15 Horror Movies Long Overdue For A Remake

When you hear the word "remake," you likely fall into one of two camps: You reject it immediately, or you're hyped to check it out. In online discourse, there is no in-between. Either way, remakes have long been a staple of horror and continue to be integral to the genre's vitality. For every terrible remake, there have been at least a dozen or so that have excelled in bringing in fresh ideas, jump-starting careers, and allowing audiences to rediscover the original.

If you're a highly-coveted IP like "Halloween" or "Friday the 13th," a remake was and is always inevitable, but what about those low-budget cult classics that deserve a second look? Here we go back into the vaults and examine 15 horror films that are long overdue for a proper remake. A few have been attempted before, while others could be fresh prey on the filmmaking chopping block. For each selection, we also suggest a potential director who could helm the respective project. Buckle up, buttercups!

Frankenhooker (1990)

With a script co-written with Robert Martin, Frank Henenlotter's "Frankenhooker" took the Frankenstein legend, rearranged its parts, and transformed it into an oddball tale about grief and identity. When med school drop-out Jeffrey Franken's (James Lorinz) girlfriend Elizabeth (Patty Mullen) is unceremoniously killed by one of his inventions, he detaches emotionally from the world and plots to bring her back to life.

Jeffrey sketches out plans to build a new body for Elizabeth. During a late-night excursion to an unsavory part of New Jersey, he meets a madame and her group of sex workers. Later, he creates what he calls "super-crack" that results in its partakers spontaneously combusting, and he lures the sex workers to a hotel for the night. He soon realizes the error of his ways, but it's already too late. He bags up the wayward body parts and rebuilds his darling Elizabeth. A modern retelling of "Frankenhooker" could be set within the drag queen world, perhaps even drawing inspiration from Brandon Perras, Michael J. Ahern, and Christopher Dalpe's indie feature "Death Drop Gorgeous." While the 1990 original has become something of a cult classic, it's ripe for a full-on queer makeover. The subtext is already there, now it's time to update it a little bit.

Cat People (1942)

"Cat People" is in a unique position, with the 1942 film directed by Jacques Tourneur arriving during the Hays Code era of Hollywood. A Paul Schrader-directed remake followed 40 years later, featuring Nastassja Kinski, Malcolm McDowell, and John Heard in the cast. Both iterations were largely queer-coded, but it's long overdue for a version of the story that embraces its very clear LGBTQ+ subtext.

In the original film, Irena (Simone Simon) is a Serbian immigrant to New York City and a talented visual artist. She struggles with past trauma and connecting with other people, but a burgeoning romance with local architect Oliver (Kent Smith) might pull her back from the ledge. However, the tragic enslavement of her home village at the hands of the Mameluks, a race of cat people, weighs heavily on her mind. Throughout the story, she realizes her true identity and comes to embrace it, while everyone in her life vilifies her for it. The story is as relevant today as it was 80 years ago. A modern reimagining might look a bit different, for obvious reasons, with a greater sense of whimsy, emotional urgency, body horror, and triumph. May we suggest the writing team of director Christopher Landon and Michael Kennedy, the dynamic duo behind "Freaky," tackle it next?

Peeping Tom (1960)

It's quite surprising "Peeping Tom" has never been remade. Released in 1960, the film was directed by Michael Powell and competed directly with another cutting-edge horror film that year, Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho." While the Hitchcock picture was immediately heralded, "Peeping Tom" found itself condemned in the media and Powell's career irreparably damaged. A critic with The Spectator even dubbed it "the sickest and filthiest film I can remember seeing."

Carl Boehm plays Mark, a reclusive film crew member who aspires to make his own movies one day. During his off-hours, he stalks sex workers and murders them, using his own camera to film their last moments alive. Powell builds the story with an incredible amount of suspense, slowly revealing Mark's abusive upbringing at the hands of his father. His story inevitably ends in tragedy when he takes his own life on camera. "Peeping Tom" is a fascinating look into loneliness, obsession, and childhood trauma. In the hands of a filmmaker like Ari Aster or Alex Garland, the story could find deeper, richer layers 一 and some bonkers imagery along the way.

The Burning (1981)

Considering we may never get another Jason Voorhees flick, Cropsy is the next best thing. In many ways, "The Burning" out-competes most (if not all) "Friday the 13th" entries. With a simple backstory about a prank-gone-wrong, the 1981 backwoods slasher is as straight as an arrow. There are no outlandish, unexpected twists, just good ole fashion killing.

Loosely based on the urban legend of Cropsey, the film follows a group of 20-somethings 一 which includes "Seinfeld" actor Jason Alexander as Dave 一 working at Camp Stonewater who find themselves the target of Cropsy's revenge. From the brutal raft massacre to countless stabbings via shears, the low-budget blood feast hits the bull's eye when it comes to what an effective slasher should be, which makes it perfect for a remake. Filmmakers Bartosz M. Kowalski ("No One Sleeps in the Woods Tonight") and Leigh Janiak (the "Fear Street" trilogy) created absolute slasher magic with their work, so imagine what they might cook up if given the chance.

Fade to Black (1980)

"Fade to Black" is another sorely underseen cult classic. Written and directed by Vernon Zimmerman, the 1980 film is rough around the edges, but that's part of its charm. Eric Binford (played by Dennis Christopher) is a socially-inept film addict who loses his grip on reality and begins a murder spree across town. In each killing, he dresses up as an iconic horror or action villain, from Count Dracula to Hopalong Cassidy.

The more Eric kills the more he sees the world as one big cinematic illusion. In tandem with his addiction to killing, he learns the truth about his childhood. Let's just say, things don't end well with him; as in life, his death is dramatic and one for the ages. The film exhibits a heightened, self-aware tone not unlike what you'd find in a "Scream" installment. Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, the co-directing team behind "Ready or Not" and the new "Scream," could work wonders on the story, leaning into themes of fandom, gatekeeping in the horror community, and toxic masculinity.

Happy Birthday to Me (1981)

In the sea of '80s slashers, "Happy Birthday to Me" features one of the wildest, twistiest endings of all time. As Ginny (Sue Anderson) works through repressed memories of a tragic crash, her Crawford Academy classmates meet bonkers and grisly ends at the hands of an unknown killer. Utilizing various household items, like a kebab utensil, the murderer may be the key to unlocking Ginny's catastrophic past.

Arriving in 1981, the film (directed by J. Lee Thompson) is far from your run-of-the-mill slasher, while also relishing in various genre conventions like blood-spurting practical effects and heart-pounding tension. The story is surprisingly layered for the genre, with a star-turning performance from Anderson coming off "Little House on the Prairie" at the time. A "Happy Birthday to Me" remake would be perfect in the hands of James Wan, whose own genre-bending "Malignant" is a perfect companion piece. Given a big budget and Wan's striking visual style, think of the possibilities!

Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954)

There have been countless attempts to get a remake of the 1954 monster feature "Creature from the Black Lagoon" off the ground for 40 years. Such names as John Carpenter, Ivan Reitman, Guillermo del Toro, and Breck Eisner, among many others, were attached to direct various attempts but nothing has ever materialized.

The original story (directed by Jack Arnold) follows a group of researchers on an expedition in the Amazon. Their initial research uncovers a fossil linking sea and land animals in a previously unheard-of hybrid. During their trip, a humanoid creature emerges out of a nearby lagoon and terrorizes the group. While there are story elements that are clearly dated, it remains one of the greatest monster films of all time. Guillermo del Toro is certainly still a viable option, based on films like "The Shape of Water" and "Pan's Labyrinth." Other filmmakers who could easily excel with a stylish, gripping remake include Robert Eggers ("The Lighthouse"), Issa López ("Tigers Are Not Afraid"), and Mike Flanagan ("Gerald's Game").

Tourist Trap (1979)

David Schmoeller's "Tourist Trap" might take the crown for Weirdest Slasher Film Ever Made. Chuck Connors, a famous athlete also known for "The Rifleman" series, leads the cast with a totally unhinged performance. The 1979 film fuses slasher cliches with screwball supernatural flavor in a surprisingly effective way, and it's not what you will ever expect.

When a group of young people blow a tire, they seek out a roadside attraction for help. The serene countryside is deceiving, hiding a dark evil lurking in the surrounding woods. A killer with telekinetic powers, often manifesting through a collection of mannequins, begins torturing and slaughtering the group. Its big third-act revelation is still unsettling to this day. The directing team behind 2021's "A Classic Horror Story" (Roberto De Feo and Paolo Strippoli) would bring a fun, manic spirit to a "Tourist Trap" remake. Both films have a style all their own and a reimagining needs filmmakers that are unafraid to take big, bold risks.

The Old Dark House (1932)

James Whale was a pioneering force in the early days of Hollywood cinema. An openly gay man, he molded horror with a distinctly queer voice, even when many of his films arrived during the Hays Code era. The 1932 spooky feature "The Old Dark House" was an essential foundation building block to haunted house films, as it followed a group of unlikely house guests who get stranded in a torrential rain storm.

Horace Femm (Ernest Thesiger) and his sister Rebecca (Eva Moore) are an oddball pair, the strange proprietors of a secluded house in the Welsh countryside. Alongside a mute butler named Morgan (Boris Karloff) and a 102-year-old father Sir Roderick Femm (Elspeth Dudgeon), they leave a meager lifestyle and are not particularly used to having so many guests for overnight visits. Expectedly, mayhem ensues. Whale's storytelling reads undeniably queer in its subtext. In 1963, filmmaker William Castle directed a remake, which left much to be desired. Decades later, the original is quite deserving of a remake, perhaps in the hands of Don Mancini, the mastermind behind the "Child's Play' franchise, or Dee Rees ("Pariah").

The Dorm That Dripped Blood (1982)

It's time we give "The Dorm That Dripped Blood" its due. Co-directed by Jeffrey Obrow and Stephen Carpenter, who penned the script with Stacey Giachino, the low-budget film came in the height of slashers. It's not surprising it got lost in the mix, as much of the story is paint-by-numbers fare. What makes it a true standout are the kill sequences and expert direction, brimming with mood and suspense in a way most slashers do not.

The story follows a group of college students who assist in a building renovation over Christmas break. While attempting to make repairs and clean out various decrepit dorm rooms, they are stalked and killed one by one by an unknown killer. It's the kind of slasher that's perfect for midnight screenings and includes an ending you have to see to believe. That's not hyperbole talking; the ending is one of the true greatest in the genre. A remake would then require a filmmaker who's known for their clever storytelling. Adam Wingard ("You're Next"), Ti West ("X"), and Todd Strauss-Schulson ("The Final Girls") are all talented and capable of taking the original source material and elevating it into a blockbuster. Tick-tock, fellas.

I Walked with a Zombie (1943)

Zombies were a relatively new concept when French director Jacques Tourneur helmed "I Walked with a Zombie" for RKO Studios in 1943. Released 11 years prior, Victor Halperin's "White Zombie" is often cited as the first-ever zombie film, and taken together the two features form the groundwork for a genre later perfected by George A. Romero with 1968's "Night of the Living Dead."

There's no arguing the influence "I Walked with a Zombie" has had on the genre, despite its very racist overtones. A nurse named Betsy Connell travels down to the Caribbean where she is hired by a plantation owner to care for his sickly wife Jessica. During her stay, she encounters a zombie known as Carrefour (Darby Jones) when she takes Jessica out into cornfields and witnesses a voodoo ritual taking place. As you can expect, the film leans into stereotypes about witchcraft and voodoo that borders on offensive. Filmmakers Ali LeRoi ("The Obituary of Tunde Johnson"), Nia DaCosta ("Candyman"), and Remi Weekes ("His House") have the vision and talent to bring the story into the modern era. What a treat that would be.

It Came from Outer Space (1953)

Everything we know so far about Jordan Peele's "Nope" indicates he's taking great inspiration from such sci-fi B-movies as "It Came from Outer Space." Released in 1953, the film based on Ray Bradbury's original treatment is directed by Jack Arnold and boasts 3D effects, which were a rarity in those days.

Richard Carlson stars as John Putnam, a rogue astronomer and writer who witnesses a spacecraft crash into the earth. He attempts to report the incident to the police but he isn't believed. Even as peculiar things happen around town, everyone thinks he's lost his grip on reality. Thematically, Arnold delves into the collective fears around the Cold War, as well as groupthink and rampant paranoia. If Peele were not already releasing his own alien film, he'd be a shoo-in to direct a remake. "It Came from Outer Space" would do well in the hands of Panos Cosmatos ("Mandy"), Brandon Cronenberg ("Possessor"), or Julia Ducournau ("Titane").

The Uninvited (1944)

Lewis Allen's "The Uninvited" is one of the true paranormal masterpieces of the era. Based on Dorothy Macardle's 1941 novel "Uneasy Freehold," the film explores a ghostly haunting through terrifying uses of shadows and lighting, making it one of horror's most timeless features.

When Roderick (Ray Milland) and his sister Pamela (Ruth Hussey) purchase the Windward House on the English coast, they get way more than they bargained for. A dark presence soon makes itself known and causes general mischief in the home. There's a possessed girl speaking in tongues, demonic afflictions, a complex backstory, and plenty of bumps in the night to treat your thirst. Known for "The Ritual" and "The Night House," David Bruckner is a prime filmmaker to lend his genius craftsmanship to a remake. When it comes to the unexplainable, there are few modern visual storytellers as well-tuned to the genre with a distinct style all their own.

Burnt Offerings (1976)

Boasting a star-studded cast including Karen Black, Oliver Reed, and Bette Davis, Dan Curtis' 1976 supernatural horror film "Burnt Offerings" makes due on its cryptic name. Ben (Reed) and Marian (Black) want an extravagant summer getaway, so they rent out a summer home for a measly $900 for the entire summer.

However, there's a catch: the estate's owners leave their elderly mother behind, and Ben and Marian must care for her. The family doesn't even question such a strange request and settles into their rooms. Over the next three months, their lives seemingly slip from their grasp. Marian becomes possessed by a spirit roaming the property, and the events that follow are gruesome, to put it mildly. You could make the case that Darren Aronofsky's "mother!" is a spiritual sequel. In many ways, that 2017 film's stylistic flourishes and aesthetics find their roots in this '70s standout. Aronofsky has a way with storytelling that's undeniably visceral and crawls under the skin, and he'd make one unforgettable "Burnt Offerings" remake.

C.H.U.D. (1984)

Directed by Douglas Cheek, 1984's sci-fi picture "C.H.U.D." (short for Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers) is a practical effects and monster design achievement. The titular creatures' grotesque look was created by Oscar-winning makeup artist John Caglione Jr., who previously worked on 1982's "Basket Case," a Frank Henenlotter film.

The set-up is simple: an army of humanoid creatures take up residence in the sewers below New York City and seek to take over the world. John Heard, Daniel Stern, and Christopher Curry star, and it's a race against time before the entire human race is wiped out completely. Like many science fiction films before it, the fear of the unknown is the predominant driver of the story. Filmmaker Steven Kostanski, whose most impressive directorial credits include "Psycho Goreman" and "The Void," might make a good candidate to helm an overdue remake. As long as practical effects are in play, all creative bets are off.