We start the Top 7. You finish the Top 10.
The remake of Fright Night hits the theaters this weekend, and a little bird told me it was pretty darned enjoyable - surprisingly so, for a remake. Actually, it was more along the lines of a tall, gangly bird with an air of dry snarkiness (I'm talking about Jeff Bayer) - tomato/tomahto. It got me thinkin' about other remakes I'd love to see come bobbing to the surface of that cesspool of soulless plasicity we call Hollywood.
Two important points: 1. I can pick anything I want to remake even if it was released a few months ago (translation: good idea, sh*tty execution). 2. If I pick a movie that is still solid in its own right, I mean no disrespect to the original.
7. One Missed Call (2008)
Recap: People start dying after receiving creepy, portentous phonecalls. The phone call itself is from their future self, calling just seconds before they are mangled in some god-awful, creative way. Reason: Who cares? This is just another cheap copy of Japanese horror that could easily step in for any of the Final Destination movies and no one would notice. So why even bother? Here's why: httpv://youtu.be/S0YVBBmhrAo Creepiest little ditty that ever pulled its greasy, smiling awfulness out of ditty hell, right? Just the ringtone alone was enough to make me want to remake this movie; I'd build a better movie AROUND the ringtone, thereby enshrining it in a movie it (and the audience) deserves. It's criminal to think up a series of noises that twisted and then fritter it away on a disposable B-horror clone. Hey, movies have been remade for less.
6. Session 9 (2001)
Recap: An asbestos abatement crew win a contract to clean out a massive, old-fashioned insane asylum with a brutal history...unlike all those old fashioned insane asylums with perfectly sunny histories. Sprinkle in some infighting among the crew, your standard paranoia, and old recordings of a former patient, and you've got yourself a spooky little party! Reason: David Caruso. He's a pungent fart in a crowded elevator. Watching him grimace his way through his lines is only slightly less enjoyable than trephination. There are three acceptable categories of actors: 1) handsome and talented; 2) talented but unattractive; 3) handsome and inept. If you can't act, at least you should be easy on the eyes. Caruso is neither. And he brings so much baggage to any project in the form of tantrums and diva-ish behavior, that you can't pretend he's someone else. With a story as cool as Session 9, you need a strong cast, or you won't be able to lose yourself in all that savory psychological terror.
5. Scarecrows (1988)
Recap:Armed robbers pull off a heist and make a wild break for Mexico. The plan goes awry and the criminals find themselves on a satanist's farm guarded by demon scarecrows. Tip: when you find yourself on a satanist's farm guarded by demon scarecrows, it's safe to say your plan has gone awry...unless that was your plan. In that case, congratulations. Reason: Think From Dusk till Dawn with demon scarecrows. That's not what I'm saying you'll get if you rent Scarecrows; I'm saying that's what I'd shoot for with the remake. George Clooney and Quentin Tarantino - Hell, it's my remake; let's replace Tarantino with Ryan Reynolds - trapped on a satanist's farm, armed with shotguns, up against an army of demon scarecrows...did you just feel that little thrill of delight pop in your stomach? That's horror old school, baby.
4. The Thing (1982)
Recap: A group of scientists in Antarctica stumble upon a homicidal alien that assumes the identities of its victims. Led by fearless helicopter pilot A.J. MacReady (Kurt Russell), the group fights to survive long enough to escape. Reason: This movie stands the test of time; and is already a remake of The Thing From Another World so let's do it again! Oh, we already are? It's like they knew I was going to make this TOP 7 so they went ahead and knocked my number four off the list for me. Take a look at this trailer.
3. Ghost Ship (2002)
Recap: A salvage crew find a ship that mysteriously vanished in 1962. They decide to tow it back to civilization when they make the unfortunate discovery that it's more supernaturally ill-tempered than your garden variety mysteriously-vanished-reappearing-ship. Reason: This movie has some of the worst pacing of any horror movie. Pace and timing is so important when you're trying to scare the socks off your audience. Ghost Ship does too much too fast - it shows its hand almost from the get-go. There are few surprises and lots of mindless gore. There is a scene where sixty plus people are all chopped up at the same time and that's within the first ten minutes of the movie. It's gross without the scary and that's no fun. The concept of the ghost ship is such a bitchin' one, that if we could just get a director on board like Guillermo Del Toro, we'd be on our way to horror gold.
2. In the Mouth of Madness (1995)
Recap: Intrepid insurance investigator John Trent (Sam Neill) begins to realize that horror author Sutter Cane's (Jurgen Prochnow) books can actually warp reality and put a permanent kink in your sanity. Reason: This is one sweet concept. The movie is so bizarre and original, it stands out amongst the throngs of generic slasher and horror repeats of the 1990s. There is nothing inherently flawed about the original that would justify spending millions of dollars on a remake, but I'd do it anyway. Put someone in John Trent's shoes who we're used to seeing as likeable or heroic, like Johnny Depp and Alejandro Amenábar could direct it. In fact, I think we should remake this movie every 20 years no matter what is going on as a means of constantly building on it until we have a half dozen versions, all excellent in their own unique little way.
1. Savage Harvest (1981)
Recap: A family staying in Africa is trapped in their isolated house by a starving pride of lions. The family asks nicely if they can just get in their car and be on their way, and the starving pride of lions says no. Reason: No, I'm not talking about the 1994 Savage Harvest about a Cherokee burial ground. Very few people have seen this movie and I am one of the lucky few. It's very difficult to find and Netflix doesn't seem to be stepping up to the plate to help. That being said, it's a damn scary movie. It's that kind of scary that claws its way into your brain and your stomach and makes you want to hide your eyes, or throw up, or run away, or run away while you're hiding your eyes and throwing up. That's a movie that demands a remake. Get Steven Spielberg to direct it and Will Smith to star in it, and it's the kind of scary that could stop your heart dead and kill you where you sit...but it's still so badass, that you'd happily buy your ticket anyway.
Ah, to dream.