10 Of The Best Horror Remakes Tell Us A Lot About How To Make A Remake WORK

”You know you’ve been around when they start to remake your own movies when you’re still alive” — Sylvester Stallone

If there was ever a topic to cause horror fans to froth at the mouth and declare war upon each other, it’s remakes. They usually do pretty bloody well at the box office, so it stands to reason that someone’s gotta like ’em…

NB: I haven’t included The Thing (1982) and The Fly (1986) because, despite being incredible horror remakes, the remakes have become more famous than the originals themselves. While I love Dredd, I haven’t included it in this list because it’s more action than horror.

10. I Spit on Your Grave (2010)


Original: I Spit on Your Grave (1978)

Time between movies: 32 years

One reason the remake worked: The kill scenes were satisfyingly brutal.

9. (Thir13en Ghosts, 2001)


Original: 13 Ghosts (1960)

Time between movies: 41 years

One reason the remake worked: With , the remake totally invented its own interesting mythology.

8. House of Wax (2005)


Original: House of Wax (1953)

Time between movies: 52 years

One reason the remake worked: Paris Hilton gamely agreed to be horribly killed off!

7. My Bloody Valentine 3D (2009)


Original: My Bloody Valentine (1981)

Time between movies: 28 years

One reason the remake worked: Plentiful gore!

6. The Town That Dreaded Sundown (2014)


Original: The Town That Dreaded Sundown (1976)

Time between movies: 38 years

One reason the remake worked: A cool, deftly-handled meta approach.

5. Sorority Row (2009)


Original: The House on Sorority Row (a.k.a. House of Evil or Seven Sisters, 1983)

Time between movies: 26 years

One reason the remake worked: A slick script with crackling, bitchy dialogue.

4. The Toolbox Murders (2004)


Original: The Toolbox Murders (1978)

Time between movies: 28 years

One reason the remake worked: Horror genius Tobe Hooper made it!

3. Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2004)


Original: Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

Time between movies: 29 years

One reason the remake worked: A sympathetic cast, including a young Jessica Biel.

2. (2004)


Original: Dawn of the Dead (1978)

Time between movies: 26 years

One reason the remake worked: Respected the original but brought something different. Where Romero’s picture was social satire, Snyder’s remake created unrelenting action.

1. Evil Dead (2013)


Original: The Evil Dead (1981)

Time between movies: 32 years

One reason the remake worked: The remake didn’t try to imitate the original beyond a few deferent nods to important plotpoints. The vision was bloody and fresh.

So, what identifiable factors are there in creating a horror movie remake that works? Arguably, these are some broadly useful rules of thumb:

  • Wait a respectful amount of time after the original: give it over 25 years to be safe that film culture has changed and your vision will be new.
  • Pay out for good people: if you get Tobe Hooper on board or come up with a fantastic script, the movie will automatically be better equipped to succeed.
  • Do something new — don’t just make a naff version of the original.

What do you think makes a horror remake work?

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