With "Sorority Row
" hitting theatres today - a remake of the 1983 slasher classic - it truly seems as if every horror property of the last 30 years has been given a do-over.
From big names (Jason, Freddy, Michael Myers) to cult classics ("Prom Night
," "The Hills Have Eyes
," "The Last House on the Left
"), horror remakes are big business.
But believe it or not, there are a few horror properties out there that haven't been touched, and more importantly, have the potential to be improved by being remade.
At the time of its 1984 release, this film was steeped in controversy for its decision to make the crazed killer wear a Santa Claus suit as he went about dispatching his victims (it all stemmed from the young boy seeing his parents murdered by a Santa-suit wearing thief).
Yes, Santa is a beloved icon, but 25 years later, it seems like everyone would be OK with the concept of a Santa serial killer - we've seen crazier concepts since then.
Make no mistake - this is not a good movie. It's not scary, the acting is downright laughable and the direction is ham-fisted. However, it's a good idea, and one that a talented cast and director could pull off.
The original spawned four increasingly worse sequels, which means that people were intrigued by the concept, yet no one was able to competently wrap their minds around it.
According to the rumor mill, Sony was set to remake the film, but its alleged release date has come and gone and there's been no more news surrounding it.
Another '80s slasher classic, this one is known by horror fans (but not a general audience) for a number of reasons, including the legendary FX work done by master Tom Savini and its appearance on the British "video nasty" list for being too violent.
In addition, now movie moguls Harvey Weinstein
and Brad Grey received story credit (this was essentially the start of Miramax) and well-known actors Holly Hunter
, Jason Alexander
and Fisher Stevens
At the core, this movie is a cousin to "Friday the 13th
". Camp caretaker gets burned in a prank gone wrong and after his release from intensive care, returns to the grounds to wreak his revenge on unsuspecting victims.
There are some really intense scenes and gore here, thanks to Savini, and the acting is a lot better than what you'd normally see in a horror flick of this time period.
But given the Weinstein's precarious financial position, why not turn to a property they already have a stake in to remake?
The original "Phantasm" is a weird, unsettling movie, one that's not merely comfortable with providing the standard scares. There's something deeper at work here, one that director Don Coscarelli continued to explore through the film's sequels.
But the film is now 30 years old, and an entire generation has no idea what the Tall Man and his mysterious flying balls have to do with anything. (To be honest, neither do most folks, even after sitting through all the sequels.)
With a big budget and an inventive director behind the project, "Phantasm" could be a big smash, especially since the story lends itself to further interpretation (sequels!).
Of course, Coscarelli may have something to say about his baby being remade, since he's still working with the property - rumors are that a web series is in development.
Another highly controversial film, this 1978 polarizing piece of work is not for everyone, given the rough subject matter, but considering similar material was just tackled in the "Last House" remake, it can be done.
This is one of those movies that became legendary thanks to its provocative video box and the condemnation by Roger Ebert and other critics, but when you get right down to it, it's a film with a lot of flaws alongside its difficult subject matter.
I'd love to see what a button-pushing provocateur like Catherine Breillat would do with the story of a woman who is raped only to gain brutal revenge against her attackers. It would take a brave actress to step into the role, but it would be a challenging part.
Variety reports that CineTel films, masters of low-budget schlock, are prepping a remake for theatrical release, but let's hope someone steps in with some better chops to take over the project.
Clive Barker has had a rough road in the movie business, but the 1987 adaptation of his story was one of the best, spawning a host of sequels, including the awesome "Hellraiser II," one of the rare horror sequels to equal or better its predecessor.
But it's time for Barker's tale of lust, demonic possession, puzzle boxes and Cenobites to get the remake treatment. "Hellraiser" is more of a gothic horror tale, and could be the perfect slow-burn film for an arty horror helmer like Alexandre Aja.
After all, the movie had a limited budget, which shows during a lot of the special effects scenes. It'd be interesting to see what someone could do with even $25 million to work with.
Of course, if anyone knows the film it's because of the popularity of Pinhead, who became a horror icon, even though his role in this film is quite small; something that surely would be changed in the remake.
Story by Elliott Smith
Starpulse contributing writer