The Remake Scoreboard – Horror movie remakes – the good and bad list and a few sentences why.
More Classic horror remakes
Fright Night (2011) (original 1985)
The original melodramatic horror/comedy hybrid about the paranoid teen who thinks his neighbor is a vampire is a favorite of anyone who lived through the 1980’s. Equal parts suspense, laughs and special FX, keeps me watching even to this day. When Peter Vincent, played sublimely by Rody McDowell, accidentally discovers Jerry Dandridge to be an actual vampire, (not seeing him in his mirror), it makes for a fantastic pivotal scene. The new one is not funny (not even “McLovin” can save the comedy aspect of this film), is not suspenseful, and is full of unrealistic decisions made by its characters. Plot holes are big enough to bury a vampire (movie) in.
I Spit On Your Grave (2010) (original 1978)
There should be no complaints about this remake, unless you just dislike the whole notion of remakes. I think this film is as good as the original. I don’t mind a remake if it is done well and this one is. The rape scene in this film is unnerving (as it was in the original) and leaves you with a dreadful feeling. It isn’t until the victim plots and executes her revenge that you can shake off that misery. And let me tell you, the revenge scenes in this remake are spectacularly horrifying and nasty. I may give the slight edge to the original, only because of the minimalist way it was filmed but if you were a fan of the original, or if you’re a fan of revenge driven horror, I would recommend that you see this one too.
Carnival of Souls (1998) (original 1962)
I was never a big fan of the original but found it entertaining in a low-budget, art house kind of style. I assumed the remake would close some of the plot holes and be a more coherent film. But at every turn this film asks us to believe nonsensical actions from its characters. Inane dialogue, horrible acting, miscasting with almost every character, and slow…put me to sleep, scenes that lead nowhere. How could such good concepts lead to this ill conceived, poorly executed dribble? Not even the (g-rated) sex-scene could get me interested. Boring!
Psycho (1998) (original 1960)
Director, Gus Van Sant, set out to film a shot-by-shot remake of the Alfred Hitchcock classic, adhering strictly to the script, right down to small details including framing and shot time-lengths. He kept the original score (re-recorded by Danny Elfman) which is really only one theme used at perfect times to really ramp up the tension. Anne Heche’ plays the part of Marion perfectly and has a great look for this modern retelling. And, while Vince Vaughn portrays Norman Bates to the smallest detail, including inflections and pauses in sentences, it is not the same as Perkins’s portrayal. Early in the film when Anthony Perkins lets out a small nervous chuckle, you feel the depth of his character. Not only do you feel the nervousness of talking to a beautiful woman, you also feel that he is hiding something terrible behind that innocent façade. Anthony Perkins is synonymous with Norman Bates character which makes the original version irreplaceable.
Last House on the Left (2009) (original 1972)
This remake was not bad at all. There were so many things that I did not like about the original: bad acting, plot holes, things not explained that should have been. The remake just makes more sense. It explained the bad guy’s motives and it made me empathized with the young kid that wanted no part of this nasty stuff. The revenge scenes by the parents were just as good (watch the unrated version for extra tidbits) and all the characters were totally believable.
previous ‘remake scoreboard’ – Creature Features
My thoughts on the remakes that I’ve seen from your list:
I Spit On Your Grave – I have a soft spot for the original and own it. The remake was nearly as good, though I don’t own it.
Carnival of Souls – No remake could ever touch the original.
Psycho – No remake could ever touch the original. Remake, terrible, the sequel Psycho II, brilliant in many ways.
Last House on the Left – Remake is far better than the original. While the original has its moments, Craven was only learning his craft and it shows in the ’72 film.
Others not on your list:
The Hills Have Eyes, remake far better than the original.
The Crazies, ditto
Yeah, so we agree on all of these. (even the Hills Have Eyes. haven’t seen the Crazies yet)
I haven’t seen the original ‘I Spit On Your Grave’ but I did enjoy the remake when I watched it on TV one night. I actually enjoyed the ‘Fright Night’ remake as a time passer, but it just lacks everything that made the original so great.
If it wasn’t for this blog I would have shut off Fright Night halfway through. The only ones I can really reccomend from this list are The Last House on the Left and I Spit on Your Grave.
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