Remakes have got a bit of a bad rep lately. Whenever a new remake is announced, people roll their eyes and bemoan the death of creativity in Hollywood. However, remakes are as old as film and they’re hardly the sign of lazy film-by-numbers. It takes a certain amount of ingenuity to take an existing story and put a fresh new spin on it – ok, not every remake does this, but there are plenty that do. There’s talent involved in spinning a fresh tale from a story that people think they know. Scarface, The Thing, Little Shop of Horrors, Invasion of the Body Snatchers – each of these differs significantly from their source material, improving on it and earning their own cult followings.
My pick for a remake that’s better than the original movie is a horror flick that is bound to turn your stomach. Where the Vincent Price helmed original doesn’t quite stand the test of time, the 80s remake is more than just watchable 30 years on. The effects in the original are cheesy and don’t pass muster these days, but David Cronenberg’s body horror mojo is as strong as ever. From his fingernails peeling off to vomiting on his food before eating it, Jeff Goldblum really sells the mutant fly angle and the practical special effects and makeup are pitch perfect.
If you’ve got a strong stomach, the film is well worth your time. The original has its moments, such as that chilling final scene, but you have to sit through a rather mediocre film to get to it. The 80s version isn’t exactly a thrill-a-minute roller coaster ride, but the chemistry between Jeff Goldblum and Geena Davis is believable and you do find yourself caring about what happens to the characters. It’s a fun film, if you don’t mind being thoroughly squicked out by gore and goo and the like.
Besides, once they’ve worked out the kinks, who wouldn’t want to teleport to work? Just make sure you’re alone in that pod…