Another day, another reboot, right? Hollywood is saturated with remakes, reboots, sequels, prequels, and “Dark Universes,” many of which fans don’t even want and certainly never asked for. Whether it’s coming after a classic or trying to cash in on a fifteen-year-old iconic title, Hollywood is going to keep pumping these out, and they don’t seem to show any signs of stopping. So, why not lean into the curve? There are plenty of films out there that could actually benefit from a make-over. Part of the reason for the success of this year’s IT was that people had always hoped for a reboot, as the miniseries was held back by it’s made-for-TV quality. For me, there are three types of film that make good candidates for a reboot: a bad film with a good premise, a good film that could be updated to modern times (contextually or technologically), or a film that didn’t live up to it’s potential in one way or another. To that end, I’ve come up with a list of five films that meet my criteria and would be improved by a reboot. Seeing as this Halloween season we are being given a Leatherface prequel, another Child’s Play, and the reboot/sequel Flatliners, this list will be made up solely of horror films. Let’s dig in!
Children of the Corn (1984)
Background: Based on the Stephen King book, Children of the Corn explores the town of Gatlin, Nebraska where children sacrifice adults for a plentiful corn harvest. The film has spawned many sequels and developed a cult following, but most fans will admit the original movie hasn’t aged well. Another big fault came into play due to disrespect to the source material. King wrote the first draft screenplay for the film which followed closer to his original short story, but the film chose to go a different route with George Goldsmith’s script instead. It isn’t terrible, sporting a few entertaining child performances and decent violence. Although it is pretty creepy, Children of the Corn was held back by it’s sub-par script.
Why it deserves a reboot: Fairly obvious reasons. With the financial and critical success of IT, every studio is going to be looking for a Stephen King adaptation to cash in on. What else is hot in Hollywood right now? Kid actors. Who wouldn’t want to see Jacob Tremblay (Room) and Nicholas Hamilton (Captain Fantastic, IT) as Isaac and Malachi? With a director that understands the horror of the source material and an overall production boost, Children of the Corn could be juicy kernel for Stephen King fans.
Background: Never heard of Brainscan? You’re not the only one. Most people haven’t. The techno-horror movie revolved around a hyper-realistic game that consumes a housebound loner, played by Edward Furlong (Terminator 2: Judgement Day), pushing him to kill his friends in the game (and real life). The film eventually found an audience among b-horror fans who enjoyed the theatrical character, The Trickster, and the 90s Grunge music which was very popular at the time. However, initially it had trouble finding it’s footing. Critics found it bland, but Brainscan was received more favorably by audiences.
Why it deserves a reboot: In the 23 years since Brainscan has come out, video games have changed and are bigger than ever. This film is primed to be updated technologically, as the original lacked in the special effects department. It would be interesting to explore the underground world of online gaming, perhaps going in a grittier direction than the often-cheesy film. We’ve seen TV shows such as Black Mirror approach the horrors of technology, but not too many modern films have. Horror today also seems to be lacking in emerging horror icons. The Trickster could potentially fill that role if brought to life by the right actor (this has dark Jim Carrey written all over it).
The Nameless (1999)
Background: It’s tricky when it comes to making American versions of foreign horror movies, because why not just suck it up and watch the original? Unfortunately many people don’t like subtitles, keeping a lot of great foreign films from being seen. This is the case with the Spanish horror, The Nameless. The film plays out like a horror-noir: a mother discovers her daughter has been brutally murdered. Years later, she receives a phone call from a voice claiming to be her daughter. It’s a creepy, inventive horror with crazy twists left and right. But, like I said, it never got a mainstream audience after it won Best Film at Fantasia Film festival, and didn’t make it’s way to the U.S. til 2005.
Why it deserves a reboot: This may be the least deserving film on the list, as you could easily watch the original and be satisfied. Foreign film adaptations don’t always work, but when they do (example Let the Right One In/Let Me In) we can have two great tellings of the same story to bridge the gap between cultural filmmaking. Plus, The Nameless is a story that can be westernized without changing the integrity of the story. True Crime is also all the rage, and it could be interesting to film this in the style of crime documentary. I’m a sucker for a well-done found footage flick
Psychomania/The Death Wheelers (1973)
Background: A British horror film that was misunderstood upon initial release, Psychomania has been highly regarded over time. The film follows the psychopathic leader of a biker gang who is brought back to life by his witchy mother following his death, which leads to his crew committing suicide one-by-one to terrorize the city as the undead. The film initially turned people away due to its slow pace and moody demeanor.
Why it deserves a reboot: One thing I feel that has been missing in horror lately is swagger. We have plenty of creepy horror films and horror-comedies, but what happened to the horror films that were COOL like The Lost Boys? Reintroducing Psychomania to the aesthetically-obsessed audiences of today would for sure conjure up a cult following in no time. Music has also played an increased role in film over the years, and there is no reason this film can’t be rebooted and include a score of smoldering guitars similar to the original, but done by modern musicians. I could see a musical collaboration in the vein of Disasterpeace scoring It Follows back in 2014.
Background: perhaps the most controversial on this list, I’ll gladly admit that this is a personal pick. Hellraiser has been praised since its inception thirty years ago, as fans hadn’t seen anything like it at the time. The film’s cult following has remained strong, but over time it gets harder to defend the inconsistent special effects. No one can deny that the Clive Barker story is one of the most unusual and intriguing in horror, exploring the morality of human beings in a chilling and gruesome way. However, I was disappointed when I saw the film for the first time, feeling like it only scratched the surface of its potential. This is another example of a film suffering from differences in the source material. Though Barker is a fantastic writer, he’s not the most capable director and struggled to bring the story to life on screen. The film is all talk, little show when it comes to the mysterious cenobites, which have become iconic horror figures. The Hellraiser series is still technically going, spawning horrendous sequels that even drove Pinhead actor Doug Bradley away.
Why it deserves a reboot: Hellraiser is a property oozing with potential. The first obvious area for improvement is the special effects and cinematography, which could present this film in a better light. Next would be to dig into the rich mythology of the story, exploring both the pain and pleasure aspects. I’d love to see Hellraiser as an erotic thriller, perhaps with a Lars Von Trier at the helm? Or one could exploit the violent nature of the film, supported by stellar effects and characters under the direction of someone like Fede Alvarez. Hellraiser already has cemented its place in the history of horror, so some may think it doesn’t belong on this list. But I believe Hellraiser, if done properly, could challenge for the best horror film of all time.
And that’s my list! Reboots have been given a bad rap over the years, with many people attacking the mere mention of one with their keyboards. One of the coolest aspects of cinema is that it’s always changing. Over time, a film may not hold up or end up being forgotten about altogether. Not every reboot needs to be made for financial gain, some stories deserve better films or just to be recognized. What horror films do you want to see rebooted? Hit me up with your answers on Twitter! @Deezus12