The remake of the Sam Peckinpah classic Straw Dogs hit theaters over the weekend, and while response was mixed, some high profile critics (including Rodger Ebert) were very supportive of the film. It’s no surprise why film remakes get bashed. Many viewers are sick of seeing their favorite movies cannibalized for the next generation, while others are tired of Hollywood re-using its old ideas instead of backing new concepts. But remakes aren’t always a bad thing. Consider this list of classics, old and new, that were themselves remakes. They say the exception goes to prove the rule, but I’m glad these nine awesome exceptions were given a shot.
David Cronenberg‘s 1986 horror masterpiece drew its origins from the 1958 cult classic starring Vincent Price. Making use of (then) modern special effects techniques, the movie offers a chilling commentary about the dangers of unchecked scientific progress in a way the original never could. It also made me throw up when I was eight-years old!
The original Cape Fear, staring Gregory Peck and Robert Mitchum, was a striking thriller for its time. But when Martin Scorsese took on the material thirty years later, he crafted a violent and chilling morality play, brutalizing the characters-and the audience-in a way early 1960’s film censorship boards would never allow. Plus, we got that awesome meme of DeNiro laughing maniacally in a movie theater, and that has only changed our world for the better.
I don’t think I’m killing a sacred cow by saying that the original Ocean’s 11 was not a great film. It was mostly an excuse for Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack to hang out in Vegas, get loaded, and call it a movie. But the concept was solid, and director Steven Soderbergh knocked that concept out of the park, crafting the ultimate heist movie and starting the redemption of George Clooney after the debacle that was Batman & Robin. Then the cast made Ocean’s 12, which was mostly an excuse for them to hang out in Europe, get loaded and call it a sequel. Oh well.