Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Remakes that don't suck.

With the recent release of the teaser trailer for the CLASH OF THE TITANS remake, a lot of folks have been crying foul once more over the ol' remake trend.

I thought, given the circumstances, I'd just take a few minutes to point out a number of genre remakes that I personally really enjoy. This totally incomplete list contains old favorites, a few I was primed to hate, and a couple others that I sadly didn't even know were remakes until well after the fact.

And geeks, I'm not including great flicks like ALIEN, which was "basically" a remake of IT! THE TERROR FROM BEYOND SPACE. Same goes for HOUSE OF WAX (2004), which wasn't so much a remake of the 1953 film of the same name, but rather a surprisingly-entertaining redux of 1979's TOURIST TRAP.

No, I'm talking about straight-up, get-the-fanboys-bitching remakes here.

Again, all the movies listed below are ones that I really enjoy, and I genuinely don't care about the fact that they're based on previous films. They're fun in their own right - and that's what matters.

Oh yeah, and while I cherish the flawed original, I can't freakin' wait for the new CLASH OF THE TITANS.

A thrilling, remarkably scary remake of the 1956 classic. Sutherland's mouth owns this movie, and that dog thing still creeps me the hell out. Jeff Goldblum's great, as is Leonard Nimoy, and bringing original star Kevin McCarthy back was a classy move.

THE THING (1982)
Replacing the 1952 original's James Arness with a giant bloodthirsty pile of self-replicating, dog-eating alien goop is pure genius. Rob Bottin effects are still literally jaw-dropping, and the Carpenter/Russell combo is cinema gold. One of the best remakes... well, ever.

THE FLY (1986)
Cronenberg recently stated that he'd like to re-remake the classic 1958 sci-fi film. I doubt it can match the raw, visceral power of this monster, but he sure can try. Goldblum vomit still makes my skin crawl, and I love that this flick was produced by funnyman Mel Brooks.

Corman's 1960 original... well, just isn't that great. Frank Oz's musical remake, however, boasts brilliant creature designs, a bravura performance from Rick Moranis, and really, really good music. I know every word to every song in the damn thing.

THE BLOB (1988)
As a kid, The Blob remake was the first film where I saw a little kid ("jus' like me") get killed. And damn, did he ever. Chuck Russell's Blob still sports some of the ooiest, gooiest splatter ever weaseled into a mainstream R-rated release.

I love Romero's 1968 original, and virtually nothing is lost in this b-star-studded remake by effects wiz Tom Savini. The zombies look amazing, and IMHO, the different ending suits the story better than the original's.

The last five minutes are a total mess, but everything else in this spookshow is genuinely creepy and totally entertaining. The cast is dead-on and the epic, cavernous set is gasp-inducing. William Castle, director of the 1959 original, would have been proud of the brilliant Geoffrey Rush playing John Waters playing Vincent Price.

THE RING (2002)
The original was a scant four years old when the American-produced remake hit. Having only months earlier had the holy bajeezus scared out of me by Hideo Nakata's original, RINGU, I was hesitant. There was no need to be. Aside from some minor pacing issues, this is a moody, atmospheric gem that scared the crap out of everyone I knew.

1978's DAWN is one of my favorite films of all time and I was determined to hate the remake. Within five minutes, I had forgotten my anger and was lapping up this fast-paced riot. I miss the social commentary, but when I'm having this much fun, who gives a shit? This movie is flat-out awesome.

Its scarier, more brutal, and an all-around a better film than Wes Craven's groundbreaking 1972 original. Period.

The Canadian original, released in 1981, is a far superior film to the remake, but I just can't ignore how entertaining it is to watch Jensen Ackles and Tom Atkins run around this hokey, beautifully-shot bloodbath. The theatrical Real3D experience was fantastic.

There are dozens more, and I had to forcibly restrain myself from leaping out of horror and sci-fi. After all, I love THE DEPARTED, DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS, THE ITALIAN JOB, THE MALTESE FALCON, ALWAYS, CAPE FEAR, and, truthfully, hundreds of other remakes.

And now that this is a hate-free zone... what beloved remake do you bring up when people start bitching?