Last Year’s Evil Dead single handedly restored my faith in “Reboots”.
It’s not as if ED is the only good reboot/remake ever done, it’s just that they are very few and far between. The vast majority of remakes, in my humble opinion, should never have been attempted. You want examples? Alphabetically: The Amityville Horror (2005), Carrie (2013), The Fog (2005), Fright Night (2011), Halloween (2007—sorry Rob Zombie, I know you tried), The Hitcher (2007), House of Wax (2005), My Bloody Valentine 3D (2009), A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010), The Omen (2006), One Missed Call (2008), Prom Night (2008), Psycho (1998), The Thing (2011), and the hideous abomination that was The Wicker Man (2006). True, there have been a handful of successful remakes (another list perhaps?) but nothing near as impressive as Evil Dead.
Yesterday I published the first half of my list: 10 Horror Films That Could Benefit from a Reboot. Read the second half after the jump.
They Live (1988): Happy Birthday John Carpenter! You movie They Live could really benefit from a reboot and I’ll tell you why: The themes and ideas this film presents are awesome. The idea of a secret agenda being pushed right under our noses is just as relevant today as it was in 1988—perhaps more so. We need those bullshit-detecting sunglasses now more than ever! Too bad those important themes were all but lost in your aimless script populated with shallow caricatures. Rowdy Roddy Piper as a leading man? What the hell were you thinking? Although I have to admit, I’d love to see a remake incorporate the best line from the original: “I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass… and I’m all out of bubblegum.” Poetry, man.
Night of the Comet (1984): It’s been 30 years since Night of the Comet meshed zombie terror with science fiction, and no one has done it better since. Unfortunately, the original suffers greatly from the era in which it was produced: The height of 80’s nonsensical style and fashion. Still, NOTC seemed to come at a cyclical turning point in American society when one generation sought to separate itself from the one that proceeded it. And it feels like we’re at another one of those turning points now, where the idea of a near-extinction event allowing the most fit to start again from scratch sounds… almost appealing.
Pumpkinhead (1988): When I revisited Pumpkinhead recently, I was amazed at how well this film has aged. Over 25 years later, the story is solid, the acting is top-notch, and the effects are fantastic. The vengeance demon Pumpkinhead is chill-inducing hideousness incarnate. The witch is scary as hell. The graveyard is terrifying. The movie drips with eerie ambiance and tension. So why remake Pumpkinhead if it was so good in the first place? Simply because I think it would be a hit with the new breed of Horror aficionados who were too young to see the original. A smart filmmaker would stay very close to the source material and insist on keeping all of the FX practical (no CGI!).
Creepshow (1982): The recent success of The ABC’s of Death and V/H/S franchises proves that Horror anthologies are poised for a comeback. Also, Bloody Disgusting’s recent Exit Humanity deftly incorporated live action and animation, which I believe is another area ripe for further artistic interpretation. And, let’s face it: Movies based on comics are hot hot HOT. It would be great if Stephen King could produce the source material (like he did for most of the original Creepshow segments) but it could also be a great opportunity to showcase members of the “Splat Pack” like: Eli Roth, James Wan, Neil Marshall, or even Rob Zombie.
Hellraiser (1987): I’m not alone in my opinion that Hellraiser is long overdue for a reboot. In fact, the idea of a reboot has been flying around for what feels like an eternity (since 2006 at least). It’s been almost like a ridiculous soap opera with The Weinstein Company keeping a death-grip on the film rights, churning out ridiculous crap like 2011’s Revelations instead of passing the reigns on to new, passionate talent. It’s crazy considering this franchise is a goldmine for reinvention.
Not only are the Hellraiser movies rich in a unique mythology, but creator Clive Barker has been expanding on the saga in a series of graphic novels released by Boom!. In the first set, Pinhead tires of his role as Hell’s High Priest and becomes human again. Replacing him in Hell: His nemesis Kristy Cotton who is transformed into a female version of the iconic cenobite. Tell me that wouldn’t make an amazing film? Go on, I dare you! If anyone out there does Horror movies and wants a guaranteed way to make a billion dollars, I’ve got the perfect idea for you: Reboot Hellraiser with Clive Barker at the helm. The minions will show up in droves, I promise. Unless, of course, you’d rather continue producing shit and wasting brain cells (along with golden opportunities). Then by all means, keep on doing what you’ve been doing.