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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Guest Editorial: Horror Remakes That DIDN'T Suck

Comparing the Remake to the Original

By Kevin Sowers

The air gets crisp, the clothes get heavier, and pumpkin spice monopolizes our taste buds. That means not only has autumn arrived, so has my favorite holiday, Halloween! Dressing up, candy, and perfect weather lies ahead! And what good is Halloween without viewing some of your favorite chilling movies? However, instead of the usual top five list, let's look into Horror Remakes That Didn't Suck!

These are in no particular order:

1. The Thing (1982): This classic from the 80's starring Kurt Russell and directed by John Carpenter, was a remake of the B&W Sci-Fi classic, "The Thing From Another World." This came out way before CGI came along, and to this day the special effects in this remake still hold up 32 years later. From the haunting score, to the suspenseful build up, this is definitely the perfect Sci-Fi/Horror mash up!

2. Dracula (1979): There have been countless "Dracula" remakes, sequels, reboots, etc. However, of all the versions that have been brought to us after Bela Lugosi's iconic portrayal, this one remains my favorite. Frank Langella plays the title role, having also played the role on Broadway. He just oozes charisma, and his scenes with Laurence Olivier as Van Helsing are priceless. Add Donald Pleasance to the mix as Dr. Seward, and you have, in my opinion, the best film adaptation of Dracula.

3. The Fly (1986): This chiller is based on the original, "The Fly" starring Vincent Price. However, the 1986 version starring Jeff Goldblum makes the 1958 version look like a Disney cartoon. The stunning special effects, along with the onscreen chemistry between Goldblum and Geena Davis, put this remake on the map, and set the bar high for any other remakes of other horror classics. Many of which, of course, have failed tremendously.

4. The Hills Have Eyes (2006): If you would have told me that one day someone would release a remake of a Wes Craven classic that would be far superior than the original, I would have had you committed! However, this version of the 1977 classic does just that. It probably helped that Craven signed on to produce this remake. The 2006 version is much more gritty and gruesome than the original. It also is better written and produced.

5. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978): The original 1956 version pales in comparison to this gem. In the 50's this film was a statement about communism and The Red Scare. In the 70's, it's all about alienation. No, not that type of alien. The fear of being all alone in this big world. Donald Sutherland gives a tour de force performance, as do Jeff Goldblum, Veronica Cartwright, and Leonard Nimoy. Kevin McCarthy, who was in the original, gives a fun cameo in the beginning of the film.

There you have it. Five remakes that didn't suck. Maybe Hollywood needs to revisit how they used to put out great remakes? I mean, if they MUST put them out there, then make them watchable and enjoyable. Who knows? Maybe they can put out something that could replace one of the five titles I listed as one of the greatest remakes.

Kevin currently resides in Wichita, KS. He is highly active in community theater and independent film-making with Sanitarium Pictures. Check out the 4 minute short he wrote and directed, Love Bites.

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