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14 Best Horror Remakes Worth Watching.

TheM 36 Comments

If there is one thing I like to get cranky about it is the constant need for the Hollywood machine to remake classic horror films. Yesterday I flew off the handle when it was announced Matt Reeves is Writing & Directing a Remake of They Live and I did not respond much better to The Crow Remake and the Total Recall Remake.

Its no surprise why Hollywood does this it is an easy way to tap into a built in audience and pretty much guarantee positive results at the box office. Why spend money trying to create a new concept when you can tap into an existing idea make a few adjustments and release it as your own animal.

In many cases mainstream America has no idea that the film is even a remake depending on the age and country of origin of the original film so remakes are not just feasible but highly profitable for studios. To put it in perspective according to BoxOfficeMojo remakes alone have made studios over 1.9 Billion dollars just at the box office alone!

As much as horror remakes in principal annoy the hell out of me I have to admit that at times it does work and I wanted to take a minute and look at 14 Horror remakes that to me are as good, or at least live up to the original film. So in no particular order I present to you my 14 horror remakes that are worthy of the original films.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre

Starring Jessica Biel this remake of Tobe Hooper’s classic original is a violent and modern take on the classic. The original film was released in 1974 and is a must have film for fans of the cult classics. In The Texas Chainsaw Massacre a group of friends passing through a small town are stalked and hunted down by a deformed killer with a chainsaw and his diabolical family. I like to bag on Jessica Biel and the fact she is never my first choice as an actress but her obvious good looks and her emotionally stunted acting worked effectively in this film.

14 Best Horror Remakes Worth Watching.

The Hills Have Eyes:

I am going to upset a lot of people with this one and say that the original 1977 film is actually not  a personal favourite of mine. I realize that a lot of you love the original but for whatever reason the film was a bit blasé for me.

That said the remake in 2006 which was directed by Alexander Aja was an absolutely fantastic and brutal film with equal parts suspense and terrifying violence to make it one of the better remakes to sprout out of the Hollywood machine. What made this movie work is an unknown cast and an incredibly talented up and coming director. Over the years Alexander Aja’s name has been brought up to direct many films including a remake of Hellraiser and the brutal French film Martyrs.

14 Best Horror Remakes Worth Watching.

Let Me In:

Let The Right One In is easily one of the best vampire films of the last 10 years so it comes as no shock that Hollywood remade it the online buzz with die hard horror fans was intense. The Swedish film was directed by Tomas Alfredson and was released in 2006. One of the reasons this remake works well is because most of mainstream America has never even heard of the original much less seen it. The remake was directed by Matt Reeves the director of Cloverfield and starred two very talented young actors one of which being Chloe Moretz who also starred in Kick Ass and is quickly establishing herself as an up and coming actress. The remake titled Let Me In tells the story of a young boy who is bullied by his schoolmates and ignored by his single mother and his estranged father. He finds comfort with his new neighbour who hides a dark secret.

14 Best Horror Remakes Worth Watching.

Dawn of the Dead:

George Romero is a legend. Every fan of the zombie genre knows his name and gives him proper credit as being an icon of the genre. Admittedly over the last few years his films have been a bit hit and miss with Land of the Dead, Survival of the Dead and Diary of the Dead but that does not lessen his impact on the genre. I loved the original 1978 Dawn of the Dead but I also am extremely passionate over the remake which Zack Snyder directed in 2004.

What made the remake work was a great director and a strong cast which included Sarah Polley, Ving Rhames and Jake Weber. What really made this remake work is Zack Snyder lifted some of the key elements from George Romero’s terrifying original but then added a slew of new elements that not only brought the film up to modern times but truly made it his own. Sure it had zombies and it was in a mall but otherwise it was very much his own film. Exactly how a good remake should be. I respect a director who can pay homage while also making a film his own.

14 Best Horror Remakes Worth Watching.

Night of the Living Dead:

It is some irony that I bitch about classics being remade and one of my favourite directors has three of his films on my ‘favorite horror remakes’ list. Yep this won’t be the last film of George Romero’s we discuss on this list. The 1990 remake of the Night of the Living Dead brought the black and white classic into Technicolor and frankly the key reason this film worked so well is because of George Romero’s involvement in it. He did not direct the project, he produced it and tapped his long time cohort Tom Savini to direct it. Tom Savini is best known for his bit parts and special FX work but I give him most of his credit in the industry for the outstanding performance he turned in directing this feature film. This remake is easily as good as the original and is a film I have watched over 50 times. You can never get enough of a good thing and the 1990 remake of Night Of the Living Dead is a good thing.

14 Best Horror Remakes Worth Watching.

The Thing:

Released in 1982 this remake of the 1951 classic works for all the obvious reason. A talented director in John Carpenter an outstanding cast including Kurt Russell and some of the best practical special effects ever applied to film. They did not just remake a film for the sake of remaking it they took a classic tale of sci-fi terror and brought it up to modern standards while adding their own twist to it. This film much like the remake of night of the Living Dead has gotten a real workout in my DVD player having watched it no less than 50 times over the years.

14 Best Horror Remakes Worth Watching.

Rob Zombies Halloween:

Rob Zombie has quite a reputation and has more than once come out in the press to bag on remakes and the directors that make them. So needless to say there was some irony to his remaking Halloween which is another staple of the genre. Rob Zombie however proved that a talented director can take a classic make it his own and deliver a unique experience that new and old fans alike can appreciate. The real shame here is that Rob made a sequel to his remake in the form of 2009’s Halloween 2 which is not just one of the worst sequels / remakes but one of the worst horror movies I have seen in ages. Fortunately he is no longer attached to do a remake of The Blob and is instead going to take a stab at the Lords Of Salem which is getting lots of early buzz from fans.

14 Best Horror Remakes Worth Watching.

The Hitcher

: Admittedly this one barely made my list. The only reason it really ends up here is because of the fantastic performance that Sean Bean turned in as The Hitcher. Questionably as entertaining as the original it at least is an entertaining stab at a 1986 classic.

14 Best Horror Remakes Worth Watching.

My Bloody Valentine 3D

: I am not a fan of 3D and feel it is a complete gimmick. So it should come as no surprise to you that I saw this film in 2d and not 3d. That said I was truly shocked to see how well this film held up and how much I enjoyed it. It did not exactly track new ground but it was definitely a violent and sadistic tribute to the original and one that was well worth seeing. You can never go wrong with more violent films of terror that revolve around one of our favourite commercialized holidays Valentines day.

14 Best Horror Remakes Worth Watching.

The Crazies:

I told you that George Romero would make the list again and this is his third film on the remakes worth watching list. If it makes you feel better it is also his last J . This remake of the low budget 1973 original stars Timothy Olyphant and Radha Mitchell and is everything a remake should be. This creepy re-imagining of the original contains just enough original concepts and classic tribute material to make it a fantastic film. I am not a fan of remakes and am also definitely not a fan of Timothy Olyphants but have to admit that this film and its team delievered.

14 Best Horror Remakes Worth Watching.

The Last House on the Left:

The original film by Wes Craven is a truly brutal experience but it also has a much deeper message on humanity and the human spirit. The scene in question plays out during one of the roughest scenes where the antagonists rape and murder a girl. You see it when they look down at the blood on their hands and realize in disgust as they try to clean their hands what they have done. True to form though they continue on to commit even more sadistic violence and quickly overcome their disgust.

The remake directed by Dennis Illadis is as brutal as the original and features a talented cast that make this extremely sadistic and brutal film work. The most impressive performance in this film comes from actress Martha MacIsaac who turns in a very emotional and intense performance. I only knew her up until this point as ‘the geeky chick from Superbad’ but with the remake of The Last House on the Left she proved she is an incredibly talented actress.

14 Best Horror Remakes Worth Watching.

The Blob:

This 1988 remake of the 1958 movie about a killer blob from outer space works for me primarily because they took the original and brought it up to modern times. Chuck Russell took the original film and made it his own. The original film starred Steve McQueen and is a classic tale of scifi terror and the remake for me is one of my favourites and is one I have seen many times. It and The Thing are two of my favourite sci-fi horror remakes. They also have in common the fact that both have remake in the works yet again. We will see if these new second set of remakes hold up to the originals.

14 Best Horror Remakes Worth Watching.

I Spit on Your Grave:

This 2010 remake from Anchorbay was directed by Stephen Monroe and takes the classic exploitation film and updates it for modern day filmgoers. Easily as brutal as the original this film is the definition of exploitation filmmaking. Once again it works because of good direction and excellent casting with Sarah Butler taking on the role that Camille Keaton played in the original. This story of a novelist who goes into the backwoods and goes from victim to victimizer is definitely an excellent example of a well thought out remake.

14 Best Horror Remakes Worth Watching.

The Body Snatchers:

The remake I am referring to is the 1978 remake starring Donald Sutherland. This sci-fi horror film about aliens that snatch and replace people is a classic tale that has been remade and retold more times than I can count. The original starred Boris Karloff and was released in 1945 it was remade in 1956, 1978 and 1993. The 1978 one is the one that stars Donald Sutherland and in my view is the best of the ‘remake batches’.

14 Best Horror Remakes Worth Watching.

So there you have it, fourteen horror remakes that are worth watching from a guy who typically despises horror remakes. Which of these fourteen films do you like? Which do you despise? More importantly which remakes are you a fan of that did not make my list?

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36 Comments

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      1. Yolt13 April 12, 2011 at 11:07 pm

        I busted your chops for attacking remakes yesterday, so I guess it’s only fair that I give you kudos here for admitting that you’ve enjoyed so many of the high profile horror remakes of the last few decades despite your professed utter distaste for such things. At the risk of coming across like an even bigger smartass than I already have, see what happens when you judge movies on their individual merist and shortcomings, rather than passing judgment on them because they happen to fall into a category of film it’s all-too-fashionable to despise?

        The thing is, I love this site. I consider it the best horror film news page on the web today. It’s the only one I check on a daily basis – primarily because the others are so inundated with the usual anti-remake, anti-sequel, anti-franchise, fanboy rants that they’re hard to stomach for more than a few minutes at a time. I honestly do respect your opinions, but I have a real issue with broad, blanket statements about a genre of movies (and remakes are, in their own way, a genre) that completely discount the possibility that some films in that genre might just be worth a look. That’s exactly the sort of thing mainstream cinemagoers and critics have been doing to the horror genre for the last 100 years. And I hate to see that on a site that I generally enjoy and trust for my film news.

        The irony is that when someone posts an angry rant about remakes on the web, to a certain extent they’re doing exactly the same thing Hollywood does when it remakes an existing movie – wheeling out more of the same old same old that’s already been done a thousand times, banking on the fact that enough people are of a like mind that they’ll throw their support behind it. The fact that it’s your honest opinion doesn’t change the fact that there are already a million anti-remake rants online, and an intelligent and gifted writer like yourself – writing for the best horror film site on the web – can definitely do better. I come here to celebrate the horror genre, not read the umpteenth thousandth treatise on what’s wrong with it.

        So all snarky comments and criticism aside, let me say that I really enjoyed this list. Thanks for going against your natural aversion to remakes to write a piece celebrating the best that category of film has to offer.

        • HorrorMovies April 13, 2011 at 11:48 am

          yer comments are appreciated and respected. Your comment definitely got me thinking that as much as i despise the concept of remaking They Live that I have enjoyed quite a few remakes.

          Worth noting I am not a formal critic nor a formal writer. We are but fans writing about what we love so we do expect some leeway :) We have our flaws and as much as we improve every day we will always just be fans. Look forward to reading more of your feedback.

        • Citheren April 13, 2011 at 7:54 pm

          I’m not against remakes per-se, but what appears to be the death of originality from Mainstream Hollywood. You mean to tell me they’re all out of ideas? Seeing the same film I saw 20 years ago maybe be cool, but I’d sure love to see a film I haven’t seen before.

          I think that’s where a lot of the disdain for remakes comes in, some of them succeed, some of them don’t, and it’s the “dont’s” that people remember.

        • HorrorMovies April 14, 2011 at 1:59 am

          i cant disagree my friend. you make valid points and ones i agree with

      2. Twoslowjoe April 12, 2011 at 11:12 pm

        I was glad to see The Hitcher on the list. One movie that should of been on the list is Funny Games, I thought it was awesome! Naomi Watts and Tim Roth was great in it. It’s a shame that not many people have seen the remake or the original.

        • HorrorMovies April 13, 2011 at 12:48 pm

          good call on funny games. should have made the list!

        • Anonymous January 30, 2012 at 1:56 pm

          I agree, I loved the original for how much it made me squirm and the remake did the same thing. If anything, the brothers were better in the remake than the original.   

      3. Yolt13 April 12, 2011 at 11:13 pm

        Oh yeah… you forgot PIRANHA 3D!:)

        • HorrorMovies April 13, 2011 at 11:46 am

          you know that is one movie i still have not seen. I have been meaning to but just have not gotten around to it lol

      4. Ron Nocella April 12, 2011 at 11:24 pm

        I agree with every film on this list (except I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE and BODY SNATCHERS only because I havent seen those remakes yet).

        Also, I know I probably stand alone but I loved Rob Zombies H2. The theatrical version made no sense but the directors cut, in my opinion, was a decent sequel.

        Speaking of remakes, I heard a rumor on Felissa Rose’s Facebook a while ago that a remake of Sleepaway Camp has been discussed. Am I the only one who thinks that if they stick to the story of the original but just updated it, it would be an INCREDIBLE movie to remake?

      5. Dennis Francis April 13, 2011 at 1:39 am

        I would have to agree with this list, but with one exception. Halloween. I respect your opinion dont get me wrong. But cmon, as soon as Zombie decided to ruin the movie by having a 90 minute backstory about Myers. I was done. I thought it was much more interesting not knowing anything about Myers, other than the fact he was a kid, who snapped and killed his sister.

        But good work. Can’t wait for your next article.

        • Anonymous January 30, 2012 at 2:04 pm

          Exactly why I hated Zombies version of Halloween. I don’t like Zombie anyway, his films are so over the top I just can’t buy into them. The back story bored me stupid that by the time the real action started I couldn’t be bothered with it any longer.

          This is a great list. Last house on the left (the remake) is one of my favourite films even though I lack the guts to watch it again. However, Let the right one in was so perfect that I didn’t like the remake. It was pretty much the same in every way so it didn’t feel like a remake at all more like a dubbed version of the original but maybe I should watch again as it seems I have missed the point somewhere. I am yet to watch I spit on your grave. Again I lack the balls to watch it and as a woman find it difficult to stomach. I will “man up” eventually.   

      6. Suspiria_89 April 13, 2011 at 2:44 am

        Great list, I agree with most of your comments. Except I’m not a fan of Let Me In at all.

      7. Deth_banger April 13, 2011 at 4:28 am

        Great to see the ’78 version of Body Snatchers made the list. One remake I love that didn’t make the list is my favorite remake of all time and that is David Cronenberg’s The Fly, truly awesome! Great list none the less.

      8. Bender April 13, 2011 at 4:43 am

        Let Me In was the best movie of 2010 if you ask me.

      9. SevenUnearth April 13, 2011 at 7:01 am

        Firstly, my bloody valentine is one of the worst horror movie I’ve seen in years and secondly, even if Let me in was a good remake, it was simply a copy. They could have simply done advertisement for the original instead and it would have been perfect. Why do people absolutly need english langage? Can’t you read sub or don’t you have actor to make the voice-over? The crazies was pretty boring too. For the rest, I almost only seen the remake and not the original, I have a special affection for the hills have eyes which is one of the best brutal horror movie i’ve seen in my life. Now I need to see the body snatcher and Night of the living dead to see if they are that worth watching. Thanks for the list.

        • Bender April 15, 2011 at 6:51 am

          I don’t think ANY movie is “needed”. If people would just read the book, there wouldn’t be a need for Let the Right One In either. People are “too lazy to read”. ;)

          I totally disagree that LMI was a copy of LTROI. I own both and every character is different. (the vampire is a different GENDER even)

      10. Gardenofstone10 April 13, 2011 at 7:16 am

        I totally agree with this list. Nice to see Halloween on it given so many people trashed it, I was a supporter of it. Although, I like H2, lol. Good list, Meh

      11. decm666 April 13, 2011 at 10:22 am

        I thought I should join in here an say that I also loved Rob Zombie’s Halloween and the sequel and they are both some of my favourite films of the past decade. Also I’d like to mention that My Bloody Valentine 3D was one of the worst things I’ve ever seen, I watched it once and I will never be watching it again but in the end it’s all just a matter of opinion.

      12. Vamp_Slayer April 13, 2011 at 5:47 pm

        I agree with every single one, you posted some that get lots of hate and I think they are good (not necessarily better than the originals, not necessarily the best films, but good) like The Hitcher, and I own every single one of those. You are a lot like me Meh, you hate that movies are being remade, but once they come around you like quite a few of them, I am the same.

      13. ScreenTalkerOrg April 15, 2011 at 3:16 am

        Great post. 2012 Year of the #RemakeHell

      14. Crpan April 17, 2011 at 5:24 am

        Great list. Love The Thing! Just a side note- the 1945 film The Body Snatcher is not related to 1956, 1978 or any other films based on the novel The Body Snatchers by Jack Finney. The 1945 film is based on a Robert Lewis Stevenson story. Just my nerd comment of the day.

        Also didn’t care for Rob Zombie’s Halloween but I know a lot of people did.

        • HorrorMovies April 18, 2011 at 2:55 am

          very good information and i appreciate being corrected on something i was clearly VERY wrong about :) Kudos

      15. Chuck April 27, 2011 at 1:55 pm

        I don’t know why people get pissy over remakes see I think remakes are there to keep something alive and usually the last movie fails for ex. Halloween having it be remade than having Resurrection to be the last film it sucks. im fan of horror movies including remakes because I don’t compare it to something originally done I just enjoy it or dislike it.

      16. TerrorCorner May 9, 2011 at 10:18 pm

        Quite a few of those are on my “list” of remakes that I’ve enjoyed as well. One I’m REALLY actually looking forward to viewing is Daniel Radcliffe in “The Woman in Black” by Hammer Films. Saw the original TV movie (based on a novel), and loved it.

      17. Albert Farragut August 17, 2011 at 4:15 am

        Does Evil Dead 2 count as a remake of Evil Dead? Just sayin… But in all seriousness you hit the nail on the head with the good remakes. The Hitcher is the only one I didn’t like as much as the original. But Dawn of the Dead and The Thing are two of my favorite horror films. Some of my personal favorite horror movies can be found at http://www.filmcrave.com/list_genre_movie.php?genre=Horror

      18. Ryan Shovey September 8, 2011 at 7:45 pm

        I say The Fly should definitely have been on this list, more so than My Bloody Valentine 3d. 

      19. Warputty September 8, 2011 at 9:50 pm

        I don’t know if this has already been mentioned–but the 1945 Boris Karloff film ‘The Body Snatcher’ had nothing to do with the tale of aliens replicating people (that started with Jack Finney’s novel, which the original 1956 first adapted). Karloff’s film was based on a story by Robert Louis Stevenson about grave robbers.

      20. ZombieMaster September 15, 2011 at 10:47 am

        Awesome list.  I didn’t like Bloody Valentine I actually felt asleep watching it. But most of the remakes did a good job trying to capture the original.  Most of these are in The Best Horror Movie List http://www.besthorrormovielist.com/ and those guys only add top horror.  So great job. 

      21. Mike Hardy January 31, 2012 at 8:12 pm

        Body Snatchers was also remade recently in 2007 with Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig as “The Invasion”, though it wasn’t very good

      22. Stephen April 30, 2012 at 9:14 pm

        nice, love that Texas Chainsaw made the list, great remake. not comparable to the original tho. 

      23. Holly A Hanson July 4, 2012 at 4:15 am

        There are some on this list that I refuse to watch, but overall you’ve done a decent job pinning down who got it right. I would just have to say that Rob Zombie did a damn good job with the Halloween remakes. The commentary on both made them just that much more appealing to me. I’m not a die-hard Zombie fan, but with the first remake came a greater respect for him as a director. I wasn’t much for House of 1000 corpses and slightly enjoyed The Devil’s Rejects, but with Halloween, he hit something substantial with me. My only worry with Zombie is that he’ll end up doing exactly what Tim Burton does. Make the same movie over and over again with a different ending.

      24. DirtyGirl September 15, 2012 at 6:02 pm

        Excellent List, I haven’t seen the Hitcher yet. I need to fix that!

      25. CdnHorrorFan September 18, 2012 at 1:35 am

        I read an article from 2006 recently that said that Deathline, aka Raw Meat, was going to be remade by Gary Sherman but this time being set in the Chicago subway system and the “people” being musicians? Did it ever get remade? anybody hear anything about such a project?

      26. Mark C September 28, 2013 at 3:30 pm

        what about House Of Wax Remake and I love that film a lot