In a market saturated with remakes, the number of films that live up to their predecessors, let alone surpass them is terribly low but not unheard of. Some films move beyond being simply a remake and add a new edge, originality and life that transcends the original.
Here are my Top 6: Remakes That Are Better Than the Originals.
The ultimate in remakes that are better than the originals. Though the original is indeed a classic in itself, Cronenberg's 1986 remake pushes it to a whole new level. A lesser director would have taken the original script, updated the FX and rested on his laurels, that's not really Cronenberg's style though. Darker, bleaker and full of dread, Cronenberg's tale is so much more twisted and visceral with Goldblum the little black cherry on top, twisting a sci-fi film into a his signature body horror.
Another 1980s classic that exceeded it's 50s father ('The Thing From Another World'). Whether 'The Thing' is a remake or just a separate adaptation of John W. Campbell Jr.'s 'Who's Goes There?' is open to debate, but without doubt oversteps the original and with some vigour. Never as an open expanse felt so claustrophobic as 'The Thing's' Antarctic terrain.
No doubt both 'The Strangers' and French original 'Ils' are deeply chilling, but there is something about the US remake that is disturbing to the very core by pushing barriers a step further. Part of the advantage of 'The Strangers' is Liv Tyler's innocent, defenceless female lead. Tyler plays the part perfectly and the thought of bringing any harm to something so precious is nothing short of perturbing.
My Bloody Valentine
This is something as rare as a black actor at the end of a horror film or virginal victim in a slash. 'My Bloody Valentine' is a film I enjoyed despite not only being a remake, but also 3D. It's an enjoyable remake of the Canadian classic about a manic miner far more scary than anything the Spectrum ever produced. Teaming Patrick Lussier and Todd Farmer once again, it's a fun film, memorable for more than just Farmer's opening scene with Betsy Rue.
Blood,boobs and belly-laughs, don't dare take Tim Sullivan's remake seriously. Camp and deliberately kitsch is what most fun horror films wish they were. '2001 Manics' is filled with horror references played out by horror's finest including Robert Englund's unhinged Mayor, Lyn Shaye's crazed Granny and Christa Campbell's unforgettable Milkmaid, crazy fun to the very end.
Dawn of the Dead
The controversial choice. Zack Snyder and James Gunn tackle a classic and come out on top. Romero is sacred to many (with good reason), but make no mistake, the original is by no means flawless and the remake is just more...enjoyable.
(PS. Before anyone mentions running zombies to me, read my previous post here.)
Two films that are as good as the films that spawned them.
Texas Chainsaw Massacre
So, that's my list, leave me a comment to let me know what you think and any others that would be on your list.