Hey everyone, the Pault Keeper here with a question for you … Everyone’s hating on remakes lately, but did you realize that many of your favorite films may, in fact, be remakes?
In fact, 4 of my top 10 films of ALL TIME are remakes! With the Jason Voorhees franchise being rebooted this weekend (the second of the horror’s top 4 – Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees, Freddy Krueger, and Pinhead), in celebration we here at IoM (well, me) decided to present to you….
Though vastly different from the original, John Carpenter’s The Thing is probably the best remake of all time in that it does take a bit of the original, but modernized it in a way that, almost 30 years later, they’re still having trouble coming up with a reason to remake it.
Yes folks…Scarface is a remake. Though almost a wholly original take from the original, there are definitely similarities to the 1932 film, loosely based on the life of Al Capone. Antonio Montana was Al Pacino’s character’s name. Antonio Camonte was the gangster of the first. Both versions of the tale have gone down in history as some of the best crime dramas ever put to film.
Texas Chainsaw Massacre
There’s a lot of love/hate for this film. Some people hate the fact that they tried to bring a little sex into what, really, was one of the few 70’s horror films that had nothing to do with sex. Still, those that can get past the gratuitous butt shots (or those who enjoy them!) will find that this film, while not as realistic as the original, is brutal, visceral, and, in this writer’s humble opinion, tops the original in scare factor. The Friday the 13th remake coming this weekend actually teams many of the filmmakers of the TCM remake. Make sure you go support Jason this weekend!
A remake of the Asian film Ringu, The Ring is still one of the few standouts in the recent American trend of remaking Asian horror. It Americanizes the tale, without losing the spookiness of the original. Since then, the general idea seems to have been to just put American actors in Asia with Asian ghosts. The Ring shows that you can take an idea and transplant it to the states, and still come up with something original, without having to just stick American actors in the exact same storyline of the original.
Check out my review as to why this is so good!
The Academy Award winning tale of crime starring Leo, Marky Mark, and Jack Nicholson is actually a condensed remake of the Infernal Affairs trilogy. While combining three films into one may seem crazy, The Departed kept the storyline coherent and fast-paced. Still, for a great crime saga, check out the original as well.
Bram Stoker’s Dracula
While not a DIRECT remake of the Bela Lugosi Dracula, Coppola’s tale does take many visual cues and ideas from that original film that aren’t necessarily present in Stoker’s original work. I guess Lugosi’s Dracula is so engrained in our psyche, it’s hard to let that vision of Dracula go. Little known fact: it was George Lucas’ idea to cut off Dracula’s head in the final scene. (oh…spoiler)
The George Clooney/Steven Soderbergh double feature of remakes. Solaris is a remake of an old Swedish film and well…you either love it or you hate it. The tale unfolds SLOWLY, but ultimately is a great sci-fi love story and true science fiction, rather than just an action film in space. Ocean’s Eleven…well, how do you top the Rat Pack in the original? By getting every good, charismatic actor you can get your hands on and putting them in a room together. The remake is great fun – one of those films you just have to watch when it comes on TV. Let’s just ignore Ocean’s Twelve.
It’s hard to think that Robert DeNiro and Juliette Lewis’ carerr defining performances are actually in a remake of a just-as-excellent Gregory Peck film. But it’s true. Still, DeNiro is never better than when he works with Marty Scorcese.
Dawn of the Dead/Night of the Living Dead
The first 10 minutes of the Dawn of the Dead remake (who saw it when it premiered on USA Network a couple of day’s before it was in theaters) is probably the BEST opening 10 minutes of any film EVER. The rest of the film ain’t too bad either. Tops the original in every way. As for Tom Savini’s remake of Night of the Living Dead, it has the unfortunate job of being compared to the original, but I think it actually stands the test of time better. A great remake.
War of the Worlds
Everyone thought that this film would be Tom Cruise vs. the aliens. Turns out it was about a regular joe trying to keep his family safe during an alien invasion. Despite a hokey ending, a great, creepy film with great acting and direction throughout.
The Magnificent Seven
The Magnificent Seven is a remake of Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai. They took the premise of the original and moved it to the American West. Just like with The Ring above, taking a premise and moving it to another location seems to be the formula for the best remakes.
A wholly different take than the original, this 1990’s underrated, underseen suspense film has the benefit of Meg Tilly’s performance in one of the creepiest scenes in horror/sci-fi history. A great take on a story that’s been done a million times.
A Fistful of Dollars
A Kurosawa film, Yojimbo, also inspired Sergio Leone’s A Fistful of Dollars. In Leone’s film the rogue samurai becomes a hired gun played by Clint Eastwood. The similarities were so apparent to the original that Kurosawa sued the filmmakers and won 15% of the film’s worldwide gross. More remakes of the classic tale include Last Man Standing and Sukiyaki Western Django.
Little Shop of Horrors
A young Jack Nicholson was in the original, and the remake had Rick Moranis and Steve Martin. Some people really hate this film, but I think it’s a great, fun musical and shows that you can make a Broadway (or off-Broadway) musical a movie, as long as you have the talent and do it right.
David Cronenberg’s film is vastly different than the original, but scared audiences just as much. Don’t we miss Jeff Goldblum in roles like this? where the hell has he been?
The first Casino Royale was a comedy, almost like Austin Powers. The new Casino Royale, however, rebooted the Bond franchise with a Bourne way of filming the action, and with a tougher edge than the films that came before. Oddly enough, this excellent film was filmed by the director of my favorite of the original Bond films, Goldeneye.
Again, you either love it or you hate it. They started making Quarantine WHILE the original spanish film [Rec] was being filmed, so while there are many similarities, there are also significant differences, including new sub-plots and new characters. The main fault with the remake is that, while Doug Jones is an absolute genius typically, his creature just doesn’t compare to the spanish original. Also, while all the actor’s do excellent jobs, they’re all a little too reconizable, which takes a way a little bit of the whole “this is real life” feel that the Spanish original has. Still, who knows…maybe the actors in [Rec] are recognizable in Spain.
House of Wax
An absolutely underrated remake. I don’t get the hate for this film – it’s like people see that the cast came almost entirely from the CW and Fox TV Shows, and of course Paris Hilton, and write the film off as a piece of junk. In reality, this film is more violent and brutal than I think anyone expected. All of the pretty faces die horribly (especially Padalecki and Hilton! uh…spoiler) and even those that survive are pretty bruised up. A really great remake that I think deserves a second chance (or first) for anyone who may have written it off or skipped it the first time.
Agree? Disagree? Want to talk about some other great remakes? Talkback below!