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The 15 Best Horror Movie Remakes of All Time

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

8. The Ring (2002)

samara The Ring

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)

dawn-of-the-dead-1

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)

The Last House on the Left

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)

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)

the Fly

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)

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)

Bram Stoker’s Dracula

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)

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.

 

 

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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?