10 Horror Remakes Worth Watching

I am on record as being thoroughly against the Hollywood trend of remaking movies.1 One genre which seems to thrive on this is the horror genre.3 Before this goes too far off of the rails, let me state that this is not going to be one of my usual anti-remake rants.

Instead, this is going to be a list of recommendations. Despite my usual stance, I will admit that there are some horror remakes worth watching. This came up recently in the midst of a conversation I was having on a social media platform.
As promised, here is the list of ten horror movie remakes that I think are worth watching.
4 I present them in no particular order.

So let’s start out by cheating right off of the bat. I had planned on listing these two together originally, but it really worked out when I came up with nine other movies for the list. Ten is a nice round number. Thirteen is a nice creepy number, but it would have involved finding more films.

Living Dead movies encompass a number of classic films. The first three, Night, Dawn, and Day, are undoubtedly giants in the horror genre and specifically the zombie sub-genre. The remakes, may lack some of the impact of the originals, but both are definitely watchable. The new Night (1990), starring the amazing Tony Todd as Ben, follows the basic plot of the original. With Tom Savini stepping in as director, the gore factor is upped. The remake of Dawn (2004) features fast zombies, and they are extremely well done. There are some absolutely horrific scenes in this one -- the pregnancy for example -- that make this movie very watchable.

The Thing

I’ve only seen The Thing From Another World (1951) once. To be honest, I don’t really remember that much about it. I’ve seen John Carpenter’s The Thing (1982) at least a dozen times including twice in theaters.6 It’s got everything a great horror movie needs, a great cast, a great director, that trapped sense of isolation, a healthy dose of body horror, and ALL the paranoia. Toss in an ambiguous ending and you’ve got a classic in my book.

The Fly

The original version of
The Fly (1958) is good, campy, 50’s horror fun. The three best parts are the crazy fly head on a human, the end which everyone knows, and Vincent Price.7 The 1986 remake is a quintessential piece of body horror. David Cronenberg is at the top of his game in this film which is at turns disgusting and heart breaking. It also helped launch the careers of Jeff Goldblum and Geena Davis. This is required watching for any body horror enthusiast.

The Blob

Similar to the previous entry, the original version was released in 1958 and is a great B flick.
8 Horror aficionados know the worth of this, the third of the horror remakes from the 80s, but more mainstream filmgoers are probably unfamiliar with this one. There is some of the camp from the original, and a whole lot of body horror as well. There are numerous nods to the original and plenty of new fun as well. Horror staple Shawnee Smith and Kevin Dillon turn in good performances.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers

At this point I am going to draw your attention to the actual title of this post. I’m sorry, I should have done this earlier, but I think that the gist came through with some of my footnotes. Specifically, I am pointing out remakes that are
worth watching. I am in no means saying that you should not watch the originals.9 The original Invasion (1956) is a great flick. The 1978 remake is also a great flick. Both are classic sci-fi horror with a heap of paranoia thrown in. I’m not saying that I have checked the back yard for pods, but I’m not saying that I haven’t.

Cat People

Another film with two great versions. Some people shy away from black and white films, which is a shame. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen either, but I remember enjoying them both. They are both interesting explorations of the “be scared of sex” theme. Bonus of the remake: Ed Begley, Jr gets his arm ripped off.

Nosferatu: The Vampyre

Unlike the others, this one is a film in which I would highly recommend watching the original.
10 Nosferatu (1922) is one of the most amazing films ever. It has some of the most iconic images in horror cinema. That being said, Herzog’s 1979 remake is also especially terrifying. There are some equally disturbing scenes. Kinski’s vampyre is second only to Shreck’s in the creepy AF visage category.

Thirteen Ghosts

If you haven’t had the joy of experiencing a Castle film in all its glory, the 1960
Thirteen Ghosts is a fun one to start with. It is filled with campy good scares. The more recent remake11 is campy in a totally different way. There are some pretty cool special effects here, even if the story is a little goofy. Still, I’m a fan of Tony Shalhoub and Matthew Lillard is a joy in this.

Friday the 13th

I might take a little flack for this one, but I’m going to stand by it for my horror fans out there. Yes, the original is a classic of the slasher genre. The remake is...not. Still, it’s a fun watch, especially if you get a bunch of horror fans together and watch together.

The Crazies

The original is a classic film directed by George Romero. Both films have the same basic premise -- biological agent is released in a small town, shit hits the fan. I enjoy both of these equally. In fact, they might make a good double feature. The acting is definitely better in the remake.

Honorable Mentions: It and Evil Dead 2

There are a couple of flicks you might have to expected to see on this list. Yes, I did enjoy the recent theatrical releases of It (both “chapters”). Well, mostly. I enjoyed everything about them except Pennywise, who was just ridiculous in clown form. All of this aside, the reason that I didn’t include this one is that the original was a television mini-series, so I’m not including it on a technicality.

I love the
Evil Dead franchise. I was very tempted to include Evil Dead 2 as a remake of Evil Dead, but it’s not really a remake. It’s more of a continuation...I guess? The 2013 remake does have some interesting twists, but I didn’t care for it enough to include it on this list.

1 Or, the cancer of creativity, if you prefer.

2 I’ll not get into the whys here. This is not that kind of rant.

3 Although Disney seems to have made the “live action nostalgia cash grab” part of its new operating model.

4 I do still stand by my financial ban of horror remakes. I won’t pay to see them, but I will watch them.

5 Due to this fact, I have yet to see many of the more recent remakes.
Suspiria is in my To Watch list. I’m intrigued by the most recent Halloween movie (not the Rob Zombie ones). Still, haven’t seen them yet.

6 The less said about the 2011 film the better. I mean really, they shot the practical effects then scrapped them for digital? Fuck them right in the ear.

7 Vincent Price is always a win.

8 Steve McQueen, also always a win.

9 Except when I do say that.

10 I especially recommend seeing it in a theatre with organ accompaniment. It’s amazing.

11 Yes, I know it’s
The13en Ghosts, but fuck that half assed wannabe leet speak bullshit.

12 I saw this in a group of adults when it was in the theater. You know those rowdy kids who keep shouting at the screen? Yeah, that was us.

13 Damn, I really wanted that to be the 13th footnote.