In society today, there seem to be more and more individuals striving towards a career in the movie industry. One factor that has limited the access of such career opportunities for aspiring movie producers, writers, actors, and directors is the appeal of movie studios today to take on adaptations and remakes of originally-made movies as opposed to original content from unknown talent. Given that there have been some exceptional original motion pictures released in recent months–such as Darren Aronofsky’s Mother and the Cannes Film Festival Award-winning film The Killing of a Sacred Deer from Yorgos Lanthimos–the big name studios would still rather trust remaking and defiling already successful productions, instead of being credited to new cinematic masterpieces.
While this may benefit the studios monetarily, in the grand scheme of motion picture and cinema, recognition of innovative and talented artistic value is what should be promoted by the industry studios, instead of expecting audiences to keep pouring out their pocket change to see movies they already know the plot line too. And even though one could argue that it is exciting to see more recent Hollywood celebrities taking on traditional movie characters, it doesn’t change the fact that theaters are slowly just recycling the same productions and franchises. The result has been the release of some of the most abominable productions ever to hit the big screen. Here are the 15 worst movie remakes that shouldn’t have been remade:
15 A Nightmare On Elm Street
This Wes Craven classic had audiences fearing their next dream with the movie A Nightmare on Elm Street, the story of child pedophile Freddy Krueger who is resurrected from hell after being violently murdered by the parents of the children who accused him. Freddy Krueger and his slasher knife-glove terrified viewers as he invaded the dreams of poor Nancy and friends, killing them off one by one and leaving Nancy to fight the final fight against the reincarnated horror villain. The production was so successful that it was followed with numerous additional sequels until finally, the 2010 remake destroyed the vision of one of the most prolific horror franchises in motion picture history. Adding unnecessary elements to the original plot that detracted from the suspense of the movie, the remake of Nightmare on Elm Street was an embarrassment to the original, creating a dark atmosphere that had audiences longing for the nostalgic ‘70s cinematography and boasting only a well-known cast of Rooney Mara, Kyle Gallner, and Kellan Lutz.
14 The Thing
One of the most iconic horror movies to this day remains the brilliant vision of John Carpenter in his highly-acclaimed production of The Thing. Despite the movie being a remake itself of the 1951 classic The Thing From Another World, the film was an eccentric unpredictable thrill ride amid the icy terrain of Antarctica…that should not have been remade. Yet, once again, the industry just couldn’t leave it alone, deciding that somehow, the 1982 production could be remastered. The Universal 2011 remake starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Joel Edgerton, and Eric Christian Olsen tried its best to adapt to the contemporary needs of the modern horror audience but ultimately failed to meet the previous set atmosphere of the horrifying Carpenter 1982 remake of The Thing.
While some critics have pointed to the idea that the 2007 Rob Zombie remake of the original John Carpenter Halloween in 1978 added some new and interesting elements that the original didn’t seem to touch upon, specifically the large gap of time between when child Michael Meyers, murdered his family up unto his escape. While the original production immediately cuts to present day to focus on Jamie Lee Curtis’ character and her story dealing with the escaped serial killer, Rob Zombie chose a more elongated path in showing us the incarcerated Michael Meyers in his time at the mental institution. This helped the remake of Halloween claim something original from its 1978 counterpart. Although Rob Zombie is speculated to have created a successful remake of the original Halloween, with the 2010 production securing a Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Award for “Best Movie” and a Sitges-Catalonia International Film Festival Award nomination for “Best Film,” his remake of the second installment, Halloween II, was a disaster, with the film going on to receive atrocious reviews and a nomination from the Fangoria Chiansaw Awards for “Worst Film.”
12 The Invasion
Like John Carpenter’s 1980 remake of the The Thing, many audience members around the world are unaware that some of the most well-recognized horror films of the ‘70s and ‘80s–despite being considered some of the best original horror masterpieces ever created–were, in fact, remakes of movies that had already been made earlier in the century. Another such instance would be in the case of Philip Kaufman’s 1978 remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, starring Donald Sutherland, Brooke Adams, Jeff Goldblum, and Veronica Cartwright, which was remade from the Don Siegel 1956 Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Despite the remake being a complete success, Warner Bros. went on (in 2007) to cast Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig in The Invasion, which added nothing new but a different cast to the science-fiction thriller. While Kidman and Craig are always a delight to watch in any performance, one can only think that their time and skills could’ve been put to better use.
This dance cult classic starred Kevin Bacon in probably one of his most famed performances throughout his acclaimed career. From Paramount Pictures, Footloose told the tale of the new kid to town (Bacon), whose rebellious spirit and love for rock music and dance helps to rattle the lives of his peers and their religious conservative parents. The 1984 hit was nominated for 2 Oscar Awards and raked in $80 million at domestic box offices. Seeing the potential for a reboot of the original, Paramount Pictures produced and distributed a remake of the production in 2011, which lead to disastrous results. Despite attaining a higher budget than the original film, the 2011 released remake of Footloose grossed only $64 million. To add salt to the wound, the remake was released to international audiences, in contrast to the original domestic-only release but still brought in lower box office sales.
10 Friday The 13th
As Halloween and A Nightmare on Elm Street, two of the major horror-slasher movie franchises already experienced the undignified disservice of being remade, it would only seem (depressingly) appropriate that Jason Voorhees would be unable to avoid the remake typhoon sweeping through the industry. In 2009, the remake of the globally-celebrated horror franchise, Friday the 13th, was released into theaters, disappointing audiences in movie theaters around the world. Directed by Marcus Nispel and starring Jared Padalecki, one half of the Supernatural series brother duo, the movie ran for a painful hour and 37 minutes and gave viewers an unoriginal stereotypical slasher film, without any of the fun ‘70s nostalgia. The remake of Friday the 13th further went on to receive the award for “Worst Film” at the prestigious genre film festival, the Fangoria Chainsaw Awards.
9 Fantastic Four
Probably the most notoriously despised remake of the century, Fantastic Four had already secured a cult following as one of the worst movies ever made, let alone one of the worst superhero movies ever made. In 2005, despite raking in big at the international box office, Fantastic Four had already been awarded such demeaning “honors” as a Razzie award nomination for “Worst Actress,” a Golden Schmoes Award for “Biggest Disappointment of the Year,” and a Stinkers Bad Movie Award for “Worst Screenplay for a Film Grossing More than $100 Million Using Hollywood Math.” Given its record of smashing critiques, it was a huge surprise that the movie was given another shot with the critics, being remade and released to theaters in 2015. As predicted, the remake did even worse than the original, pulling in less than half of the original’s total box office sales and receiving even more horrible movie reviews. The 2015 remake managed to pull in even more Razzie “Worse Of” Awards and nominations, as well as the Golden Schmoes Award for “Biggest Disappointment of the Year,” and additionally for “Worst Movie of the Year.”
8 The Karate Kid
Although Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan managed to bring a new type of edge and rhythm to the remake of the hit classic feature of The Karate Kid, the 2010 family drama about a young boy who learns kung-fu to defend him from bullies, was still no match for the original masterpiece. In 1984, the popular karate film was nominated for both an Academy and a Golden Globe Award, proving the quality of this well-made feature. Columbia Pictures, seeing an opportunity for a moneymaking revamp of the ‘80s success, produced and distributed the remake with a more popular celebrity cast, which also included Oscar Award-nominated star of Hidden Figures, Taraji P. Henson. Though a commendable attempt at remaking the film, the original still manages to hold up as the superior production.
7 Old Boy
Another strategy of the American motion picture studios appears to be knocking off foreign thrillers and horrors and simply adding an American cast. Such has been seen with productions that include the disturbing horror movie Martyrs, as well as the Swedish vampire coming-of-age-tale Let Me In. The original 2003 production, Old Boy, from director Chan-wook Park was a major success, receiving “Best Film Awards” and “Audience Awards” from some of the most recognized film festivals around the world. The suspenseful thrillingly violent tale of a man attempting to figure out why he was imprisoned for fifteen years caught the attention of the American market and was remade by director Spike Lee a decade later in 2013. The remake starred Josh Brolin, Elizabeth Olsen, and Samuel L. Jackson but still failed in its attempts to garner critical acclaim and box office success.
6 The Omen
The story of the devil’s child has been played out in horror movies for years, but none captured the essence of a horrifying devil incarnate like the 1976 Oscar Award-winning and nominated thriller The Omen. Documenting the lives of the Thron family as they try to deal with the mysterious dark events surrounding their child, Damien, The Omen had people believing that children too could be just as sinister as the adult villains and creatures that are depicted in horror movies. Despite being one of the biggest motion picture production companies, with seemingly endless profits to invest in original content, it was a shock to see the studio remaking the ‘70s horror classic; but in 2006, they remade The Omen, throwing John Moore in the director’s chair. While the remake was not the worst attempt, it managed to receive a Razzie award for “Worst Supporting Actor,” a slight avoided by the original Golden Globe, Grammy, and BAFTA Award-nominated production.
A heavy indicator that a remake will not hold up to the acclaim of its original predecessor is a change in the overall MPAA rating of the film, as was the case with the 2014 remake of the legendary action feature Robocop. Paving the way for cinematic violence with one of the most brutal murder sequences seen in movies to this day, the original Robocop secures a hard R rating and strung along audiences for an action-packed journey like they had never experienced. The original film had its fill of success, receiving Oscar Awards and nominations, Saturn Awards, BAFTA nominations, and huge box office sales numbers. Despite the original grossing over $240 million at the box office, the feature dropped its rating from the original R to a PG-13, cutting down on much of the action-packed violence that made the original so distinguished and ultimately ruining the vision of the original concept.
4 The Wicker Man
In 1973, the mystery cult-horror feature The Wicker Man received acclaiming reviews and success, even going on to win awards and nominations from the elite Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy, & Horror Saturn Awards, as well as the Satellite Awards. The 2006 remake of the cult classic, starring the highly-regarded Nicolas Cage, was nominated by the Razzie Awards for “Worst Screenplay,” “Worst Picture,” “Worst Remake or Rip-Off,” “Worst Actor,” and “Worst Screen Couple,” as well as a Golden Schmoes Award nomination for “Worst Movie of the Year” and a Stinkers Bad Movie Award for “Worse Remake.” The movie also currently holds a 3.7 IMDb rating and a 15% on Rotten Tomatoes, further adding to the reputation the 2006 remake of The Wicker Man enjoys as possibly one of the worst remakes of all time.
Originally released as an R rating, Fame documented the stories of numerous performing arts students as they attempted to make their way from the classrooms of their performing arts school all the way to the big stage. The original production featured a more in depth analysis of the students, with more focus on the story in comparison to its horrible remade counterpart. The 1980’s Fame, starring the famed Irene Cara, went on to win 2 Oscar Awards and still maintains its reputation as one of the best musical productions in cinema history. Given the success of the original production, one can’t blame MGM studios for trying to recapture the cinematography and performances for a more modern era but ultimately failed, focusing more on the music and choreography of the performances instead of a decent storyline and characters. The film received a nomination for “Remake That Shouldn’t Have Been Made” from the Alliance of Women Film Journalists and brought Fame…to shame.
Starring Craig T. Nelson and JoBeth Williams as the “Freelings,” the 1982 paranormal horror film Poltergeist was another highly-esteemed horror movie that went on to secure Oscar Award nominations on “Best Music, Original Score,” “Best Visual Effects,” and “Best Sound Effects Editing.” The original thriller, written by Steven Spielberg and Tobe Hooper, tells the tale of a family who moves into a house built on burial grounds, which leads to the experiencing of a demonic activity. Poltergeist is one of the most well-known horror movies from the ‘80s horror era, which is what made it impossible to prevent it from getting remade. Come 2015, Twentieth Century Fox remade the hit horror-thriller, adding again very few changes to the original with expectations of big box office success. While the feature didn’t flop, it accrued some unsavory critique, including an award for “Worst Film” from the Fangoria Chainsaw Awards.
Stephen King has distinguished himself as one of the most iconic horror writers of his time. Having sold hundreds of millions of copies of his terrifying uniquely-voiced novels, it is no wonder that motion picture and television companies around the country have snatched up the rights to bring some of his more notorious thrillers to the big screen. One such novel of his was the supernatural, teenage thriller Carrie, about a young woman who discovers that she has supernatural abilities to move things with her mind. The book sold over 1 million copies in its first year, and the film adaptation went on to secure nominations for 2 Oscar Awards for “Best Actress in a Supporting” and “a leading role.” The success of this brilliant masterpiece was undone with the release of two additional remakes of Carrie, one released on television and one in theaters.