Every time I hear that they’re doing a remake of a horror movie from my childhood, particularly one that’s super meaningful to me, I get angry. Not just annoyed, I get mad. Like, what the hell are they thinking? Who do they think they are?!
Then I scoff and say, “Well, we know it won’t compare at all to the original.”
Then I get worried about today’s kids growing up in a world with remakes, and how they may never know the joy of the real Child’s Play because maybe they just saw the remake and didn’t have cool parents who showed them the ways of the world (i.e. ’70s and ’80s horror)… and then I just feel depressed and sad.
Exceptions to the Sadness? Sure.
No, I don’t hate all remakes. Some of them aren’t so bad.
I am one of the small minority who actually enjoys Rob Zombie’s take on Halloween — even though I am a die-hard fan of the 1978 classic — because I think it’s a fresh take on the series. The remake doesn’t dishonor the original in any way because it’s different enough, and it provides a new backstory on Michael Myers as a child that we didn’t get in the original.
Plus, I love the fact that Danielle Harris is in it and there’s some fun gore. Who doesn’t want to see Juni from Spy Kids (Darl Sabara) get hacked up after pissing young Michael Myers off?
…But Most Horror Remakes Are Terrible!
Then there are remakes that are so cringe-worthy we can hardly discuss them.
As a horror fan whose first foray into horror was a sixth-grade slumber party featuring my first R-rated film, Nightmare on Elm Street, I was devastated when they decided to remake the movie that defined my childhood and changed my life forever.
Even more disturbing was the movie itself. They had tweaked the plotline, jacked up the characters, and made Freddy look really weird — and not in a fun way. I watched through hands covering my eyes, my ire too great to hold back as I commented throughout the movie, not allowing anyone else to enjoy it either (Pro tip: do NOT watch a remake with a rabid horror fan if you want to actually watch the movie).
They’ve Got Nards!
It takes balls of steel to remake a beloved movie, and I can only think of one movie besides Halloween that wasn’t super terrible. I actually enjoyed the remake… oh, I’m sorry — “reimagining” (is that supposed to make us less angry?) — of Evil Dead. It was scary, fun, and engaging, and though it definitely doesn’t hold a candle to the campy fun of the Bruce Campbell version, it was as good a remake as I could hope for.
There’s a long list of lackluster remakes ranging from Carrie and Let the Right One In to new versions of The Haunting of Hill House and I Spit On Your Grave.
Sometimes a movie gets beaten to death, such as Black Christmas, which is now on its third remake (leave it alone!) when all of us know that the original 1974 version with Olivia Hussey and Margot Kidder reigns supreme…no questions asked.
When a Stranger Calls scared me to pieces as a kid, but the new one? Nary a fright in sight.
The new Fright Night, a remake of one of my favorite films of all time, actually wasn’t bad, but I will always go back to Chris Sarandon over Colin Farrell any day of the week.
And, as much as I love Bill Skarsgard and enjoyed It for the actors’ performances, Tim Curry was a lot scarier as Pennywise!
Our Icons Are Flawless: Stop Trying to “Fix” Them!
Now we’re about to get a remake of The Craft — though who else but Fairuza Balk could play the terrifying and amazing Nancy?
They’re also remaking The Witches, which scared and fascinated my daughter as a child with Anjelica Huston as the Head Witch peeling her face off to reveal a deformed, misshapen nose and horrifying eyes. They’ll undoubtedly go and digitize the crap out of that scene and make it look way less cool.
Some horror fans embrace remakes and roll with the punches. “At least our movies are getting exposure,” they’ll say. “Kids that like them will go back and watch the original,” they comment (and I hope they’re right!). Or, they’ll say, “It’s just a different viewpoint.”
I say: What about new characters? Who was the last brand-new horror icon we got?
Give Our Kids Their OWN Horror Icons!
Thankfully the Saw franchise gave us Billy, and the Scream series gave us Ghostface — but who have we gotten lately?
I’m grateful for Adam Green’s Hatchet series for giving us Victor Crowley, but kids today are in serious need of some new horror icons. I’m a Freddy girl till the end — and I love Michael Myers, Jason, and Chucky too! — but I hope some great, creative mind out there somewhere gives kids of this generation their own horror icons.
I have hope that we’ll have writers and creators that give us new stories, not regurgitated versions of someone else’s creativity.
Directors like Mike Flanagan (Doctor Sleep and The Haunting of Hill House on Netflix) give me a light of hope at the end of the tunnel that there are some original minds out there.
Now, everyone else: Please leave our icons alone!
As Nancy says in the only Craft I will ever see: “You don’t even exist to me!”
Christi Bandy has been writing and editing professionally since 2010. Her first horror movie, A Nightmare on Elm Street, began her lifelong love of horror. Christi also loves coffee, shopping, reading, tattoos, and Halloween.