Five Remakes that Don’t Completely Suck


I know, I know. The very sound of the word “remake” is bound to encourage outrage by the horror movie community. When it comes to horror movies, fans seem to rely the old “if it’s not broke, then don’t fix it.” rule of thumb. (because we all know how fans love change.) But it just so happens that I do regard a few remakes as exceptions to the rule of a revamp being inherently bad. and it is here that I give you five of my own examples of remakes that do justice to the original canon. They come in no particular order and they are simply my own personal favorites. If you disagree with my list, feel free to direct your arguments towards the deepest depths of my indifference.

1. The Fly

 David Cronenberg’s reinvention of the 1958 sci-fi thriller, The Fly, is not just great as a remake, but really stands on it’s own six legs. It has a gourmet blend of horror elements that really make it a stand out horror film. Cronenberg employs his visually unique combination of body horror and technological horror to follow Dr. Seth Brundle’s transformation from man to monster. The visual effects are slimy, gooey, anatomical and truly gut-wrenching. Jeff Goldblum claims his role as a eccentric and rogue scientist (surprise!) in his horrific transition while Geena Davis provides a foil for the audience to experience the terror from the outside. Kudos to Cronenberg for taking a rather standard 50’s shocker and turning it into something absolutely unique. BTW, I heard this movie was an allegory for puberty. Just ponder that for a moment…

2. Little Shop of Horrors

I absolutely love both versions of this title. The original Little Shop of Horrors was a campy horror comedy and the 1986 version turns it up a notch and transforms it into a musical. The cast is magnificent. Rick Moranis (the king of nerd typecasting) makes for a perfect Seymour, portraying a good mix of awkwardness and likability. Steve Martin’s role as the sadistic dentist paired with Bill Murray taking the helm as his masochistic patient is just comedy gold.  The music, composed by Alan Menkin, is inspired by 1960’s doo-wop, rock, and motown. I can never help but get a few verses stuck in my head after watching. The puppet effects for Audrey II are amazing and paired with the voice of Motown legend Levi Stubbs, prove very effective in making the man-eating plant a character with personality and sass.

3. Dawn of the Dead

The original Dawn of the Dead, directed by George Romero and released in 1978, is one of my favorite horror movies, hands down. When I think zombie movies, the original is the first to pop to mind. And as far as zombie flicks made in the last 10 years are concerned, the 2004 remake is one of my favorites. Director Zach Snyder gives the audience a really fun movie offering scares, thrills, action, and some light hearted moments as well. My favorite scene is the montage of the survivors passing time in the mall, accompanied perfectly to Richard Cheese’s lounge rendition of “Down with the Sickness”. Because open up your hate and let it flow into me, baby.


4. I Spit on your Grave

Forgive me readers, for I have sinned. I actually have not seen the original. But of course, this article is not about comparing the remakes to the originals, but rather letting the remakes stand on their own, which I feel is a good measure of success as far as any remake can hope for. Now truth be told, I am one of the few torture porn fans of the series and what makes I Spit on Your Grave so enjoyable is that for a rare instance you feel not so icky rooting for the torturer. The story is of a young woman who is intimidated, tortured, raped, and left for dead by a trio of backwoods good ol’ boys. When she finds herself still alive and kicking, she then stalks the men, one by one and exacting a slow and painful revenge on each one. The torture scenes are rather resourceful and inventive. Without giving too much away, one instance involves fishhooks, eyelids, and crows. Another Involves a bathtub full of lye and some rather impressive lower back strength. This movie may not be for everyone, but I can definitely say that, in my opinion, this remake does not suck.

5. The Thing

One of John Carpenter’s shining glories. This is a remake of the 1951 film “The Thing from Another World”.  The original is certainly not without merit. For it’s time, it was a rather inventive tale of shapeshifters and paranoia. John Carpenter maintains those elements and provides his own spin on the tale. Set in a desolate Antarctic research base, the crew finds itself against a creature that can mimic any living thing and therefore find themselves against each other. Kurt Russel generously provides his glorious mane of an 80’s mullet as the J&B Scotch swigging helicopter pilot, R.J. MacReady. If I can’t convince you that this movie is awesome by the previous sentence, there is little hope for you. but if I must continue… The creature and practical effects for “The Thing” absolutely rock. Tentacles flail about, heads sprout spider legs and retreat, and a dog’s head peels open like an angry banana. This is the type of movie that will keep you interested the whole way through, and may convince you to throw $28 towards a bottle of J&B scotch. Because, damn, don’t Kurt Russel make it look tasty.


About James

James Stroman studied digital art at Indiana University and is a graphic designer, video artist, and all around visual tinkerer. He is the graphic designer for Atomic Age Cinema!, and assistant designer for Dark Carnival Film Festival. (

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