Auteur Horror – Which Remake Do You Want to See?

Happy October, everyone. To celebrate my favorite time of year, I have a new poll for you today, and it concerns both remakes and how much more exciting (and weirder) they could totally be.

Remakes generally get a bad rap, but one of the problems, I think, is that so many of the reboots today are just so utterly generic and uninspired. It’s rare when anyone does anything really new with one — which made me wonder how some of Hollywood’s most unique directors, known specifically for their distinctive voices and styles, would approach remaking a well-known horror movie.

Your mission today, should you choose to accept it, is to pick the horror movie remake that you’d most like to see as created by the director specified. You cannot mix and match the directors, sorry, but I have provided links so that you can glance at a few trailers, should you wish, and get an idea/remind yourself of their aesthetic. I’ve also posted links for the original movie trailers. (Though sometimes I had to use fan-made trailers or just straight clips when the official trailers themselves were useless. House of Wax and Suspiria, I’m looking at you, buddies.)

Here are your contenders:

1. David Lynch (Blue Velvet, Mulholland Drive) directs House of Wax

Two disclaimers: first, the link to House of Wax contains SPOILERS . . . for a 1953 Vincent Price movie, so I feel like you can handle it. Second: I haven’t actually watched said movie. That’s bad, I know. I do know what happens, and I’ve seen the not-at-all close remake (boy, have I), but we’re going to stick with the original today. Honestly, I suspect that a David Lynch remake would stray pretty far from the source material too.

What would a Lynch remake look like, exactly, though? It’s hard to say. But wax museums are just inherently creepy, and Christ knows Lynch could manage to make them even creepier. No doubt it would be erotic, too. I’m unnerved just thinking about it.

2. Guillermo del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth, Crimson Peak) directs Suspiria

Okay, guys, let’s be real here: this would have to be the most gothically gorgeous ballet academy ever run by evil witches. I mean, it would almost be worth actually attending, wouldn’t it? After all, what are a few maggots and dead bodies compared to such beautiful architecture and intensely baroque fashion? (I’m almost positive Jane Austen said something like that once.)

Suspiria in del Toro’s hands? Seriously, just imagine the pure decadence.

3. Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Royal Tenenbaums) directs I Know What You Did Last Summer

Not exactly known for directing films anywhere near the horror genre, Wes Anderson did nonetheless surprise me by creating a pretty creepy chase scene in The Grand Budapest Hotel . . . and I’ve wondered what a horror movie by him would look like ever since. A slasher, especially.

What I’m picturing here is something like this: the usual Cast of Characters, quite possibly a narrator, and of course individual objects on display: Helen’s cut off hair, the blackmail letter, the fish hook, etc. Who wouldn’t pay to watch that?

4. Quentin Tarantino (Reservoir DogsInglourious Basterds) directs Saw

Because, when you get right down to it, Saw is really a movie about two guys sitting in a room talking to each other.

Obviously, there’s a lot of horrific violence too — which I think we all know the QT could handle — but if your movie basically centers around one long and super tense conversation, I mean, who better to write and direct it than Quentin Tarantino?

5. Tarsem Singh (The Cell, Immortals) directs A Nightmare on Elm Street

I didn’t actually see the remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street, but I bet all the money in my pocket right now that the nightmares themselves were pretty mundane.

Here, though. Here I have absolutely no doubt that the dream imagery in this remake would be fantastic, lush and surreal and creepy as all hell. Which is probably what you want from a movie that literally has ‘nightmare’ in the title. The visuals in this thing would be stunning.

6. The Coen Brothers (No Country for Old Men, Fargo) direct The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

Okay, there have been, like, dozens of these remakes, and also sequels, and sequels to the remakes, and prequels to the remakes too . . . but none of them have been done by guys who have actually won multiple Oscars before. And the Coen Brothers don’t seem particularly averse to bloody violence. For that matter, they seem pretty okay with filming stories set in the South, too, and pretending that their movies are based on a real story when they’re totally not.

Honestly, though, I think it could be kind of cool. It’s like Horror for Grown-Ups! At the very least, I assume it would bring horror back to the Oscars.

7. Tim Burton (Edward Scissorhands, Sleepy Hollow) directs The Shining

Okay, I know there are some of you howling, and I get it — but this could be early days Tim Burton, and Johnny Depp doesn’t have to be anywhere near it. (Unless that’s actually a draw. Oh, how it used to be a draw.)

I can see The Overlook being super gothic and weird and hopefully all bent at really strange angles. I can absolutely see how the topiary scene from the novel could work. Burton’s mostly known for the darker, weirder side of family friendly, but seeing more actual horror from him might be kind of interesting. (Alternatively, I’m desperately curious to what the family friendly version of The Shining would look like. Honestly, I almost want to see that more.)

And . . . yep, that’s it. As always, I love to hear your arguments/reasonings, but you never need to justify your choice. Are you only interested in Tim Burton doing The Shining if Johnny Depp plays Jack Torrance? That’s fine, even if that’s not something I, myself, personally want to see. Do you think a Wes Anderson horror movie would be a hilarious disaster that you need to watch before you die? That’s cool too. You can pick for funniest sounding movie or scariest sounding movie. All reasons are valid, unless you’re actively trying to be an asshole.

The poll will be up for one week. Comment to vote, preferably on the blog, but Facebook and Twitter will work fine too. (Or if you know me personally, I suppose you can just tell me — but then everyone’s going to accuse me of cheating, and it’s going to be all your fault.) Please remember, though, that you can only vote for ONE movie. By all means, go ahead and write out your internal struggle, but I do need you to be clear on which one you’re actually voting for by the end, or I can’t count your vote for either.

27 thoughts on “Auteur Horror – Which Remake Do You Want to See?

  1. Several of these sounded pretty awesome, but since I think remakes are best applied to movies that didn’t live up to their potential, I’m gonna go with Tarantino’s Saw.

  2. In descending order from most wanted to least:
    Del Toro – Suspira
    I’ve loved everything I’ve seen of his. My imagination goes: Black Swan + the creepy ballerina with the mouth for a face from Cabin in the Woods + all the crazy stuff from Pan’s Labyrinth + the likelihood that a Ron Perlman cameo would be in it = No contest.
    Singh – A Nightmare On Elmstreet
    Might be a contest if you had suggested this would include D’Onfrio as Krueger. Still a close second.
    Coen Bros – Texas Chainsaw Massacre
    I’m especially thinking of No Country, here. The juxtaposition of all that quiet, all that sparse language, with the sudden onset of violence.
    Tarantino – Saw
    I keep seeing the overhead shot of the bathroom in Saw and the overhead shot of the warehouse in Reservoir Dogs and thinking he’d go back to that well a bit too much. I could be wrong, though.
    Lynch – House of Wax
    Not really invested enough in the original material or the director to have an opinion.
    Anderson & Burton tie in the “I have no intention of seeing another film by either director ever again” category.

    • You know, I still haven’t seen Black Swan. I know I should, but every time people try to explain to me why I’ll love it, they keep describing a movie that doesn’t sound like my cup of tea at all. However, Pan’s Labyrinth/Creepy Face Ballerina/Ron Perlman cameo? ALL FOR IT.

      I like D’Onofrio but probably not as much as most people. Though, yes, he worked for me in The Cell.

      Yeah, I was definitely thinking No Country, too. I’ve had very mixed reactions to the Coen Brothers work, but watching them do a straight up horror movie would be pretty exciting.

      Aw, I really like some Wes Anderson. Tim Burton, too, but admittedly I haven’t been very excited by him in a long time. I might pay money to watch him direct something without Johnny Depp in it, though.

  3. (I think it ate my first comment – let me try again!)

    I’d prefer no remakes if possible as I’m just not a fan in general, especially if the original film was good and stood on its own two feet well enough. But since you’re making me choose, you monster, I’ll try…

    I think Tarsem Singh/Nightmare would be my top choice because that would be so incredibly different. It’s an incredibly rare film where I don’t just want story, story, story, but his films are beautiful enough to do it for me.

    Silver medal choice goes to Del Toro just because I’d watch it for the monsters/beauty/Ron Perlman who as Bryan says you know would be there.

    Bronze: Hmm I was going to say Tarantino & Saw, but I’m not sure that’d be different enough for me. Gotta be Wes Anderson then. I’m not sure about the ‘Know what you did last summer’ franchise, but he’d do something good with it, I’m sure.

    • As a general rule, I prefer to remake movies that had potential but didn’t quite work. But I’m potentially okay with remaking even good movies if they DO something with it. If you can’t sell me on why you’re doing it other than money, I have problems. (To be fair, money’s a perfectly valid reason. But I don’t have to spend my own to watch another generic remake, either.)

      The Tarsem Singh movies I’ve seen (and I’ve only seen two) are stupidly amazingly gorgeous but were kind of weak in either dialogue or story or both. It’s actually one of the reasons him directing Nightmare appeals to me — the story’s already provided, no one expects more depth from it, and he could make it BEAUTIFUL. That shit would be a visual feast.

      • You have to try ‘The Fall’ – it’s one where he finally gets his visuals in line with a gorgeous story. I am slightly biased as lots of it is filmed in India but it’s still his best.

  4. Coens & TCM. It would be the funniest and scariest TCM to date.

    After reading your post, I kept thinking of more remakes I’d find entertaining (for better or worse). Now I can’t stop imagining Teen Wolf directed by David Croenenberg.

  5. del Toro and Suspiria. You had me at Baroque Ballet Academy.

    Singh doing NoES and the Coen Brothers doing TCM (starring Clooney? PLEASE?) both ran close, close seconds. Singh just does pretty, pretty visuals, and it would be a lovely Nightmare in the way that Judge Dredd had lovely gore. I don’t even think you’d need Freddy at that point. As for the Coen brothers, I’m not really into the auteur director thing. Most of my favorite directors are writer/directors, and they are some of my favorite writer/directors (have you SEEN the new trailer for the 30’s Hollywood movie they’re doing??!! Clueless Charming Clooney! Quirky Tilda Swinton! Gum-popping Blonde Bombshell Scarlett Johansson!! CHARMING POTATO AS A GENE KELLEY STYLE HOOFER!!!!!!!)

    I’m so in love already.

    Anyways. It would have been the Coen Brothers, hands down. But… BALLET!!!!

    • Horror ballet is the best ballet.

      The Coens are definitely a mixed bag for me. Blood Simple had some flaws but was really interesting. Other than Frances McDormand and a woodchipper, I didn’t much care for Fargo at all. I loved O Brother Where Art Thou. I generally liked the remake of True Grit but felt it had resolution problems. I had mixed feelings on No Country for Old Men and need to give it a second viewing. I guess I’d say they’re obviously talented, but I don’t always like where they go? I actually haven’t watched the new trailer yet, but I will later today or tomorrow. (Especially because everything you said sounds awesome . . . except for possibly the potato because I feel that requires context.)

    • I wrote out a HUGE list of possible directors when I was coming up with this poll and the Wachowskis were on it, but I couldn’t think of a horror movie that fit specifically with their aesthetic. Possibly because I haven’t seen Waxwork.

      • I know smart people who love Waxwork with a fiery passion, and smart people who hate it and are baffled by the love. I cannot say which bucket you will fall into, but we should watch Waxwork. Definitely.

  6. I’d have to say del Toro doing Suspiria (I love the original too, and I don’t think he could quite match it, but I’m sure he’d give a sumptuous version with some very creepy witch design); I think the rest of the directors on this list would be better off doing original films (though I’d be curious to see the Coens’ or Wes Anderson’s version of a horror flick, though thematically a few Coens’ movies border on horror already–but yeah, Wes Anderson horror flick, that’d be very odd, and probably a fascinating disaster). Singh’s The Cell already *was* kind of like his Nightmare on Elm Street–practically nonexistent writing, but I loved the nightmare visuals, and D’Onofrio’s perf as the killer. Some creepy shit there.

  7. I’d vote for the David Lynch, because I’d vote for anything by David Lynch. But this is an interesting film to remake given his fondness for doubles/doppelgangers. Fun poll, Carlie. Also, did you know that David Lynch was originally tapped to direct Return of the Jedi??

    • Thanks! And no, I didn’t know that, and cannot even imagine what that RotJ would have looked like with Lynch at the helm. But now I’m helplessly imagining the Ewoks walk around Twin Peaks, and I think my brain is exploding a little. 🙂

  8. Tarantino and Saw is an inspired pairing. I’ve always thought there’s an absolutely brilliant 45min film or one act play in Saw (spliced with Kramer’s explanation of his philosophy from Saw II), and Tarantino’s style of long conversations with brief moments of ultraviolence would be a perfect match. Consider Saw’s bathroom scenes filmed with the ratching tension of, say, the bar scene from Inglourious Basterds.

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