8. The Ring (2002)
After the mysterious death of her niece, Rachel Keller starts investigating what might have caused her death. As she investigates, she comes to an urban legend of a video tape that kills everyone seven days after seeing it. She is skeptic about the tape until she sees the tape and receives a call. After that his young son sees it, the boy immediately gets a phone call that lets him know he has seven days to live, now Rachel has seven days to solve the mystery and save his son’s life.
A great and suspenseful remake of the Japanese horror film Ringu, what makes this remake great is how well director Gore Verbinski manages to maintain a great sense of suspense through the film, making it almost like a Hitchcock film. The beautiful Naomi Watts delivered a great performance as a mother who is desperate to save his son.
The great dark and eerie tone makes the film feel almost like a Gothic film. Due to its great marketing, the film manages to be the most successful remake in 2002. This is a must see film for its simple subject that makes our fear and paranoia real.
7. Dawn of the Dead (2004)
The film follows Anna, a young nurse who just finishes her shift at the hospital. The next day after his husband is killed by the neighbor’s little girl, her husband comes back to life and attacks her. As she escapes, she discovers the chaos happening all around her.
She finds a cop and other survivors, the group seeks shelter in their local mall. Soon, more survivors come to the mall, they realize that the undead are outside, waiting to eat them. As the time goes by and their supply runs short, they must decide what to do before the undead overrun them.
The film is very different from the original, having only one thing in common: the mall. This is Zack Snyder’s only horror film to date and it’s very funny, filled with great action scenes and Snyder’s trademark slow motion. Zombies are scarier this time due to their fast and violent nature, this could easily be explained as Romero’s movie on steroids.
The film depicts the monotonous life a survivor would have when trapped in a mall. The film has two memorable zombies, the fat lady and the baby, also some original cast members from the original make cameos. A plus for the film is having the chance to see Phil Dunphy as a zombie.
6. The Last House on the Left (1972)
Mari Collingwood decides to celebrate her birthday by attending to a concert in the city with her best friend Phyllis. Before the concert, the two girls seek marijuana, they meet Junior who tells them he will share his Colombian weed with them. Junior takes the girls to his apartment, once in his apartment a new group of escaped criminals arrives. The group brutally tortures and rapes the two girls, taking them to the woods to finish them.
Phyllis is savagely murdered but Mari recognizes the woods and realizes she is near her house. She tries to escape only to get shot and left for dead in the lake. Krug’s gang changes their clothes and seeks shelter in the closest house. The couple that own the house agree to let them stay for the night, Krug and his friends haven’t realized that the house they are staying at is Mari’s and the couple are her parents. Soon after they arrived, Mari’s mother realizes what happened to her daughter and tells this to her husband. All hell will break loose once Mari’s parents take vengeance with their own hands.
Director Wes Craven decided to remake/readapt Ingmar Bergman’s The Virgin Spring, the same core story elements are present but Last House on the Left is a crazy and violent tour.
While in Bergman’s film, redemption is found at the end, Craven’s film portrays how a parent would react to the most horrible crimes committed to their kin in the most sick and perverse way. The film has no redeeming qualities whatsoever. Craven also portrays the fear and paranoia Americans had with cults and gangs at that time. Due to its violent nature, the film was banned in many countries upon its release.
5. House of Wax (1953)
Vincent Price plays Professor Henry Jarrod, a supreme artist whose wax sculptures are extremely lifelike, he specializes in historical figures like Marie Antoinette and Joan of Arc.
His business partner Mathew Burke is in need of money, asking Jarrod to open a chamber of horror in the wax museum, Jarrod refuse to do so. A desperate Burke sets the museum on fire, hoping he can claim the insurance, the fire destroys Jarrod’s creations and it is believed he is dead.
Months pass by and Jarrod unexpectedly reappears and opens the wax museum again. This time his new display focuses on the macabre, the time also coincides with the unusual disappearance of bodies from the morgue. Jarrod needs to reproduce his most cherished piece Marie Antoinette upon meeting his assistants friend Sue Allen, now he has found the perfect model.
This is a great remake from the 1933 Mystery of the Wax Museum. Achieving great visuals due to Technicolor, this remake feels fresh from the original one thanks to Vincent Price who carries the film by himself. Price’s interpretation of this homicidal maniac is fantastic, mostly due to his charm and his frequent search for perfection. The film is full of twists, with one of the most memorable scenes where Jarrod’s true face is revealed. It could be considered the best of the three versions out there.
4. The Fly (1986)
Seth Brundle, a genius and eccentric scientist, attempts to seduce journalist Veronica Qualife by treating her with a scoop to his latest research on field matter teleportation from one telepod to another. The experiment is incomplete since Brundle has not been able to transport a living being. Inspired by his new love Veronica, Brundle improves the machine and he is able to successfully transport a monkey form one telepod to another.
After his success, he attempts to teleport himself. Unfortunately, a fly enters one of the booths, its DNA is mixed with his. Seth now finds himself slowly mutating and transforming into a creature known as “Brundlefly”. His human side starts to give in as the fly’s genes start to take over. He will fight to regain his humanity or he will become his new self.
A great example of a remake being better than the original, David Cronenberg cleverly mixes science fiction with horror, delivering one of the best genre films out there.
The film has great editing and acting, Geena Davis gives life to an over-stereotypical character, filling it with strength and emotional drama. Jeff Goldblum nails the role of a mad scientist in a realistic way. Chris Walas took charge of the FX department, delivering one of the best achieved slow transformations in film history. David Cronenberg makes a brief cameo as a Gynecologist in a traumatic birth scene. The movie spawned a sequel some wish to forget.
3. Nosferatu the Vampyre (1979)
Jonathan Harker is sent to Count Dracula’s castle in Transylvania to sell him a house in Wismar where he lives. John makes a stop at a village, where locals beg him not to go near the castle, telling him about Dracula’s vampirism. He ignores the warning, thinking it’s superstition. Upon arriving at the Count’s castle, Jonathan is shocked by Dracula’s appearance and odd behavior.
Dracula gazes upon a picture of Jonathan’s wife Lucy and immediately decides to purchase the property. One night the Count drinks Jonathan’s blood, traps him and then sets off to Wismar. Once in Wismar, Dracula will stop at nothing until he gets Lucy.
Brilliantly and artistically directed by Werner Herzog, the film pays a beautiful homage to the original while reinventing itself. Herzog decided to restore the original names of the characters as the copyright to Dracula had expired, also reversing Mina and Lucy’s characters from the original novel. Klaus Kinski steals the show by playing Dracula, adding depth and emotions that the original lacks.
2. Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992)
Jonathan Harker, a young lawyer just got engaged to Mina Murray, is sent to Transylvania to Count Dracula’s castle to sell some properties in Carfax Abbey. Once the deal is closed, Dracula asks Jonathan to stay with him for a while so he can teach him something about the English costumes. After some time, Jonathan starts loosing his mind due to his host’s odd behavior, he realizes Dracula is a vampire. Dracula imprisons Jonathan in the castle and he sets off for England to meet Mina who is Dracula’s reincarnated wife.
The film is faithfully adapted from Bram Stoker’s novel. One of the many great things in the film is Coppola’s introduction to Dracula’s background story, tiding it with Vlad Tepe’s. The film also portrays Dracula in its most human form, making the audience understand why he became the creature he is. Also there is the reincarnated aspect of the film where Winona Ryder and Anthony Hopkins play two different characters that reincarnate many centuries later.
Coppola insisted in using practical effects for the film and he delivered a film with great visual aesthetics. The film has beautiful makeup effects, making old Dracula played by Gary Oldman almost unrecognizable. Oldman and Hopkins each gives a new and fresh interpretation to the character. There is also a part where the film hints that Van Helsing and Dracula have been enemies for a long time, leaving the audience wanting for answers.
The film is a great and fresh remake from its eerie and creepy soundtrack by Wojciech Kilar to the great Eiko Ishioka who did a wonderful job of making the costumes for the film. One of Dracula’s costume is inspired by Klimt’s painting The Kiss.
1. The Thing (1982)
A helicopter of apparently crazy Norwegians try to kill a dog that interrupts an American scientific expedition in the middle of the Arctic. After chasing the dog for a while, the helicopter crashes, leaving no explanation. The Americans adopt the dog and raise it with other dogs.
At night the dog mutates and starts attacking and killing other dogs. The American team go to the Norwegian base to investigate, they discover that everyone is dead in the base. The team soon realizes they are dealing with an alien creature with the ability to take over other bodies.
This horror film is Carpenter’s masterpiece. Many critics have stated that this new version is way better than the original. Carpenter reinvented The Thing by leaving aside its plant-like origin and making the thing more menacing and terrifying.
The film is full of intrigue and mystery. Rob Bottin achieved wonder by creating the thing in its many forms. Carpenter also introduced us to a great badass hero played Kurt Russell. The film spawned a prequel that answered some of the questions this film left us tangled with.
Author Bio: Daniel Miranda is a Consultant/Entrepreneur from Mexico. He is a cinema aficionado and travel enthusiast. His favorite directors are Martin Scorsese, Ingmar Bergman, Tarsem, Wim Wenders, Steve McQueen and Ridley Scott.