Friday, 29 April 2011

The Top 10 Worst Horror Remakes


Following up my list of best horror remakes, I decided to make my job easier by now looking at the worst ones. If you read my reviews and avoid these painfully pointless flicks, you’ll never have to feel the real pain of seeing a classic defiled. If you don’t, I feel sorry for what you are about to experience. Tedium. Silliness. Irrelevance. These films have em all!

10. HOUSE OF WAX (2005)

Oddly enough, this is a remake in name only and has no other ties to the 1953 film (which is itself a remake of 1933 horror Mystery of the Wax Museum), it’s worth a mention if only because we get to see Paris Hilton succumb to a grisly fate. There is a fantastic scene involving skin/wax being peeled off someone, but that’s about it – the characters are tired, the plot is boring and the kills (bar Paris) are unmemorable. Doesn’t even qualify for ’so bad it’s good’ kudos.

9. THE HAUNTING (1999)

Originally released in 1963, The Haunting was a superb thriller which disdained shocks in favour of a masterful buildup of suspense; the remake, however, is like a kids’ film trying to play grown up. The subtly malign antagonists of the original have metamorphosed into ghosts which are brash, in-your-face and distinctly Casper-esque, and its exquisite tension is replaced throughout with tedious action. And to think it was inspired by probably the best ghost film of all time…

#8 – Day of the Dead (2008)

I have a confession. George A. Romero’s third contribution to the Living Dead series is one of my favourite films, so this film never really stood a chance. However, I hoped it might have followed in the vein of Zack Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead remake and manage to be worthwhile as an original feature. Alas, this film is so bad that a planned theatrical release was pulled and it went straight to DVD and onto many ‘worst of…’ lists. It has some minor assets, but they are as lost in this mess as the A-list cast is.

#7 – The Wicker Man (2006)

Robin Hardy’s original was very British and the epitome of the Hammer horror style, with legend Christopher Lee claiming it to be one of his best performances. Joining the long line of pointless remakes, we get Nicolas Cage earning his keep by hamming it up tremendously. The ridiculousness of this film has been viral for awhile now, so sit back, smile, and ask “HOW’D IT GET BURNED!?!”

#6 – Friday the 13th (2009)

Alone of the films on this list, Friday the 13th is actually not half bad; the problem comes when you consider why it’s classed as a remake at all. None of the many entries in the Friday The 13th series were particularly original, but this Michael Bay-produced film is so derivative that it could have easily worked as another sequel, or possibly an alternate timeline à la Star Trek. But a remake? You might as well just get the original; it’s more fun, and very eighties to boot!

#5 – Dark Water (2005)

The Ring brought J-horror remakes to the American public, The Grudge made sure people would still soil their pants in fear of the shadowy terrors of the Orient… and Dark Water made people sleepy and need to go toilet. The original is quite tense and a decent film in its own right, but this Jennifer Connelly-starring snorefest is so boring, I can’t believe it made its way into cinemas. Never before have I wished that a studio demanded more explosions in a film.

#4 – Last House on the Left (2009)

Anyone who has seen horror maestro Wes Craven’s 1972 exploitation piece about the sexual torture and murder of two teenage girls know that it is no easy viewing. Sadly, this remake suffers from Hollywood-syndrome and is just too much of a normal film. The original was difficult because it was almost like finding a snuff film, whereas we known this one is staged, and it’s too easy to accept the chaos because of this. It’s well shot and acted, but when a film that’ core subject is the horrors of rape and revenge, you really don’t want people missing the point.

#3 – Night of the Living Dead 3D (2006)

Bad… Wrong… Bad… Steer clear of this turkey. I was foolish enough to want to see a remake of one of cinema’s all time classics. I was foolish enough to think horror star Sid Haig would not put himself in a piece of trash. I was foolish enough to think that if someone invested in making a 3D film, it must be at least halfway decent. I will never be so foolish again. I have always wondered why people would ever walk out of a film, but now I know. While watching this film, I found a new appreciation for life away from the screen. This was not intentional on the filmmaker’s behalf. They just made a really boring and godawful film!

#2 – A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)

Another Wes Craven classic, the original is the most recognisable films of any genre in the eighties, let alone of horror. The remake had such good intentions, and Watchmen’s Jackie Earle Haley fills the shoes of movie monster Freddy Krueger adequately (bar his distinctly talpine make up), but in the end, the film is a waste of time. The only reason to remake the original would be to make Freddy scary again and no longer have teenagers just be fodder for him; this film fails on both counts, and includes some shockingly poor characterisations.

#1 – The Shining (1997)

Writer Stephen King was never happy with Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 adaptation of his book and in 1997 wrote a script closer to his original story. Try them one after the other – it’s quite an experience to suddenly go from one of the most important horror films of all time to a cheap TV movie starring the voice of Gus from Recess. It’s true to the book, but it is also a benign piece of toss. I have boatloads of respect for King, but however good his novel is, this film version is almost too ridiculous to believe. It’s like trying to reinvent fudge cake; you could probably do it, but it would take a lot of effort (and hazelnut flour, if you’re as pretentious as us) and everyone would still prefer the original.

I now have some articles being published with the good folks over at Best For Film.  Articles I post there will make their way here after a few days, but do check out their site. There are some decent articles by writers who are probably better than me!