Every self-respecting horror-movie fan knows the best films to watch when in need of a good scare: Halloween, Friday the 13th, A Nightmare on Elm Street, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Psycho and many more. But there exists an even scarier notion than staying up late on Halloween watching horror films: the dreaded remake. Seemingly every year, a movie studio will dig up a horror classic and release a pale imitation of it, thereby ruining our collective childhood memories. If you’re looking for a good horror movie to watch on Halloween, avoid these 11 clunkers.
1. Black Christmas (2006)
Any remake of “Black Christmas” -- a horror classic from 1974 credited as being one of the first slasher films -- was doomed to fail, but the 2006 remake is a stinker on every level. The film essentially strips all the tension found in the original film and beefs up the gore, creating something bland, uncreative and gratuitous. The remake of “Black Christmas” doesn’t hold a candle to the original film.
2. Psycho (1998)
The 1998 remake of “Psycho” is essentially a carbon copy of the original film from 1960, all the way down to the dialogue and camera angles. Why put yourself through that when you can just watch the original? Avoid this one on Halloween.
3. The Omen (2006)
As the saying goes, those who can’t remember the past are condemned to repeat it. The filmmakers behind this version of “The Omen” created a shot-for-shot remake of Richard Donner’s creepy 1976 horror thriller. Obviously, they didn’t learn from the failure of the “Psycho” remake.
4. A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)
There’s no denying some of the talent involved in the remake of Wes Craven’s “A Nightmare on Elm Street.” Finding another actor to fill Robert Englund’s shoes in the Freddy Krueger role was virtually impossible, but Jackie Earle Haley delivers a fine performance. Unfortunately, uber-producer Michael Bay and his team didn’t emphasize the dream-like aspects of the story, instead opting for brute force. This remake of “A Nightmare on Elm Street” is dreary, predictable and lifeless.
5. The Wicker Man (2006)
Much like “Black Christmas,” the original version of “The Wicker Man” from 1973 is a creepy horror film that stands the test of time. The remake from 2006? Not so much. Nicholas Cage delivers an unintentionally comedic performances for the ages, one so overblown that it has to be seen to be believed. The remarkably effective atmosphere from the original film is nowhere to be found in Neil LaBute’s remake. Instead, we have Nicholas Cage yelling for 102 minutes.
6. Prom Night (2008)
Jamie Lee Curtis was at the height of her career when she starred in the 1980 slasher film “Prom Night,” which depicts a killer murdering teenagers one by one on their prom night. In their infinite wisdom, the suits at Screen Gems and Alliance Films decided to release a remake in 2008, one which alters the backstory and reveals the killer early on in the film. The result? A surefire place on the list of the worst horror movie remakes to avoid on Halloween.
7. The Haunting (1999)
The remake of “The Haunting” -- a classic British horror film from 1963 often cited as the best haunted-house film ever -- is a textbook example of what happens when you replace psychology and terror with CGI, bad dialogue and horror clichés. Some films should just be left alone.
8. The Amityville Horror (2005)
When George Lutz and his family came forward with claims of being terrorized by paranormal forces at their home in Amityville, N.Y., they had no idea their story would inspire a horror franchise. They also had no idea that Michael Bay’s Platinum Dunes production company would swoop in and churn out a pointless remake of the 1979 film based on their story.
9. The Fog (2005)
Director John Carpenter followed up the success of “Halloween” with “The Fog,” a 1980 horror film about a menacing fog containing vengeful ghosts killing people in a small seaside town in California. Unfortunately, the 2005 remake contains clunky dialogue, bad acting and not enough scares. No horror film worth its salt is rated PG-13, something the studio and filmmakers behind “The Fog” forgot.
10.) April Fool’s Day (2008)
The remake of “April Fool’s Day” -- a very clever take on the slasher genre released in 1986 -- fails on just about every level. Rather than present an interesting take on the original film, the 2008 remake instead recycles the plot from “I Know What You Did Last Summer.” It’s no wonder this sanitized film was released straight-to-DVD in 2008.
11. The House on Haunted Hill (1999)
At first glance, this ill-advised remake of the 1959 horror classic starring Vincent Price looked promising. The presence of Oscar-winner Geoffrey Rush in the lead role suggested there must be something redeeming about the film. Unfortunately, the movie is boring, predictable, and worst of all, not scary. It sits easily with other entries on the list of the worst horror-movie remakes to avoid on Halloween.
(Dis)honorable Mentions: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003), House of Wax (2005), When A Stranger Calls (2006), The Hitcher (2007), Night of the Living Dead 3D (2006), The Stepfather (2009), One Missed Call (2008)