Skip to main content

Worst To Best: Horror Movie Remakes

Maniac (2012)

The Original: 1980 cult horror film about a deranged serial killer who scalps his victims.

The Remake: Elijah Wood stars as the disturbed killer in this version, which is shot entirely from his point of view.

Most Horrific Element: Seeing Frodo go loco.

Night Of The Living Dead (1990)

The Original: George A. Romero (again) launched his career with this 1968 seminal horror film that pretty much invented the ‘zombie’ as we know it.

The Remake: Romero rewrote his own screenplay for this version, which transforms Barbara into an action-heroine, completely transforming the political subtext of the film. SFX artist Tom Savini, making his directorial debut, adds buckets of gore.

Most Horrific Element: We don't want to spoil the ending, so let's go for the first appearance of a zombie at a remote cemetery, right at the start of the film, as Barbara and her brother Johnnie (Bill Moseley) visit their mother’s grave.

The Ring (2002)

The Original: Ringu (1998) – the Japanese scarefest about a cursed video that kills the viewer seven days after watching. It’s Japan’s highest-grossing horror film and helped to introduce the spooky and disturbing style of J-Horror to the Western world.

The Remake: Gore Verbinski’s version stars Naomi Watts in the film that launched a whole series of English-language Japanese horror remakes, and still remains the best among them.

Most Horrific Element: The same in both – the TV turns on by itself, and a decomposing young girl climbs out of the well and creepily crawls towards the camera… and then OUT OF THE TV SCREEN. This is why there should never be a 3D re-release of this film.

Let Me In (2010)

The Original: Let The Right One In (2008) – atmospheric Swedish vampire film based on the novel of the same name about a 12-year-old boy who befriends a vampire child in a snowy Stockholm suburb.

The Remake: Cloverfield director Matt Reeves adds a mainstream style but thankfully keeps the extra, unnecessary CGI to a minimum as he relocates the story to a snowy Los Alamo in New Mexico but still keeps original director Tomas Alfredson’s focus on the central friendship, eschewing the usual vampire tropes.

Most Horrific Element: Abby’s father bungles a plan to murder a student in a car, when he picks up passenger. When the kill goes wrong, he makes off in the car and crashes it. Worse still, he then pours concentrated sulphuric acid on his face so that he won’t be identified when picked up by the authorities.

The Blob (1988)

The Original: 1958 sci-fi horror about an alien monster splodge that terrorizes a small town – including a pre-fame Steve McQueen - and destroys everything in its path.

The Remake: This version adds extra gore, violence and explanatory context to this bizarre story about a giant killer alien jelly.

Most Horrific Element: As the Blob surrounds a woman in a phone booth she calls for Sheriff Herb Geller to help, but he’s already there – engulfed by the Blob, his horrified face twists and swirls as the creature pushes against the booth.

Cape Fear (1991)

The Original: The 1962 psychological thriller starring Robert Mitchum as convicted rapist Max Cady who is released from prison and torments Gregory Peck’s Sam Bowden and his family, blaming him for his incarceration.

The Remake: Scorsese’s version stars a terrifying De Niro in the villain role, harassing Nick Nolte’s Bowden, and gives the story a darker edge with violent overtones and lots of murky morally grey areas.

Most Horrific Element: Posing as a drama teacher, Max Cady seduces Bowden’s young daughter, creepily placing his thumb in her mouth before kissing her. Just typing that has made us want to take a shower.

Evil Dead (2013)

The Original: Sam Raimi's low-budget cult horror from 1981, which focuses on five students that travel to a remote cabin in the woods and accidentally release demons and evil spirits.

The Remake: This time, the friends who gather in the cabin, do so to help Mia - who replaces Ash as the main character - overcome her heroin addiction. This film is also a far glossier, and far bloodier, version of the story.

Most Horrific Element: It's a toss up between the moment when Olivia becomes possessed by a demon spirit and proceeds to graphically mutilate her own face with a shard of broken glass, and THAT tongue slice.


Dawn Of The Dead (2004)

The Original: George A Romero’s classic 1978 follow-up to his original Night Of The Living Dead , which sees a group of zombie plague survivors find refuge from the flesh-eating monsters in a shopping mall.

The Remake: Zack Snyder’s feature film debut, which updates the premise, puts Go Faster Stripes on the staggering undead and doesn’t scrimp on the gore.

Most Horrific Element: An undead pregnant woman gives birth while tied to a bed in the mall... to a terrifying zombie baby. Cinematic contraception, right there.

The Fly (1986)

The Original: The Fly (1958) – B-movie science fiction film about a scientist who accidentally manages to swap his head and arm with that of a fly.

The Remake: David Cronenberg’s grotesque body-horror movie about a scientist’s who’s fusion with a fly is a little more complicated than a straight limb-swap. He gradually begins to evolve into a terrifying and deadly human-fly hybrid.

Most Horrific Element: An extensively mutated Brundlefly attacks his supposed love rival Stathis by regurgitating acidic vomit on his hand and foot, reducing them to bloody stumps. Then every viewer immediately feels like they are going to unwillingly re-enact the scene.

The Thing (1982)

The Original: The Thing From Another World (1951), a Howard Hawks-produced science fiction film about a humanoid alien with plant-like biology who goes on a bloody rampage at an arctic outpost.

The Remake: John Carpenter’s terrifying remake stuck more closely to the source novel – John W. Campbell’s Who Goes There? – in that the alien is a shape-shifting monster that can assume the physical and mental likenesses of everything it encounters. Of course, it still goes on a bloody rampage at an arctic outpost.

Most Horrific Element: So many ghastly scenes to choose from, but the one that takes the sickening, gory biscuit for us is the dog transformation, with all of its high-pitched shrieking and unearthly, flailing tendrils. (*shudder*)