Written by: Tim Meyer
When it comes to horror remakes, it’s hard to assemble a list of the best. Remakes are generally terrible, unable to stand up to their predecessors. Especially when the originals are so damn good and, well, original. Anyway, here are my favorites. Warning: I’ve been known to like some bad movies, so feel free to lay into me in the comments below.
10 – House of Wax – I know exactly what you’re thinking. Paris Hilton. Chad Michael Murray. Is this a horror movie remake, or a one-hour drama on the CW? Well, I’m probably one of the few who enjoyed this movie after multiple viewings, but I can’t help it. The story was surprisingly engaging, suspenseful as hell, and contained some of the coolest death scenes I’ve seen in a modern horror film.
9 – The Fly – I can’t think of a movie that’s more unsettling than The Fly. David Cronenberg’s take on the 58′ classic is utterly spectacular. Jeff Goldblum and Geena Davis deliver great performances. Couple this with excellent special effects, and a half-human, half-fly monster, and you have one of the greatest horror movies of all time, making it an instant classic. Fun fact; after watching this movie, I made sure I owned a fly swatter. A really big one.
8 – My Bloody Valentine 3D – Although this movie has House of Wax qualities to it, I don’t care. I thought this remake was a great time at the movie theater. If I remember correctly, it helped kick-start the recent obsession with 3D. Sure it’s a cheap gimmick, but this movie utilizes it quite well. I think the creative, brutal death scenes elevated it from mediocrity. And even though the Fight Club ending proved ineffective, the movie entertained me and it certainly belongs on this list.
7 – The Hills Have Eyes – Wes Craven’s movie is great. So naturally, like most moviegoers when the remake came out, I was skeptical. But, like all of the remakes that came out around that time, I took a chance and hoped for the best. Much to my delight, the 2006 kept up with the classic. The movie is violent, creepy, and makes me never want to take a road trip to see the Grand Canyon. A very talented cast, including Ted Levine and Emile De Ravin, also helps make this movie stand out from other remakes. It also spawned a sequel, which was much more violent, but not as good.
6 – Dawn of the Dead – Zack Snyder’s 2004 remake of the Romero classic is one of the most intense zombie movies you’ll ever see. It’s got plenty of action, copious amounts of gore, awesome zombie death scenes, and Ving Rhames. What more could you possibly want out of a zombie film? Romero fans and zombie purists probably disregard this film, especially as a remake, but my experience with this film has been nothing short of awesome.
5 – The Crazies – Look what we have here. Another Romero remake. If you’re counting, this is the second one to make this list. The Crazies for me is a fierce, action-packed thriller that has everything you could expect from a solid horror film. I was never a huge fan of the original, so this movie was a remake I welcomed with open arms. The updated version keeps the viewer on the edge of their seat for the entire ninety minutes, right where they should be.
4 – I Spit On Your Grave – Whoa. Talk about intense. Both movies pull it off here, tugging on my emotions like an angry puppeteer. The remake was violent enough to make me squirm in my seat, and that’s saying something. Plus, I’m a sucker for movies where the victim goes apeshit and exacts revenge on their attackers.
3 – Night of the Living Dead – I love Romero’s classic zombie tale. It’s the first of its kind. Without it, the zombie craze never would have happened. That’s right. Imagine the world without Max Brooks’ World War Z, Brian Keene books, or The Walking Dead. Scary, huh? Tom Savini’s remake isn’t exactly shot for shot, but it’s pretty damn close. Most of all, it captures the same tone and themes that the original did, just updating its effects. Honestly, without the remake, zombies might not be what they are today. Plus, for whatever reason, the talented Bill Moseley chanting “They’re going to get you, Barbara,” still sends chills down my spine.
2 – Black Xmas – Nothing shouts out Christmas spirit like dysfunctional families, scenes involving incest, disfigured murderers, and some of the most gruesome death scenes you’ll probably ever see in a horror film. Well, maybe not. But I watch this movie every December, because it’s one of my favorites. Although the original is a classic, and done very well, I actually prefer the remake. If you haven’t seen it, ask Santa for it next Christmas. You won’t be disappointed.
1 – The Thing – Admittedly, I never saw The Thing From Another World. I know. Shame on me. But John Carpenter’s ’82 remake is one of my favorite movies of all time, one of the few classics that still holds up today. Everything about this movie is perfect. The special effects are disturbing, the acting is great, and thematically, the movie shows us what fear, isolation, and distrust can truly do to the human psyche. No movie has had a bigger impact on me than The Thing.
Remakes that deserve attention: Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Evil Dead, Last House on the Left, Frankenstein, Rob Zombie’s Halloween, The Blob, and Piranha 3D.
Tim Meyer lives near the Jersey Shore (but don’t hold that against him). He is the author of ‘In the House of Mirrors’ and several other horror novels. His new zombie novel ‘Less Than Human’ is now available on Amazon.