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The 15 Best Horror Movie Remakes of All Time

09 November 2014 | Features, Film Lists | by Daniel Miranda

Nosferatu the Vampyre

Through the history of mankind, people have been fascinated by the macabre. It gives us an unease feeling of knowing danger might be around the corner, it is almost a guilty pleasure, horror films feed on our primal fears.

There are great horror films through history, but what happens when they are remade? Most of the time we get the same thing over again, but sometimes we get a new and fresh experience, sometimes the new film stands out on its own. Here are some of the best horror remakes in movie history.

 

15. The Hills Have Eyes (2006)

The-Hills-Have-Eyes-2006

An American family is out on a road trip, they take a shortcut in the middle of the desert where they have an accident. After analyzing the cause of the accident, they realize someone punched their tires. Now stranded in the middle of nowhere, the family is being hunted by deformed cannibals, they realize they are stranded in an abandoned nuclear test site.

The film departs from the original in many ways, but it’s still good due to its violent nature. The film is directed by Alexandre Aja who is known for his over-the-top gore. The film adds a new spin on the cannibal family, they are mutated/inbreeds. One of the most crucial scenes in the film is where a mutant rape one of the family members, the other one is when the father is burned alive. This intense and almost nerve-wrecking film will keep you on the edge of your seat during its running time.

 

14. Friday the 13th (2009)

Friday the 13th (2009)

A group of friends go out in search of a mythical place in the middle of the woods that supposedly has a abandoned weed stash. The place is near the abandoned Crystal Lake camp, where gruesome murders took place years ago. The group of friends is taken out one by one by a masked figure.

Weeks later, another group of friends is out on a holiday to a lake house, the group stops to get refreshments when they meet Clay who is out searching for her sister who was with the group that’s gone missing. Jenna agrees to help Clay search for his sister, they go to the woods and find Crystal Lake camp, the killer Jason Voorhees is to kill the group who disrupted his peace.

This is a great remake, it mashes up the first three original films into one. You get to see Pamela Voorhees briefly to show Jason’s origins, you get to see the potato sack mask and the iconic hokey mask. What makes this film fresh is the new take on Jason, for the first time you see a thinking Jason, and in a way the filmmakers tried to explain how come Jason pups out conveniently everywhere by adding underground tunnels.

The film has almost every iconic moment that made the franchise popular while adding some new ones. If you love the originals, you will love this new imposing Jason on steroids.

 

13. Evil Dead (2013)

evil dead 2013

Five friends go to a remote cabin in the woods to help Mia get sober and end her drug addiction. One of them discovers the Book of the Dead in the basement, Eric reads the book and accidentally gets cut with one of the pages. Blood is spilled on the book and summons an evil force possessing Mia, slowly they begin to get possessed one by one. Now it’s up to Erik and David, Mia’s brother, to find a way to stop the demons.

This could easily be the original on steroids. It cuts Rami’s campiness and makes it crude and violent. It is filled with gore and over-the-top violence, while adding some character development enough to make us care. 

The score makes the film even creepier, the way Fede Alvarez directed the film will make you sit on the edge of your seat for the entire film. By far the film has one of the best opening and closing scenes out there, Alvarez even treated the audience to a little surprise with a post-credits scene.

 

12. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)

texas-chainsaw-massacre-2003-leatherface

Driving through Texas’ rural countryside, four friends pick up a hitcher in the middle of the road. The girl is severely traumatized and bloody, once the hitcher realizes they are driving in the wrong direction, she shoots herself in the van. The group decides to seek for the local authorities and ends up at the Hewitt’s place where they are attacked by a man with a chainsaw known as Leatherface and his cannibal family.

The film is a good example of how to remake a film by keeping the original concept and story while adding some new characters and plot twists. This new version adds more depth to the cannibal family, showing just how sick and depraved they are. For the first time in film history, Leatherface’s origin is somewhat hinted and his face is shown for the first time, giving a more reasonable cause to the mask other than his craziness.

R. Lee Ermey’s new character is the missing piece to the family’s puzzle and its craziness. This film is one of the most nerve wrecking and suspenseful remakes out there, adding even more gore to the film for no reason. A plus for this film is an explanation of how those terrible crimes have come unnoticed, and a very good treat is its fake documentary style. The film also spawned a prequel that answers some questions, if you liked this one, you should check it out.

 

11. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1994)

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1994)

Victor Frankenstein, a young doctor with a bright future ahead, is haunted by his mother’s death when he was a child, this channels his obsession of trying to bring people back to life from their death. He creates a creature made by parts of deceased people, he gives the creature life but soon realizes his experiment is a mistake and abandons the creature. The creature searches for knowledge and resents “father” for abandoning him, now the creature will seek revenge and cause Victor the same amount of pain Victor has caused him.

The film draws a lot of its source material from the novel with only minor changes. Francis Ford Coppola originally intended to direct it as a companion piece to his Dracula, then he decided to give Branagh a chance and stepped out of the way, only to serve as the producer.

The film is very character driven and deals with the emotional and psychological aspects of the characters. It also gives the audience more background story of the relationship between Victor and the creature. Branagh did a wonderful job by giving the creature such emotional depth. Instead of a semi-thinking creature, we have a child trapped in the body of a monster who resents everyone because no one showed him any kind of love or compassion. Robert De Niro studied stroke patients to give a real notion of how someone struggles to talk.

 

10. Night of the Living Dead (1990)

Night of the Living Dead (1990)

Barbara and Johnny are visiting their mother’s grave, out of nowhere a zombie attacks and kills Johnny. Barbara manages to escape into an abandoned farm in the middle of nowhere. Ben arrives and tells her there are zombies everywhere. Soon they realize they are not alone in the farmhouse, other people are hiding as well. Now Barbara and the others must do whatever it takes to survive the relentless attack of the undead.

Except for some small differences, the film follows the original line for line. It has one of Romero’s prodigy on the directors chair, special effects and makeup artist Tom Savini directs a respectful remake to the original Night of the Living Dead. One thing Savini changed to serve the film’s purpose was Barbara’s character.

In the original, Barbara almost faded into the background, Savini made Barbara a strong and powerful woman that carries the film. The ending is totally different, giving more depth and development to the character. Savini delivers a great remake with solid performances and great effects.

 

9. Let Me In (2010)

Let-Me-In-movie

In the quiet town of Los Alamos, New Mexico, bizarre murders begin to occur. Owen is a lonely boy who has no friends and is being tormented by bullies in school. One night, he meets his next-door neighbor Abby who’s also a lonely soul. They find friendship and comfort in each other, but there is a dark mysterious secret to Abby, Owen starts suspecting Abby might not be who she is, he wonders why she only comes out at night and realizes that the murders began just when Abby moved in.

The film is beautifully directed by Matt Reeves, Reeves adds more emotional feelings and weight to the characters, both young leads (Kodi Smith and Chloe Grace) are amazing playing Owen and Abby.

Reeves also added more context to Owen’s character by having him show his dark side, the score of the film carries beautifully throughout, beautiful photography and exact amount of suspense and drama also works well. The film leaves some questions unanswered whereas the original explained Abby’s past and origin.

 

 

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  • Colin Patrick Buckley

    I completely disagree with the Friday the 13 to remake being on the list, the film was horrible. It was populated with unlikable characters. It looks horrible and the script is woeful. I’ve never really been much of a fan of the series but this was awful. Also why is it that a lot of these slasher movie remakes try to make you root for the killer? Personally I would have put The Amityville Horror remake in its place. That film was at least well acted, had a genuinely scary atmosphere and some lookalike l likable characters

    • Caio Bogoni

      Because after you watched 11 sequels, you probably can’t not root for the killer. Slasher sequels were never about likable people, they were about creative and gory deaths with a surprise on how the killer ends up dead.

      • Paco Puriffic

        In a way, Caio, yes, in other way: yet you look for gory and creative deaths, you can’t make a shitty movie like that

        • Actually, it’s very possible. A lot of horror movies do it badly, including a few F13 movies. Part 5, for example, has actually no interesting deaths. Part 8 as well, pretty sure.

  • Jeroen Ledderhof

    I didn’t like the Friday the 13th and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. I think that remakes like The Blob and Maniac are better movies.

  • Matt Loudon

    This list should only have two films on it: The Thing and The Fly.

  • Martijn Derese

    Am I the only one who things movies based on a book are not really remakes? Since, in my (narrow) definition, a remake is a movie who remakes an existing movie. Not a movie who is based on a book, that happens to be already moviefied earlier.

  • badassbarada

    Ummm…..Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)? EASILY better than almost everything on this list, except of course the masterpiece that is The Thing.

    • Richard Aitken

      Absolutely. So many people ignore the 1978 version of Invasion of the body snatchers. It’s a great retelling. Both 1950s originals of that and The Thing are brilliant in their own right but the remakes are fabulous.

    • Jérôme Blanchet

      Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978) and Carpenter’s The Thing are way beyond everything on this list. But people don’t seems to perceive things that way. They are truly convinced about the fact that The Evil Dead remake is a great film.

    • Nieves Montano

      AGREE!

  • disqus_kOiQcyN7dK

    The Ring and Texas Chainsaw Massacre, really???

  • Danny Reyntiens

    Let me in nor let the right one in aren’t remakes, they were both in production at the same time at one point. And since when do we call them remakes when the original source is a novel?

  • Biswajit Bhattacharya

    the grudge should replace Frankenstein

  • Dimitrije Stojanovic

    Probably, there is only five or six films that should be on this list (Invasion of Body Snatchers is missing). History of cinema is to young for this kind of list. 🙂

  • Klaus Dannick

    You had me with Herzog’s “Nosferatu”, but you lost me with “Bram Stoker’s Dracula”. Seriously, Coppola’s Dracula is not a remake of any film which came before it; it is an interpretation based upon the same source material. Secondly, the summary calls the film a faithful adaptation of Stoker’s novel: from this, I can guess that the author of the article never actually read Stoker’s book. At the center of the Coppola film is a love story; Stoker’s novel is not a love story. Stoker’s novel isn’t anything remotely LIKE a love story, not between Dracula and Mina anyway. Further lapses in fidelity with the novel are the film’s historical ties with Vlad Tepes: it’s an interesting approach, but Vlad is nowhere in Stoker’s book.

    Don’t misunderstand me, I LIKE Coppola’s film as an opulent and radical revision of the myth, a work of high farce; but (1) it’s not a remake of any film which came before it, and (2) it is NOT faithful to the source material’s concerns.

  • Darren

    Some poor choices on the list and not enough is said about WHY these are the best remakes.
    ‘Reimagination’ isnt enough to qualify IMHO.

  • Scott Siegel

    ummmm – INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS (1978)!!!!!

  • Stan Moyer

    Philip Kaufman’s “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”! Come on!!!

  • Diego Caballero Sanabria

    What Happened with: Mother’s day, The Blob,We are what we are, I Spit on your Grave???

  • Igor Leoni

    Wow, Friday the 13th and Evil Dead were horrible remakes. Let Me In and TCM were ok, but the original films are still vastly superior. And yes, ’78 Invasion of Body Snatchers should be in there.

  • handytrim

    The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Night of the Living Dead should not be on this list Chainsaw was okay but nowhere near as good as the original and Living Dead was just awful. Replace them with The Blob and Invasion of the Body Snatchers, both superior than the originals.

  • jannik

    Alexandre Aja’s Maniac is definitly missing. And some of the remakes on this list are quite atrocious actually.

  • Paco Puriffic

    Are you fucking kidding me? Is really? Friday fucking “I don’t know how to move the camera” is in this list? ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME? ARE YOU MAD? THAT SHITTY STUPID UGLY MOVIE?!?!?! WHAT A FUCK HAVE IN THE HEAD?