Worst Horror Remakes

Martyn Conterio

With Franck Khalfoun’s awesome remake of Maniac on the horizon, what better time to take a look at reinterpretations of iconic titles of terror that didn’t go down so well?

Here’s our selection of the ten absolute worst remakes of classic horror films ever to (dis)grace the big screen.

The Fog (Rupert Wainwright, 2005) 

The Fog’s first mistake was to retool the premise for the teen market. Director Rupert Wainwright set out to screw over John Carpenter’s low-key 1980 original, and succeeded with aplomb. The 2005 flick lacks any atmosphere and actual scares, which, for a supposed horror movie, is so beside the point it seems an affront. The kindest thing one can say is Carpenter got paid for selling the rights. The American maestro of the macabre can also take succour in the knowledge most fans will forget Wainwright’s one even exists and just go and watch his version. He who laughs last laughs the longest.

A Nightmare on Elm Street (Samuel Bayer, 2010) 

Samuel Bayer’s remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street won a People’s Choice Award for Best Horror Film in 2011. Conspiracy theorists suggest what actually happened was a mix up with prints and they accidentally screened Wes Craven’s 1984 original to voters, but labelled it incorrectly. What other possible answer is there?

The Wicker Man (Neil LaBute, 2006)

Not the bees! Not the bees! Nicolas Cage wasn’t even skint when he appeared in Neil LaBute’s horrific redo of Robin Hardy’s masterpiece, so there are no excuses. Cage’s mad cop coldcocking one of the islanders and karate kicking another (both female) are just two of its many bizarre highlights. The Wicker Man remake should have been burned on delivery. Preferably in a giant wicker man, on a hill, with a crowd singing and clapping along, for extra meta effect.

The Haunting (Jan de Bont, 1999) 

There are bad rehashes and then there’s Jan de Bont’s The Haunting. Robert Wise’s 1963 adaptation of Shirley Jackson’s acclaimed novel is praised for its subtlety over OTT theatrics. The Dutchman decided CGI extravagance is the new subtle and delivered a movie whose major highlight is Owen Wilson’s ghost hunter being decapitated. Oh, how we all cheered.

Let Me In (Matt Reeves, 2010) 

Under the pretext of ‘Americans don’t like foreign movies or reading subtitles’ Matt ‘Cloverfield’ Reeves (and not Matt ‘The Pallbearer’ Reeves) directed this unnecessary version of Tomas Alfredson’s masterful vampire tale, Let The Right One In. They changed the title too, presumably just to piss everybody off even more. Actress Chloe Moretz holds a personal vendetta against the classics of horror cinema, it seems, as she’s signed up to play telekinetic high school nutter Carrie, due for release sometime in 2013.

Marcus Nispel double-bill: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre / Friday The 13th 

German director Nispel directed The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003) before turning his attention to slasher icon Jason Vorhees and Friday the 13th. The original Texas Chainsaw was placed in the Museum of Modern Art’s permanent collection as a work of artistic and historical importance. Nispel’s lacklustre efforts were placed in the bargain bin at your local video store.

Dark Water (Walter Salles, 2005) 

Walter Salles made a film guaranteed to cure any bout of insomnia.

The Last House on the Left (Dennis Iliadis, 2009) 

Wes Craven’s 1972 rape-revenge saga is actually itself a remake of Ingmar Bergman’s The Virgin Spring (1960). The contentious and grotty Vietnam allegory boasted really cool tunes by actor David Hess, who played lead villain Krug. The 2009 disasterpiece features a man having his head fried by a microwave and will be remembered by nobody. Keep repeating to yourself: it’s only a remake, it’s only a remake.

The Omen (John Moore, 2006) 

John Moore, a flashy journeyman director who has just ruined the Die Hard series, was chosen to blunder his way through Richard Donner’s satanic shocker. Needless to say it’s utter rubbish, but cult movie fans might enjoy seeing Giovanni Lombardo Radice in a small role as a Vatican priest. That’s about as interesting as this one gets, unfortunately.

Invaders From Mars (Tobe Hooper, 1986) 

We’ll finish with Tobe Hooper’s revision of Invaders From Mars to prove even the mighty can succumb to the virulent disease known as Remakeitis. William Cameron Menzies’ 1950s sci-fi gem is a moody little number, whereas Hooper goes for splashy not-so-special effects and a weird tone that crash lands the movie as a result. The Texan helmer clearly never learned his lesson because he also made Toolbox Murders in 2004, based on a minor slasher from 1978. It was called, charitably, a return to form. Erm, no, it was not.

Follow Martyn on Twitter: @Martyn_Conterio   

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