Last week my wife and I watched the re-make of A Nightmare on Elm Street. We were getting all the pay movie channels for free and it came on, so we thought "what the hell" and watched. It was beyond terrible, as most re-makes are and have been for quite some time, which makes me wonder just why people find it in their best interest to re-make classic horror films.
Here is a list of films I think never should have been re-made. This is very self indulgent and I know a lot of people disagree with me, especially those who are younger than me. I grew up in the VHS generation where all the old horror films were just a video store away. I watched the originals, even if it was filmed before my parents had even gotten together much less had the glimmer of a thought to create me. Thing is, some films are great they way they are, even if they were filmed as far back as the thirties (though I would have to agree that most films before the 50s could use some updating). Here's the list of films that should never have been re-made:
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
A Nightmare on Elm Street
Friday the 13th
The House of Wax
Dawn of the Dead
Night of the Living Dead
Day of the Dead
The Amityville Horror
Carnival of Souls
House on Haunted Hill
The Hills Have Eyes
The Lost Boys
Those are off the top of my head, and with a little help from a website with a list of re-makes. Of course, I only list movies I'm familiar with. For instance, I saw the re-make of My Bloody Valentine, but had never seen the original. Not a big slasher film fan, and they were a dime a dozen in the 80s.
Those films are great the way they are. Some of them may be a little dated, but not enough to constitute a re-make. Not in my eyes at least. Some would argue that The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was filmed on such a low budget with such poor film stock and sound that it's too hard for young people to watch. I say bullshit. It's that documentary-like film quality and sound that creates the atmosphere in that film and makes it so scary. Some would argue that 13 Ghosts and House on Haunted Hill are too schticky and should be made into more serious films. I suppose that's in the eye of the Beholder. But the re-makes were terrible, as most re-makes are.
But there are anomalies. Here's a list of films that were justifiably to be re-made, in my opinion:
Last House on the Left
Phantom of the Opera
The Wicker Man
I like the originals of most if not all of these films, however I can see good reason for either updating or re-making them better, though most often the re-makes are terrible. I think The Fly is the greatest re-make ever. David Cronenberg knew what he was doing, and he did it right. I also like the Crazies re-make because the original was such tripe. Now, when it comes to The Last House on the Left and The Wicker Man, I am a huge fan of both the originals and couldn't care less about the re-makes, but I can see how the films were do for some renovations. Both of them have rather terrible scores, and LHotL has some very poor acting. I also think The Wicker Man could have been truly frightening, but some of the ritualistic behavior in the original was laughable at best.
So, what's next? What gem will be re-made to take advantage of the 3D boom we're living through?(Don't get me started there. This new 3D is crap if you ask me.) I don't know, but I can tell you that for the most part I'll be disappointed. Filmmakers should stopcashing out re-making a film due to its popularity and dig into some of the great plots from the 50s and beyond that are outdated. Start with Bowery After Midnight. It's a Lugosi classic, but it's outdated and would make for a frightening film set in the the present day. Sure, people will think it's an original because the name isn't well known like, say, Jaws or The Exorcist, or, I don't know, A Nightmare on Elm Street! But someone should give that train of thought a chance and see where it goes. May be a goldmine there not only for profits, but good horror films as well.
But God forbid, don't touch Freaks! That film is old but perfect the way it is.