If you’re sick and tired of horror remakes, you’ll probably think I’ve lost my mind writing a story like this. But just hear me out, because here’s the way I see it…There are so many good movies being remade into crap, why not take horror movies that aren’t that great, or have a lot of room for improvement, and remake those instead?
We all probably like to armchair quarterback terrible movies and say what we could do better, and often times even in the worst movies there’s a good idea in there somewhere, it just got mangled in the wrong hands. So here are some horror films that range from pretty decent to extremely bad to so bad they’re fun, and in the right hands they could be elevated into something pretty good.
One film that often comes to mind in this regard is ‘The Car’, Universal’s 1977 hunk of junk where a black car possessed by Satan mows people down in New Mexico. ‘The Car’ was reputedly a big spec script sale in its time, but it turned out so schlocky, one Universal executive even suggested releasing it as a comedy. In this regard, it’s a lot of fun to watch, but if you remake it seriously, an evil black car with no driver could make a good premise for a horror film.
‘Frankenstein’s Bloody Terror’:
I’ll put several more of my all time favorite B movies out there, like ‘Frankenstein’s Bloody Terror’, which was misleadingly retitled to fool audiences into thinking it was a Frankenstein movie. It wasn’t, but you do get werewolves and vampires and it’s a pretty cool old school horror film that’s a tribute to the Universal classics with cool European flavor and a nice production value. Plus, its storyline could make a fun movie today: A guy gets turned into a werewolf and the doctors who claim they can cure him are really vampires. Talk about the cure being worse than the disease.
‘Macabre’ is the movie that put B movie king William Castle on the map and was also in the works to be remade. It would indeed make a cool flick today in the right hands. It had a fun gimmick where the audience was insured by Lloyds of London in case the theatergoers died of fright. The movie is also set to a clock where a girl has been kidnapped and buried alive, and has to be found before she runs out of air.
As far as films that fit well in the cool idea/schlock execution category, ‘Twisted Brain’ (aka ‘Horror High’), is a cool teen horror idea that I’m surprised hasn’t been redone: Jekyll and Hyde goes to high school. (I’m surprised Kevin Williamson didn’t take it on in his heyday.) And while the end result is pretty shoddy, it has some surprisingly poignant moments, especially the tragic ending.
‘Fade to Black’:
‘Fade to Black’ also was a great idea, and had a decent performance from Dennis Christopher (‘Breaking Away’, ‘Django Unchained’), where he plays a nerd totally obsessed with film who kills his enemies dressed up as his favorite movie characters. The movie is badly done, but again, good idea for a movie, and it would definitely send a shiver up a few film geek spines. (One of the messages of the movie is don’t spend so much time watching movies and get a life.)
Try to imagine what Lucio Fulci’s ‘The Psychic’ would have been like if Quentin Tarantino had remade it. (Tarantino wanted Bridget Fonda in the lead.)
Some honorable mentions go to ‘New Year’s Evil’ in terms of good idea/crap execution. It had a great idea for a mad slasher film: a guy going around killing people on New Year’s Eve once an hour, but the movie was another cannon pile of shit from the ‘80’s. What about ‘Eight Millimeter’, which had a great screenplay but was completely ruined by Joel Schumacher? We also haven’t had a great lesbian vampire film in a long time. Why not a remake of ‘Vampyres’, which is still a pretty good flick. Not to mention I’d love to see the mother nature runs amok genre come back. Back in the ‘70s, ‘Frogs’, ‘Day of the Animals’, and ‘Grizzly’, to name a few, were great fun, and I’d love to see what a modern director could do with an idea like this today. We also haven’t had a killer snake movie in a long time either. What about a remake of ‘Sssssss’, or ‘Stanley’? And the biggest missed opportunity in horror comedy? Why didn’t ‘Attack of the Killer Tomatoes’ have more killer tomatoes in it?
This is only scratching the surface of course, and there’s plenty more where this came from. We’ve all seen movies that made us feel we could do better than that. Here’s hoping that instead of another great horror classic being desecrated, someone will take a movie where there’s lots of room for improvement and actually help fulfill its promise.