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I've seen a few remakes that I've enjoyed and a few that I've outright hated. It seems like every other film that hits the cinemas nowadays is a remake of an earlier, better film.
Every year more and more films come out, and a number of them are remakes. Now, there's nothing necessarily wrong with that, but it just seems like nothing is sacred in the world of film and television.
There are films that make excellent remakes, but there are also films that make terrible remakes—and I could make lists on each, but I wanted to look at 8 films that shouldn't be remade.
8. 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' (1992)
Here's an odd one to start this list. Buffy the Vampire Slayer is a horror comedy film that follows high school cheerleader Buffy Summers as she discovers she's destined to fight and destroy vampires. The film saw moderate success, grossing just under $17 million at the box office on a budget of $7 million, having a mixed reception upon its release in 1992.
As for why it shouldn't be remade, I just think it's unnecessary. It's not that it can't be remade. Joss Whedon (creator of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV series) wrote the screenplay for the film, and his original version was a lot darker than what we got in the end, so a darker, grittier remake could be a good thing.
Now, Whedon left the film project due to creative differences with the film's director so a remake that shows his darker version of Buffy would be understandable, right? Well here's the thing, we already got that darker, more serious version—at least as far as I understand it. Whedon wrote the Buffy series as a sort of sequel to his original film script.
I've only watched the first two seasons of the series and it does seem a little more serious than the film. Of course, I have to admit that I find the humor to be a little too campy sometimes. (Don't throw things at me Buffy fans!)
7. 'Enter the Dragon' (1973)
You don't mess with Bruce Lee's pictures. The very idea of remaking Enter the Dragon is just... wrong.
Okay, the story is a little overdone now, but the action scenes are pretty good, the performances are brilliant, and the music is okay. That said, I don't think there's much that you can do with this one.
This is also Lee's final film, so remaking seems a bit like a slap in the face to me.
6. 'The Mask' (1994)
The Mask was released in 1994 and starred Jim Carrey as the lovable, hopeless romantic goofball Stanley Ipkiss, a man who finds an enchanted mask that turns him into a green-faced, cartoonish character with superhuman abilities.
How many of you knew that the film was based on a comic book? I'm guessing only a few of you. Now, you'd think that being based on a comic book would make it perfect for a remake—after all comic book's typically have multiple arcs/stories in their publication history.
The original comics were more horror-oriented though, with the central story being a search for the big head killer. In the comics, the enchanted mask draws out a person's deepest, darkest desires, and making them completely homicidal—that's how I understand it anyway. Still, you may ask: "Wouldn't a darker remake be better?"
You're not necessarily wrong, a darker remake that's closer to the source material would likely appeal to some people. Unfortunately, however, I don't think that a darker remake of The Mask will be very successful either, critically or commercially. The original comics were insanely gory with a murder-happy title character who doesn't really care about anything except destruction (at least from what I've seen).
The material of the comics would likely get an NC-17 rating; this would absolutely damage the film's returns as most theaters won't play a film with an NC-17 rating.
5. 'Mazes and Monsters' (1982)
Unlike the other entries on this list which were, if nothing else, watchable, Mazes and Monsters is just bad.
The made-for-television film was based on a book of the same name by Rona Jaffe and was Tom Hanks's first feature film role. The story follows a group of college kids with a shared interest in a fictional RPG called Mazes and Monsters (I guess it's a Dungeons and Dragons ripoff).
These kids go spelunking as part of a campaign and one member of the group has some sort of mental breakdown, hallucinating a monster from the game and becoming trapped in a delusion that he is his character. The rest of the group has to try and get him back to his normal self.
Both the film and the book on which it was based were based on the James Dallas Egbert III disappearance. There's a clear message of, "Don't play games, they're bad for you," in the film's tone and execution. Apart from just being a really bad movie overall, there are a few other reasons why this film shouldn't be remade.
- I doubt that gamers today would take kindly to a film that demonized their hobbies.
- The whole mentality around gaming has changed since the film was released. Parents have gone from: "Don't play those games" to "How much have you won playing Fortnite today?" They probably have a few other questions too, but that's the general idea.
4. 'Django' (1966)
Django is a spaghetti western directed by Sergio Corbucci and follows a former Union soldier named Django as he hunts down the men responsible for killing his wife. Released in 1966, Django was a financial success, but met with a largely negative critical reception due its extreme violence. It was banned in the UK from 1967 until about 1993 when it was given a home video release with an age restriction of 18.
The reason this film shouldn't be remade is that there's not much here to begin with. It's a fantastic movie, don't get me wrong, but there's just not much to work with in terms of who the character of Django is and where he came from. It doesn't help that there's one official sequel and 30 unofficial sequels to the original film that muddy the waters slightly.
3. 'The House on Haunted Hill' (1959)
Okay, admittedly this is sort of a cheat, because there are remakes out there, but this one really shouldn't have been remade.
The story follows a group of people who have to spend one night in an allegedly haunted house and it is great! I'm not kidding, for a film that's about 60 years old, it holds up remarkably well.
There have been remakes of this classic thriller and they've all been terrible! You can't outdo Vincent Price my friends, it's not possible—you can't do it!
2. 'Once Upon a Time in the West' (1968)
Much like with Bruce Lee's films, you can't really mess with Sergio Leone's work. After completing The Good, the Bad and the Ugly in 1966, Leone decided to retire from westerns to pursue other projects, but Paramount Pictures offered to let him work with Henry Fonda on another western film.
The story follows a harmonica-playing gunslinger (played by Charles Bronson) seeking vengeance against an outlaw (Henry Fonda) and a recently widowed woman, who ends up caught in a land battle with a railroad tycoon.
These two storylines are perfectly interwoven to craft a vision of the Old West that is much darker than anything in Leone's earlier westerns. There are a couple of reasons why this one shouldn't be remade but the biggest one is the pacing of the film.
The pacing is slow, and not a whole lot happens for much of the film; staring at people who are staring at each other in silence isn't a lot of fun. Apart from the pacing, this film is also really confusing, which is something that many audiences may not enjoy. A remake may be even more confusing and slow or it could be fast and nonsensical. Either way, it's a losing battle.
1. 'Scream' (1996)
Scream is an odd entry for our number one pick because it seems impossible to remake!
Directed by the late great Wes Craven and released in 1996, Scream follows a group of teenagers who try to avoid a serial killer with a fondness for movies.
The film is full of references and homages to other horror films including: Halloween (1978), Psycho (1960), Carrie (1976) and several others. It's also super self-aware, which makes it kind of funny when you see the killer forcing his victims into doing cliched horror movie things.
So, why shouldn't Scream be remade? Put simply: I think it's just too clever. It's also got three sequels and a Netflix series, but that's beside the point. While I haven't seen the Netflix series or Scream 4, the original film has a sort of meta-humor to it that you couldn't possibly recreate without it turning into a really bad parody film.