The '80s Strike Back! Here Are Six Remakes to Look "Forward" To

The '80s Strike Back! Here Are Six Remakes to Look "Forward" To

Apr 06, 2012

It's official: every single film from the 1980s, aside from Mannequin, Krull, and Weekend at Bernie's has been remade. Here's a quick update on the final half-dozen, all of which will make you complain and whine. Even the good ones.

Dirty Dancing (1987) -- A headstrong young woman discovers love and sex-tastical stuff during one nostalgic summer somewhere silly.

Who Made It: The writer of It's My Turn (1980) and the director of Three Men and a Little Lady. Also Jennifer Grey and cool dudes like Jerry Orbach and Patrick Swayze. (RIP)

Who's Remaking It: All we know at this point is that Lionsgate has it earmarked for July of next year, and considering how well remakes like The Karate Kid and Footloose have done, this one seems inevitable.

Why? Are you serious? Good luck finding a woman who hasn't seen the original.

The Evil Dead (1981 or 1984, depending on how nerdly you are) -- Some idiots in a cabin (in the woods!) let loose some horrible demons and (briefly) live to regret it.

Who Made It: Sam Raimi and his hard-working team from Michigan, including the now-legendary Bruce Campbell.

Who's Remaking It: Mr. Raimi, first-time director Fede Alvarez, and (reportedly) Oscar-winning screenwriter Diablo Cody on some script polishes. Hmmm.

Why? The whole trilogy is pretty well-regarded, and after years of contemplating where to go, Raimi & Co. went with remake over late-arriving sequel. The new cast includes Shiloh Fernandez, Jane Levy, and Lou Taylor Pucci, and I wouldn't be surprised to see Mr. Capmbell pop up for a second.

Red Dawn (1984) -- A group of confused high school students form a paramilitary attack troupe deep in the woods after Russians and Cubans invade America via paratroopers. It sounds sorta silly in print.

Who Made It: Manly screenwriter Kevin Reynolds and the mega-macho director John Milius.

Who's Remaking It: The outstandingly prolific stuntman / stunt coordinator Dan Bradley gets his first shot at directing. The screenplay adaptation comes from Carl Ellsworth (Red Eye) and Jeremy Passmore (Special). Like the original flick, the remake has a pretty massive cast list, but I'm pretty curious to see if Jeffrey Dean Morgan gets to kick some butt.

Why? People love action flicks, and this time around instead of Russians and Cubans, the young soldiers will defend their hometown against ... North Koreans! 

Robocop (1987) -- A slain cop is resurrected as half-human half-robot in this memorably brutal and notably funny action flick / social satire.

Who Made It: The enjoyably brazen Paul Verhoeven, screenwriters Michael Miner & Ed Neumeier, and FX master Phil Tippett.

Who's Remaking It: Brazilian director Jose Padilha, he of the excellent Elite Squad movies, and screenwriters James Vanderbilt (Zodiac), Nick Schenk (Gran Torino) and newcomer Josh Zetumer. Swedish actor Joel Kinnaman is reportedly on board as the titular Copbot.

Why? Despite spawning several weak sequels and an even lamer TV series, the original flick is still a big favorite among action junkies and those who appreciate trenchant observations about popular culture. Hard to say what direction this remake will lean, but as a massive fan of the orignal movie, I'm both curious and skeptical.

Silent Night Deadly Night (1984) -- A lunatic dressed in a Santa suit kills people in exceedingly slasher-like fashion.

Who Made It: Nobody you've heard of.

Who's Remaking It: Steven Miller, who started with the micro-budget Automaton Transfusion and recently presented The Aggression Scale, is behiind the camera. Expect this one from Anchor Bay a bit sooner than you think.

Why? This one was remarkably controversial back in '84, and the taboo of seeing a faux Santa doing damage with an axe is still a pretty powerful draw. Plus just about EVERY slasher flick has been remade at this point, and this one is sort of overdue.

Total Recall (1990, I cheated) -- A confused man with a rotten wife heads to Mars to save the planet -- or it could all be a dream he purchased.

Who Made It: Director Paul Verhoeven, yes again, and several screenwriters who worked overtime to adapt a story by sci-fi super-genius Philip K. Dick. Also some Austrian muscleman.

Who's Remaking It: Director Len Wiseman (Underworld, Die Hard 4), screenwriters James Vanderbilt (again), Mark Bomback (Unstoppable), and Kurt Wimmer (Equilibrium). The rather stocked cast includes Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Biel, Ethan Hawke, Bill Nighy, and Bryan Cranston as the baddie.

Why? The original was sort of a smash, thanks mainly to Mr. Schwarzenegger, but Total Recall has gone on to enjoy a very strong shelf life. Also, people seem to know the title.

Bonus (late) addition!

Maniac (1980) -- A sleazy, sweaty, scummy killer does terrible things to men and even worse things to women.

Who Made It: Bill Lustig, the B-movie demigod who also graced us with Vigilante, Maniac Cop, and Relentless before becoming a hero in the distribution biz. Also big credit to co-writer / lead actor Joe Spinnell for presenting one of the most openly unhinged freaks in horror flick history.

Who's Remaking It: The director of P2 and the writer/producer team behind High Tension, Mirrors, The Hills Have Eyes, and Piranha. Also instead of a hulking brute as the lead loony, this time we get the relatively "tame" Elijah Wood, which certainly adds an interesting wrinkle to the mix. (If you've seen Sin City you know how "tame" he actually is.)

Why? Mainly because it's a dandy of a title for a nasty horror flick. Also because the filmmakers seem to be approaching this remake with sort of a "first-person" approach. Not "found footage," exactly, but something that sounds pretty dark.

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