By on September 25th, 2013

Texas Chainsaw Masacre

Things that go bump in the night…

There’s a persistent debate amongst movie-goers which just refuses to die, returning zombie-like again and again: is the remake better or worse than the original? Not many sit on the fence – you’re either a fan of the classics, or you love the blockbuster Hollywood effects of the modern era.

Horror films are always a popular choice for remakes because, let’s face it, we all like to get the adrenaline pumping with a fright fest! The launch of Ladbrokes Casinos’ ‘Alaxe in Zombieland’ casino game, brings to mind the best, and worst, of horror film remakes.

We take two iconoclastic giants of the genre and ask ‘Which is better, the remake or the original?

Texas Chainsaw Massacre

Originally a low budget 1974 horror film, Tobe Hooper’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre was lauded for its grainy camerawork, homemade effects and brutally gory scenes. Leatherface is still to this day one of the most disturbing characters in film history, a claim backed up by the fact that the film wasn’t approved for general distribution in the UK until 1999, 25 years after its release. The film often builds tension and suspense through what it doesn’t show you, for example the various bones of previous victims strewn around the eerie house.

Its remake however, lacks any of the sort of intensity that the original had in spades. The cast, led by a scantily clad Jessica Biel fails to impress, except for the excellent R Lee Ermey, of Full Metal Jacket fame. The newer version, which had a budget of $10 million, fails to recreate any of the gritty realism the original portrayed so well.

Verdict: Original

Dawn of the Dead

Dawn of the Dead proves that horror remakes (or re-imaginings) can work. George Romero’s original was again a low budget film that instilled terror within a generation of viewers. It set the precedent for many future horror storylines; a group of people thrown together trying to survive a zombie apocalypse barricaded in a shopping mall. Its unending gore is perhaps what horror fans will look at as its defining feature, however it’s the social commentary that runs alongside this that makes it a cult classic, not just a mindless zombie movie.

The 2004 re-imagining of Dawn of the Dead doesn’t disappoint either. The long opening sequence has an inherent ‘beginning of the end’ creepiness about it that sets up the rest of the film well, with lead character Sarah Polley being chased by her very own family who have been turned into flesh eating zombies. The ‘heroes’ of the film not only have to battle said zombies, but also others within their group which adds a nice depth to what could have been a mindless horror flick.

Verdict: Tie

The argument will rage on with each side having its loyal supporters. But films like Dawn of the Dead show that the remakes can be just as good, if not better, thanks to the modern special effects given to us by Hollywood.

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  1. 1 le0pard13
    September 25th, 2013 at 9:46 pm

    I’m with you regarding these two. Texas Chainsaw Massacre, the original, cannot be touched for what it continues to deliver. I was most surprised how much I enjoyed the Dawn of the Dead remake, though. For this one, I can live with a tie.

  2. 2 Ronan
    September 27th, 2013 at 12:11 pm

    Generally speaking Originals tend to be better, I can’t think of any horror remakes I preferred to the original but then again that may be because I usually avoid them!

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