I’m on the record saying I hate remakes. If it was genius in the first place, why mess with it? If it stunk, why bring it back? Are you so ego driven Mr. Director that you feel your “version” outshines, oh say, Alfred Hitchcock‘s Psycho? Or Mr. Director, do you so lack creatively that you cop-out and warm over some – why was it made in the first place (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) flick?
That being said, there are those exceptions. Websters’ definition of a remake is: to make again or anew as in a new form or manner. If a film can pay homage and capture the essence of the original but also bring freshness, I consider that film to be a great remake!
This classic has a great remake:
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)
Directed by Don Siegel and Produced by Walter Wanger, the film starred Kevin McCarthy and Dana Wynter. This 1956 sci-fi thriller taps into a hideous nightmare, what if we went to sleep and awoke as a “pod person?” (Our physical self but void of emotion.) This movie in and of itself is an update of the 1950’s fear of space, atomic energy, and aliens. However, instead of giant mutated spiders, this tale is of an invasion from within.
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)
“From deep space the seed is planted.”
Directed by Philip Kaufman and starring Donald Sutherland and Brooke Adams, this remake ups the ante. It honors the original sense of foreboding but the degree of terror is raised to a pandemic level.
There’s a scene in the original involving a dog that alerts the “pod people” that “Becky” (Dana Wynter) isn’t one of them. In this version they remake the dog scene but takes it to a much freakier place. Outstanding!
I won’t give away the ending but, holy crap, that was frigging frightening! Totally fresh update!
A box office success, Invasion of the Body Snatchers was well received by critics and is considered by some (myself included) to be among the greatest film remakes.