While I generally hate the idea of remakes (to me, it means no one has any original material anymore), some of them are actually pretty decent and worthy.

Best:

  • The Hills Have Eyes – I actually felt this movie was really well made. It stuck to the original story, had a bit of campiness to it that makes these kind of films so successful, had a great cast, and was genuinely creepy. Ted Levine playing the father was a genius idea, because everyone knows he was Buffalo Bill and the voice of Rusty Nail in Joy Ride. He just gives movies a fun feeling. They did not shy away from the rape scene or pointing the gun at the infant, which is what makes the movie so realistic – that the people in the hills have no boundaries. There was gore, but not so much as to make it ludicrous. I think too much gore takes away from the premise of the film, and this film had just the right amount. You root for the good guys in this film because they were made to be sympathetic, and you wonder what you would do in that situation.
  • The Ring – This film is just awesome. Naomi Watts was the perfect choice for Rachel, and the little boy who plays Aidan is definitely high on the creep factor scale. Samara, well, what can we say? No one will say that they were not a little freaked when she came up out of the well and started walking towards the screen. If you do, you are lying. It really took creepy images to another level. The general gray/blue contrast of the film was also brilliant, because it was set in Seattle and it just gave it a unique feel. It also does not have the happiest of endings – Noah dies! Everyone loved Noah, and this movie was not afraid to piss off the audience. I definitely respect that.
  • Texas Chainsaw Massacre – This is another remake that seemed to be pretty genuine and to me, felt like the filmmakers really loved the material and wanted to make it their own. It kind of stuck to the original story, making a few tweaks here and there (interesting ones including the “Sheriff” played by the incomparable R. Lee Ermey, and Jedidiah, the same little boy from The Ring). These tweaks however, unlike other remakes, make sense in the story, and can be incorporated into the original premise. Furthermore, the original never really explained any kind of backstory, and I like how the remake did in their own way, as well as the prequel, Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning.
  •  Night of the Living Dead – I am referring to Tom Savini’s 1990 remake, not the 3D remake from 2006. I really respected this movie for a few reasons. One, I always loved the premise of this film and its original, straight up. Two, it stuck to the original story. Three, unlike most remakes, this one could actually use a little pumping up, because most people who were born in later generations had not yet seen the original or was passed around by word of mouth. That is why I like remakes that stick to the original story, because it pays homage to its predecessor and allows new generations to discover the original on their own.
  • The Crazies – I really liked this movie, even though it was on the cusp of almost being just like all the other movies about contagion sweeping the community and humans attempting to survive. I had seen some of the original, granted, not all of it, but I really liked the fresh take. However, I felt that, as a whole, it was too long, and the scenes began to get repetitive. But, you gotta love a movie where at the end, you know no matter where the characters go, they’re screwed.
  • Helter Skelter – Of course, no one can argue that the original isn’t amazing, because face it, aren’t we all kind of obsessed with the Manson Family? But this movie seemed very fresh, albeit kind of long, and it all really comes full circle. They attempt to explain certain things about the family and more backstory. Plus, Jeremy Davies’ performance is actually, in my opinion, better than Steve Railsback in the original. It seemed like Davies actually channeled Manson; it was almost disturbing. Seeing Eric
    Dane play Tex and Clea Duvall play Linda Kasabian  is also a bonus, and I felt they did a great job.

What do you guys think?

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About Aloha Mister Hand

28, horror-loving chick, lover of animals, movies, and her boyfriend.

24 responses »

  1. rwhyan says:

    Awesome list! You picked some good ones for sure. I loved the remake for TCM because i actually think that Leatherface was much creepier in the remake than he was in the original, however the original I think is scarier because it has a dirtier quality. Great choice though. Anytime I think of great remakes my first thoughts are The Thing & The Fly, they are perfect in every way and are so much better than the originals. Also, the remake of Fright Night I thought was really good, I loved it. It is a good example of a remake that doesn’t follow the original story at all but takes their concept and creates a completely different movie and it actually works. Another great post.

  2. Hey man, thanks a lot! I agree with you on TCM, the grittier look is scarier for a film, but Leatherface himself was gnarly in the remake/prequel. Better effects, maybe? Not sure, but I love ’em both! I have actually never seen The Thing or The Fly in their entirety; I am not too into sci-fi or aliens, but I’m sure I’ll get back around to them someday! 🙂

  3. I have been comparing remakes constantly on my blog, only because there seem to be so many of them all of a sudden, and many of them are terrible. But you definitely picked some of the top ones – all would be in my best list. TCM remake had excellent pacing, plot points, visual look and I liked the characters so much more than in the original. It is the perfect modern horror film in those aspects and I use it as a template for writing scripts.

  4. The Ring and Night of the Living Dead?!?! wait… WHAT! No. No. No. No. No. Bad Jamie. No. No. No!

    (The rest are okay :P)

  5. I haven’t seen many horror movies from this decade. I did see The Ring’s American remake, and disliked it, just because I have a grudge against those kind of supernatural/ghost movies.

    I might have ended up with a better opinion of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake, if the original wasn’t so awesome. It’s a case where the original is so great, that I’m going to be incredibly harsh when rating a remake of it.

    The same goes for the Tom Savini Night of the Living Dead remake. An old college buddy of mine pointed that the remake is good – and he usually HATES remakes. I guess I should give old Tom’s remake another spin, just to see if my opinion has changed. Must be about ten years since I last watched the remake.

    I haven’t seen either version of The Crazies or The Hills Have Eyes. I do plan on seeing both versions of The Crazies eventually.

    I saw the original Helter Skelter years ago. I know I liked it, but other than that, I have no memory of it. A few years ago, I realized that I can easily forget everything about a movie, unless I write a somewhat detailed review of it. Anyway, I am glad to hear that the Helter Skelter remake was really good – because I did think the original was too tame (as you would expect, from the typical TV movie). I’ll have to check out both versions sometime in the future.

    All told, this post of yours has given me food for thought.

    • Thanks for your comments! They’re pretty rad! You should check out some of these movies! As remakes go, I’m definitely a skeptic, and have to be convinced to watch it, and then the movie has to convince me that it’s worth a shit, so it’s a tough call for me, too. 🙂

  6. shnsjolin says:

    Good call on the remakes. The Ring remake launched me into a three year exploration of Asian Horror.

Speak :)

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