Like most horror fans, I'm not always pro remake. There are some films that simply should not be remade. However, I am supportive of remaking a film if the creative team behind the reboot can bring something new to the table or improve upon what the original film did, in some way. Case in point, Tobe Hooper improved on the source material in his 2004 remake of The Toolbox Murders. Hooper's remake was a more cohesive film than the original and was more effective at keeping its viewer engaged throughout the film. The original was poorly paced with the entire middle of the film being exhaustively sluggish. As for bringing something new to the table, James Gunn and Zak Snyder didn't outdo the original Dawn of the Dead with their 2004 reimagining, but that's not what the duo was trying for. Instead, they provided a highly enjoyable companion piece with their reboot of the George A. Romero classic.
I am never in favor of a blow by blow remake. The 2010 Nightmare on Elm Street reboot illustrated, all too clearly, why there is no need to remake a movie that doesn't effectively separate itself from the original film. With that said, we've put together a list of seven films that we think wouldn't be bad candidates for a reimagining.
This lost classic hit theaters in 1979 before films of its kind were commonplace. Tourist Trap borrowed a bit from several of its predecessors; the telekinesis element from Carrie and the ‘twenty something's make an unplanned stop on a road trip’ angle from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. But it worked, nonetheless. Seeing a remake loosely inspired by the original that kept the telekinesis element and the creepy roadside attraction gimmick would pique my curiosity. And there's room for a new creative team to improve upon some of the flaws of the original film.
The sorority house slasher genre was overly saturated in the eighties, but contemporary horror has brought very few ‘stalk and slash’ sorority flicks. The Initiation was made with a modest budget and it shows. It's a fun popcorn flick, but the effects aren't all that great and the production team actually had to reuse the same shot in several scenes because they were on such a tight shooting schedule. It would be nice to see a script that keeps some of the core elements of The Initiation and then breaks away. A different twist and some slightly more developed characters would be a good starting point for a remake of this 1984 slasher.
Prince of Darkness
Many John Carpenter fans probably consider it blasphemous to suggest that another Carpenter film be remade after the Halloween franchise reboot and the situation that was The Thing pre-make. But, Prince of Darkness is such an original idea and it's a little known film outside the inner circles of the horror community. Original ideas are something that we are desperatey lacking in contemporary horror. So if it's remakes that big studios are going to give us, I wouldn't cringe at the possibility of seeing what a newer director could do with Prince of Darkness. Under John Carpenter's mentorship as a producer or consultant, it could be a good opportunity for an up and comer.
1981 was the year of the slasher film. In '81, genre legend Tobe Hooper served up The Funhouse. It’s not his best work, but it still provides its viewer a reasonably good time if you can overlook the low body count and choppy pacing. This is an instance where a remake may be able to improve upon the original film. A reboot would be a great opportunity to take the basic concept and build from there. Several years ago, Eli Roth (Hostel) was reportedly directing a remake of The Funhouse, for Universal Pictures, but he has since announced that he will not be directing and it looks as if the project may be dead in the water.
Bloody Birthday is one of my guiltiest pleasures. It was shot on a nearly nonexistent shooting schedule and with no budget. But somehow, it's still a ridiculously fun film to watch. Birthday features one of my favorite '80s scream queens, Lori Lethin (Return to Horror High) in a pitch perfect performance as final girl, Joyce. An update couldn't top the original in camp factor, gratuitous nudity, or political incorrectness, but the core concept behind the film is something that could be worked with. If The Omen or The Bad Seed have taught us anything, it's that killer kid flicks are fun. There is something delightfully taboo about youngsters running around committing murder.
There's plenty of room for improvement upon Kevin Tenney's tale of the supernatural. It's not that Witchboard was necessarily a bad film, it just wasn't great. Tawny Kitaen can convincingly writhe around in Whitesnake videos, but act, she cannot. I would welcome a re imagining of this 1986 tale of Ouija Board hijinks. The premise isn't a bad one. With a capable cast and a good script, a remake would be worth seeing. A Witchboard reboot was reported to be in the works, back in June of 2011. The Internet Movie Database lists the remake as in pre production, but no updates have been made to the film's IMDB page since August of 2012.
Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things
Bob Clark, who is better known for films like Black Christmas and Porky's, co-wrote and directed this camp fest about reanimated corpses long before zombie films were trendy or commonplace. Children Shouldn't Play With Dead things is one of my favorite overlooked '70s horror flicks and a perfect choice for a reboot. It's a largely forgotten classic that if used as a skeletal outline for a remakecould be a hit with contemporary audiences. A reimagining was reported to be in the works, with genre legend Tom Savini (The Theatre Bizarre) directing and Drew Daywalt (Leprechaun’s Revenge) penning the script. However, nothing official has been reported since July of last year.