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5 Horror Remakes Better Than “CARRIE”

The new and utterly needless remake of Stephen King’s first novel Carrie serves as yet another demonstration of why Hollywood should leave well enough alone.  While not as abominable as, say, Gus Van Sant’s shot-by-shot clone of Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho or Rob Zombie’s ugly reimagining of John Carpenter’s Halloween, director Kimberly Pierce’s update of Carrie isn’t as fun or stylish or shocking as Brian De Palma’s 1976 version.

There have been so many mediocre and downright lousy horror remakes and reboots during the past decade or so it’s tough to keep track of them all. It’s much easier to count the precious few that get it right and actually improve upon the original.

Just in time for Halloween, here’s my short list of the greatest fright flicks ever (re)made.

The Fly (1986)

Jeff Goldblum was born to play the role of Seth Brundle, a likable but completely mad scientist whose DNA gets fused with that of a house fly in a teleportation mishap. Perhaps only director David Cronenberg could have orchestrated the gut-wrenching physical and mental mayhem that ensues in this terrifying and surprisingly touching man-versus-science love story.

The Thing (1982)

John Carpenter’s ooey-gooey retelling of 1951’s The Thing from Another World remains one of the best creature features ever made, with then-state-of-the-art makeup and animatronic effects that not only hold up surprisingly well thirty years later, but actually surpass the artificial sheen of the CGI visuals so commonplace today.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978) 

There have been no less than three official remakes of the 1956 original, but only Philip Kaufman’s creepy 1978 retelling captures the seething paranoia of director Don Siegel’s classic original.  

Let Me In (2010) 

Matt Reeves’ dreamy remake of the fine Swedish vampire sleeper Let the Right One In features a heartbreaking performance by Chloe Grace Moritz as a lonesome prepubescent vampire who befriends a shy, bullied boy.

Cape Fear (1991) 

Granted, this one is less a horror movie in the traditional sense and more a shocking suspense thriller, but Robert De Niro’s deranged stalker Max Cady remains one of cinema’s most indelible and frightening boogeymen. Director Martin Scorsese’s slick remake adds layers of sexual tension and familial turbulence to the starchy 1960 original and, in one of the movie’s many strokes of genius, recycles Bernard Herrmann’s sinister orchestral score.

Happy Halloween!

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