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17 Completely Unnecessary Upcoming Remakes

17 Completely Unnecessary Upcoming Remakes

There’s a case to be made for remakes. As we’ve discussed before, Invasion of the Body Snatchers is a timeless premise that can be applied to any generation, with each iteration transforming the allegorical meaning of the premise. Michael Haneke famously remade Funny Games shot for shot for American audiences merely to make his point about the voyeuristic nature of violence onscreen. Gus Van Sant‘s much maligned shot-for-shot remake of Psycho can be looked on as an interesting, albeit failed, cinematic experiment.

Rarely, though, is a film remade for reasons of improvement. More often, a filmmaker’s love of a particular work makes him desire to recreate his love for it for others to see. Remakes may prove to be more interesting were one to take, say, The Swarm or Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever and attempt to make a better movie out of the same material. Perhaps the lowest point of remakes came last year, when Eli Roth produced a remake of Cabin Fever using the exact same script. Even Van Sant’s remake seemed to have a point, Fever wasn’t even trying.

Nevertheless, Hollywood is inundated every year with remakes that seem pointless. In recent years, we’ve seen neutered versions of Total Recall, Robocop, and Red Dawn. Here’s hoping Hollywood has learned its lesson: an R-rated original deserves an R-rated remake.

Still, the number of remakes slated for the next two years is as staggering as every other year. With a little luck, they won’t be terrible.

17. Pet Sematary


Stephen King‘s original adaptation of his own novel was a violent, unforgiving film about grief and loss. It concerns a father who learns of an Indian burial ground with the power to resurrect the dead with one caveat: they return with a bad case of bloodlust. Hysterical Fred Gwynne Maine accent aside, it’s a fairly solid work of horror.

Director Juan Carlos Fresnallido (28 Weeks Later) has been tapped to direct, from a script by Jeff Buhler. Last reported, casting had just begun.

Anything to look forward to?

Possibly. The first act of 28 Weeks was a short film all its own, and a very good one. The rest of the film is a mixed bag, but Fresnallido certainly proved he has a good eye. Buhler claims the script gets deep into the psychological pain of losing a loved one, which could turn out well or terribly. He promised he took out the more slasher movie-esque elements of the original, which may disappoint some fans.

16. Alien Nation


Alien Nation was a buddy cop film in which a bigoted human cop (James Caan) partners with an alien (Mandy Patinkin) to solve a homicide. Its success spawned a short-lived TV series and five TV movies, with none of the original cast returning. Jeff Nichols is set to direct the remake from his own screenplay.

Anything to look forward to?

Yes. Nichols has proved himself a terrific sci-fi director (as well as adept at recreating an 80s feel) with last year’s Midnight Special. With race being a hot button issue in society right now, the alien allegory could prove to be quite insightful.

15. Flatliners


Flatliners was a supremely silly Joel Schumacher thriller in which medical students, led by Kiefer Sutherland and Julia Roberts, attempt to glimpse the afterlife by dying, then being resuscitated. The remake, slated for this year, will be helmed by Denmark-born director Niels Arden Oplev (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo). Ellen Page and Diego Luna have been cast, with Sutherland reportedly making an appearance.

Anything to look forward to?

Eh. With Sutherland cast, it appears to be more of a sequel than a genuine remake, for a film that didn’t really need or have more backstory worth exploring. While the premise was interesting, it devolved into melodrama after the first act. Oplev may have proven himself capable of handling complex material with Tattoo, but his other works include the pilot to the supremely awful Under The Dome, so it’s doubtful this will be anything more than a forgettable retread.

14. The Creature From The Black Lagoon


One of the last of Universal’s classic monsters – right before the 50s took horror into the nuclear panic era – follows an expedition in the Amazon where scientists encounter the Gill-Man, a prehistoric beast who takes a King Kong-like interest in the leading lady. No director has been attached to the remake yet, however Jeff Pinker (The Amazing Spiderman 2) has been commissioned to write a screenplay. Scarlett Johansson has been offered the lead.

Anything to look forward to?

A remake of the classic monster movie has been in the works in one way or another since John Landis planned to direct one in 1982. A script was completed then, involving two creatures, but the project fell apart after the disastrous Jaws 3D bombed. There have been at least seven attempts since then – including one by Guillermo Del Toro – and every time, production stopped.

The fact that the most recent attempt has the writer of the most muddled, overlong Spiderman films on board isn’t terribly reassuring. So, as the creature says:

13. The Crow

via thecrow.wikia

The Crow killed Bruce Lee‘s son. Literally. Actor Michael Massee was to fire a blank at Brandon Lee, however part of the cartridge lodged in the chamber discharged, killing the young actor. Massee himself was relegated to minor roles afterward, presumably living with terrible guilt until he passed away late last year.

A few direct to video sequels later, Relativity Studios has been trying to reboot the franchise for a few years now. It all appeared to be falling into place last August, with star Jason Momoa attached and Colin Hardy would helm it. Then in November, Relativity lost the rights, which were then acquired by Davis Films.

Anything to look forward to?

Did you like The Crow? Then you’ll probably like The Crow. The question is, will you ever get to see it?

12. Wargames


The 80s were an age where home computers both fascinated and terrified everyone. Hollywood took note, and as a result we got Wargames, Cloak and Dagger, and a dozen or so other teen films played with the notion of home Mac-as-weapon. Wargames finds Matthew Broderick innocently playing with what turns out to be nuclear launch codes. The remake has changed hands a few times, but last we heard Dean Israelite (Project Almanac) was slated to direct.

Anything to look forward to?

It’s doubtful. Updating the computers for the modern era may sound timely, but Hollywood has a way of squandering such opportunities. The film also went into production before the Putin/Trump hack scandal broke, so the chances of the film addressing any real world concerns are slim at best.

11. Death Wish


The 1974 film Death Wish, along with Dirty Harry, saw a rise of conservative themes in action cinema. Having just come from a decade of Woodstock and, ultimately, the disaster at Altamont, the action genre served as a repudiation of anything resembling true love. This is most evident in the third Harry film, The Enforcer, which pits the lieutenant against freak power/Symbionese Liberation Army types. Death Wish, however, pitted Charles Bronson – a milquetoast New York architect – against a rash of random street crime. The sequels only got sillier, bigger, and turned Bronson into an unlikely action hero.

Brat pack horror icon Eli Roth is currently working on a remake replacing Bronson with Bruce Willis.

Anything to look forward to?

Roth’s films have always been a bit of a toss up. Their either unrepentantly gory and stupid (Cabin Fever, The Green Inferno) or surprisingly subversive to the point where mainstream audiences write them off (Hostel: Part II, Knock Knock). The question here, however, is more about necessity. Fellow new wave horror director James Wan tackled an adaptation of author Brian Garfield’s novel sequel (Death Sentence) not that long ago. It would seem the only plus of remaking it now is name recognition.

10. Big Trouble In Little China


John Carpenter‘s supremely wacky action comedy is beloved by many, despite it feeling like it was induced while smoking reefer with Kurt Russell (it wasn’t, it was a job for hire). Like a lot of Carpenter work, it didn’t see great immediate success, but now enjoys a wide cult following. Russell is a lot of fun doing a severely hammy John Wayne impression. To try to explain the plot would be only to get lost in madness but let this suffice: It was penned by the same screenwriter as The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across The Eighth Dimension and would serve as an apt companion piece.

Dwayne Johnson is in the process of developing a remake, claiming he very much wants Carpenter involved in the process.

Anything to look forward to?

Potentially. Johnson has proven he has a Russell-esque likeability as well as excellent comedic timing. Carpenter, on the other hand, doesn’t care one way or another. He has entered the phase of his career where all he cares about is occasionally going on tour, smoking weed, and playing video games.

9. Scarface


Upon its initial release, Brian De Palma‘s Scarface (scripted by a supremely coked out Oliver Stone) was met with a universal shrug. It was too long, featured a hammy Al Pacino, and didn’t really offer anything new to the “crime doesn’t pay” genre. Over the past three decades, however, gangster rap, your annoying roommate, and fraternity brothers have found it endlessly quotable. It became entirely about the glitz and glamour of Scarface‘s lifestyle as opposed to, you know, what Stone and De Palma were trying to convey. It took on such a life of its own that its fans are usually unaware it was a retelling of a 1932 Howard Hawks film starring Paul Muni.

There have been plans to remake the remake since 2001. Most recently director Antoine Fuqua (Training Day) is attached, with Boardwalk Empire‘s Terrence Winter writing the script.

Anything to look forward to?

Are you the guy who had the poster for the Pacino version over his bed next to Fight Club? Then yes, plenty. Also, stop throwing keggers, you graduated years ago and it’s starting to get weird. Fuqua takes what may have started out as passion projects and turns them into workmanlike pictures, though Winter’s involvement might suggest a few more call backs to the Muni version.

8. Blue Thunder


The second film on this list from director John Badham (Wargames being the first), Blue Thunder starred Roy Scheider as a helicopter pilot charged with manning the most advanced chopper in the world, used to spy on average L.A. citizens to ensure the safety of the upcoming Olympic Games. Naturally, things go awry.

The film was a hit upon release, spawning a short lived television series (consisting of only 11 episodes). Sony is in the process of developing the remake.

Anything to look forward to?

All the misplaced drone talk in the botched Robocop remake would fit in even better here. Thunder is the kind of remake to get a little excited about – it’s a largely forgotten film that can easily take on new meaning for this generation.

7. The Wild Bunch


Sam Peckinpah’s classic revisionist Western, one about the West slowly succumbing to the innovations of the early 1900s and the men inevitably left behind, is an exquisitely violent, poignant tale. In 2011, Tony Scott was set to direct a script written by L.A. Confidential scribe Brian Helgeland. Scott’s suicide ultimately killed the project.

Last reported, Will Smith was trying to develop an update focusing on drug cartels. They’re looking for a screenwriter.

Anything to look forward to?

If the recent remake of The Magnificent Seven is any indication, absolutely not. Leaning on a post outside of a saloon looking cool doesn’t make a good Western. One would also be right to have reservations about updating the setting to modern times. It’s hard to justify a story about a dying era when the age of the drug cartel is far from death.

6. Van Helsing


Stephen Sommers‘ monster mash up starred Hugh Jackman as the legendary vampire killer, turning him into a slick, weapon-ready action hero as opposed to his portrayal as an elder familiar with vampire lore. He hunts Mr. Hyde, fights werewolves, and ultimately must contend with the ultimate vampire, Dracula. With the help of a sympathetic Frankenstein and Kate Beckinsale, he storms the master’s castle.

Alex Kurtzman and 9/11 truther Robert Orci are developing a remake, with Tom Cruise set to star. As all three are also involved in the upcoming Mummy film, so one can assume it’s part of the planned shared universe Universal has been trying to put together à la The Avengers.

Anything to look forward to?

Have you seen Van Helsing? It’s God awful, on par with Sommers’ The Mummy Returns (and we’re not just talking absurd CGI). Literally anything would be an improvement.

Kurtzman and Orci are also behind the similarly themed TV show Sleepy Hollow, which occasionally has its moments but also occasionally has the headless horseman brandish an Uzi and still want the audience to take it somewhat seriously. It would seem your tolerance of camp will determine your desire to see it.

5. Logan’s Run


1976’s Logan’s Run finds Michael York in a dystopian future in which no one is permitted to live over the age of 30. When York discovers a way outside the community to live past the set age, he flees, authorities hot on his trail. Ryan Gosling and Nicolas Winding Refn were meant to remake it, but neither is still attached to the project, with Gosling heading for another dystopian future in the Blade Runner sequel. A rumour, unconfirmed at this point, states that they are planning to cast a female lead.

Anything to look forward to?

So many elements from Logan’s Run have been borrowed already for much lesser films such as The Island and In Time, it almost seems superfluous to retell the entire movie. Changing the sex of the lead, if true, doesn’t really add anything new to the story (York runs away with a female, Jenny Agutter, in the original). If it happens, you’d be better off sticking with the original and the films it inspired.

4. Suspiria


Dario Argento’s first in a loose trilogy referred to as “The Three Mothers” concerns a dance academy in Germany run by a witches coven. It stands as one of the best, most frightening Italian Giallo’s ever made, with Argento’s bright splashes of red and pink illuminating every frame.

Director Luca Guadagnino is slated to helm the remake due out next year. Dakota Johnson, Chloe Grace Moretz and Tilda Swinton are set to star.

Anything to look forward to?

Maybe. While it’s nice that the remake is in the hands of another Italian filmmaker, one can only wonder what David Gordon Green (Pineapple Express, All The Real Girls) would have done with the material. Green left the project and it went dead for a few years, much to Argento’s delight, who hates the whole idea.

Moretz is building up a bit of a track record as a scream queen – between this, Let Me In, and Carrie – and Swinton is always a delight. The real question is just how much of the explicit gore of the original will be retained.

3. Hellraiser


The original Hellraiser, based on the novella The Hellbound Heart by Clive Barker, is not the film many seem to remember it being. After nine sequels – some of which were just spec scripts which Pinhead was added into at the last minute – the frightening, excellent original has been marred. The twisted tale of sadomasochism, adultery, and hedonism is still effective if looked on as a singular work.

Barker has been trying to remake the film himself for several years, and last announced that he has completed a script and completed a deal with Bob Weinstein of Dimension films.

Anything to look forward to?

Yes. It’s always worth it when the original creative team is behind the re-imagining. Hellraiser was Barker’s directorial debut, and he’s graciously spoken of his inexperience. Returning to the material years later makes a body curious.

2. It


Stephen King’s 1,100 page tome chronicles the fictional town of Derry, Maine’s history with a malevolent creature from a different, Lovecraftian-esque realm that feeds off fear. It was adapted by Tommy Lee Wallace (Halloween III: Season of the Witch) as a three hour TV movie starring Richard Thomas, Harry Anderson, John Ritter, Annette O’Toole, and Tim Curry, to moderate success. At the time, Curry’s clown figure scared younger audiences. Today, however, it comes across as campy.

The remake is currently in post-production, directed by Andy Muschietti and starring Bill Skarsgard as Pennywise The Clown. Production stills have already been released. The film will be divided in two – the first half detailing a young group’s encounter with the monster, the second following the group as grown ups, having to defeat the creature once and for all.

Anything to look forward to?

Absolutely. The limitations of what was allowed on network television in the early 90s undercut the brutality of the novel. Some of the performances are pretty spotty as well. The only question: How will the film deal with the bizarre, sudden preteen sewer gangbang central to the novel’s climax? Or will it even bother?

1. Escape From New York


In the near future, New York City’s crime has risen to an unacceptable percentage. Rather than clean up the city, America fences off the island, turning it into a permanent prison for the worst of the worst. When the President’s plane crashes and he’s taken hostage, the military has no choice but to send in criminal Snake Plisken (Kurt Russell) to retrieve the leader of the free world. John Carpenter’s cult favourite is a lot of fun, with Russell creating his most iconic role.

Silver Pictures is currently developing a remake, which they claim will be quite a departure from the original. Joel Silver has said he plans to make it a trilogy much in the same fashion of the new Planet of the Apes series. Carpenter will serve as executive producer. He also teased that we will learn Snake’s real name.

Anything to look forward to?

Um…Snake’s real name? Because that’s what everyone was clamouring for.  It certainly sounds better than the first attempt to remake it with lifelike wax sculpture Gerard Butler.  The trilogy approach isn’t the worst idea, as we already have a sort-of remake in the sequel Escape From L.A., which is essentially the same movie, different coast.

As for Carpenter’s executive producer role, we may as well just start a fund for his weed and Xbox supply so he can rest. He will also serve as EP for the next Halloween film, which excited some audiences. Bear in mind, however, that he had the same role for the atrocious PG-13 remake of The Fog.

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