Why do we have so many remakes? Is there any single question—maybe not worded quite exactly like that—that you hear more from horror fans on the Internet? I see it asked every single day in one form or another. “Why do we have so many remakes?” It’s an easy answer, too, which makes how often I see the question so mind-boggling. It’s obvious, and it’s obvious in the way you wouldn’t think it would be obvious. One of those answers that’s staring you in the face with its painfully solid clarity.
We have so many remakes because they make money. It’s as simple as that. The only reason any popular trend exists in film is because people go see it. That’s how the remake boom happened. Studios had a harder and harder time getting people into the theater to see new content, so they take a property that people are already intimately familiar with. Viewers vote with their dollars (and then complain about the very trend they have helped to create).
With that in mind, it’s kind of amazing that there are remakes that actually go unseen. Ones that fall by the wayside. Sometimes, they fall flat upon their initial release and gain their audience later on. Read on for seven surprisingly good remakes that nobody saw!
All Cheerleaders Die
Lucky McKee’s remake of his own film, and his most recent movie, has to be one of his most under-seen. But I loved it. I had so much fun with this flick. It’s an attempt to go back to the tone and style of titles like Heathers and Buffy, but it’s totally and completely a Lucky McKee production at the same time.
Steven C. Miller’s very loose remake of Silent Night, Deadly Night is one of the best outright slashers that we’ve had in a very long time. It’s over-the-top, but it’s designed to be that way. Had it been given a larger release and done well in theaters, it probably would have kept slashers in the cinema for at least a couple more years.
I know, it’s shocking to list Carrie because it only came out in 2013 and everyone has an opinion on it. Except I’m not talking about that Carrie. Before the 2013 theatrical remake, there was a 2002 TV adaptation starring Angela Bettis of May as the titular character. It’s closer to the book in a way that Kimberly Pierce’s film promised, but did not deliver on.
The Wizard of Gore
This is a very different film from Herschel Gordon Lewis’s Wizard of Gore, and it’s fairly low budget, but not as low as the original. There’s a lot of neat stuff stylistically in this version, but what really makes it work is an eccentric lead performance by Crispin Glover in one of his most overlooked roles as Montag the Magnificent.
The Toolbox Murders
Maybe the last good film Tobe Hooper made, Toolbox Murders was kind of surprising because the first one wasn’t very good. It was a strange movie to remake to begin with. The redux takes a more supernatural turn that you would expect. It also features Angela Bettis, so maybe she’s a good luck charm.
Mick Garris’s The Shining is mostly referred to as Stephen King’s The Shining and it exists because King had talked for so long about how the film everyone knew and loved was far removed from the story he had written. So in the ‘90s he wrote this miniseries and it was brought to life by his go-to-guy Mick Garris. There are aspects that don’t work, where it could have been serviced by being less faithful to the book—the hedge animals are terrifying on the page, but don’t work on screen—but there are also times when it is just as scary as Kubrick’s movie and has a deeper understanding of the characters.
People sometimes forget that one of the most beloved horror movies of the past forty years was a complete and total failure when it was first released. It seems ridiculous to put The Thing on a list of remakes that nobody saw, but it’s the truth. It took people years to finally start watching it. They began to see it as the masterpiece that it actually is, but this was decades after its initial release. The Thing will always be the classic example of a masterful remake that nobody saw.