Topic: Are remakes ever a good thing?

Remakes are becoming a growing trend and there is a lot of discontent around remakes especially of classics such as the upcoming remake of Evil Dead and Zombie's Halloween reboot. Remakes are usually seen as a bad thing by those who were around to see the originals become the classics that they are while remakes of foreign movies upset me personally because they are usually made very soon after originals and are sometimes scene for scene copies just in English when surely it'd be cheaper to just dub it over?

However, some remakes have become classics in themselves. John Carpenters remake of "The Thing" is a beloved favourite of many and it is widely known that Raimi remade his own Within the Woods to create Evil Dead and Evil Dead 2 can be argued that it is a remake or update.

Is it purely a case of writers and movie creators should go out and get their own ideas or not try to fix something that isn't broken or are remakes sometimes a good thing to update a "dated" movie or introduce new horror fans to the genre and hopefully help them discover our favourite classics? What do you guys think? 

(By the way, I am not trying to say remakes are better or worse I just wanna know what people think about the idea of remakes/reboots/updates)

Last edited by UltraViolence (2012-07-30 08:31:43)

Re: Are remakes ever a good thing?

To be fair, filmmakers and authors have been retelling stories, over and over again for as long as stories have been told. Dracula has been remade how many times now? Frankenstien? Hammer Studios made a name for themselves remaking films that most considered classics. Those movies are now classics in their own right.

I think that some films can greatly benefit from being updated and modernized so they reach an audience that might not have otherwise bothered with the older version. However, I think it's become less about remaking a film in a fresh, new way and more about the almighty dollar. And to be honest, I think the US remakes foreign films, not just for money, but because they know the majority of American audiences are lazy (they don't want to read subtitles) and tend to look down on dubbed films (even my husband fits into this category). But that's just my opinion.

Edited to add: It makes me angry that the US feels the need to remake not only foreign films, but TV shows as well. Why do we need our own version of Being Human? Sherlock? I think the UK versions are brilliant. And Martyrs shouldn't be remade. Getting angry over it isn't going to change it though. However, I must say, I enjoyed Let Me In, not as much as the original, but I did like it. So what do I know?

Last edited by Ms.Gorefiend (2012-07-30 09:10:39)

Re: Are remakes ever a good thing?

Depends on how the remake is handled.  It was ~30 years between the Thing From Another World and JC's The Thing, and another 30 years between JC's and the "prequel."  Same amount of time between them, but compare the differences between 1 vs. 2 and 2 vs. 3.  You can see the differences in creativity in those comparisons.

The question to ask is- Why are you making a remake?  Do you have a new vision of the source material?  Are you just trying to capitalize on a well-known film?  Do you have a good script- decent plot and good dialogue?

Another question- How serious are you going to be about it?  Are you going to cast a bunch of popular, pretty actors/actresses that have the emotional value of a rock (Kristen Stewart), or popular that can act (Jensen Ackles), or a solid actor without "kid cred" (Bruce Campbell, Tom Atkins).

Third question- How are you going to affect your vision?  Are you using practical FX or CGI FX?  Are you going to try for atmosphere, jump scares, or a combination (this is mostly sound related). 

Those 3 questions should be asked (in modified ways) of a first time movie, and there is no reason the same criteria shouldn't be applied to remakes.

Just a humble monkey's opinion.  But I do have a nuclear knife.  big_smile

Re: Are remakes ever a good thing?

Remakes are not necessarily a bad thing and sometimes surpass the original. The Thing and the other cited examples are all proof. Id add The Hills Have Eyes, The Fly and I Spit on Your Grave. As Az pointed out in these cases the difference in term of years is large between the original and remake and this may benefit its reception by fans. The approach most effective i think is to honour/show respect the original but bring a unique aspect/concept/element to it. This can also apply to video game adaptions like Resident Evil. I dont like the live action versions of those movies (except the first one which was better than average – 3/5 stars) because they are in the mould of big budget summer blockbuster movies, consequently quite generic with only a very minimal reference to the games. For a more effective and fan friendly film checkout the CGI animations aka Resident Evil Degeneration or its upcoming sequel RE: Damnation. The Day of the Dead remake is also guilty of similar, maybe even worse charges. It shouldn't have even used the same title. Perhaps with the previous release of the Dawn of The Dead remake they thought they could ride of the success of that by using another Romero title in its title. The opposite approach was applied in the Thing prequel where i feel they took far too many scenes and re-enacted them almost identically. This forced the viewer to compare it to Carpenters version and therefore it suffered significantly as a result.

I concur about the Hollywood remakes of foreign films. I think that they remake them because they realise that quite a lot of people wont read subtitles and therefore make money off them by making a english language remake as a substantially profit driven motive.

Last edited by Vasquez (2012-07-30 10:49:51)

Re: Are remakes ever a good thing?

They're not always a good thing, but they're not always a bad thing, either.  Cronenberg's The Fly, Chuck Russell's The Blob, Carpenter's The Thing -- all are in my opinion vastly superior to the originals.

I don't like when foreign films are remade, however, because in many ways it's like saying that despite the fact that the US prides itself on being a "melting pot," it just shows that the majority of moviegoers will automatically dislike something because it's foreign.  It doesn't help that people here are so dumb and lazy they complain about having to read subtitles.  So you don't see a great many foreign language films given a wide, national release, and nine times out of ten the ones which are have been dubbed.

I wish a studio had the balls to nationally release the original foreign versions of, say, Ringu or Dark Waters or The Grudge or Let Me In.  Instead they're dumped straight to video to coincide with the release of their respective US remake, most of which are far inferior.  But since audiences have never seen the original, they have no basis on which to compare.

Ignorance is bliss and all that.

Re: Are remakes ever a good thing?

Remakes can be a good thing, and I think we've seen that. But it's just clearly way too over-done in Hollywood. Instead of filmmakers creating original ideas for themselves, they go back and take, take, take. A lot of times what they give back just isn't worth much. I think we've definitely seen that too.

Personally, I love a good remake. If it rocks, it rocks. However, that's not to say I wish filmmakers these days would start putting out more of their own, original material. We need new, creative forces in the movie industry. Also, If filmmakers weren't nuts in the head in the first place and had some balance in mind, we'd see a remake only every once in awhile. Not a constant slew of them, all the time. tongue

But, balance aside, it comes back to this point: Remakes CAN be fucking awesome. Remakes can also be a drag. It's pick and choose. Personally, I pick the awesome ones and choose not to watch the crappy ones ever again.

Re: Are remakes ever a good thing?

It actually cannot be argued that Evil dead 2 is an update or a remake.  The ONLY reason people get that confused as a remake is because the beginning(which is a recap of the first film) is easy to confuse as just the start of the second film.  The recap leads right into where the first film ended, and then Evil Dead 2 is a 100 percent sequel.  It is the next day and night.  Evil Dead 1 was the first day and night.

Remakes as you said have almost always been terrible.  I was actually excited for Zombies Halloween Remake, and my friends and I saw it in theaters.  It was pretty average at best, and sadly, that was one of the better remakes we have gotten. Everybody talks about the few remakes that are decent like Hills Have Eyes, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and of course the really good ones with The Thing and The Fly.  I think remakes CAN be effective.  The problem is the majority of these remakes of our beloved films are Michael Bay and his directors rarely have much taste.  They are all just trying to profit. Give me a remake with an artistic vision that makes sense and I'll give it a shot.  Most of the remakes end up pointless...

The sad thing is that since Hollywood is able to make so much money off remaking classic films that we love, they are no longer writing original scripts.  Hughes probably wrote more original scripts in his career than have gotten released in theaters combined in the last 5 to 10 years.  That is an exagerration but still, WE NEED ORIGINALITY.  Originality is GREAT.  Remaking is the opposite of original.

Re: Are remakes ever a good thing?

Ms.Gorefiend wrote:

To be fair, filmmakers and authors have been retelling stories, over and over again for as long as stories have been told. Dracula has been remade how many times now? Frankenstien? Hammer Studios made a name for themselves remaking films that most considered classics. Those movies are now classics in their own right.

This is so true, who can argue with this?

Honestly, im starting to think that horror movie fans are the hardest fans to please. Always demanding something original, as if its easy to come up with completely original material and make that into something audiences will enjoy.

This site posted on fb about The Shining prequel, and people were demanding WB heads on a platter right off that bat. I just don't understand it, yeah, it could be bad, then again it could be pretty good. The Shining is one of my favorite horror movies of all time, the story interests me and I would enjoy seeing more about the Overlook Hotel and the events that happened there prior to the Torrents' tenure. Im just saying, I don't understand why there is so much hate for something that currently is just an idea. Besides, there os still a lot of quality horror movies coming out on the independent front that are original or otherwise nicely done classic stories. Isn't there any laid back horror fans out there any more? Relax people, and enjoy the good stuff, if you don't like sequels or remakes (that have been around forever) then don't watch em...its that simple.

Re: Are remakes ever a good thing?

Remakes can and have been done well so I don't think it's fair to dismiss them. And I agree that horror fans are incredibly hard to please in this area and many dismiss good films automatically because of their remake status. Even with the Suspiria remake to come I will likely give it a solid chance. There is no doubt in my mind it could be screwed up, but it could also be a good vision of something a lot of us already love.

Re: Are remakes ever a good thing?

I said stuff.  I deleted it.

Last edited by azathoth (2012-07-30 21:17:45)

Re: Are remakes ever a good thing?

It's funny that we bitch so much about remakes.  I'm sure the previous generations, who grew up with the original Universal flicks, were pitching all kinds of fits when Hammer started remaking their beloved monster movies in the 50s.

Remakes are nothing new.  But I think the past ten years has set a new record. lol

Re: Are remakes ever a good thing?

^ agree

Don't get me wrong, I have my share of terrible remakes. But I firmly believe that is very rare for one to have a original idea. We may see something, and it may be different and new to us but that doesn't necessarily make it so. Movies and books have been around for over a century, not to mention for the past hundred years all the television shows and comic books that have been churned out. There are a ton of mediums for people to drawl inspiration from. And im not saying isn't original ideas out there but its just hard to come by more so now.

Last edited by ChainSaW80 (2012-07-30 21:29:05)

Re: Are remakes ever a good thing?

There's also the "rebooting" concept, though it's more of a superhero thing.

But while searching for "horror reboots," I came across this HM article that I missed from last December.

(also, when I loaded that page, I got the "Sexy Beast" award.  ??? )

Re: Are remakes ever a good thing?

Great answers! I half regretted posting this as sequel and remake threads usually end in trouble lol

Re: Are remakes ever a good thing?

The problem with remakes is the majority of the time they lack any vision at all.  They are just an attempt to capitalize off the original name.  Unfortunately they only reason remakes are relevant in Hollywood is because Hollywood has found an easy way to make money off the movies we love.  Terrible movies making money is what remakes have become.

And also, about the original idea....

Batman is not an original idea.  Dark Knight Rises is so well directed though it stands on it's own and is VERY original.  It might as well be a Batman remake but it doesn't matter because it is a good film.  The same can be said for the Thing, The Fly and the other GOOD remakes.  When you make a average to below average remake it is so damn pointless it only hurts the name of the original franchise.  I don't want an original idea, just want an original piece of film making that separates itself at least a little bit from complete dullness.

Last edited by PrinceofDarkness (2012-07-31 17:02:18)

Re: Are remakes ever a good thing?

Well here one where originality isn't always easy.

The Hunger Games to many non horror fans of casual horror fans would seem a fairly new idea. Kids being pitted against eachother to try and solve societies biggest problems. But we know that it has been done being, most notable comparison is Battle Royale. The Novel came was written long before The Hunger Games was probably thought of but the author of THG swears she had never seen nor heard of Battle Royale. If she's to be believed it could indicate fresh new ideas are running out.

I personally think the future of original horror lies in the obscure indie directors that are upcoming.

Batman has been rebooted, recycled and remade more times than I've had hot dinners but Nolan created an excellent new franchise. While I don't believe that a directors name means a movie will be good is it a case of a good, clever and unique minded director the answer to good remakes? It was a remake that braught me back to the horror genre after falling out of love so I genuinely believe that remakes could bring new and young fans over to the dark side wink


Re: Are remakes ever a good thing?

It's just this recent trend which is a bit of a joke i think... It's all about the money for the capitalist whore machine that is Hollywood.

Re: Are remakes ever a good thing?

With very rare exceptions (i.e. The Thing) they tend to be disasters.