The Remake Scoreboard – Horror movie remakes – the good and bad list. Thumbs up or thumbs down and a few sentences why.
Remakes: Hauntings and Ghosts
Thirteen Ghosts (remake – 2001)
(original 1960 – 13 Ghosts)
OK, the original has plot-holes you could drive a garbage truck through but, the plot of the remake was just too far-fetched. I can’t believe in that house with all those sliding glass walls and mechanical contraptions. I would have related better to a regular house and it would have been more believable and terrifying. The only saving grace is the inventive and well-defined ghosts that are captured and released in the house; for that reason alone I am giving this a thumbs up. The Jackal, and the Juggernaut are just frightening visual images and worth a look/see. People have even gotten tattoos of the Jackal on their arms and chest. They should make a movie based around the Jackal character.
The Haunting (remake – 1999)
The original was an excruciating psychological terror tale and succeeded in inducing fear in the viewer by not ever showing a ghost at all. Sounds, movements in the house, and opinions from the characters, built the tension and suspense. The remake relied on fx gimmicks to try and spook us. I never felt as if I had stepped into the main characters shoes and therefore never became spooked by any of the special-fx.
The Amityville Horror (remake – 2005)
For all the authentic scares that the original Amityville Horror conjured up, there were also parts that were a bit hokey (bleeding walls, pit of black oil in the basement).The element that made it such a great horror flick was the transformation of George Lutz (played superbly by James Brolin) from a struggling dad we liked to a deranged lunatic with an axe. Add to that great performances of the wife, Kathy, (Margo Kidder) and Father Delany (Rod Steiger) and its hard to top. Not that Ryan Reynold’s acting was bad but I am too used to seeing him in romantic comedies to feel all that rage in him. The new one had a few nice CGI ghosts and creepy scenes (the boathouse scene in particular) but also had its hokey parts. I’ve lived in quite a few houses in my lifetime and have never spent time walking around the roof, especially in the rain with my whole family. All said, the original just felt more real and less Hollywood. I’d see them both.
House on Haunted Hill (remake) (1999)
The 1959 original was just a much better story throughout the whole movie. It seems Hollywood horror movies today like to set up a story, then depart into a bunch of horror and scary scenes, only to pick up the story at the end and tie it all up. The story never unfolds, never lives and breaths. Sometimes it just seems like a life support system for special-fx, prop gags, and creepy sets. That being said, I never found the original to be all too scary (although I heard it was in its day) and the new one did have a few good moments.
The Fog (remake – 2005)
Wholly forgettable remake that actually angered me for wasting my time. No redeeming value whatsoever. The original by John Carpenter was a creepy ghost story worth seeing again and again.