Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Movies That Deserve A Modern-Day Remake

Though some film fans decry them as the ultimate desecration of their favorite movies, "remake" is not in and of itself a dirty word. Some of the best movies ever made have been remakes, or at the very least new adaptations of old material, and the idea of remaking a beloved film is not a new invention that corporate Hollywood has only recently adopted. Remakes are a relatively common thing, and while that makes them a mixed bag, sometimes the right material can produce a remake that lives up to or even surpasses the original film. Sometimes a great filmmaker simply wants to pay tribute to an old favorite, sometimes a producer sees an opportunity to say something new, and sometimes a cool idea just refuses to die. Whatever the case, remakes can be great if you give them a chance.

With that in mind, we're talking about several films, many of them classics in their own right, that could benefit from a modern update, sometimes for narrative reasons and sometimes because it would just be cool to see modern visual effects take hold.

The Breakfast Club

Arguably the best teen comedy John Hughes ever made (which is really saying something), The Breakfast Club is the story of five teenagers, each from very different cliques and backgrounds within their high school. Though they seem to have almost nothing in common, they're forced to spend the day together in a Saturday detention session, and while their clueless principal is away they pour their hearts out to each other and bond in ways they never thought possible.

Hughes' original film retains a certain timeless quality even today, but despite its classic status, it would be very possible to make another great film using the same Breakfast Club formula with 21st century eyes. For one thing, all of the kids in the group are white, and for another they all seem to be straight. The movie doesn't have to become entirely about identity politics, but a version of The Breakfast Club that looked at the struggles of other kinds of teenagers in a modern American high school could be powerful.

Tourist Trap

Tourist Trap doesn't rank among the most widely seen films in the slasher movie boom of the late 1970s and early 1980s, but it's definitely still one of the most interesting. The film takes the classic slasher framing of a group of hapless young people lured into a murderous killing ground and places it in the midst of a strange roadside attraction where mannequins seem to move on their own. It's part classic maniac killer scenario, part supernatural horror show, and it all works to create one of the strangest and most disturbing films in the subgenre.

So why remake it? Well, for one thing, the concept would still absolutely work, particularly in an era when young hipsters are always eager to seek out the quirkiest and most rundown places imaginable for the sake of their Instagram accounts. For another, there's so much mystery remaining in the film's mythology that it seems like something worth mining for an even darker version of the story.

Chopping Mall

Chopping Mall is a great name for a horror film, and while the resulting movie itself isn't as widely seen as various other 1980s scarefests, it's still worth seeking out for its sense of dark fun and full-on mall nostalgia vibes. The film follows a group of young people who decide to party in their local mall after it's closed for the night, but this isn't just another mall: it was recently outfitted with a state of the art robotic security system, and something within that system has gone very wrong.

There are two ways to go if you're thinking about a Chopping Mall reboot. One would be to present the robotic killing machines as part of some modern effort to update a dying shopping mall in an effort to draw in new shoppers with futuristic tech that turns murderous. Or you could take a page from the Stranger Things playbook and just go full-on nostalgia with it, making a new film set in the '80s with a killer soundtrack and even more gnarly gore effects than the original.

Rawhead Rex

In the 1980s, Clive Barker emerged as one of the most exciting new voices working in the world of horror literature with his Books of Blood series of short stories. Of course, the movies soon came calling, and Barker set out to make a number of adaptations of his work. The most successful of these turned out to be the Barker-directed classic Hellraiser. Then there's Rawhead Rex.

Based on Barker's short story of the same name, Rex is the tale of an ancient pagan monster that reawakens in the modern United Kingdom and goes on a rampage. Barker himself wrote the screenplay for the film adaptation, but Rawhead Rex proved to be a flop, and Barker was famously displeased with the finished product, which includes a rather silly incarnation of the title creature. A modern remake could be just the thing to set things right for the legendary horror master, and he could even return to guide the new take himself.

To Kill a Mockingbird

Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird is widely regarded as one of the great American novels of the 20th century. It's a staple of English classes around the United States, a Pulitzer Prize winner, and was successful enough to make Lee a household name despite decades passing without her releasing another book. Two years after it was published, Mockingbird was adapted into an almost equally beloved film, starring Gregory Peck as the good-hearted Southern lawyer Atticus Finch. The film was a massive success and won three Oscars, including Best Actor for Peck. So, with all of that in mind, why remake To Kill a Mockingbird?

Because in the 21st century, Atticus Finch's journey to defending a young black man in a small Alabama town is more complex than the original film makes it out to be. Screenwriter and playwright Aaron Sorkin explored this and expanded upon it in his 2018 stage play based on Lee's novel, despite some resistance from Lee's estate. Perhaps Mockingbird could one day make its way to the screen again, with a little more nuance courtesy of Sorkin's version.

Breakfast at Tiffany's

Breakfast at Tiffany's is, for many fans, more than just a classic film. Director Blake Edwards' adaptation of Truman Capote's novella was certainly a critical and commercial success, but Audrey Hepburn's iconic performance as Holly Golightly has also gone on to become a piece of definitive American pop culture that still adorns the walls of thousands of college students. It's an indelible image for countless admirers, so why mess with it?

Well, the short answer is that Edwards' film, despite its classic status, discards a lot of the more interesting aspects of Capote's novella. Holly's status as a call girl of sorts is hidden in innuendo in the original film, and the film reinvents Capote's story as a romantic comedy when the novella is much more the story of a gay man who grows fascinated with a straight women. Then there's the issue of Mr. Yunioshi, Holly's landlord. The Japanese character is played by Mickey Rooney in the original film, and Rooney's performance is very heavily caricatured. To say that it makes some people uncomfortable now would be an understatement.

The Devil Rides Out

Though the legendary Hammer Studios is best known today for their British takes on monster movies like Horror of Dracula and Curse of Frankenstein, Hammer also churned out plenty of standalone horror films outside of those franchises. One of the best of these is The Devil Rides Out, a Satanic horror flick that allows Christopher Lee to step into more heroic shoes for once. Lee plays an expert on the occult who, after learning that friends of his seem to be involved in the supernatural, sets out to save their lives and their souls. It's a fun, creepy supernatural adventure film that explodes into some very wild horror scenes near the end, and it's still very much worth seeking out.

The Devil Rides Out doesn't necessarily need a remake, but if someone did want to approach this kind of horror material again, it would be great to see the film reframed in a more updated horror style. The strange cult rituals and scenes of magical terror filtered through the same kind of aesthetic as The Witch or Midsommar would be truly horrifying, in a very fun way.

The Running Man

Stephen King's The Running Man is one of the author's earliest attempts at straight-up sci-fi, originally published under his Richard Bachman pseudonym. In 1987 the film adaptation, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, arrived with a lot of major changes to King's original story. The film has become a cult classic over time, and maintains its own legion of fans, but given that King's original setting of 2025 is fast approaching, it might be time for a new take on the story.

Aside from the obvious notion that The Running Man could be remade with better visual effects this time around, there's also an opportunity here to make a film that hews closer to King's story. While both the film and the book share the idea of a dystopian game show that takes the form of a fight for survival, King's original protagonist is not a freedom fighter, but a man trying to earn enough money to save his impoverished family. Over the course of his journey the story becomes a meditation on fame, greed, and how far he's willing to go. That feels both compelling and timely now.

From Hell

Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell's epic historical horror comic From Hell paints a fascinating portrait not just of Jack the Ripper, but of the society surrounding the Ripper's crimes in London in the late 1800s. The book delves into everything from the royal family to Freemasonry to weird occult visions of the present and the future, and remains a comics masterpiece more than 20 years after its completion.

The graphic novel was adapted into a feature film in 2001 by the Hughes brothers, and while it has its own moody aura and sense of mystery surrounding it, the film functions very differently from the original comic. For one thing, the Ripper's identity is known from the beginning in Moore and Campbell's story, which allows the reader to get to the heart of his madness. For another, less emphasis is placed on the idea of a detective solving the mystery while also falling in love with one of the sex workers the Ripper is preying on. A new adaptation of From Hell that leans more deeply into the sadistic strangeness of the comic could be something really special.

The Sword in the Stone

As you may have noticed, The Walt Disney Company has taken quite a liking to producing live-action remakes of its classic animated films. What began with films like 101 Dalmatians in the 1990s has since ballooned to the point that four different remakes — including Aladdin and The Lion King — were released in 2019 alone. Plus, remakes of Mulan, Snow White, and many more are already on the way.

At this point, it seems like just about every Disney animated classic will get the live-action treatment eventually, but in thinking about which ones we'd most like to see, The Sword in the Stone ranks high up on the list. A Disney spin on the legend of King Arthur that casts Merlin as the zany teacher complete with a sarcastic talking owl, the film still stands out as a delightfully silly piece of fantasy that's not afraid to occasionally get a bit dark. While it's not necessarily at the top of Disney's list right now, reports of a live-action remake have been surfacing over the past few years. Perhaps someday they'll translate into an actual movie.