Ridiculed & Ruined Part I

Last week as an added bonus to my ‘Nightmares on Netflix’ weekly post, I decided to write about what I consider to be some of the best horror movie remakes. In that post, I mentioned that if someone commented, what I would do this week, is do a Top Ten of the -worst- horror movie remakes. One of our lovely contributors, Toria, decided to be so kind and leave a comment, and so I’m forced to stay true to my word.

Something to keep in mind is that I generally avoid remakes because I fear that they’ll ruin my experience with the originals, so there are a lot of ones that I have yet to see – and consequently, they have not been added to this list.

Godzilla

10. Godzilla
Original: 1954
Remake: 1998

Do I consider this a horror movie? Well, a giant lizard stomping through Tokyo (though in the remake, it’s NY) with laser eyes and radioactive breath is likely going to scare anyone! I’ve also decided to include this because I think it’s one of the most ridiculous movies to ever be made. Sure, if you’re a twelve year old boy with an afternoon to kill, you’ll watch this – but beyond the CG reptile rampaging on the city, it has little to no merit. Even the computerized creature, while competent, isn’t very impressive and the scenes of destruction are hardly even exciting. To put plainly, it’s dull. The Japanese versions (and there are many) are at least entertaining and usually pretty hilarious. This one misses the mark on all fronts. Hey Godzilla remake, if size matters then why did you hire on Matthew Broderick, the tiniest actor of all time to play the hero?

The Fog

9. The Fog
Original: 1980
Remake: 2005

Never been a huge fan of the overly gory horror film. I prefer the slow build up, the tension and suspense creeping up before the big pay off that usually happens at the climatic end. It’s for this that I love the original film. It’s an atmospheric ghost story of a town covered in a menacing fog and more eerily, what is hidden within it. The remake is a sorry excuse for a PG-13 horror film. While it remains mostly true to the story, it lacks the stellar acting chops of the original cast (Jamie Lee Curtis, Adrienne Barbeau) and replaced it with hip, young actors of the current generation. Now, that’s not to say that they lack talent, but in comparison, they come up short. It is not suspenseful. It is not scary. What it is, is unintentionally funny. Ultimately, I believe that the film was terrible because of the rudimentary and predictable script that lacked the terrifying soul of Carpenter’s classic.

The Omen

8. The Omen
Original: 1976
Remake: 2006

Thirty years after we were first given a glimpse of the Devil’s son, the remake tore itself from the fiery pits of Hell. Pretty intense, huh? Well, I have to say that the concept of a child being born of Satan and living amongst an unsuspecting family is very intriguing. Evil children make for a very intense film when it’s done right. The remake did it all very wrong. I will give it points for style, as it is very sleek, and of course for the more gruesome death scenes. The special effects are impressive, but can’t make up for the over-the-top performances (Mia Farrow is exempt) and the sometimes laughable script. Liev Schriver could never live up to Gregory Peck, but the film suffered most because of the child who was chosen to play the role of Damien. More than anything, he puffed up his cheeks and pouted a lot, a far cry from the disturbingly quiet and surprisingly mature boy from the original. This film feels more like a half-hearted, rather than a genuine attempt to recapture the essence of a celebrated horror movie, not offering anything new and seemingly just going through the motions. It’s uninspired at best.

Children of the Corn

7. Children of the Corn
Original: 1984
Remake: 2009

Keeping in theme with odd little children – I’d first like to say that I don’t really like any of the versions of this series. It’s why I believe that there was a lot of potential for a remake. A chance to right the wrong of making such a subpar horror film based of the work of Stephen King. While the updated version was truer to the short story, it wasn’t much of an improvement. For instance, the main characters in the remake aren’t likeable, I found myself waiting for the deranged kids to sacrifice them to the ‘monsters’ in the corn field, whereas in the original, we can relate to the troubled husband and wife. Not surprising, the special effects and death scenes are more graphic in keeping with the trend of the modern genre, but the kids just aren’t as frightening. It makes the threat less real and the film less interesting to watch.

The Grudge

6. The Grudge
Original: 2003
Remake: 2004

I would consider this to be a ‘translation’ of the Japanese film “Ju-on: The Grudge” but since it held onto the strong cultural influence and Asian horror feel (largely because Takashi Shimizu directed both), calling it a remake seems more appropriate. The story is for the most part the same for the remake, though they’ve added a love story and an excuse to have an all Caucasian cast. The scares have been turned up a couple of notches because seeing a ghost isn’t as scary for a North American audience. Both manage to capture the chilling atmosphere, offering a broody and dark backdrop to the unfolding plot, and used vignettes to tie it all together. The 2004 version suffers from the Hollywood need to explain every little detail whereas the Japanese film leaves a little more to the imagination. That’s mostly why I didn’t like the newer film. It told too much and while I like Sarah Michelle Gellar, I find that big celebrity names tend to distract more than enhance a horror movie.

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