hoss

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.

Josh Zyber

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.

Your Turn

What horror movies would you remake? List them off in the Comments.


  1. njscorpio

    I am a fan of the Cube horror trilogy. I would love a high quality remake, but I think we might actually get something along those lines with the upcoming movie ‘Escape Room’.

    My second choice would be ‘Candyman’.

  2. I’m with Adam. Ever since my first (and only) viewing of The Happening, I’ve said that it should be remade by someone who knows how to maximize the potential of its brilliant concept. I’d love to see HBO take a crack at a limited series based on it.

    Having just watched They Live for the first time (I’ve repented for this sin of omission), I’d love to see a modern take on it that didn’t at all hold back on social/political commentary. I’d love to see what today’s distracted world would look like. Imagine what the Kardashians, social media, TMZ, Trump and the 24-hour news cycle would look like through the sunglasses. There’s so much potential!

    • I’m with Adam too. The original script for THE HAPPENING — then titled THE GREEN EFFECT — was a brisk and tense and downright creepy and I’m not sure what happened to that one. Part of it seems that Night never found a visual way to represent the spread of the toxins, but the performances and the tone don’t seem right as well. Cheers.

      • I’ll go to my grave insisting M. Night intended to make a “bad” movie – as a tribute to all those bad 50’s sci-fi films. The performances are just too awful to not be intentional.

        • I remember M. Night coming out and saying something like that a day or two before it opened. Having already seen it by that time, it appeared like he was just trying to make an excuse for a bad movie. “I… uh… meant to make it bad. Yeah! I did that on purpose!”

        • I would tend to agree with that one personally, no way that was not purposeful. M Night had a pretty damn good track record and really good performances from his movies up till that point….of course there is The Last Airbender which unfortunately has acting almost as bad too, so maybe not?

          For what Adam is saying about it though, we KNOW M. Night CAN do this kind of movie properly, he writes good scripts and has an amazing sense for direction too, some of my favorite shots in cinema are his, so what happened the first go around we will never know for sure. I mean just look at Split and The Visit and the upcoming Glass, M. Night is a master class in film making and the Happening should have been something as good as The Sixth Sense

      • Barsoom Bob

        This may be the most misunderstood movie in history. It is a satirical nightmare of us killing ourselves because we are hell bent on destroying the environment, which if not killing us, is seriously going to hurt us.
        Why is it called The Happening ?
        Because it is frickin’ happening now. Hewed from that perspective, it is darkly hilarious.

          • Oh I can rewatch that easily, its that kind of cheese that I can laugh at constantly….its why I still watch shit like Batman and Robin, god the puns in that movie are legendary 🙂 But the Happening has some truly disturbing moments and the way some of them are shot too, like the gun that passes between people on the street, we never see them doing it just them falling and the next person picking it up…those construction workers leaping off the building, lots of great scenes in that movie, just a shame that even though I enjoy the horrible acting on the level I do, it could have been an amazing dramatic movie otherwise

  3. Zuria

    I’d love to see a scary, big screen remake of the 1972 TV movie Gargoyles starring Cornel Wild, Bernie Casey and a young Scott Glenn. Great potential for scares, gore and social commentary!

  4. Csm101

    Demons and Demons 2. I watch both of these several times a year and I would love to see a remake done with like a 20 million dollar budget. Perhaps combining elements from both 1 & 2 into one movie. It has to be gory and batshit gonzo for it to work. Also, it has to respect the source material.

  5. Ken

    Lovecraft could desperately use some remakes. “Dagon,” and “The Dunwitch Horror” come to mind. (And there’s always Del Toro’s long-rumored “Mountains of Madness.”)

    I’d say let’s get another take on “Dracula,” but right now I’m eating up “Castlevania” on Netflix. But perhaps something more in the vein of Murnau (or Herzog’s) “Nosferatu.”

    It’s a shame that the relatively recent “Flatliners” remake sucked, because the original was a prime movie for a remake… Good concept, so-so execution. But the remake was much worse.

    I’d actually love to see a remake of Hitchcock’s “The Birds.” The ominous build-up of the original is great, but the characters are lackluster and the actual bird attacks look really silly. But the mood and concept (much like how people here have mentioned “The Happening”) are really solid.

    And Shannon… With respect, you’re nuts for suggesting “Jaws.” You won’t do better than the original, which is still Spielberg’s best movie.

  6. Bolo

    ‘House’ (1977) – it’s mostly just one trippy nightmarish sequence after the next, so it would be neat to let some new guy with a flare for the surreal bring a new take on it.

  7. Charles Contreras

    Okay, if we’re going to talk reboots or remakes, here’s my suggestion to right a certain wrong from years ago: Psycho. And I don’t mean a practically shot for shot production, either. That just smacked of lazy filmmaking. And although I take nothing away from Vince Vaughn, I would love to see Zachary Quinto as Norman Bates this time. I think even Alfred Hitchcock and Anthony Perkins would’ve approved.

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