It’s safe to say Stephen King’s IT is the most hotly-anticipated film this side of Christmas that isn’t called Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Early word suggests that the horror remake is more than decent, though if you’re like me, you’ve heard all this pre-embargo chit-chat before to be anything other than cautiously optimistic… Only later in the week when the review floodgates are opened shall we truly know whether IT floats or sinks. However, what better time than now to revisit some horror remakes that truly slashed it out of the park?
Here’s our definitive handful of remakes that are better than the original or at the very least nestle nicely alongside it:
5. Piranha 3D (2010)
Ok, so the bar was set ridiculously low with this one, but on paper remaking duds from yesteryear such as 1978’s Piranha is a glorious idea; you’re not going to offend anyone by trampling all over a beloved classic and there is already a premise there to build upon. In the case of Piranha 3D, the original’s flesh-eating fish wrecking havoc in a lake full of teenage revellers is still very much intact, only added with everything 2010 could throw at you. Which is namely gimmicky 3D, naff CG and gratuitous levels of gore, nudity and violence. Oh, did I mention Christopher Lloyd and Richard Dreyfuss star? What’s not to love?
4. The Hills Have Eyes (2006)
Directed by the gentleman who also directed my choice above, Alexandre Aja, The Hills Have Eyes is also another remake which sensibly chooses a horror film in need of a desperate lick of paint (The Hills Have Eyes, 1977). This one has a lot more clout than Piranha 3D though with original director Wes Craven returning as the scribe, and new director Alexandre Aja adding some real precision and fresh ideas. Far better than most of the remake crowd that plagues the screen.
3. Dawn of the Dead (2004)
I vividly remember staying up late one night as a 15/16-year old flicking between channels, and being blown away by this 10-minute preview segment I later learned was Zack Snyder‘s Dawn of the Dead. I got the DVD the following Christmas and totally watched the shit out of it. Everything from the stunning visuals, brutal gore and sweet dynamic between Sarah Polley and Jake Weber captivated my youthful mind. It was my gateway to discovering a bit more about the zombie genre and sits respectfully next to the 1978 George A. Romero original.
2. The Fly (1986)
David Cronenberg directs this remake of the 1958 film of the same name starring the incredible Jeff Goldblum as Seth Brundle – a character you’ll be wishing to erase from your head to replace with sweeter memories of Ian Malcolm. The prosthetic make-up used to create Jeff Goldbum’s turn as The Fly is so disgustingly realistic it won an Oscar for best makeup. Haunting stuff.
1. The Thing (1982)
The Thing isn’t only one of the best remakes ever, it’s arguably the best sci-fi/horror film ever (possibly grappling with Alien for first place). Directed by horror maestro John Carpenter, The Thing is an adaptation of the novel “Who Goes There?” first brought to the screen in 1951’s The Thing From Another World. Carpenter’s 1982 iteration however is the real classic, pushing body horror to disturbing new levels with the effects and gore still standing up today; especially next to its own remake of a remake, 2006’s The Thing, which is well worth avoiding.
What are your Top 5 horror remakes that best the original? Any takers for arguing A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010) is better than the original? What about I Am Legend? Is it horror enough to mention in the same breath as The Thing and The Fly? Let us know in the comments below – until next time, thanks for reading!