Sunday, October 14, 2012

OCTOBER 14: FOURTEEN WRETCHED REMAKES

 Remakes really aren't our thing. Both Marie and I (and no doubt most of the horror-viewing world) want to see original ideas come to light (and theaters!).  Is it really necessary to keep dredging out these less-than-inspired re-imaginings that make us throw up in our mouths just a little bit more each time it happens?  There have certainly been a whole tractor-trailer's worth of crap come our way in recent years. Some is passable, even mediocre - but most of it....dreck of the highest degree. 
How many would you agree with??

THE WOLFMAN (2010)
It is amazing that this film came out two years ago and I have already nearly forgotten about it. The 1941 is charming and a classic, held close to the hearts of all horror buffs. Director Joe Johnston has done a lot of big name movies, such as Captain America, Jurassic Park, and Jumanji; I'm not going to lie, I wanted his remake to be good. I am a HUGE Benecio Del Toro and Anthony Hopkins fan (not so much of an Emily Blunt fan). You see those names and you think, "How could this go wrong?" Oh, but it did. I was expecting it to be cheesy and fun, maybe even a little bad-ass, but it was hardly even laughable. Can we just pretend this never happened?~MR


WHEN A STRANGER CALLS (2006)
With the original boasting some of the scariest first twenty minutes in film, it would be hard to capture the gritty feel of the 1979 version that frightened the hell out of anyone who dared think about babysitting.  This remake was just a poor excuse for horror, barely scaring up enough frights to keep it above board.  Seeing as how 2006 was one of the worst years for the genre, it's utterly shocking that this film made enough money to open at #1.  It feels more like a Lifetime movie of the week, which is fine for a rainy Saturday afternoon, but it stinks if you've just blown twenty bucks on a ticket and snacks. Gah! ~CH

THE THING (2011)
This Thing, directed by Matthijs van Heijningen Jr. and starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead (I hate her face, I don't know why) is supposedly a prequel to John Carpenter's 1982 Thing. All I know is that it sucks. Lacking character development and any sense of dread or terror, the only compliment I can give this film is that it's "thing" looks pretty cool, thanks to modern day technology.~MR


THE FOG (2005)
John Carpenter's 1980 classic is rife with atmosphere and creepy moments.  The 2005 version is a load of hooey with horrible acting (I'm talking to you, Maggie Grace!) and even worse effects.  As so many horrendous remakes of this time period, it was bogged down with a lame PG-13 rating, rendering it a sad wannabe that never quite induces the chills and thrills of its far-superior predecessor. Hard to believe Carpenter and Debra Hill even got behind this monstrosity to produce it. ~CH

THE SHINING (1997)
You know what I have to say to this made-for-TV piece of crap? No. Just no. Directed by Mick Garris, most famous for the Masters of Horror series, and also the director of The Fly 2 and Critters 2, this guy isn't exactly the greatest. Okay, he did also do Hocus Pocus, which I LOVE, but still! That is no excuse. What was he THINKING? Remaking The Shining? There is no way he was aiming for greatness because that would be silly. He must have known there was no way he could compare to Kubrick's 1980 masterpiece. I am confused on the motive to make this film. One time I turned on the TV and saw The Shining was on and got all pumped, and then when I realized it was this crap... I was pissed.~MR

BLACK CHRISTMAS (2006)
More proof that 2006 was an abomination, this pointless remakes has some lovelies in scanty clothing and plenty of gratuitous gore. But what it lack is the heart of the 1974 slasher. Just because there are girls willing to get naked and run around screaming doesn't mean they should be. Bob Clark took his time building plot in the original but in the remake we barely got to know anyone before they were offed in some spectacular fashion.  It has the dubious distinction of making the least amount of money of all the sequels within that 2-3 year time period, and with good reason.  It's a real dud. ~CH
THE AMITYVILLE HORROR (2005)
Good god, I hate this movie. First of all, I hate Ryan Reynolds--I'm sorry, he is just dreadful. This film was all creep-outs and cheap scares, none of the real fear or suspense given by the 1979 original. Director Andrew Douglas is one of those who has done literally nothing else, which is probably for good reason (sorry, bro). They play this movie like every other weekend on Oxygen for reasons I will never understand--I guess to see Ryan Reynolds shirtless? Not worth it, if you ask me.~MR
THE OMEN (2006)
I saw this movie when I was 14 when it came out on 6/6/06, the day many people believed the world would end even though the date 6/6/06 has happened many-a-time before. The earth kept spinning but the release of this movie certainly made it a horrible day. Being a proud young horror fan already and having seen the 1976 original, I knew this was going to suck but I saw it out of curiosity and novelty purposes. The director, John Moore, must have remembered that 6/6/06 was coming up and thrown this movie together, because that is certainly what it seemed like watching it. Let's all be honest with ourselves, new Damien could never be as creepy as old Damien.~MR

THE HAUNTING (1999)
Aww, Liam. You let me down. Big time. This film is such an embarrassment. I don't like Owen Wilson much in the first place, so casting him didn't exactly make my day. But Liam Neeson?  I like the dude in practically everything, and he is really the only good thing about this bomb.  Sure, CZJ is nice to look at, and Lily Taylor tries to bring all her indie film finesse to it, but in the end it's just a mess of CGI and a lot of screaming. A real dud considering the classic status of the original.  Potential, unrealized. ~CH

THE WICKERMAN (2006)
This is director Neil LaBute's most famous and successful film--way to go. Starring the always crazy Nic Cage, this movie was inevitabley going to suck as the 1973 original is a masterpiece (if you haven't seen it, Christine's Vital Viewing article will convince you why you NEED to)! Even if there was no original Wicker Man, and this movie wasn't a remake at all, it would still be god-awful. There is a wonderful Youtube video showcasing the "best" scenes from this film, most of them are of Nic Cage punching out women. Please view it here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e6i2WRreARo) and please never view this movie.~MR

APRIL FOOL'S DAY (2008)
The original April Fool's Day was a campy good time, and remains to this day one of my favorite 80's flicks. This remake totally changed the original plot points and tried to be a clever, modern day version of the '86 movie. Unfortunately, they didn't get one bit of it right.  It was described as Mean Girls crossed with horror, but it is just a flop with characters who have trite names such as Desiree, Barbie, Milan, Blaine, and Torrance. Seriously, Torrance?  I can think of absolutely NO idea to ever struggle through watching this shoddy and inferior lemon. ~CH

PROM NIGHT (2008)
I wasn't really expecting much, truth be told. And I didn't get much, that's for sure. They called this one a re-imagining.  Well, I imagine there was no real reason to make it over.  Yet another piece of dreck that opened at #1 at the theater (what has this world become?), every ounce of the original plot was basically exchanged for pretty actors and a glossy set. And let's face it, without Jamie Lee, there's no real hope of a groovin' dance scene! ~CH

A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET (2010)
People. Did you really think this was destined to be a new classic?  Really?  How many times has that ever really happened?  Despite the inspired casting of Jackie Earle Haley as Freddy, the film morphed into a CGI-heavy disaster that served notice to future remakes: just because it seems like a good idea doesn't mean it is.  It did have the sense to make Freddy more evil than humorous, because let's face it, no one does Freddy like Robert Englund.  Perhaps what this film was missing all along.....? ~CH

PSYCHO (1998)
Naturally I saved the very worst for last.  I have NO idea what on earth Gus Van Sant was thinking.  To try to think about remaking one of the most iconic films in horror history would take balls the size of watermelons.
Seeing as how I have no idea of the size of Van Sant's privates, let me just say:  why?  A remake should bring something new to the table.  This film just brought....color.
Psycho (1960) is my second favorite horror film of all time.  The fact that someone felt it necessary to make a shot-for-shot remake of it made me throw up in my mouth a little bit. Like the Beatles said: Let it be. ~CH

*A final thought:  The day that someone decides to remake Jaws is the day I become a vigilante for the integrity of the horror classics. This is your final warning...

15 comments:

Kaijinu said...

for the record, among your list, I really Love Black Christmas remake, and I respect the ANOES remake.

The rest, yeah, pretty much sums it all.

Anonymous said...

I agree with most of the points on this list, but putting the Shining here is a big misunderstanding. The 97' The Shining is another adaptation of the book, not the remake of Kubrick's movie!

Splatter Punkette said...

I am almost glad that I haven't seen most of the remakes on this list because I am generally against making remakes without an audience vote or something. But I have seen a few here and I have to say that you got those right on the money (I'm looking at YOU 'When a Stranger Calls')

Eric Williger said...

The TV-version of The Shining was made because Stephen King famously HATED Stanley Kubrick's version. It came out somewhat recently that King admitted there was some merit to the Kubrick movie, but he's been trashing Kubrick to no end for years--and some of what he's been saying has been really mean and slanderous. Mick Garris is kind of a moron, and so he decided to take the job. But the whole intention was to remain as faithful to the book as possible.

Some illumination as to Gus van Sant's intentions in remaking Psycho can be found in the interview he did with the Believer a few years back. You can read some of the interview here: http://www.believermag.com/issues/200806/?read=interview_van_sant

It seems to cut off right as he starts explaining himself. It was, strangely, a passion project that he got with his Oscar clout after Good Will Hunting. But his idea was really that, because Psycho was such a success in 1960, making a shot-for-shot remake is a guaranteed slam-dunk. Obviously, there was an error in his thinking.

And BTW, it might be hard to believe based on the Wicker Man, but Neil LaBute is actually a really great (non-horror) filmmaker, and a very famous playwright.

Marie said...

What are your guys opinions on the Evil Dead and Carrie remakes coming out?

Dr Blood said...

I agree with all those apart from "The Haunting" and "When a Stranger Calls".

Apart from the CGI, "The Haunting" is okay but unnecessary since "The Legend of Hell House" is the real remake anyway.

As you said, the original "When a Stranger Calls" is notable for its first 20 minutes. But that's it. After those 20 minutes, it's a rubbish cop show. For a PG-13, the "When a Stranger Calls" remake is nicely done and the "stranger" remains exactly that. There are never any details about him or his motivation - which is kind of scary for some people. It's just a random act of home invasion The house is still the real star of the movie though.

I would have added "Let Me In" to the remakes list. It's another unnecessary and soulless crapfest.

Michele (TheGirlWhoLovesHorror) said...

I rather liked The Amityville Horror remake, as the original didn't really do much for me. And the argument I always heard about Prom Night is that it wasn't a remake at all, it was just a movie with the same name - which I actually believe, because they're so completely different. I would have added in the Friday the 13th remake, too. That was one that I just totally forgot about as soon as I walked out of the theater. The Wicker Man... oh, that holds a special place for me as one the awesomest of the worst. I love that turd!

Emily said...

I can see why Garris and King wanted to make The Shining, since the Kubrick film is more a sort of 'inspiration' than adaptaion of the novel. But the result is just bad because Garris is, well, not good at all. And ugghhhh The Wicker Man. On one hand, I can always count on queuing up that best-of clip on youtube when I need a laugh. But the thing is, the director Neil LeBute is a raging misogynist (check out any of his other films which are essentially all about how awful women are) and you can tell that he took on The Wicker Man so that he could rewrite it as some parable that let him have his lead hero punch women in the face and call them all bitches. If the results weren't so hilarious, I think audiences would be far quicker to realize how awful a human being that man is.

Doug Brunell said...

"The Shining" TV movie was not that bad. It also wasn't a remake.

Budd said...

yeah, the only two that I have seen so fare are the fog and Nightmare on Elm Street. both of them were indeed wretched.

Christine Hadden said...

Kaijinu: I will respectfully disagree with you re: Black Xmas and ANOES. But glad we agree on the rest :)

Anon: I do agree that the 1997 Shining is more of an adaptation of the book than a remake of the Kubrick film. But I agree with Marie that it pretty much sucked, regardless.

Splatter Punk: I still don't get why so many films are remade. I understand people want to "re-imagine films" or whatever, but to me, in most cases there is no point. And yep, When a Stranger Calls' redux is just really a pile of crap.

Eric: Yeah, I was aware King hated the Kubrick version of his book. However, I've always felt like Kubrick's Shining really stands on its own merit as one of the finest horror films in history. Sometimes I feel like now Stephen King (who incidentally is my favorite author) has to say the Kubrick version has merit, just to pacify its millions of fans... Even though Jack was pretty over the top in the movie, it just works.

My feelings on the Psycho remake are as stated. I have a severe and relentless hatred for it. I just don't know what else I can say about it. And I really feel like pretty much everyone else feels that way too...

Marie: I'm not really too thrilled for either one, but I'm sure I will have to check them out.
I just kind of feel like I do for most remakes - no real reason for them.

Dr. Blood: It's true that the original When a Stranger Calls film does get a tad mundane in the middle, but I do like the ending. But I still can't get behind the remake. I was so goddamned bored with it. Though the house was pretty cool.
And I'd have to disagree with your assessment of Let Me In. I liked it and thought it was a well made (though admittedly unnecessary) remake.

Michele: I personally didn't hate the Amityville remake as much as Marie, and think my distaste for the original probably stems from my utter hatred of Margot Kidder.
I didn't hate the Friday the 13th remake too horribly either. But The Wicker Man. I'm still reeling from the retardedness (is that a word?) of that stinker!

Emily: Agreed, Mick Garris really isn't my favorite either. I just don't get why he really gets the recognition that he has anyway.
And yep - The Wicker Man is certainly good for a laugh when you're having a bad day! "The Beeeeeess!" And it seems like Eric up there differs in his opinion of LeBute!

Doug: Even though The Shining '97 wasn't a "remake", it still was fairly awful. Guess we'll have to disagree on that one. It might be because I pretty much despise Steven Weber. And that kid that played Danny...oh god he sucked...

Budd: You needn't bother with any of the others on the list, believe me!!

Anonymous said...

LOVED the made-for-tv version of The Shining. Should definitely NOT be on this list...as a fan of the novel, it totally kicked ass and better represented Jack's slow descent into madness as opposed to Jack Nicholson being, well, the same Jack Nicholson he is in EVERY movie he's in...

Christine Hadden said...

Anon: While I thank you for reading, I will say that it is your opinion that the made-for-tv version of The Shining should NOT be on this list - but I'm quite happy for you that you loved it so much.

It may be a better representation of the book in theory, but I stand behind Marie's assessment that it pretty much sucked. That kid that played Danny was god-awful. I liked De Mornay as Wendy, but I hate Steven Weber in anything, so it no doubt tainted my view.
And by your comments, I assume you feel the same way about Jack.
And I will respectfully disagree with you there, as well. Gee, I guess his 3 Oscars and 12 nominations must be a fluke.

megzytay said...

awwwwh i have to totally disagree on black christmas remake, i have a weird lady-wood love for this movie, i think maybe i'm biased cause i am totally in love with katie cassidy (who plays final girl in black christmas)

i think wat the remake took was to up the ante on the blood letting, while the orgional concentrated solely on those creeeeeeeeeepy ass phone calls !!!

Christine Hadden said...

Megzytay: I can't say I'm the biggest fan of the original Black Christmas either, but I still think that the original has more atmosphere and creepiness to it.
And I'm not crazy about films that just throw scantily-clad girls in front of knives and axes without any suspense at all (hence my dislike of the remake) :(

Thanks for reading!!