…Get it? Because it’s about vampires? Ah, I slay me.
Remakes are almost as popular in Hollywood as plastic surgery. And, just like plastic surgery, they’re usually pretty bad. But every now and then, you get a good one.
The recent remake of the 1985 movie, Fright Night, has been getting pretty good reviews. The movie is about a kid who lives next door to a girlfriend-stealing vampire, played by Colin Farrell.
Sean O’Connell in the Washington Post writes:
“It stands apart from the rehash pack by accomplishing something rival remakes rarely do: It improves on the premise it has been handed, producing a modernized version of a decades-old story that's superior to its predecessor in virtually every aspect."
To say that this movie is better than the original is a very, very rare compliment for a remake. So what other Hollywood remakes did it right?
The Fly: People loved the original, 1958 version of this movie. It’s listed on the AFI’s 100 Years…100 Thrills list, so when director David Cronenberg decided to remake it in 1986, he had quite the challenge. Starring Jeff Goldblum, the remake was a hit. Gene Siskel named it the best movie of 1986, and the film won an Academy Award for makeup effects. Heeelp! Heeelp me!
Ocean’s Eleven: Going up against the rat pack must have been daunting. The original 1960 Ocean’s 11 starred Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis, Jr. But the 2001 version was very well-received. I’m sure having hot dudes like George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Matt Damon in the remake didn’t hurt.
Scarface: Scarface was a 1932 gangster film that was produced by Howard Hughes. It was ranked by AFI as the sixth best gangster film of all time. But the 1983 remake starring Al Pacino has reached legendary status. It earned Pacino a Golden Globe nomination. The remake is number ten on AFI’s list of best gangster movies. Plus, how many adult movies do they make bed sheets, lamps, and giant rugs out of?
Cape Fear: Martin Scorsese’s 1991 Robert De Niro hit was based on the 1962 version that starred Gregory Peck and Robert Mitchum. Mitchum’s character was so creepy, Newsweek named him as one of the best villains in cinema history. But leave it to the legendary Robert De Niro to one up that. Both he and Juliette Lewis received Academy Award nominations for their roles in the movie.
The Thomas Crown Affair: People weren’t jumping for joy over the original 1968 version of this film. Although, I don’t think people normally jump for joy over movies. Maybe Twilight fans. But the original The Thomas Crown Affair has mixed reviews. Roger Ebert gave it 2.5 stars out of 4, calling it “possibly the most under-plotted, underwritten, over-photographed film of the year.” Ouch. But the remake was better, and a sequel has been in development since 2007.