If you talk to me long enough, it will come out that one of my biggest pet peeves is Hollywood’s current obsession with remaking every film they can think of, simply because they can (and not for a good reason, like making a remake of a silent film). I think it’s the height of creative laziness and it also makes me wonder if the Hollywood writers think the audience is stupid. Just because a certain movie was made 40 years ago doesn’t mean it’s been forgotten (or that a remake will be better). And when I saw the news on Twitter that Death Wish was being remade into a Bruce Willis film due to come out next year, I decided it was time to start making lists to point out just how many films are actually remakes. I chose remakes of films from the 1970s for this list because Death Wish originally came out in 1974 and there have been a LOT of remakes from that decade. So, to that end, I present a list of ten films that are actually remakes of films from the 70s.
1.The Mechanic (2011)
I have a confession: watching Jason Statham onscreen is one of my guilty pleasures and I was initially excited when I saw previews of the 2011 film The Mechanic, a story about a professional assassin who makes his hits look like anything but an assassination. I was going to see the film until I went to the internet and found out that this film is actually….a remake.
Remake of: The Mechanic (1972)
That’s right. The Mechanic is a remake of a 1972 film starring Charles Bronson. The plot is largely the same, though the latter has more explosions. But knowing it was a remake..I just couldn’t watch it, and it’s my understanding that the unwanted sequel, The Mechanic: Resurrection (2016) largely bombed at the box office.
2. I Am Legend (2007)
I love to point to I Am Legend as the perfect example of how prevalent remakes are in Hollywood. This film isn’t just a remake, it’s a remake OF a remake. The compelling tale of the last man on Earth fighting the infected was previously told in the 1971 film The Omega Man, starring Charlton Heston (and it’s not a bad film, I’ve seen it). But this film was also a remake, of a 1964 Vincent Price film entitled (appropriately enough) The Last Man on Earth. Notice how the title of the original film becomes the tagline of the remakes.
Remake of: The Omega Man (1971) which is a remake of The Last Man on Earth (1964)
The biggest difference between the remakes and the original is that, in the original, the infected humans are straight-up vampires (the kind you kill with stakes to the heart).
3. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005)
I hate this movie. With a burning passion. From the moment a remake starring Johnny Depp (of all people) was announced, I knew I would HATE this movie. I don’t care who is in it, nothing could ever match the wonder of the original film starring Gene Wilder. And, let’s just face it, the remake was downright creepy, and not even a little creepy, it was a LOT creepy.
Remake of: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)
4. Assault on Precinct 13 (2005)
I remember the previews for this film and ignoring the film altogether because it wasn’t my kind of movie. As a result, I didn’t learn until much later that this is actually a remake of a 1976 film of the same title. Once I learned of the original film, that’s when I really started Googling film titles to see which ones were remakes (answer: a lot of them).
Remake of: Assault on Precinct 13 (1976)
5. Death Wish (2018)
As I said at the beginning, this is the film that pushed me over the edge into making this list, because I see it as totally unnecessary. I also fear it will start yet another franchise that nobody really wants, because the original Death Wish film spawned FOUR additional sequels (with Death Wish V: The Face of Death coming out in 1994).
Remake of: Death Wish (1974)
6. The Taking of Pelham 123 (2009)
The Taking of Pelham 123 actually didn’t sound like a bad film: guy takes a train full of passengers hostage and demands a huge ransom while the good guys work to stop the train. Sounds pretty good right? It is, it was, and it was also first done in 1974 with the original film. A minor difference is that in the original film, they want $1 million dollars in ransom. In the remake, this is bumped up to $10 million dollars (wow, talk about inflation!).
Remake of: The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974)
7. Poseidon (2006)
People have told me that Poseidon isn’t actually THAT bad, but I’ll have to agree to disagree, because however good it may be, The Poseidon Adventure (1972) was better. I will take an older film with practical effects over a modern film loaded with CGI any day (not to mention the flipping scene in the remake is so realistic it actually gave me nightmares for a few days). I’m still waiting for a remake of The Towering Inferno (1974) (since they seem to like remaking disaster films).
Remake of: The Poseidon Adventure (1972)
8. The Crazies (2010)
I have discovered that Hollywood loves to remake horror films, that’s why the last three on this list come from that genre. It makes sense in a way, there’s always new ways of terrifying people that can be included in a film remake. But I still think it’s lazy to do the same story over again (though I suppose that’s a matter of opinion).
Remake of: The Crazies (1973)
9. The Hills Have Eyes (2006)
When I was fresh out of high school, I made a terrible mistake: I accidentally watched a big chunk of this film and didn’t realize what it was until it was too late. To this day, I refuse to go anywhere near this film (or any sequels). I wasn’t completely surprised to hear that this film was actually a remake, it just seemed like one of those films that’d been made before, only they updated the setting for the new version.
Remake of: The Hills Have Eyes (1977)
10. Carrie (2013)
I’ve toyed with the idea of watching the original Carrie (1976) for a while now, but I think the reason I’ll never be able to is because it’ll bring back too many memories of when I was brutally teased in school (not even close to the extent that Carrie was in the film, but still…) I felt resigned when the remake was announced. I’m sure these actors do a marvelous job, but they’re still just retelling a story we’ve all seen (or at least heard of) before.
Remake of: Carrie (1976)
And that’s the end of my list, I hope you enjoyed going through it. There are more soundtrack reviews coming up this week, including a very special one (if I can get my hands on it in time). One note: next week is the annual musicology conference, so I will be out of town and not blogging at that time.
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