10/27/10

Halloween Overachivers: 13 Remakes from Geof of Enter the Man Cave

Hello folks and welcome to first Halloween Overachiver. Each year when I send out the call for guest lists, the folks who dare to tackle thirteen titles always impress me. I take a whole year to decide what is going to be on the list and in what order while this year four brave souls were intrepid enough to go the distance. First up we have Geof from Enter the Man Cave. No matter is he's writing about The Noid or some other forgotten piece of pop culture, his informative booze reviews, or the re-cap of his latest convention adventures, Geof always entertains. The same can be said of his 13 horror remake picks so let me get out of the spotlight and let him take it away!

13 -  Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978): A strong cast complements this remake that is possibly better than the classic original. Packing suspense, paranoia, desperation, and one hell of ending, Invasion is one of the most underrated remakes that deserves more praise and visibility than it usually receives.

12 - Friday the 13th (2009): Poorly received at the box office, this film sums up what could be considered as the original's parts 1 and 2 in the first 15 minutes, then travels into its own Friday universe. Even though this new universe includes an underground lair for Mr. Voorhees and excludes any zombie Jason references, the audience still gets to see the enjoyment of Jason hacking up teens like it's his job. Wait...it is his job. Nevermind.

11 - House of Wax (2005) - Don't let the illusion of CW/WB teenybopper pop culture with Chad Michael Murray, Paris Hilton and Elisha Cuthbert fool you, this film is actually some gory fun. Having nothing to do with the original House of Wax, this re-imaging is a slasher flick that includes wax injection...HOT WAX INJECTION. 'Nuff said.

10 - Last House on the Left (2009) - Surprisingly effective remake containing just as equally surprising and powerful performances. Wes Craven's original receives a nice face lift that is high on suspense even though the 2009 polish cannot project the same grit of Craven's 70's film stock. Definitely worth a watch whether you like or disliked the original.

9 - The Grudge (2004) - Another in the long line of Japanese horror remakes from the early 2000's boom. Like The Ring, this film stays close to the roots of  the original by delivering some of the same signature scares. It also helps that the same director and some of the actors from the original are carried over into the U.S. version, a rarity in the industry. Not the best remake of a film by any means but it does hold up it in its' own right.

8 - The Blob (1988) - Before he hit celebrity status as Johnny Drama on Entourage, Kevin Dillon was riding the coat tails of his brother Matt by pushing the tough guy persona in the remake of the 50's classic. The film shatters any preconceived horror elements by killing off our supposed main character in the first 10-15 minutes and then culminates in an on-screen kill of a child. Definitely takes a different path than the original by infusing more gore and a shady scientist angle to the plot.

7 - The Fly (1986) - Jeff Goldblum gives the performance of his life as a scientist who mixes his DNA with a common household fly in an experimental transportation mishap. Not only does his physical appearance being to change, but his personality transforms in an even worse way. Awesome FX aside, this is a darker tone compared to the original even though it does not include the lead being eaten by a spider in the finale.

6 - Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003) - The supporting characters and situation are different but the feel of the Chainsaw franchise is the same. This new family is equally creepy and just as brutal when it comes to slaughter. Leatherface is a physically menacing force and Jessica Biel officially ditched her goodie two-shoes persona from 7th Heaven to act as an strong female lead. Followed by an equally good and sadly unappreciated prequel/sequel.

5 - Halloween (2007) - In this "love it or hate it" flick, Rob Zombie tackles two horror icons: Michael Myers and Dr. Loomis. Myers is given a great deal of background story before he dons the mask and Loomis is played in a totally different light than Donald Pleasance's approach by veteran actor Malcolm McDowell. The gore and brutality factor is at an all-time high with Zombie's gigantic version of Myers, who sports the physique of a professional wrestler. Add in some great genre cameos and you have a hit. Unlike the Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake, Halloween's sequel is an awful, forgettable mess and a complete 180 degrees from what Zombie presents in this film.

4 - The Ring (2002) - The Japanese original Ringu is a slow paced film that uses the entire film as a setup to the shock ending's knockout punch. This remake follows the same formula but adds in more character interaction and some genuinely creepy moments on the way to discovering the deadly secret of the mysterious tape. Naomi Watts is an absolute standout as one of the tape's pending victims whose son also becomes inflicted with the curse. With little time left, she researches the history of the tape in hopes of undoings any consequences coming her and her young son's way.

3 - Dawn of the Dead (2004) - Director Zack Snyder's remake of the Romero classic catapulted him into bigger projects like Watchmen and 300. After seeing the cinematic vision and cinematography he executed in this zombie flick, it's easy to see why his career took off so quickly. While this film's story strays almost completely from the remake's plot, the solid acting, action, suspense, tension, and gore stays intact. This film started the "running zombies" debate in the horror universe due to Snyder's ghouls being a cross between those in Return of the Living Dead and Danny Boyle's "infected" from 28 Days Later. Overall an excellent film that's a lot deeper than it appears on the surface and leaves an ambiguous ending that's also worth some afterthought.

2 -  The Thing (1980) - One of the, if not "the", greatest films from John Carpenter's impressive resume as well as one of the overall best motion pictures in the genre, remake or non-remake. The Thing showcases strong performances from Kurt Russell, Keith David and Wilford Brimley along with some eye-popping, non-CGI special effects that hold up to present-day standards. From a conceptual perspective, Carpenter effectively establishes an aura of solitude, paranoia and claustrophobia and then mixes in horror and sci-fi elements to create a film that outdoes the impact of the original.

1 - Evil Dead 2: Dead By Dawn (1987) - The "Citizen Kane"-equivalent to remakes, even though it's labeled as a "sequel-remake" hybrid. ED2 seems more of a remake by simply dropping Ash's friends and pitting him in a longer battle against the Deadites with new supporting characters. Bruce brings his new Ash persona to the screen complete with zingy one-liners and physical comedy while director Sam Raimi provides the whacky camera angles and ridiculous gore.

5 comments:

  1. Another great list. I would love to be a part of the fun if you happen to need more bloggers with lists.

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  2. Top notch choices! Evil Dead II or The Thing? Not sure which one I'd place first!

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  3. Neat stuff. I don't love Zombie's Halloween, but I do appreciate that he went in a pretty creative direction. Actually, I really dig the first half, it's the actual 'remaking Halloween' second half that drives me insane.

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  4. Absolutely perfect choices! Any list with Evil Dead II on it is fine by me. Thanks for having Geoff as a guest!

    Cheers!

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  5. Wait. Friday the 13th poorly received at the box office? It made 90 million worldwide. One of the highest grossing horror movies ever. Anyway, you put a good list together. Nice work.

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