The 15 Best Horror Remakes Ever Made

5. Nosferatu

Werner Herzog takes the silent vampire classic Nosferatu and remakes it as a melancholy, deliberately paced exploration of everlasting death. While Herzog’s take isn’t as expressionistic as the original, but it is one of the most haunting films ever made. Frequent Herzog collaborator Klaus Kinski is remarkable as the the lonely, rat-like vampire, here officially named Dracula, unlike the original film where the character was named Count Orlok due to legal issues. The slow pace of Herzog’s film may turn off some, but those who stick with it will be rewarded with a poetic, gothic wonder.

4. The Ring

This may not be a popular opinion, but I firmly believe that Gore Verbinski‘s 2002 remake of the Japanese horror film RinguThe Ring, is the superior version. I’m not saying Ringu is a bad film, I’m just saying Verbinski takes the scenario of that film and turns it into one of the most gorgeous, somber studio horror films ever made. Every frame of this film is like a painting; an dread-inducing painting that gives you the creeps by just looking at it. The film’s set-up – a VHS tape that kills whomever watches it – is obviously a bit dated by now, but The Ring still packs a punch. It helps that it has Naomi Watts in the lead, guiding nearly every scene of the film.

3. The Thing

John Carpenter took the somewhat stiff 1951 B-movie The Thing from Another World and recreated it as a claustrophobic body-horror nightmare. Carpenter surpasses the original in every conceivable while, creating a nihilistic, ice cold horror movie with special effects that are still mind-blowing all these years later. This is one of the best examples of a remake – take a pretty good idea (in this case, people stranded in the Arctic with an alien life form in their midst), and improve on it. Take what was already in place and make it bigger, badder, scarier. The Thing was a box office dud when it hit theaters in 1982, but has since earned its rightful status as a horror classic, and one of the best remakes of all time.

2. Invasion of the Body Snatchers

Like The Thing, the remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers takes a pretty good idea and makes it great. There have actually been more than one remake of Don Seigel’s 1956 Invasion of the Body Snatchers, but the best one is Philip Kaufman‘s 1978 take on the tale. You know the story: people are slowly being replaced by alien pods that hatch eerie clones. Kaufman updated the original film’s Cold War paranoia for the waining days of the free love 1970s, and improved on the original in nearly ever conceivable way. The original is a B-movie, perfect for drive-ins and late night reruns. Kaufman’s remake is something altogether different, and better. Meticulously crafted and constantly disturbing. If the ending of this movie doesn’t give you the chills, check to make sure you haven’t been replaced by an unfeeling pod person.

1. The Fly

Here it is. The best horror remake of all time. This is the absolutely 100% correct choice and if you disagree you are wrong. Sorry, I don’t make the rules here. Like the aforementioned The Thing and Invasion of the Body SnatchersThe Fly takes what was basically a B-picture and makes it into art. I’m not knocking the 1958 The Fly, but all you need to know is that during the now-famous “Help me!” scene in the original, featuring a fly with the head of a human is trapped in a spider web, was just too silly to film for the actors. So much so that you can see Vincent Price struggling not to laugh in the final version. Years later, Price would say, “We were playing this kind of philosophical scene, and every time that little voice [of the fly] would say ‘Help me! Help me!’ we would just scream with laughter. It was terrible. It took us about 20 takes to finally get it.”

There’s nothing silly about David Cronenberg‘s 1986 remake, which takes a basic concept – a science experiment leaves a man (Jeff Goldblum) slowly mutating into a giant insect – and turns it into a disgusting nightmare. This is one of the nastiest, most squirm-inducing films ever made, and Cronenberg handles it all perfectly. Underneath all the body horror there’s also an oddly touching love story between Goldblum and Geena Davis. Most of all, The Fly does what all great horror movies should do. It takes a terrible real-lie scenario – slowly watching a loved one die – and uses it for a launchpad for a tale of terror.  It’s both the best horror remake of all time, and one of the best horror films ever made.

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