Perhaps we as a movie-going public are not saying that remakes are bad, perhaps we are just sick of them. Especially since most remakes and reboots are cash-grabs that are built to sell movies based on hype and nostalgia. Yet, if we are not making original stuff these days, like Pacific Rim and Pan’s Labyrinth, then what are people in the future going to re-make? The sad answer to that question is that they might be remaking the stuff they are remaking today.
There have been some great horror releases throughout history and some of the best horror movies of all time to watch right now include Hereditary (2018), The Invisible Man (2020), and The Exorcist (1973). Over the years there have been many classic horror films that have been remade or had sequels created, such as the original Godzilla. In 1954, the first film starring the giant monster was released and since then there have been a crazy thirty-six films starring Godzilla! The next film set to be released for the franchise is Godzilla Vs. Kong due in May 20201. It brings to question whether we’ve seen enough of this creature to last a lifetime.
When does a remake or sequel work?
Throughout film history, popular films have received sequels or remakes, and not just horror movies. The first Godfather film was so good that it became the start of a film trilogy. However, the last film in the series would not receive the same success as the rest. The Godfather (1972) and The Godfather: Part II (1974) are rated as number two and number three on the Top 250 Rated Movies list rated by users on IMDb. While part III is not even featured on the list. Some remakes and sequels work as they add more characters, more settings, more story elements, more dynamics, and so forth. So, which horror movies have done this too?
The Fly (1986) – This movie saw David Cronenberg turn a silly story about a guy with a fly’s head into a genuine monster horror movie that is ripe with tension, emotion, and building feelings of danger.
Evil Dead 2 (1987) – It might not be a sequel so much as a high-end version of the first. The film’s creator literally took what the first had to offer, and added to it in every way, from better monster models to a longer running time. The budget for the original was $350K, the budget for Evil Dead 2 was $3.5 million.
The Ring (2002) – Though some claim the original Japanese version is better, it is hard to deny that the 2002 version has far more than the original ever had, and it is a far superior movie because of it. The same is true for Shutter (2008), and maybe even for Dark Water (2005). They took the low-budget original movies and made them far better.
Remakes & sequels are sometimes scarier
The first and most obvious entry in this section is Evil Dead 2 released in 1987. Sam Rami answered the question, “What if Evil Dead 2 was an outright horror with no comedy?”, and boy did he answer it. The movie is both terrifying and frightening at the same time, making it a great horror movie to watch.
The Thing (1982) is a great adaptation of the 1951 movie, ‘The Thing From Another World’, and is frightening as a creature feature, and because of the claustrophobic environment, unforgiving setting, and constant paranoia. A 2011 prequel to the film didn’t do so well and received mixed reviews. Earlier this year, a remake was also announced for The Thing (1982). It seems that film producers don’t want this story to ever end.
The Hills Have Eyes (2006) is a movie that was talked down by the popular media, yet the 2006 version was horrific. If you sit through the boring first part, the horror comes as such as a hard left turn that is actually shocking on a very deep level.
In horror films there have been many creepy and scary monsters that have terrified audiences, from Freddy Krueger in A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) to zombies in 28 Days Later (2002). Monsters such as mummies, vampires, and ghosts have starred in horror movies and have also inspired spooky slot games too. Paranormal Activity and Dracula are just some examples of slot games at LeoVegas that are inspired by the supernatural.
When remakes & sequels do not work
While there have been some good horror film remakes and sequels out there, there have also been some bad ones too. Horror film franchises might benefit from numerous sequels as they build on characters and storylines, but others can outright ruin what were great classic horror films.
Pet Sematary 2 (2019) looks fantastic in the trailer and promised to be a scarier version of the 1989 film. Yet, the remake couldn’t come close to capturing the horror or even the quiet uneasiness of the first.
The Amityville Horror (2005) looked like a genuinely scary version of Amityville in the trailers, but added almost nothing to the movie except better actors.
Thirteen Ghosts (2001) was a remake of the 1960 movie Haunted House. It promised to be horrifying but was so full of cheap CGI that it made it a bit disappointing.
IT (2017 and 2019). The lead up to these films were big and everyone was excited to see both chapter one and chapter two. Now that the hype has blown over, ask yourself what these new movies actually added to the old ones besides better visual effects. The story meanders even more than the first, and the payoff is just as unsatisfying, especially considering how cartoonish IT looks when properly lit. Horror film fans might be better sticking to the original IT (1990) tv mini-series instead that stars Tim Curry as Pennywise.
Sometimes it’s a matter of taste
Hardcore horror fans are in love with both of Rob Zombie’s remakes of Halloween, and yet the movies were panned very harshly by some who felt that the movie was too gritty. The 2020 Grudge movie has also split audiences, as have the many Child’s Play movies. Yet, for every ten horrible remakes, we sometimes get fantastic movies that by far outshine what they first were. If you do not get caught up in the hype, and watch a movie with an open mind, then every now and again you will be happily surprised. Perhaps in this case, it is okay for some old horror films to rise again from the grave.