BLAARGH! Horror Movie Remakes

Why do bad things happen to good fans? Whether it’s atrocious art, ridiculous writing or something else entirely – some crimes against fandom cannot go unanswered. When that happens, it’s time to say BLAARGH!”

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One of my favorite moments from the movie Jurassic Park is the scene in which Ian Malcolm basically tells John Hammond that just because you can do something doesn’t always mean you should. That pretty much sums up my feelings of remakes in general… Sure, they’re easy to make and profitable for the most part, but are they really necessary? For the past five years or so, horror films have been the remake du jour, with many an icon of terror being rehashed for 21st-century consumption. While the overall quality of these remakes is debatable, it’s a shame that these filmmakers aren’t spending their time and energy coming up with new ways to scare us.

The ’80s are remembered for its glut of slasher flicks, and the ’90s brought us the ironic, self-aware horror of Scream and its ilk. With this first decade of the 21st century mere months away from being over, its horror legacy will probably wind up being the remake. This decade brought us “torture porn” movies like Saw and Hostel, but the subgenre didn’t branch out much beyond those two franchises. For the past 10 years, the majority of major horror movie releases have been remakes or re-imaginings of past horror movies.

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Some horror remakes managed to do something new and original with the pre-established storyline and have become classics in their own right. John Carpenter’s 1982 remake of The Thing and Zack Snyder’s 2004 Dawn of the Dead are two excellent examples. Most modern horror remakes, like Gus Van Sant’s ill-fated remake of Psycho and last year’s rehashings of My Bloody Valentine and Friday the 13th, just gave us the same overall story with improved gore effects (or, in the case of Psycho, an implied masturbation scene). Rob Zombie’s Halloween seemed to straddle the line between these two types of remakes… It definitely upped the gore ante of the legendary original, but at the same time, it added a richer backstory behind Michael Meyers’ murderous rampage. Halloween was obviously a labor of love for Zombie, but he had already shown that he can create original horror films with House of 1,000 Corpses and The Devil’s Rejects. Both of those films were modeled after older horror movies, but at least they didn’t capitalize on familiar titles to gain recognition.

Many more horror remakes are coming down the pipeline. New versions of The Wolf Man, The Evil Dead and A Nightmare on Elm Street will be arriving in theaters within the next year. These movies will no doubt be popular and may turn out to be quite entertaining. It’s just a shame that these films are dominating the horror landscape instead of giving audiences more original stories and characters. For every original horror flick that comes out, like Cabin Fever or The Descent, there are at least three remakes (or sequels of remakes) that aren’t really contributing anything of value to the horror genre. Call me a snob, but I would prefer to see something new. Remakes are easy money for the studios, though, so we’ll be sure to see more in the years to come, and as long as people keep buying tickets, Hollywood will have no reason to invest in original horror stories.


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Who ARE these people!?

Ben Gilbert is an avid comic and movie fan, father of two amazing kids, and husband to one awesome chick. He resides in the hills of East Tennessee and still doesn't quite know what he wants to be when he grows up.

Comments (21)

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  1. Brian Cunningham says:

    Agree completely! I’m a huge “Wolf-Man” fan, but I’m wary about the remake. We’ll see, I guess.

  2. Jason Kerouac says:

    BC! I’m on the fence here, Ben. I’m an unrepentant lover of cover songs, when a new artist or band can put an intriguing new spin on an old song. In movies, however, remake RARELY = improvement.

    While on the topic… anyone know how Quarantine was?

  3. Spider_Fan14 says:

    why would they want to remake Evil Dead? It’s the small budget and stuff that made it stando out and what’s the word from Bruce Campell and Sam Raimi about this?

  4. Jason Knize says:

    I thought the Evil Dead remake was shit-canned in favor of a sequel written by Sam and Ted Raimi?

    I’m excited for Nightmare On Elm Street, mostly because of Jackie Earle Haley, and I surprised myself with how much I liked the Friday the 13th remake.

    You missed a great argument AGAINST remakes….Texas Chainsaw Massacre….although “The Beginning” was actually very good.

    And K-Whack, I haven’t seen Quarantine, but apparently the ending was in the trailers…which is super lame.

  5. TENIME_art says:

    I prefer the Texas Chainsaw, Halloween & Friday the 13th remakes over the originals.

    But I still agree with you 100%.

    And, with H-Wood closing their doors to new writers, the chances of getting any original material are even worse than they were before. ~_~”

  6. Ben Gilbert says:

    I avoided the TCM remake, though I have heard good things from several people about The Beginning.

    I’m not entirely against remakes, but it’s imperative that they bring something new to the table. I’m cautiously optimistic about the Elm Street remake.

  7. rath99 says:

    I’m not a fan of remakes. While some are adequate ( Texas Chainsaw Massacre ) most are horrible attempts to capture lightning in a bottle again. I think it’s time writers and Hollywood get creative and come up with new ideas.

  8. I hate remakes. To me it means people aren’t creative enough to come up with a good story for a sequel or continue the story. Rob Zombie is an awesome director, 1000 Corpses and Devil’s Rejects just made me shiver with what this man can come up with. But at the end of the day, I still prefer John Carpenter’s Halloween 1 and 2.

    Same with Friday the 13th. I already know how he drowned, I dont want to see a story that’s been said many times in the other series. Just continue with what came before and dont send the character into space to die out of continuity.

    Nightmare on Elm Street, we just saw the trailer, and my wife was pissed that she started yelling at the theather. She’s a big Nightmare fan (has the toys in the box, the glove signed by Robert Englund, all the movies in a box set including Freddy vs Jason, and soundtracks… Dude, she puts me to shame. So we see the trailer and she is going off about how this movie is bullshit because to her Englund is the only Freddie and she hates that its being remade and Freddie has no face. Then she goes off about something else and I kid you not, this is what she said: “How is Freddie going to stick his tongue out when he’s doing that scene with Nancy on the phone. This is bullshit!”

    I slowly lowered myself in my seat cause I know there was a concerned mother right behind me ear muffing her kids. But she settled down when the movie started. lol.

    I haven’t seen any of the remakes, I care not to. I already seen them, I know the story, if they added something then i’ll look it up in all these other sites. But I am not wasting 14 bucks on a movie that was done in my time (80’s and 90’s) only to find out its the same shit, but they just added some superpower hearing or a backstory.

    That’s like a year or two down the line somebody remaking Spiderman 1 because they should have added Gwen Stacy instead of Mary Jane in that scene. Oh yea, Peter really wanted his costume to be black and white. (inside joke there between us producers wink wink).

  9. Ric Magnum says:

    If they remake Dead Alive, I am done with movies….forever.

  10. She said he looks like Voldemort how his nose is.

  11. Joshua says:

    While I couldn’t call myself a fan of remakes, I’d be lying if I said there weren’t some good ones out there. The Parent Trap and Ocean’s 11 come to mind. Possibly the best remake/re-imgagining happens to fit right alongside the theme of horror movies; David Cronenberg’s 1986 version of The Fly, which is not only a great movie, but it even surpasses its source material. Rumor on the street is that Cronenberg is looking to remake it again.

  12. Joshua says:

    Ben already mentioned it.

  13. Joshua says:

    Agreed, The Fly was good. Don’t forget the Dawn of the Dead remake or John Carpenter’s The Thing! Everyone always forgets those.

  14. Ben Gilbert says:

    The Fly is one of the best remakes ever, because again, it does something different with the source material. A Cronenberg-directed remake of the remake actually intrigues me.

  15. The Evil Dead remake was approved with production credits for Campbell and Raimi BUT it went into development hell, there has been no newmovement on it since 2008. Evil Dead 4 is ago tho’ ;)

  16. Ben Gilbert says:

    While rhe prospect of a new Evil Dead sequel pleases me immensely, part of me wonders if I really want to see a middle aged Ash.

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