With the good come the bad…the flip side of Billy Russell’s previous remake list, the worst horror movie remakes of all time!
I had a hard time going back and forth on this. When considering a movie as a terrible remake, do you consider the movie on its own standalone terms or do you compare it to the original? Because, one on hand, a remake wants to be independent of its precursor and wants to scare and delight audiences on its own. On the other hand, if you didn’t want to be compared to John Carpenter’s masterpiece, you should have just called it Rob Zombie’s Psycho Guy in a White Mask Kills Teens.
In the remake, director Rob Zombie tries something pretty novel in trying to take the mysterious form of “The Shape” and adding psychological depth to him, making him more…human? I guess? It was a brave move and original, but the idea fell pretty flatly on its face and everything that comes after that is a by-the-numbers slasher flick with false scares, gleeful violence and heavy doses of cheese and corn abounds. What made the original work was the mystery, the very idea that Michael Myers might just in fact be a vessel of pure evil and the fact that he was born human was only a coincidence. A deranged hillbilly in a mask in an unworthy remake just doesn’t reach the same heights. It should have just been called Halloween 17: The Return of the Curse of Michael Myers’ Revenge.
See also: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Nightmare on Elm Street
The Haunting (1999)
As an un-ironic lover of Speed and a defender of Twister, which I feel is a bit underrated (the CGI holds up, damn it!), I thought I was going to be a little bit easier on his Dreamworks-produced rehashing of The Haunting, but then I saw it again. As an adult. It’s really, really bad.
The movie starts off well enough. It has the oh, so obviously haunted house and a great bit of atmosphere with some wonderful performers in all the roles (Lili Taylor, Liam Neeson, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Owen Wilson). But then it takes a left turn into territory I can’t stand: You take this fear of the unknown and you explain it to death and create nonsensical conflicts that raise more questions than answers—okay, so the afterlife exists? Why is no one completely blown away by this knowledge? You can communicate with the dead and it’s a fact! Finally, the ending is this sort of masterpiece of unintentional comedy and melodrama that swells to such ridiculousness, it’s impossible to totally hate, but man is it crappy.
See also: Thir13en Ghosts, House on Haunted Hill
Once upon a time in the 1990s, the ABC network and Stephen King (still mad at Kubrick) decided, hey, The Shining was a pretty good movie…but if we remade it for television starring that guy from “Wings” and that kid from that Kirk Cameron show who can’t close his mouth, we’re gonna have one of the best anythings of allever.
I can just picture these guys coming up with terrible ideas and no one saying no to a single one of them. “Okay, so we should leave the hedge monsters in this one, and even though we have a limited budget, instead of going with subtlety on this, having them move positions with trick photography, I think we should digitally animate them using some DeVry students.” Yeah! Great idea! “Alright, so at the end the kid’s graduating and—get this—he’s gonna look out the crowd and his dear old ghost dad will be there and it’s this touching moment between son and ghost and all that murder-the-family shit in the hotel will be forgiven!” Yeah! Make sure the ghost is glowing angelically, too!
See also: Trucks, Carrie (2002), The Children of the Corn
Village of the Damned
John Carpenter has helmed my favorite horror remake of all time, The Thing and has had two of his movies bastardized for more money from money hungry studios (Halloween and The Fog). It seems easy to forget that he himself was responsible for 1995’s Village of the Damned. It all started off well enough, but once the movie enters Cheesetown, it never lets up…and, man, it hits it quick. To get inside the mind of the hero played by Christopher Reeves, metaphorical brick walls to block out thoughts are made literal, with the children chipping away at it with evil mind powers. This is one of those movies you forget had ever been made and then it shows up on TV somewhere on some Sunday when you’re nursing a hangover and you’re thinking, “What? How did…who thought this was a good idea?” Let’s just be thankful that this Brit flick remake didn’t have Nicolas Cage knocking people out while wearing a bear suit.
See also: The Wicker Man
The biggest difference between this and the original is that in the remake, Vince Vaughn jerks off while Anthony Perkins had some restraint. What was this shot-for-shot remake with some added brief nudity after all but cinematic masturbation?
Gus Van Sant is clearly a gifted filmmaker, from Drugstore Cowboy all the way up to Milk. His attempt at being exactly like Hitchcock was just a complete artistic failure. I don’t even understand how the movie got greenlit. Was Van Sant maybe commissioned to direct the remake and he felt unsure about it so he decided if he just did it exactly, more or less, the way it had been done before it was foolproof? In 1998, studios said, Sure! What the hell! And released it to a wide audience, while I feel like if the same experiment had been conducted today, it would be by James Franco and would never see the light of day except for vague internet rumors.
On the flip side, check out our Best Horror Movies of 2013!