Horror films are great. The scares, the blood, the screaming girls falling down and not turning the light on in a room where her friends have been killed. They are so great that some people think the best idea is to take a film that people love and say….
“Hey, why don’t we make this film again?!”
Sometimes this works wonderfully, but most of the time they take a big steaming dump on the original and leave fans feeling cheated. Now, just in time for Halloween, allow me to steer you clear of the worst of the worst horror remakes out there:
1. The Wicker Man (2006)
The original Wicker Man is a brilliant film that pits Edward Woodward, investigating the disappearance of a little girl, against Christopher Lee and his neo-pagan Island Dwellers. The best this film was able to muster was Nicholas Cage in a bear suit punching a woman in the face. I’m serious, and the worst thing is this isn’t supposed to be a dark comedy!
Nicholas Cage (given the right script) is one of the finest actors of his generation, but he struggles with this badly written, badly paced, and terrible character motivations. Not even a cameo from Jesus himself could save this ridiculously bad film from making the original look like an Oscar winner for best screenplay. If you don’t believe me then check out the horrifically overacted “Not the Bees!” scene, it’s hilarious (but not meant to be).
2. Friday the 13th (2009)
The Friday the 13th franchise is probably my favourite; from the original with Pamela Voorhees avenging her son’s death, to Jason taking on Tommy Jarvis, they were instrumental in defining the slasher film genre. Even when critics panned the films, fans still flocked to see them, so I can see why they decided to try and reboot the franchise. The problem was that none of the campy horror that was in the originals made it into this film, and they tried to turn Jason into a sympathetic character rather than the unrelenting maniac that made the franchise successful. Even the gore kills were tame compared to what we had come to expect from Jason— I struggled to remember any of them compared to the originals being ingrained into my mind. Thanks to this Jason has gone to developmental Hell (get it?).
3. A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)
A Nightmare on Elm Street is arguably one of the greatest horror films, and it turned the slasher genre on its head. Wes Craven had already given us some brilliant films, but upped the ante when he introduced us to Freddy Krueger. The ultimate boogeyman, haunting your dreams and killing you in the process. But after 7 films, a TV series and a video game (look for it) the franchise was mothballed and we all thought that was that.
Then came 2010 and the franchise was rebooted with Jackie Earl Hayley (Rorschach in Watchmen) donning the razor glove and terrorising the teens of Elm Street again. The only issue was that everything they did fell flat. They fell into the trap of rehashing the old kills and scares, but with better special effects. They also called out the elephant in the room and outed Freddy as a paedophile, which just felt like forced edginess rather than character development. They removed the fourth wall, breaking jokes that we had become accustomed to with Freddy, for a more hard-edged killer. Don’t get me wrong, Jackie Earl Hayley plays this role brilliantly, and if it was an original film it would be iconic; however, it was just not the Freddy Krueger that haunted our dreams before.
4. The Omen (2006)
The original Omen made people scared of many things—being pregnant, dogs, kids, birthday parties, going to the zoo—just to name a few. The 2006 remake only made you afraid of wasting more time watching films this bad. There was no chemistry between the main characters, the script was terrible at best, and what about Damien? Instead of the creepy kid that you could believe was the spawn of Satan, this version was more of a mean faced emo kid. The kind that scowls after being told the WiFi password is changed until he does his homework. The film was badly paced and they spent too long on parts of the film that didn’t really matter, and not enough on the parts that did. This truly was terrible in every conceivable way.
5. Texas Chainsaw (2013)
Tobe Hooper’s original is still a masterpiece 43 years after it was released (yes it has been that long) and the sequels that followed, while not even close to being in the same league, were passable and enjoyable to watch. Texas Chainsaw however disregards the meticulous film making of the original, and turns it into a generic teen slasher film... and not a very good one at that. And to add insult to injury, they made Leatherface into a good guy! The film plods along and culminates when Leatherface and the main character team up. You will wish you had a chainsaw to destroy the memory of seeing this steaming pile after the end of the film.
6. One Missed Call (2008)
I love Japanese horror (Yes and I have been called all the names for it. It doesn’t make me cry as much now). So when they remake them for Hollywood, I am always dubious. They do occasionally make one that isn’t 100% terrible (Ring, take a bow) but as is the case with One Missed Call, they completely messed it up. Now I hear your cries of “Shut up you cinematic snob, it can’t be that bad!”, but this film was so bad it received 0% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.
The source material was nothing to shout from the rooftops about, being criticised as too similar to Ring and The Grudge, but it wasn’t as bad as this offering. Coming at the tail end of the J-Horror fad, it seemed that it was rushed out to try and cash in, but instead it went down as one of the worst films in history.
7. Amityville Horror (2005)
In 1979 audiences whipped up in the frenzy of The Exorcist and The Shining flocked to the cinema to see a film that was “based on true events”—an account of a family driven from their home by a sinister force. It was your middle-of-the-road horror, neither great nor terrible, and would be remembered as a solid film.
Then along came Micheal Bay and his production company in 2005 and “treated” us to the remake. They did away with the pesky true events thing, but couldn’t avoid the pitfalls of cliches and cheap scares. It was like they threw everything at the audience and hoped something stuck, but it came across as a desperate attempt to be scary. The exception in this film was the performance of Ryan Reynolds, who did his best to turn the poor script and story into something remotely watchable, but the best he could could muster was a poor mans Jack Nicholson in The Shining.
8. Prom Night (2008)
Oh god, where do I start with this piece of shit remake? The characters are bland, the story is nothing like the original, and there is a lack of blood. Yes, you read that right: a slasher film with the villain being a throat slasher with little to no blood.
The main character talks to her therapist constantly about her Mother’s murder, but perks up talking about the upcoming prom and her dress she has picked out (the therapist has this sussed, but refuses to stop taking her money) and the prom has a red carpet and paparazzi. These are the best things I can pull from this film... it is that shockingly bad.
9. House of Wax (2005)
Dark Castle production company hit gold when they remade House on Haunted Hill, so they set their sights on rebooting another classic with House of Wax. The only thing was that they decided to cast terrible actors, have a terrible script, and give Paris Hilton a striptease sequence.
That’s right, this film is so bad it stars Paris Hilton, and not as a cameo, but as a main character. There are a few cool kills and the special effects aren’t too bad but it doesn’t solve the cliched characters and the fact that they cast Paris FUCKING Hilton as a main character.
10. Psycho (1998)
Only Gus Van Sant would understand why he made this pointless shot for shot remake of Alfred Hitchcock’s classic film. The original shocked audiences and gave birth to the slasher genre, setting the bar ridiculously high for this remake to even attempt to capture the atmosphere that Hitchcock presented to us. Vince Vaughan (yes that Vince Vaughan, the one from Dodgeball) fails to capture the boyhood innocence of Norman Bates and while the rest of the cast are all solid actors, they each fail to come close to their predecessors, and seem to be out of their depth. This film should have acted as a warning to not mess with classics; unfortunately, as you can see from this list, that warning was ignored.
So that’s my list. Am I way off the mark or have I left out and glaringly obvious ones? Comment below!
Jan Siery is a husband, dad of two kids, two cats, and a dog, and is an all-around nerd. He likes gaming, horror movies, dark and disturbing stuff, Twinkies, and people telling him things.
Follow Jan on Twitter: @jansiery