There have been a lot of re-makes coming out of Hollywood recently, sometimes they are great (Evil Dead) sometimes that are mediocre (Halloween 3) and sometimes they are downright awful (Prom Night). And it looks like they are not slowing down as we shall see a Carrie remake later this year and Poltergeist next year. And while a few of you reading this will think that it is some form of blaspheme to remake your favorite horror films from your childhood, here are four classics that I think deserve a re-envisioning.
Demons(1985), Directed by Lamberto Bava
Dario Argento is the king of Italian horror, that is a given. But Bava was not too far behind him. The plot for Demons is simple; a group of strangers are brought together by a mysterious invitation to a screening of a horror film. The problem is that the horror on the screen begins to play out in real life and soon the patrons are trapped in the theater with a dozen of blood thirsty demons. It’s cheesy, the acting is horrible, and it has over the top gore accompanied by really loud 80’s music placed in all the wrong places; but it is a fun movie. The movie-within-a-movie idea is never really explained in the original. But if you give this story to a capable writer who might even explain why these particular people were chosen I think we can have a real treat on our hands. Especially if care I taken to develop some of the characters better so we are more invested in what is happening. If I could hand pick the director it would be Ti West, he has the 80’s horror sensibility to pull it off.
Key to success: Keep the gore, don’t go PG-13 on it. The gore was part of the fun with the original and the updated effects (no CGI though) could really push this remake to another level.
Countess Dracula (1971), Directed by Peter Sandy
This movie is a light re-telling of the Elizabeth Bathory legend starring the beautiful Ingrid Pitt as the Countess of Blood. I admit, it is not the best of the films to come from the Hammer studios, but it is still beautiful to watch. The story was solid, the visuals stunning (no one did blood like Hammer in their day) but the acting was weak. About half way through the pace does start to drag due to directing style and the odd love interest storyline was a bit out of place. Countess would be a fun film to watch with current special effects and some better acting. I think it is important to keep the gothic look and feel of the original film as well, don’t bring it into modern times.
Key to success: Casting, it’s all about the casting. The part of the Countess is key to making this film work. Two things are required for this part; first she has to be sexy, and able to pull sophisticated glamour. And second this actor has to be able to act. My picks, right off the top of my head, Cate Blanchett or Katherine Zeta Jones; yeah let that sink in boys, let it work on ya…
Society(1989), Directed by Brian Yuzna
I still have images from this one in my head; I just can’t get them out. Billy is adopted and as he gets older he is starting to realize that he is not like the rest of his family or their close knit group of acquaintances. They are hiding something from him; and when we see what it is they are hiding we are treated to one of the most disturbing 15 to 20 minutes of footage you will ever see in a horror film. I would love to see it updated with some of the technology and techniques used in modern film. The story is already pretty tight so whoever takes this one just needs to stick to it. The one aspect that could use the biggest upgrade was the acting; it was decent in the original but could’ve been better. Some minor changes to the story could benefit the pace as well, just leave the final 20 minutes intact and for god’s sake don’t dumb down the effects.
Key to success: Hold onto the class warfare undertones of the film, maybe even develop them a bit more that they did in the original. With the current attitudes toward big money corporate types there could be something interesting here.
Suspiria(1977), Directed by Dario Argento
I know what you’re thinking; Dario is off limits for remakes, but here is why I disagree; Suspira is my favorite of his films and I think it is ripe for a re-telling. The story follows a young American dancer that goes to Europe to study at a premier ballet academy. When she arrives she discovers that some very odd things are happening around and soon we learn that the academy is actually run by a coven of witches. I dig witches, always have, but I don’t think that they get enough attention in the genre. Most of the time when we get a witch themed movie the witches are very Sabrinaesque teens that just want to fit in and like, totally just, like get the guy. If someone is brave enough to remake this one, they should leave the story alone and focus on character development and expanding on the information about the coven. The climax at the end could use some modernization as well.
Key to success: Do not get rid of the Jacob’s Ladder effect that leaves the audience off balance, never sure if what they are watching is real or if the character is imagining it. So you there you have it, my dream list of remakes. What films would you like to see get a re make.