Last month saw the nationwide release of Poltergeist which was welcomed with heavy criticism. With the original film being a much loved favourite amongst adults and youngsters alike, it’s evident that fans weren’t ready to see a modern day reimagining. With this in mind, what other horror remakes have existed before now that weren’t at all necessary?
It’s always difficult to scrutinize a remake when it’s theoretically an adaptation but no one can deny that without Brian De Palma’s 1976 original, Kimberley Peirce probably wouldn’t have touched Carrie. Although the film tries to stay true to Stephen King’s original novel, it always ends up going on a tangent and replicating De Palma through action or dialogue which was exclusive to his film and not the source material. With Julianne Moore and Chloe Grace Moretz leading, the directorial and cast choices were promising yet they just didn’t face up to the standards set by De Palma, Piper Laurie and Sissy Spacek.
Freddy Krueger is an iconic figure in pop culture; people know the character without even knowing the film he’s from. Evil from the offset, Krueger has always had a comedic tone which gave him a cult following. To strip the clawed fiend of his hilarity, along with replacing Robert Englund who played him in every film and TV show since 1984, the remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street was doomed to fail and that it did. A terrifying low-budget slasher flick became a CGI flop with a dull narrative and characters to match.
The original 1962 film is highly underrated. Often described as a feature length episode of The Twilight Zone, it has aged significantly well with the occasional jump scares still being effective and certain scenes delivering spooks. Unfortunately, the loose remake stole all credibility of the original and something once great was muddied up. Although it only took the original premise of the film and twist ending, Carnival of Souls replaced old-fashioned scares with fake monsters and unnecessary violence.
John Carpenter’s Halloween was the film that established his career in 1978, leading to his Apocalypse Trilogy in 1982 which began with The Thing. As it approached its 30th birthday without any sign of a remake, Rob Zombie came along with his fandom and recreated Halloween in his own artistic vision. The result? An average film that tries too hard to create sympathy for a cold-blooded killer. The original skips Michael Myers’ origin story and subsequently turns into a fantastic horror which helped to initiate the Slasher Boom in the late seventies. Alas, Zombie’s remake turns into more of a miserable psychoanalysis. Despite being a good film, nobody wants good when something superior exists.
Bob Clarke’s 1974 original is often argued to be one of the first and therefore greater slasher films to bless our screens. With the perfect balance of amusement and psychological horror, it remains to be a pleasure for horror fans. Meanwhile, the unfortunate 2006 remake tries too hard to imitate this balance of fun and horror which results in a purely terrible film. Despite featuring a strong all-female cast and potentially good ideas, the overall execution failed and Black Xmas (as it was publicised) became one for the let’s-remake-every-great-horror-film-and-turn-it-bad-for-the-noughties archive.
Would you take anything out of this list? Maybe you’d add a film or two?
Comment with your thoughts.