The Remake Scoreboard – Horror movie remakes – the good and bad list. Thumbs up or thumbs down and a few sentences why.
Remakes: Killers On The Loose
The original film portrayed a creepy and suspenseful thriller that built to a nail biting climax. Likeable characters were harassed by an eerie voice on the phone and were dispatched, one by one, in the most extremely unpleasant methods imaginable. The new one is a closely scripted remake but fails to capture the atmosphere, intensity, and character likeability that make the original so good. About half way through the film I was completely disengaged from the story and just wished everyone would DIE already, because I was bored to tears!
Aside from the ‘he’s in the house’ scene, this remake has a totally different script. The famous scene in the original, where the babysitter is on the phone with the killer while the police trace it – only to find that the call is coming from inside the very house – is still talked about as one of the great terror inducers in film history. However, if you remember the film in detail, aside from the opening and closing scenes (approx. 10 minutes of film time) the rest of the movie was a detective /homicide investigation movie, and a rather dull one. The remake has a babysitter in an elaborate home, being tormented by a killer, and all the events take place during the course of one night. It will never be famous in filmmaking history, but it is entertaining, nevertheless.
This remake is close enough to the original that no one should get riled over the new version. The fact is, the original, being a very good film, never gained the status of other films released during the same time period. Halloween, the iconic slasher film, stayed in the theaters for several years. Alien, The Shining, Friday the 13th, The Amityville Horror, and The Evil Dead were films released between ‘78 and ‘81. I tend to think that Valentine never got the credit it deserved because of all these great films. The miner, fully masked, with goggles and the light atop his head, coming at you with a pick-axe, is really a threatening horror image. The fact is, the remake is so similar to the original, it’s a toss up on which one to see. There is probably no need to own them both. Pick one and enjoy!
This is like comparing apples and oranges. This new version has your all-star “in-crowd” actors and hot-shorts wearing ‘a-list’ actresses, prancing around and flirting with the camera until they are finally killed off. That’s not to say I don’t like it, because it has its shining moments. But consider the Vincent Price character, plotting and striking revenge upon the socialites and businessmen that ignored and never appreciated his works of art and you will see a stark difference. The 1953 version has a great story and plot – the remake has nice scenery.
If you are familiar with the 1972 version you will remember a gentle Willard befriending some rats that his bed-ridden mother insisted be dispatched by whatever means possible. The film took quite long to develop and Willard’s anger and revenge was a brief flash, for which he seemed instantly remorseful. With Crispin Glover taking on the role as Willard, we have a much darker, brooding film with a gothic vibe and an instantly believable crossover of Willard from the meek outcast to the vicious psychotic king of the rats. You want to cheer for him but at the same time it disgusts you. This remake is definitely the stronger of the two films.