First off, I'm by no means anti-remake. But I just think there's gotta be a place where we draw the line.
Note: This list should, in all seriousness, start with Psycho. But alas, I'm ten years too late on that one. So let's get rolling.
Double note: That also goes for The Haunting.
10. Killer Klowns from Outer Space- This '80's cult classic is the kind that comes about once in a generation. It's charm is, well, a little unexpected, and it's amazing this movie's been as successful as it's been, but it is a spectacle of film making. I'm pretty sure that on this one, lightning wouldn't strike twice. So leave it be, Hollywood, before the klowns are cast as Will Ferrell and Steve Carrell.
9. Return of the Living Dead- This movie WAS the 1980's. It ulilized everything the decade had to offer and rolled it into one movie. The clothes (the main cast of characters seem to be a gaggle of every kind of 80's kid, from punk to prep), the special effects (corn syrup and latex, the way God intended), even the charming campiness (okay, there are still plenty of campy movies today, but few are charming). This movie can't exist outside of it's decade, so unless it's a period piece, it would be a disaster to try.
8. Sleepaway Camp- Okay, this is dangerous territory, because this is probably going to happen at some point. But, well, it can't. See, this movie almost feels like it wasn't supposed to happen, it was yet another ripoff '80's slasher film, it shouldn't have had the impact it did. But there's a certain lure of this film series that's hard to explain. And if it's hard to explain, it's impossible to recapture. The gender-confused heroine was taboo in the early '80's, she was shocking, whereas today she'd just be one more little twist that doesn't make sense, or people would walk away thinking they ripped off the Crying Game. Not to mention the fact that we finally received a new sequel (Return to Sleepaway Camp) just this year, after the 20 years since Sleepaway Camp III: Teenage Wasteland. If anything, let the series get back on it's feet, straight to video, but don't force a remake on us now.
7. The Lost Boys- Again, we just got a sequel, and if you've seen the sequel, you have realized that anything Lost Boys related should have stayed in the 80's where it belongs. This vampire cult-classic would be butchered if re-imagined now, especially since Corey Feldman would no doubt beg to be involved. Not only would it be impossible for a remake to recapture the charm and feel of the original, but the original would likely lose credibility as well. Kids would just laugh at the "stupid" outfits (okay, yeah, sometimes I laugh myself) or "cheesy" special effects (which were, by the way, absolutely badass for their day). So let the Lost Boys sleep... of course, having said that, I'll take this time to mention that Lost Boys 3 is in production. And yes, Corey Feldman will be returning.
6. Creepshow- So far, in my mind, George Romero remakes have been 2/3. Night of the Living Dead turned out okay. Tony Todd turned in a pretty decent performance and the make-up was astounding. Zack Snyder's 2004 remake of Dawn of the Dead has numerous, well-deserved fans. But Day of the Dead was bad enough so that there should be a law saying no Romero property should ever be remade again. Not to mention that Creepshow was one of the best anthology horror movies ever. The whole thing was an homage to the E.C. horror comics of the 1950's, and who remembers those now? Is there anyone who would tell you Tales from the Crypt was a comic forty years before it was a TV show? The five stories here were dead-on perfect recapturings of the E.C. feel. It's probably the best thing that Stephen King ever wrote for screen. Each story takes one certain type of E.C. story and they work so well together. There's no doubt in mind that what a remake would offer would be 5 totally new stories without any of the original context, just another random anthology horror with nothing in common with the original, save for the title.
5. I Spit on Your Grave- I've already got a visual of what this film would be. It would look pretty much exactly like High Tension, and it would be 1/3 as good. I Spit on Your Grave is the epitome of gritty, '70's grindhouse horror revenge cinema. And, unfortunately, Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino have taught us first-hand that if there's one thing the general audience wants to see, grindhouse isn't it. But with Last House on the Left being remade, I so see this happening in the future, and that's not good. This film was shocking when first released, it was brutal and the height of exploitation cinema. That would be totally lost today, when we go to the movies, and see everything.
4. Poltergeist- Now, this entry is different, kids. Because this remake is currently in production, and it will happen. Soon. But there are still reasons why it shouldn't. According to your friend, Captain Cadaver, Poltergiest is the ultimate haunted house movie. It's one of those things that just happened to turn out perfect. Not to mention the fact that all revisitings to the source material have turned out lovely so far. Poltergeist II: The Other Side and Poltergeist III were kind of atrocious. The makers of the remake would see that the '82 classic was heavy on the special effects, so this aspect would be incorporated and overdone. Poltergeist was a haunted house movie, but it was also a statement on the American family. The kind of family that just doesn't really exist today. We wouldn't see the parents smoking dope after tucking their kids away, or explaining death to their five year old daughter in a touchingly realistic way, or see the father calming the son down during a thunder storm. A new director could bring interesting camera angles to a new feature, but I guarantee the substance would be lost.
3. Cannibal Holocaust- This is the most brutally violent and shocking horror movie ever made. Obviously, a remake would be made with one thing in mind: "We gotta overdo it." And in basing the film on that view, it would be made ignoring all of the intelligence, emotion, and therefore all of the horror that made the original the classic it is today. The scenes of violence in this film stick with you for days, it is crafted to be an unforgettable movie. All of that would be lost in a remake that would do nothing but make you want to throw up. Okay, the original did this too, but it was scary and disturbing as hell, it wasn't about the gag-scares that would be the basis of a potential remake.
2. Rosemary's Baby- Well, this remake was in production for a good long while. But as of yesterday, Rosemary's Baby is officially NOT being remade and maybe Hollywood has finally realized when to say when. See, Rosemary's Baby is just too involved of a story, there's just too much at work in this movie to let anything be lost in a remake. It's probably the only case in history where the book and movie are just as good. The film is great, powerful, the story is scary and the acting is prime (sorry folks, but there's only one Mia Farrow), not to mention some of the best directing Roman Polanski ever did during his impressive career.
1. The Exorcist- As if it needed saying. This is arguably the greatest horror movie ever made, it's still talked about endlessly to this day, and that's not something that's gonna happen twice. And that's before we even consider the sequels we've been subjected to over the years, with the exception of Exorcist III (which is actually very, very good). Linda Blair gives one of the best performances ever (yes, ever) in her transition from innocent Regan to possessed, pea-soup vomiting, crucifix-masturbating Regan. Ellen Burstyn, as well as pretty much the whole damn cast, actually, is phenomenal too. As far as horror goes, this is pretty much close to perfection, and that's just not gonna happen again. So, let this one go, leave this classic to be a classic. There are plenty of other demonic possession films out there, and a good many of them could use remakes anyway.
Except for the Sexxxorcist, which should stay dead and buried.