From the Archives: 5 Horror Films that Deserve to be Remade

From the Archives: 5 Horror Films that Deserve to be Remade

In the interest of getting “hard” copies of my work under one roof, I plan to spend the next few weeks posting the entire archive of my film journalism here on ScullyVision. With due respect to the many publications I’ve written for, the internet remains quite temporary, and I’d hate to see any of my work disappear for digital reasons. As such, this gargantuan project must begin! I don’t want to do it. I hate doing it. But it needs to be done. Please note that my opinions, like everyone’s, have changed a LOT since I started, so many of these reviews will only represent a snapshot in time. Objectivity has absolutely no place in film criticism, at least not how I do it. 

Without further ado, I present to you: FROM THE ARCHIVES.
Originally posted on Cinema76.

While remakes happen in every genre of film, it is an occurrence which is most common in horror. Sometimes it’s because a film had a great concept but it was executed poorly, other times it’s because technology has advanced far enough to give a dated film a modern sheen. Sadly, the most common reason to remake a film is because reusing a beloved title puts butts in seats, quality or necessity be damned. Yet, despite the general consensus that remakes are mostly doomed to be terrible (The FogThe OmenThe Haunting), it’s not always the case (The FlyThe ThingThe Blob). In fact, I think that there are a few horror films that really should be remade, and for good reason. It (1990 – dir. Tommy Lee Wallace)

Why it should be remade: Because it flat-out sucks. The film mines only the lamest parts of an incredibly scary novel, and neuters the content to be appropriate for broadcast television. Despite the terrifying and iconic performance from Tim Curry as Pennywise, there’s not much else to value.

How it should be done: Either over the course of multiple films, or as a tv series. It is too big of a story to boil down to just a few hours. The novel is very adult, and the mature aspects of it are thematically relevant, so it should definitely be R-rated, or better yet, an HBO miniseries.

4. The Raft (Segement of Creepshow 2, 1987 – dir. Michael Gornick)

Why it should be remade: The Raft is based on a Stephen King short story, and while it was adapted rather perfectly as a part of this beloved anthology (it seriously haunts me to this day), I think it could make a tense, satisfying, feature-length film.

How it should be done: As an Open Water or Frozen style thriller. No, not that Frozen. While the short form makes the story brutally simple, extending it to feature-length could could really wring tension from being trapped on a raft by a gruesome monster. Character interplay could come to the forefront while the dread of imminent, painful death would make the right audience squirm.

3. Hellraiser (1987 – dir. Clive Barker)

Why it should be remade: Because people have forgotten that what has become the “Pinhead” franchise began as something much darker (and not at all focused on Pinhead). And while the original still holds up very well, I can see it failing to appeal to a non-fanboy audience.

How it should be done: Much like the recent Evil Dead remake in which the Necronomicon found its way into a new set of hands, the same could be done with Hellraiser‘s famous puzzle box. Have a new person discover the box and let a new tale unfold with a modern sensibility.  Also, in a post-torture-porn horror landscape it might be fun to see what other gruesome manifestations the box could unleash outside of BDSM demons (who should still be prominently featured, no doubt). In fact, I think that an updated Hellraiser should once again be written and directed by Clive Barker. I’m sure he has plenty of good ideas swimming around in his demented brain.

2. The Entity (1982 – Sidney J. Furie)

Why it should be remade: The concept could easily be used to tell a socially relevant, modern horror story, covering hot-button issues surrounding sexual assault, consent, and aggressor/victim politics.

How it should be done: With ambiguity. While the original film is still an effectively scary ghost story, it is explicitly supernatural. This works very well for the film (which is one of my all-time favs), but this concept could easily be reshaped into a story where we aren’t shown anything supernatural, and it’s up to the audience to decide what is really happening to our protagonist. Is she really being attacked by a ghost, or is there something more sinister at play? Heck, if we really want to shake it up, a gender swap of the main character could add yet another layer of relevance and depth.

1. The Brain that Wouldn’t Die (1962 – dir. Joseph Green)

Why it should be remade: Because it’s silly and dated, but it has a fun concept.

How it should be done: This film tells the tale about a scientist who wants to find a new body for his fiancé’s disembodied head, which he is keeping alive in a laboratory.  His plan is to provide her with a new body, but she really just wants to die. A modern telling could be a great opportunity to use this batty concept to speak on a lot of social ideas. Right-to-die issues come to mind first, followed shortly thereafter by gender politics (what if the doctor wants a “superior” body for his bride), as well as the science world’s constant grappling with “shoulda” vs “coulda” (Thanks, Patton Oswalt). I also think that it could make for a great horror-comedy. I could see Amy Schumer as the snarky head in a jar (which, if we were to follow the original film precisely, would involve her gaining telepathic abilities and using them to control a mutant — practical effects, please), engaging in witty repartee with the misguided and power hungry scientist (Adam Scott, in my mind’s eye). Once again, a gender swap could also be fun and interesting. Same actors in that case as well.

Agree? Disagree? Ideas of your own? Hit up the comments!

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