With the horror genre getting littered with one remake after another these days it’s hard to believe that there are even any classics left to be retold. Believe it or not, there are still some films out there that have managed to slip through the cracks as studios have attempted to bring them back to life one way or another. Below is a list of films that very nearly got remade and I think you’re going to be surprised as to why some of these never made it off the ground.
Remakes are never going to go away and we’ll see that clearly in the coming months as two films that were considered “untouchable” will be heading to theaters once again with Carrie and Oldboy. And now that Poltergeist has already started filming, I think it’s safe so say that no film is considered “untouchable” at this point. While remakes do have a bad track record, there are some out there that not only successfully recreated a classic, but manage to outshine them. At the end of the day all we really want is a solid film, whether it be a remake or something original.
It’s interesting to remake a film for the contemporary audience today. I think it’s a good idea; it needs to respect the original idea. Don’t just take the title and change everything else.
– Dario Argento
An American Werewolf in London
Believe it or not, An American Werewolf in London was pretty damn close to getting what sounds like an absolutely terrible new take on the classic John Landis directed film. It was during the summer of 2009 when Landis let it slip that Dimension Films was seriously looking to snag the rights to his film, with the sole purpose of remaking it. It wasn’t until a year later that the film really started rolling as the studio put it on the fast track, with The Number 23 scribe Fernley Phillips getting the nod to upgrade the story to the modern-day. From there they announced that they were aiming to make the film in 3D, which was an idea they eventually ended up scrapping.
And that’s about all that is really known about this one but it sounds like they were approaching it entirely wrong. The brilliance of the original was its amazing use of practical effects, something that would have no doubt been ignored in the remake—especially if they were going the 3D route. There’s no doubt in my mind that this one will eventually get remade, so let’s just hope someone who actually appreciates the original for what made it successful is in charge.
While The Fly has already been remade once before with David Cronenberg’s skin melting classic, it actually almost got a third retelling back in 2003. Originally this one sounded like it could have been another awesome take on the film because both Apparition director Todd Lincoln and the man himself, David Cronenberg, were both interested in the project. Lincoln was attached to helm the film and planned to bring to life a dark and twisted re-imagining with a heavy dose of practical effects. He was essentially going to tackle this one in the best possible manner, but the real issue came when Fox turned down the ideas that he pitched to them. It was years later before we found out that the reason the studio wasn’t interested in Lincoln’s version was because they basically wanted to remake Cronenberg’s 1986 film just with teen stars in the lead roles. Ouch.
Cronenberg actually wrote a script that was going to serve as a pseudo-sequel to his very own remake, but of course Fox decided that was the wrong approach. Since then we haven’t heard anything about what they have in store for their remake of The Fly or if it will even happen. One this is for sure and it’s that they really missed their opportunity to bring what could have been a nasty little horror flick back to life again on the big screen. Hopefully, if this ever does get off the ground they track down Cronenberg’s script because I guarantee it was going to be insane when translated to the silver screen.
Dimension Films announced back in 2006 that they were wanting to remake Clive Barker’s Hellraiser, and since then this one has been teetering on the edge of development. Again, to no surprise, creative differences stood between the writers and the studio. The makers of both Inside and Feast turned in a script that was eventually shot down by Dimension Films. It wasn’t long after that when it was announced that Martyrs helmer Pascal Laugier was going to be the man behind the remake. However, Laugier would ultimately leave the project because he wanted to make a much darker and more serious film than what Dimension had planned.
Once Laugier dropped out of the directing gig, My Bloody Valentine 3D writing/directing tandem Todd Farmer & Patrick Lussier were brought in to try to get Hellraiser off the ground. Together they would write the film which would see Lussier behind the camera. They decided that instead of remaking the film they were going to explore some of the ideas that Clive Barker presented in the original film. This led to them writing several drafts of the script, and once again Dimension didn’t like what they were seeing so the duo bailed on the project and we haven’t heard anything about the remake since. It’s hard to believe that so many talented people couldn’t come up with that the studio was looking for, but who knows, maybe that’s a good thing.
Near Dark is one of the best vampire flicks out there so it should come to no surprise that a few years ago Platinum Dunes had it on the remake chopping block. So what kept the 1987 cult classic from breathing on the big screen once again? Twilight. Yes, that’s right, the film that got vampires completely wrong in the eyes of horror fans is the reason Near Dark never got off the ground. Apparently, because of Twilight‘s huge success it made the studio think twice about remaking Near Dark because they thought the films were much too similar. Producer Brad Fuller said, “I think Twilight was the same type of thing we were going for”. Uh… I’m not quite sure what they had planned over there, but I’ve never really thought of Twilight and Kathryn Bigelow’s Near Dark as being similar.
It sounds like that’s as far as Platinum Dunes ever got when it came to remaking this one, but until then we can at least thank Twilight for doing at least one thing right.
If you follow the horror genre even just a little then you’ve probably heard mumblings of a Pet Sematary remake for years now. There have been plenty of rumors throughout the years on this one with various different writers, directors and actors getting attached to the project. George Clooney was rumored at one point to headline the remake with Guillermo del Toro showing interest in helming the project. We have no idea as to how true any of that is but what is known is that Blood Creek writer David Kajganich came up with an early draft of the script many years ago, which ultimately got turned down by Paramount simply because they wanted the new film to appeal to a younger audience.
Eventually Kajganich was replaced by Matthew Greenberg, who penned 1408, and was supposedly working on the screenplay back in 2010. Around a year went by when High Tension director Alexandre Aja was in negotiations with the studio to helm the Pet Sematary remake, with Greenberg still attached to write. As of right now that’s as far as this one ever got but it’s the one remake on this list I’d actually like to see happen—especially if Aja was involved.
So what do you guys think: Are you glad none of these made it past the idea stage and is there a horror film out there that you hope never gets remade as well as one you think would actually benefit from a remake?