The Top 5 Horror Movie Remakes

Invasion of the body snatchers 1978

The Top 5 Horror Movie Remakes

I’m not one of those prudes who think all old classic movies should be in a shrine and never be remade or revisited. I can like both, the original and the remake for different reasons and want to watch and enjoy both of them. But lets face it, most remakes are horrible and should have never been made. Yet, I do find some that I really like.

To me, there are only three reasons to do a remake.

1 – special effects improvements – advancements in film and effects technology will make the film visually appealing to a modern audience.

2 – expand the storyline – modernizing a film and bring it to date with the moods, opinions, and conscience of the changing world views.

3 – make a better film – an old b-movie can often be remade into a summer blockbuster or serious representative of its genre.

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The 5 Best Remakes in the last 50 years

I like all the originals of the following films, so I guess great concepts, ideas, and scripts also produce better remakes.

1 – The Thing (1982)
Excellent FX improvements and tweaking to the story made a taut thriller and monster movie combined. This is probably one of the most successful remakes ever made because of both, acceptance from horror/sci-fi film buffs and theater/dvd sales.

john-carpenters-the-thing-poster The thing 1982 JC

2 – Maniac (2013)
The truth is, the original was watchable but not ‘best in class.’ This remake with Elijah Woods gave me newfound respect for his acting abilities and reignited my faith in the slasher genre. Shot in first person POV, the real horrors are when the young ladies realize there’s something not quite right with this man and their expressions go from playfully sexy to sheer terror.

maniac-dvd maniac-2012-pic-4

3 – Dawn of the Dead (2004)
Its like zombie-fan heaven in this movie. Any variation of a zombie and zombie scenario you can think of was in this film: zombie baby, fat-lady zombie, a twitcher, giving birth to a zombie, zombie baby, little girl zombies, fast zombies, slow zombies, gunning down zombies, the zombie tank-truck, exploding zombies, mall zombies… great FX, make-up and script!

dawn-of-the-dead dawn-of-the-dead-baby

4 – Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)
Excellent pacing, horrific visuals and tense chase scenes. Loved the way they fleshed-out the characters in the beginning of the film, dialogue and acting seemed very natural. I love the original but this one has even more action and thrills.

texas-chainsaw-massacre the-texas-chainsaw-massacre-2003-

5 – The Fly (1986)
Took the classic 50s sci-fi horror staple and dosed it with steroids. Heartbreaking love story between Seth Brundle (Jeff Goldblum) and Veronica (Gina Davis). This is such a great version. If you haven’t seen this in a while, revisit. Still an excellent film.

the-fly-cover-3 the-fly-1986--08

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Honorable mentions:

The Blob (1988)
Thankfully made before the CGI boom, the creature in this film is fast moving and fluid. See? You can do practical effects of abstract creatures – it just takes a little work and brainpower, rather than just handing it over to the CG department. The amoeba-like killer grows to monstrous proportions and eats a town.

the-blob the blob 1988

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)
The real and likable characters portrayed by, Donald Sutherland, Brooke Adams and Jeff Goldblum are exceptional. You can’t help but root for their escape as the world goes mad around them. Coupled with some great special-effects, cinematography, and sound track (effects and music), the remake is a solid, must-see film.

invasion-of-the-body-snatchers-1978 invasion-of-the-body-snatchers-1978-human-faced-dog-creature

Willard (2003)
Crispin Glover excels as the dark, gothic, twisted, King of Rats! I did like Ernest Borgnine’s portrayal as Willard’s Boss in the original, but the film was slow-moving. This took a mediocre film and made it into a gothic horror fright-fest.

willard willard remake

Stay tuned for the Top 5 Worst Horror Remakes coming next post!

40 thoughts on “The Top 5 Horror Movie Remakes

  1. Excellent! I’m not opposed to remakes either – as long as they’re GOOD. Dawn of the Dead remake was excellent!

  2. Great list. Invasion of the Body Snatchers is one of my favorite remakes. I totally agree with your 5. I thought the TCM remake was extremely well done and actually made Leatherface scary again. The Hills Have Eyes remake is also another fantastic one.

  3. The Thing (1982) is one of my all time fave films, its brilliant, and the monster effects are brilliant. I really like the tense claustrophobic setting as well. Dawn of the Dead remake was a lot better than I thought it would be, as was the Texas Chainsaw massacre, great effects as well. The remake of the Fly is another great film, that ending is so gross yet also very moving as well. I’ve not seen the others on this list, they look good though, will have to check them out.

    • Texas Chansaw Massacre along with a few other 1970s films (I Spit on Your Grave) had a rawness and unpolished style that seemed almost documentary-like. It made those films terrifying for the time. So there definitely isn’t that feel in the remake, but I like it for different reasons.

  4. The Texas Chainsaw remakes/reboots were my first encounter with leatherface, and i thought to myself: hey, that’s one mean son of a B?¥_@! But then i learned that in his other movies he seems to be some kind of a transvestite with lipstick and such and the legend crumbled…

  5. I preferred the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre for it’s downright goriness. Just can’t top ot with the new one but liked it also. I started watching the remake of Maniac and just couldn’t get into it. I’m going to try again, maybe just wasn’t in the mood and you’ve recommended it:) Absolutely loved Willard and agree that the remake nailed it too.
    I’d like to see a remake of The Valley of Gwangi and The Legend of Boggy Creek.
    Now I’m going to watch some of these again. In the mood after your post!

  6. Oh yes, Maniac was a good piece of cinema! Dawn of the Dead? HUGE fan!!

    I haven’t seen Willard yet, though I keep hearing excellent things about it. I should just get on it already.

    Great post!

  7. Well-done! Have you done — or might you consider doing — a list of The Bottom 5 Horror Remakes? Carnival of Souls comes to mind.

  8. Now you’re talkin’! I’ve seen all your picks and honorable mentions but Maniac. Haven’t heard a bad thing about that flick…

    Crispin Glover’s trademark awkwardness jelled well with the Willard character. A great performance.

  9. I like all of these except I’ve not seen either Maniac or TCSM. I love the remake of Invasion of the body snatchers. The original is awesome, but the remake took the idea but added it’s own twist. I agree that it had a great cast too. Leonard Nimoy was the standout for me playing a smug self-help guru.

  10. Great list, Michael! Love most of these films to death, bro. I haven’t seen the Texas Chainsaw remake along with Willard or Maniac, though. Need to watch those.

    The Thing all the way!!! Best horror remake EVER! Man, I love the IOTBS remake sooo much, too. Great post, my man!

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