Just because a film was successful is no guarantee that a remake of it will also be a hit. The proof lies in the fact that the bad remakes far outnumber the good ones. Yet Hollywood continues to recycle old material. The problem with compiling a list of the ten worst remakes is that there were just so many to choose from. But here goes…
It's okay - and even commendable - when a bunch of 12 year olds decide to do a shot-by-shot remake of Raiders of the Lost Ark. But what on earth could have possessed award-winning indie director Gus Van Sant to direct a shot-by-shot, color remake of Alfred Hitchcock's seminal black and white horror film Psycho? This cinematic exercise ranks as the worst remake of all time.
Toho Studios wisely forbade the Hollywood remake of Godzilla from using anything that remotely looked like their Japanese monster. Fans of Japan's Godzilla (known as Gojira there) hated the design for the American Godzilla so much that they called it "GINO" - Godzilla in Name Only. The planned sequels to the American Godzilla were scrapped when the film tanked. Thank goodness!
Wolfgang Petersen had great success under the water with the German U-Boat film Das Boot but his attempt to retell the capsizing of the Poseidon sunk straight to the bottom. He may have had more money and better effects, but he forgot you need a good script and characters even when you're making a disaster film. Poseidon turned out to be a disaster but not the kind Petersen wanted.
The story of a snobbish socialite stranded with a communist sailor was rich material for political satire in Lina Wertmuller's hands. But in this 2002 version it was the filmmakers who got lost at sea. Guy Ritchie directed his then wife Madonna to possibly her worst performance ever. Wonder if this figures in the divorce? The role of the sailor, originated by Giancarlo Giannini, was played in the remake by his son Adriano Giannini.
Back in 1939 this all-female ensemble about a woman trying to get her philandering husband out of the clutches of a predatory female was fun, especially when you had all of MGM's top stars involved in the catfight. But for this remake Diane English was totally clueless about how to update the story. This was a chick flick in the worst way.
Don Siegel's The Invasion of the Body Snatchers inspired two worthy remakes in 1978 and 1993. This 2007 remake shortened the title and starred Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig. The only memorable thing about this film was that during shooting Craig found out he would be playing James Bond in Casino Royale. This film was made with about as much emotion as one of the alien pod people. Although the vomiting to infect people is a nice touch.
Ira Levin's novel The Stepford Wives was made into a chiller in 1975 that spawned two TV sequels. In 2004, Frank Oz remade it for the big screen and completely muddled the ending by trying to assure the audience that everything's okay. Oz' The Stepford Wives suffers from the schizophrenia of not knowing what kind of a remake it wanted to be: sci-fi chiller, social satire, broad farce. A piece of advice: if you remake a film you better know what you want to do with it.
Martin Scorsese's film may have won an Oscar but The Departed is an inferior remake of the Hong Kong thriller Infernal Affairs. Plus Scorsese should be ashamed of himself for stating in the press materials that he didn’t view his film as a remake. Excuse me? When you use someone else’s script and lift exact details from an earlier film that qualifies as a remake.
There needs to be a whole category for lousy remakes of Asian horror films. The trend started in 2002 with The Ring. The Ring, The Grudge and Dark Water were competent remakes of successful Asian horror but films like Pulse, Shutter and The Eye were abysmal. Now there's a new class of Asian remakes that look doomed as well – live action versions of Japanese anime. Some things just don't translate.