Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together, girls in tan speedsuits! Mass hysteria has gripped the nation since the hyperventilating presence of a
femme swooped in with a trailer, becoming the Ghostbusters most disliked in YouTube history. Would a Mannequin remake cause the same tribulation? Only time will tell.
For now, as the
Ghostbusters franchise crosses the mainstream once again, we look at 24 more ’80s movie remakes, ranked worst to best by Tomatometer! (Only original properties included — no Annie or Conan — while movies like 2011’s The Thing, which explicitly extend the original plot, are excluded.)
(1980) The Fog
(2005) The Fog
An above-average horror effort from John Carpenter got a sub-sub-average remake 25 years later starring Tom Welling, Maggie Grace, and Selma Blair.
(1980) Prom Night
(2008) Prom Night
The original: a cult classic with original slasher queen Jamie Lee Curtis. The remake: a toothless PG-13 affair starring Chloe from Pitch Perfect.
(1987) The Stepfather
(2009) The Stepfather
The first was a clever, creepy subversion of Reagan-era family values, while the second just felt like a good idea at the time after Disturbia made a lot of money.
(1984) Red Dawn
(2012) Red Dawn
Cold War paranoid fantasy updated for the 21st century, featuring a last-minute studio intervention to change the aggressors to North Korea from China, capitulating to the Middle Kingdom’s exploding box office influence.
(1985) Day of the Dead
(2008) Day of the Dead
Compared to Zack Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead, this is a decidedly inferior George A. Romero remake of the decade (though both feature Ving Rhames, natch).
(1984) A Nightmare on Elm Street
(2010) A Nightmare on Elm Street
While both Nightmares play the horror straight, the remake revoked any of the remotely redeemable qualities of Freddy Krueger that the original series’ would play up with each sequel.
(1986) The Hitcher
(2007) The Hitcher
Though the original is a straight-up taut thriller, the remake tries to give new hitcher Sean Bean more backstory to work with, only to bog the film down.
The ’80s movie gave hope to NYC kids amidst the gutter grime and crime, while the ’09 version is sanitized harmless pap, signaling that at least the times have improved.
(1980) Friday the 13th
(2009) Friday the 13th
Tomatometer: 25% Cramming the plot of the first three Friday movies into one, the Jason update moves at literal breakneck speed.
Tomatometer: 26% Proof that Russel Brand’s libertine charms are best taken at smaller doses.
(1981) Clash of the Titans
(2010) Clash of the Titans
Topline stop-motion animation (Ray Harryhausen’s final effort) gives way to state-of-the-art CGI overload.
Tomatometer: 31% They’re baaack…and they want a personal explanation why you’re cord-cutting before Game of Thrones is over.
(1983) The House on Sorority Row
(2009) Sorority Row
The original featured a deformed attic-dweller exacting revenge on sorority girls over his mother’s death. In 2009, the remake included a post-credits, long-con killer: student debt. Follow the path of two-thirds of Rotten Tomatoes employees and stay out of school, kids.
(1993) The Vanishing
Spoorloos is a clinical dreadfest with a top-notch finale. On the strength of his film, Dutch director George Sluizer was invited to America to remake the film with Keifer Sutherland and Sandra Bullock, tacking on an incongruent Hollywood ending.
Tomatometer: 49% A serial killer romp featuring a real shotgun-to-the-head FX that tops Scanners‘ shot. It was remade from first-person perspective with equal sadistic glee, starring Elijah Wood.
The original’s satirical take on corporate capitalism is traded in for commentary on mass media and surveillance.
(1981) My Bloody Valentine
(2009) My Bloody Valentine
More competent and slick than the original, the later Valentine even mined its 3D gimmick for cheap, silly laughs in-between picking off victims.
(1987) Wings of Desire
(1998) City of Angels
Wim Wenders’ all-consuming romantic fantasy remade with Nic Cage and Meg Ryan, whose massive soundtrack guarantees you’ll be hearing the Goo Goo Dolls and Alanis Morissette at the pearly gates and beyond.
(1981) The Evil Dead
(2013) Evil Dead
Soft redo of the original movie that Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell produced so fans would stop harassing them for a true ED
sequel. It didn’t work: they capitulated with Ash vs. Evil Dead.
(1984) Silent Night, Deadly Night
(2012) Silent Night
The remake is decent fun but can’t top the original’s finest contribution to cinema: birthing a sequel that featured the sublime garbage day clip.
The Karate Kid (1984)
(2010) The Karate Kid
Rocky For Kids gets a surprisingly engaging and respectful remake, even if it runs overlong (140 minutes to kill your bullies in a sanctioned tournament?).
Tomatometer: 69% A nice hunk of trashy teenage cheese adapted for the new millennium by Southern grits & groove director Craig Brewer ( Hustle & Flow, Black Snake Moan).
(1985) Fright Night
(2011) Fright Night
Suburban vampiric frights and laughs get the same deft touch in the remake, starring Colin Farrell and the late Anton Yelchin.
Tomatometer: 91% Who knew all it took for John Waters to make a lasting mainstream property was to remove feces consumption from his movies?