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When Remakes Happen To Good Horror Movies

Updated on May 10, 2011

Are movie remakes a good idea?

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Lightening Rarely Strikes Twice

Call me prejudice, but, while I see the value in a play revival, I don’t understand why movies keep being remade. It seems to me that when a play or musical is revived, it is because the current generation is attempting to pay homage to the creative minds of the past. It also could be an attempt to return theatre to its glory days. When a movie is remade, it just seems to me that the only aim is profit. Movie makers see the bleeding box offices and believe that recreating a film will bring the people back to the cinemas and boost ticket sales. It seems like every month another horror movie remake is hitting the cinema. Where did all of the creativity go?

Every time I turn on the television, I see a commercial for the Friday the 13th remake. This bothers me quite a bit. Though I’ve only seen parts of the original, I’ve heard that its good. It’s considered to be a classic so that must account for something. Why is it being remade? Besides adding technology that only seems to make things look fake, what is to be gained? Would it really be too much to ask for people to go to the video store and rent the original?

I’ve always been a fan of John Carpenter’s Halloween. Though I am a little too young to have seen it at the cinema and only rented it, it was one of the first horror movies I ever saw. Michael Myers is every sister’s worst nightmare. When the Rob Zombie version premiered, I went to see it. Admittedly, my expectations weren’t too high. Though I could understand Zombie’s intent, I didn’t like it. We learn that Myers came from somewhat of a broken home. He killed his first victim at a young age. He spent years in an asylum. He made masks. Blah. Blah. Blah. I felt that Carpenter’s version had just enough back story. No one had to know Myers so intimately. I’ve always believed that the less you know about a character, the more of a chance your mind has to wonder about them and, if your mind goes wild, fear them. By finding reasons to pity him, Myers becomes human and the scare factor plummets. Zombie has said that he provided such an extensive back story so that the reason why the killings occurred could be explained. I’ve always heard that killing without reason scares people more than killing with motive. I guess Zombie heard otherwise.

I was one of the few people who saw the 2005 remake of The Amityville Horror. Having been loosely based on true events, the original movie never seemed very…well…original to me. Seeing any version of the movie always makes me want to research the actual events. The 2005 version was just a bad idea. Whoever thought that Ryan Reynolds could fill James Brolin’s shoes is highly delusional.

Did anyone else, but me, see the remake of Psycho ? Where does one begin when noting the flaws of this film? Anne Heche made my skin crawl. If Miley Cyrus had been the flavor of the month in 1998, I am positive that she would’ve played Marion Crane in Heche’s place. While Vince Vaughn was good, no one played creepy better than the late Anthony Perkins. When it comes to Hitchcock, it would be wise if filmmakers didn‘t tamper with it. Just because you have the technology doesn’t mean you have a worthy vision or the right.

One of the better remakes I’ve seen is The Haunting. I can’t really put my finger on why I liked it. Perhaps it was the cast (Lili Taylor, Liam Neeson, Catherine Zeta-Jones). Perhaps it was that the special effects seemed to add to the story rather than the usual effect of detracting. Perhaps it just was viewed on the right day. It could also be that it was like watching a whole new movie. While the original and the book center on the characters exploring the paranormal, the remake centers on a paranormal investigation disguised as a dream/sleep study. The original1963 film was adapted from Shirley Jackson’s novel, The Haunting of Hill House. Like many horror films of that time, the scare relied heavily on the imagination.

In general, it seems that a remake means same story, added gore. The horror movies of long ago were frightening despite the lack of high tech special effects and, in some cases, even seeing the monster/villain kill. Everything was psychological then and left viewers wondering if leaving the cinema would be the last thing they’d do. Nowadays, if I movie doesn’t make you nauseous, it isn’t considered scary.(It’s frightening how desensitized to violence our society is.)Horror movies with concepts that force one to think beyond a knife are too dull now and bomb at the box office. When did audiences start needing to have everything dumb-down for them?

I am afraid of what horror film will be remade next. The television movie adaptation of Stephen King’s It will celebrate its 20th anniversary next November. I wonder if Rob Zombie will remake that too? If he does, prepare yourself to see Pennywise as a young lad, knickerbockers, mother issues and all.


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    • Stephanie Wideman profile image

      Stephanie Wideman 

      7 years ago from Stafford, VA

      I think it depends on the movie and how it's handled to see if a remake is worth it. Most times, I hate it. There are very few (less than five) that I like over the originals. THE HAUNTING is one, and it's not because the Lili Taylor version is spectacular, it's because the girl in the original annoyed me more.


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