Tasking oneself with a list of films ripe for a remake makes one giddy yet hesitant with possible suggestions. Do I touch the classics? Do I bring up lesser known titles? Do I hold a power that could be used for good or for bad? There are a lot of horror lovers out there who do not believe in the notion of a remake. Yet, there are a lot out there who appreciate certain remakes for what was added to the original’s presentation.
Allow me to open up my “if only” trunk, and suggest some films that are ripe for remaking.
10. The Old Dark House (1932)
The Old Dark House is a classic gothic story placed in a house with misfits, pyros, and enough melodrama to satisfy any lover of camp. This film of James Whale (Frankenstein) has already been remade by William Castle in 1963. William Castle, you say? Let’s allow money to be handed to Dark Castle (yanno, House on Haunted Hill , House of Wax ) to remake this. I’d be absolutely fine with someone dashing some of that Dark Castle spice on a property like this. Give me gore. Give me insane set pieces. Give me Paris Hilton returning to the Dark Castle family to portray the blonde stage persona, Gladys Ducane. A film that held a little camp in the 30s has nearly 100 years of campy growth to camp it up even more.
9. Brain Damage (1988)
Brain Damage is a story about the dangers of addiction or about the process of coming out. It can be about many other journeys of life if you look close enough thus giving the story many a path to travel for a modern update. There’s a rule one must follow, though. No CGI Aylmer! Give us the puppetry that we deserve. Unless whoever took the reigns wanted to go more cosmic horror with it then that would be okay, too. Does Aylmer need to be physical? Why not misty? Although I’d assumed you can’t really name a mist Aylmer. Wait. Yes, you can.
8. Phantasm (1979)
Phantasm is on the list for one reason and for one reason, only. This reason is because Clancy Brown (Pet Semetary) was made to portray the Tall Man, originally portrayed by Angus Scrimm. If you’ve seen The Mortuary Collection (2020) then you know exactly what I’m talking about. It’s surprising that this property hasn’t been sprung or borrowed from writer and director, Don Coscarelli, and given a modern update. But if there was ever a time for a reboot, it is now for Clancy Brown has proven that he would be the ultimate successor to Scrimm.
7. Frogs (1972)
When was the last time we had a huge creature of nature run amok film? Not just a croc here, an anaconda there, but a film like Frogs in which all the venomous, poisonous, and sharp toothed creatures of an environment take their revenge against a group of yuppies? It’s been a while. But just like no CGI was declared for Aylmer, there should be no CGI animals. As long as proper handlers are there, and the utmost care is given to the animals then give us a whacko film full of snakes, spiders, gators, lizards, and frogs taking care of business!
6. The People Under the Stairs (1991)
File this one under “it may be too soon.” Not for the fact that Wes Craven’s most underrated film is not even 30 years old, but because of all that has happened within the real world in the past couple of years, specifically of late. The social messages that Craven placed within The People Under the Stairs isn’t just something that people can ignore, now. It’s in the limelight, and there is a lot that can be said within a world similar to that in the film. While Craven did well with the film’s plight, I’d rather not see a white man’s take on the film. I want a person of color’s take on the material. I want someone who can speak with the utmost knowledge that is needed to tell the story of a community broken and controlled by the privileged. I want someone to delve deep into that pit, and pull back the mask that the world has been ripping off with no regrets.
5. Madman (1981)
I have two motives for declaring why Madman is ripe for the remaking. The first is I absolutely want to see a brand new reiteration of the scene that I like to call “the hottub ballet.” It’s a scene where two characters move around a hot tub, seducing each other while the corniest early 80s “making love” music plays. The second is that a high caliber (lol, like that would ever happen) remake of this film would most definitely point people to the original film which, surprisingly, has still managed to sit on the back burner of most’s watchlists. I’ll add a third motive with the fact that the film’s slasher, Madman Marz, has never received his due justice. For a hokey Jason Voorhees ripoff, he’s genuinely creepy.
4. Drive-In Massacre (1976)
The magic of drive-ins has reentered the zeitgeist. It’s time to capitalize on their popularity with a drive-in set slasher film. The original Drive-In Massacre featured a sword wielding mystery person getting stab happy on couples who were just looking to get it on while the movie film plays. With slasher films also entering the zeitgeist, now is the perfect time to recreate the magic that existed in the 1976 original. It’s important that the sword stabbing is kept. It’s important that all aspects of a drive-in are included. It’s important that COVID isn’t a story element. It’s just important that it gets gory, sexy, and that it’s lit very well with projection reflections.
3. Strange Behavior (1981)
Strange Behavior is a quirky little slasher where a trial medical test group turns college students into mindless killers. The film isn’t well known giving this one an upper hand on the ripe for remaking. But imagine the possibilities that a remake could come about. There’s many medical anomalies that could be tinkered with: cancer research, HIV research (make it queer!), autoimmune disorders. Heck! Make the culprits of the murders elderly patients who are being studied for a trial for an Alzheimer’s medication while giving education and insight to the disease. I’m still waiting on the perfect elderly people go slashing movie, and a remake of Strange Behavior could be the answer.
2. Shocker (1989)
Nobody get mad at me for putting two Wes Craven films on this list. Listen, though. The story in Shocker is kept. Instead of using the airwaves of the TV, the antagonist uses social media platforms, popular apps, and even games. Include all of the vile that spreads amongst the platforms which gives the antagonist the power that it needs to spread throughout them. Video chats aren’t safe because they can jump right in. Getting paid via Venmo or CashApp? Nah, you aren’t getting money. You’re getting a recently deceased serial killer coming to murder you, and they’re keeping the cash you were getting.
1. Waxwork (1988)
Waxwork is a pure classic, but let’s give it an update. Keep the initial concept of a wax museum being used for dastardly deeds. Now, et’s get into that good ol’ wishful thinking. Magic can surely happen to release the rights to many horror characters from horror films of the past, right? Right. It would be the ultimate remake as we’d get little remakes within a big remake! The possibilities are endless for which wax statues can come to life to torment unsuspecting college students. Krueger! Jigsaw! Valak! Ghostface! The gators from Crawl! Werewolf Ginger Fitzgerald!
Pardon me as I begin to yield phone calls from Hollywood. My ideas are simply the best. Honestly, we know remakes and reimaginings and reboots are a part of the genre. They always have been, and always will be. It’s up to us to accept what has and what is to come. For every “bad” remake, there are some simply outstanding ones. Open minds, open hearts.
Which horror film from the past do you think is ripe for the remaking? Let us know on our Twitter, Reddit, Facebook, and in the official Nightmare on Film Street Discord. Not a social media fan? Get more horror delivered straight to your inbox by joining the Neighbourhood Watch Newsletter.