Top 7 Failed Horror Movie Remakes In No Particular Order

A remake sometimes appears favourable for a Hollywood executive. It has instant recognition and the basis for the story is instantly ready to go. But great remakes are few and bar between as these films prove…

Remakes today are not in short supply. It sometimes feels like Hollywood has somehow lost the creativity gene along the way, choosing to dust old screenplays and remake, reboot, reimagine, and relaunch them into the 21st century. Sometimes, they work, and sometimes they don’t. Today, let’s look at a few of them that were far less scary than a slot machine at the top online casinos on the internet, in no particular order.

Psycho (1998)

Why would anyone make a shot-for-shot remake, especially of a cult classic at Psycho’s level? Director Gus Van Sant apparently thought it would be a good idea, and convinced Universal to do it. The result was not only a box office bomb but one that received two Razzies, for Worst Remake or Sequel and Worst Director, in 1999. Literary critic Camille Paglia commented that the only reason to watch it was “to see Anne Heche being assassinated”. Good point.

Carrie (2013)

Murphy’s law says don’t fix it if it isn’t broken. But director Kimberly Peirce apparently didn’t know of this rule and tried to fix Brian de Palma’s 1976 original, starring Sissy Spacek, Piper Laurie, and John Travolta. The best thing the critics had to say about this remake was “unnecessary”, and failed at being a true horror movie.

The Amityville Horror (2005)

Yours truly has fallen asleep twice while watching this one. The 1976 original was a classic – this modern-day retelling of the story is barely even memorable. It was a commercial success due mostly to its tiny budget ($19 million) that turned into a little over $100 million at the box office. But neither the critics nor the viewers found it very scary in the classic sense.

The Island Of Dr. Moreau (1996)

A boring, incoherent craze-fest with human-animal hybrids and an awful lot of white-faced Marlon Brando in it. It is remembered not for its deep story or its creative mixing of human and animal features but for its poor quality – critic Roger Ebert described it as Marlon Brando’s worst film ever.

One Missed Call (2008)

The most memorable part of this remake of an Asian horror flick was the ringtone – you may remember hearing it all over the place for a while. Otherwise, it was a bland, generic, pointless and awkward retelling of a story that will probably only be remembered thanks to the “worst remakes” lists online.

Children Of The Corn (2009)

The 1984 original, based on Stephen King’s short story with the same title, was fresh, original, somewhat scary, and had Linda Hamilton in it – she starred in The Terminator in the same year, so this makes the movie at least somewhat memorable. But it had too many unnecessary sequels and one completely unnecessary remake, made for television, that didn’t live up even to the questionable fame of the original.

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1994)

Despite its star-stuffed cast, Kenneth Branagh’s “Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein” somehow failed to deliver. Perhaps the reason was that it was a bit of a vanity project for the multiple Oscar nominee actor/director – the pace of the movie was way off, it was often funnier than scary, and overall a disservice brought to the source material.

About the Author
Rory Fish has loved movies since he can remember. If he was to put together an "all time" top 10 of absolute favourites it would have to include North By Northwest, 12 Angry Men and Sunset Boulevard.

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  1. Mark Fraser Reply

    Fun list ….

    For one terrifying moment there I thought you might have included Tom Savini’s remake of Night of the Living Dead. When I first saw it on VHS in 1992 I liked it; when I rewatched it almost 25 years later I realised it looked very eighties. And it was kind of like Van Sant’s Psycho remake insofar as the first third of it was almost a scene-by-scene remake of the original. Still, I’m glad you didn’t include it.

    There’s a funny story about the remake of The Island of Dr Moreau: Director John Frankenheimer hated Val Kilmer so much that he said something like “Even if I was making a movie called ‘The Val Kilmer Story’, I wouldn’t cast Val Kilmer.”

    I agree with Frankenstein: De Niro slips into his New York accent too easily and the score totally kills it.

    One possible contender could have been the remake of Nightmare on Elm Street, although it’s difficult for me to make any constructive comment as I’m not a Wes Craven fan.

    Steve Miner also made a film called Day of the Dead, which was nothing like the Romero film and ended up being complete crap. Indeed, the only interesting thing about it was that it starred Ving Rhames, who was also in the remake of Dawn of the Dead – another movie I’m glad didn’t make this list as it is pretty good.

  2. Wendell W Ottley Reply

    I didn’t think the remake of The Amityville Horror was that bad. Then again, I don’t really think the original was an untouchable great. But that’s just me. One I definitely would’ve included was Dark Water, a remake of a Japanese film of the same name. Another is The Uninvited, an American remake of the South Korean film A Tale of Two Sisters. To be honest, you could probably have populated this whole list with American remakes of Asian films.

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