Hollywood doesn’t seem to have original stories any more, especially when it comes to horror movies. So when Sony’s Screen Gems announced it was looking to remake the 1976 Sissy Spacek horror classic “Carrie,” we couldn’t help but roll our eyes. How can you top that classic 1976 Stephen King film? And which remakes over the years have gotten it right? Get ready to fill up your Netflix queue.
This latest reincarnation of “Carrie,” released Oct. 18, stars comic book nerds’ dream girl Chloë Grace Moretz (pictured) in the title role and taps four-time Oscar nominee Julianne Moore to play her wacko religious mother. So, we thought, it’s conceivable that maybe, just maybe we could end up with a movie that doesn’t suck. But then The Globe gave it just one-and-a-half stars and critic Ty Burr wrote, “The new ‘Carrie’ is a thoroughly dispiriting remake — ‘retread’ is the appropriate word — that could have been directed by any proficient Hollywood hack.” Oh well.
So which remakes have been as good, if not better, than the original? Here are our top five revamped horror films.
Just like 2004’s “The Grudge” (see No. 4 on this list), 2002’s “The Ring” borrows its story line from a Japanese predecessor, in this case, “Ringu.” Starring Naomi Watts, “The Ring” explores a mysterious videotape that seems to kill whoever views it. Just like the Japanese version, the American attempt pumped out some sequels, including a 3-D one. Since there’s no real male hero, we don’t get to name who would be “Lord of the Ring.”
Who would even remember the 1958 original of the same name after seeing the incredible 1986 cult classic? Both movies tell the story of a scientist who transforms into a fly after his experiment goes horribly wrong, but the 1986 remake is just on a different level. The reboot tells more of a love story with heartbreak thanks to real-life couple and stars of the film, Jeff Goldblum and Geena Davis.
One of the best zombie remakes ever is 2004’s “Dawn of the Dead,” starring Sarah Polley, Ving Rhames, and Mekhi Phifer. The original 1978 film focuses on two Philadelphia SWAT team members, a traffic reporter, and his television-executive girlfriend finding refuge in a shopping mall. The 2004 remake wins people’s hearts with flesh-eating zombies and switches things up a bit by using computer animation and focusing on a nurse, a policeman, a young married couple, and a salesman.
Sarah Michelle Gellar stars in 2004’s “The Grudge,” which is an American remake of 2002’s Japanese film “Ju-On.” Both films have the same director, so maybe this remake had a secret advantage. The film, which eventually spawned two more original sequels, tells the story of Karen (Gellar) who fills in for another nurse and soon learns that she has been exposed to a mysterious supernatural curse.
Let’s get the right thing here: The 1982 remake of “The Thing” is worthy of our time. The 2011 attempt carries the curse of multiple remakes and is marginal at best. “The Thing” in question is a blood-thirsty alien who attacks a remote arctic outpost. It made its big screen debut in 1951’s “The Thing from Another World.” It was made again in 1972’s “Horror Express,” but 1982’s try, starring Kurt Russell, is the one thing that really works.