With every passing year the murky depths of the Horror genre are explored and pilfered of content to remake, redux, re-imagine or whatever fancy term the studios think of to detach the stigma of a “remake” from their…remake. Many of the biggest successes from the horror genre have already been mined. We’ve had at least 2 versions of the most famous of slashers and Asian horror was ransacked just as it was beginning to blossom, so where do you turn when the guaranteed successes have already been redone? If your Platinum Dunes it’s remake Friday the 13th for a second time. However that doesn’t need to be the case as there are plenty of horror films out there that have been long forgotten or confined to VHS, leaving them ripe for picking as future remakes. Here is a list of 5 Horror films I feel could get benefit from a remake. In no particular order…
10. House (1986, Dir. Steve Miner)
‘House‘ is a film that I have always wanted to like but just never enjoyed as much as I thought I would. It follows a horror writer Roger Cobb (William Katt) who after his son disappears, aunt dies and without writing anything in over a year is at a crossroads. Instead of selling the house he inherited from his aunt he decides to live there. Not before long lucid nightmares and weird incidents start occurring in the house and Roger starts to question his sanity. With his neighbour Harold Gorton (George Wendt of Cheers fame), who thinks he is a bit of a nut job, Roger tries to get to the bottom of what is going on in the house.
This horror comedy is ripe for remaking, despite it’s popularity upon release and subsequent sequels (of which there are 3!) it has largely been forgotten on the youth of today and modern audiences. Obviously the image of a house is harder to keep in the minds eye than a picture of a deformed child killer. This is the first reason it should be remade. The second is the horror comedy sub-genre is one that has not been served that well since the decade in which this film was released.
Essential for remaking this film well is retaining the animatronic effects. The effects in the original film are part of its charm, even nearly 30 years after it’s release. A perfect duo to replace Katt & Wendt as neighbours would be the re-teaming of Alan Tudyk & Tyler Labine from ‘Tucker & Dale Vs Evil‘, they had great chemistry on that film and are easy to watch. Another suggestion instead of Tudyk is Jason Sudeikis, who can certainly update the comedy for the film for modern audiences.
9. Theatre of Blood (1973, Dir. Douglas Hickox)
Vincent Price had many fine hours in the horror genre and this was (in my humble opinion) one of his finer moments. Price plays Shakespearean actor Edward Lionheart, a man who is coming off the back of a series of plays where he feels he has excelled in his performances. At a critics award ceremony he is snubbed for best actor by the hands of those who have ridiculed his work throughout his career. Angered and distraught, he decides to take matters into his own hands and dispatch those critics who turned their nose up at his work. Even better, he is dispatching them in ironic ways which tend to re-enact famous plays.
To be honest I am surprised this has not been done already in a contemporary setting or way. Considering that critics are no longer confined to committees or circles, but are present general publications and the entire internet, there are easy grounds to kick this story off and update it. If Jon Favreau wanted to make a horror version of ‘Chef‘ then ‘Theatre of Blood‘ would be the result.
In tradition, a recognisable, typically typecast horror actor would be ideal for this film. As a result I’d opt for one of my favourite actors to watch, and that man is the perennially awesome Bruce Campbell. Make him a sort of bad guy and have him dispatch a bunch of snooty journalists…I’d watch that.
8. Cigarette Burns (2006, Dir. John Carpenter)
A unique choice in this list as it is actually a short film that John Carpenter made for the ‘Masters of Horror’ TV show that came out around 10 years ago. It was the first one I watched from the series and remains on of my favourite. The premise is simple, an owner of a movie theatre is hired to search out the fabled print of a long lost film that notoriously caused those who viewed it to become homicidal, and a bit crackers.
Found footage films such as ‘Paranormal Activity‘, and films like ‘Sinister‘ that utilise film within a film have shown us that supposedly real footage can have a great psychological, scary impact. I love creepy photographs in films that show evil presences in the background, such as an ‘Insidious‘ when we see the creepy woman getting closer and closer to a young Josh. That kind of effect is perfectly suited to the story of this short film, and could easily provide plenty of fear and frights should it be part of a full length film. Shocks aside, the idea of a film making people homicidal is a huge piece of subtext regarding the effect of film on those who watch it, a topic that remains piping hot to this day. So what can be better than a film that can have fun with scares but also tackle a meaningful topic about film. Those types of horror films have gone down as classics, and I honestly feel this is one waiting to be found.
7. The Toxic Avenger (1984, Dir. Michael Herz, Lloyd Kaufman)
There is no better time to riff on the superhero genre than now, with Marvel in full swing and DC about to launch their own universe of films, opportunities are a plenty to make more independent and unique superhero type films. The film follows a dumb, skinny health club attendant who gets bullied and tricked frequently, one day he ends up jumping out of a window, in a pink tutu into a conveniently placed barrel of toxic waste and before you know it he mutates into the crime fighting monstrosity that is the toxic avenger, dirty mop and tutu included.
This film remains a cult classic to this day, but considering it has 3 sequels, a family cartoon spin-off and a musical then it is no surprise. There was talk in 2010 about remaking this with Steve Pink (Hot Tub Time Machine) at the helm, but no news since. Interestingly enough, ‘Mother’s Day‘ which is in my Top 10 horror remakes, was based on a Troma films production, the same as this. Did you also know that ‘Guardians of the Galaxy‘ director James Gunn is also Troma alumni? Well now you do, and considering his success on small films such as ‘Slither‘ & ‘Super‘ it would make a fantastic homecoming for him. That being said it is incredibly unlikely, but we can dream can’t we? One of the reasons the original is so popular is that it is a prime example of ‘the so bad it’s good’ film type. The ridiculous story, violent scenes and cheap production are typical Troma film qualities. Though I’m sure if you splashed just a little cash on a remake, it’d still be as fun, I mean who doesn’t want to see a hulking mutated mess fight crime with a mop?
6. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920, Dir. Robert Weine)
I’m delving into my film studies a bit with this choice. How this highlight of German Expressionist cinema has never been properly remade is beyond me. A silent film that those outside of media or film students will not have heard of may not carry guaranteed box office, but the plot would not be out of place in the cinema of today. A pair of friends Alan & Francis visit a town fair and witness a spectacle from the mysterious Dr. Caligari. After being Alan is told he will only live until dawn at the fair, he is found dead the next morning stabbed to death. As a result Francis begins his search to find the killer, but all is not as it seems.
Remaking such an iconic film from the history of cinema might be considered the equivalent of urinating on a grave, but it deserves a retelling. My reason for this is not to see the story again, we’ve had plenty like it since, what I’d love to see is a modern take on the German Expressionist style. A remake like that would only find it’s way into independent cinema chains but that is all it would need. Watching ‘The Babadook‘ and seeing how the designs of the babadook itself were influenced by this era of film has developed an interest in me to see more of the same in a contemporary light. I might be waiting a few decades though.
5. The Monster Squad (1987, Dir. Fred Dekker)
I had to go to great lengths to unearth this 80s gem of a horror comedy, a splendid mash up of what is essentially ‘The Goonies‘ Vs Hammer Horror. A group of kids who idolise the classic movie monsters discover Van Helsing’s diary which details a series of events that would spell trouble for the world. An amulet that if falls into the hands of Count Dracula himself would allow him to control the earth. As it turns out Count Dracula is real, and he is conveniently recruiting other movie monsters that turn out to be real to aid him in his quest. That list includes, Frankenstein’s monster, The Wolf Man, The Mummy & The Gill Man (Creature From the Black Lagoon). It is up to the Monster Squad to keep the amulet safe and stop Count Dracula from executing his evil plan.
One of many cult classics to come from the 80s ‘The Monster Squad‘ has all of the ingredients for a fun family horror. I realise that should it be remade today that it would appeal more to younger age group that myself or my fellow Snooty Ushers have long since passed. Regardless, it’s a concept that could provide new generations of people a fun film to look back and reminisce about, like modern culture does with ‘The Goonies‘ & ‘Back to the Future‘. These types of films are sorely missing modern day.
4. The Blind Dead Series (1971-75, Dir. Amando de Ossorio)
The collection of films known as The Blind Dead Series is a one that holds significance in developing the boom of Spanish horror films in the 1970s. The series follows the group of long dead Knights Templar that rise from the graves and wreak havoc on those around them and where they are buried.
For severely independent Spanish horror films the series has received some reasonable reviews. With creepy antagonists, fresh settings and a Gothic horror back story to the Knights Templar, it all adds up to a pretty fresh horror film. Though there have been a few unofficial attempts to make sequels or remakes, no modern horrors have really tackled this unique theme or appearance, leaving it fair game to be re-imagined. Amando de Ossorio often lamented the fact he was given little to no budget for his films, leaving him unable to fully realize his vision before his death. A revisit of his series is one I would welcome whole heartedly, and is one I think contemporary horror is crying out for in this zombie infested generation.
3. The Wolf Man (1941, Dir. George Waggner)
I’m not necessarily suggesting a remake of this specific film but for somebody to tackle the character and do it properly. ‘The Wolf Man’ remake from 2010 is a complete waste of time, and considering it’s troubled shoot, should not have seen the light of day. It was a waste of talented actors and timeless story, my friend fell asleep during it in the cinema and I was not far behind. The one thing the 2010 film did was make it self so forgettable that it would be easy to do a Wolf Man film again and nobody would bat an eyelid.
With ‘Dracula Untold‘ suggesting a united universe of classic monsters a remake is probably already on the way, alongside the long mooted reboot of ‘The Mummy‘. An action style film for the character could be a way of keeping the character relevant and challenging the other Werewolf films around, as the majority of them are action based. That is not to say though that a period drama, or more dramatic observation of the character is not needed. There are many themes that can be tackled with the character and he is just howling (every bit of that was intentional) for a remake.
2. The Burning (1981, Dir. Tony Maylam)
This was a film that was produced to cash in on the slasher successes started by ‘Halloween‘ & ‘Friday the 13th’. Despite gaining notoriety for it’s depicted gore and subsequent edits, the film got lost amongst the quagmire of slashers that followed later in the 80s. The story is pretty much what your typical slasher has become, a disfigured camp caretaker seeks revenge on those who put him in hospital from a prank gone wrong.
Where most slasher remakes have stumbled and fallen, usually under the heavy burden of recreating iconic characters, ‘The Burning‘ would be free of such restraints. There is a fan base but it’s not as big as the likes of Freddy or Jason, and as such freedom to recreate without damaging a legacy. The slasher genre itself is no longer scary, reduced to discovering imaginative ways of dispatching scantily clad teens, the formula for success is also it’s own undoing. Tackling this slasher should be a viable way of making a scary slasher, considering it’s setting and influences from the Cropsey urban legend. Obviously a formulaic remake would be a disaster and would ruin a perfectly good property on which to build. Horror needs another psycho, the only one flying the flag at the moment is Victor Crowley from ‘Hatchet‘ and his time is close to an end.
1. Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982, Dir. Tommy Lee Wallace)
A perfect example of how to completely derail a promising franchise. Michael Myers was intentionally left out as those behind the film sought to create an anthology style franchise under the Halloween banner, using the famous holiday as grounds for exploring all sorts of spooky tales. Unfortunately for everybody involved and the audience, the film was as solid as a heap of digested candy corn from an obese child. As you guessed I think this film is poor, all the more reason to remake it.
The film takes place at Halloween, with a series of highly popular Halloween masks made by the Silver Shamrock Novelties company flying off the shelves. However one night a man is taken to hospital, clutching one of these masks claiming “They’re going to kill us all”. Obviously this creates suspicion and investigations take place into the company which wields unsavoury results.
The reason I’d like to see this film remade is that it’s premise fits perfect into an anthology type film, and it makes a silly but fun story. If it had been a 30-40 minute piece that was part of a ‘Creepshow’ or ‘Tales from the Crypt’ style film then it would be perfect. Unfortunately it’s 98 minutes of my life that I’ll never get back (not including the 2nd viewing to see if my opinion had changed, needless to say my opinion only got worse). There are elements of the film that are good, the creepy advert for the Halloween masks is iconic horror material, and the effects of wearing the masks just as noteworthy. If it were to be remade, they need to drop the Halloween title, maybe incorporate it into a proper Horror anthology and mix it in with some other ideas. Oh yeah…they also need to not have their two leads be 24 years apart when the copulate.
So what do you think? Which Horror film would you like to see remade? Are you against all remakes? Let us know!