Best Horror Movie Remakes of All Time

Last Updated on March 10, 2022

best horror remakes list

There’s always a steady stream of remakes, reboots, and reimaginings coming our way; in the last month alone we’ve talked about new versions of Blade, Mortal Kombat, Constantine, True Blood, Train to Busan, Firestarter, and Cube. So we here at Arrow in the Head have decided to take a look at the long list of re-dos and pick some of the Best Horror Movie Remakes. Check out our picks below!

best horror remakes the ring

THE RING (2002)

There’s a rumor about a cursed videotape being passed around. Once people watch the strange, short video on this tape, they’ll receive a phone call saying they have just seven days left to live. It sounds like a nonsensical urban legend, but young people believed to have watched the tape are dying under mysterious circumstances, so an investigative journalist takes it upon herself to figure out what’s going on. Made in Japan, the original Ringu was such a perfect standalone movie that I have skipped all of the sequels and prequels, afraid further entries would tarnish the story. I did, however, take a chance on director Gore Verbinski’s American remake, and was rewarded with one of the best remakes ever, a film that perfectly translates the story for a different country and language. With an intensely dark tone and a sense of creeping dread throughout, The Ring does a great job of honoring the source material as one of the best horror movie remakes. 


George Mihalka’s My Bloody Valentine is one of the best slasher movies of the ’80s, and twenty-eight years after its release director Patrick Lussier and screenwriter Todd Farmer made one of the best horror movie remakes – with the added bonus that it was in 3D, so the gore and severed body parts go flying out at the viewer. 3D theatrical screenings of this movie are a whole lot of fun. Set in the town of Harmony, Pennsylvania (the original was set in a Canadian town called Valentine Bluffs), the story uses a mining accident to kick off a series of murders committed by a miner wielding a pick axe. So it’s the same basic story as the 1981 film, but Lussier and Farmer add in plenty of new twists and turns, interesting kills, and a standout extended sequence set at a place called the Thunderbird Motel. This My Bloody Valentine is one of the best slasher movies we’ve gotten since the sub-genre’s heyday.


best horror remakes willard
WILLARD (2003)

The 1971 drive-in classic Willard is not one I ever would have foreseen getting a remake, especially since it faded into obscurity for several years, neglected in the home video era. But then, proving that pretty much everything will get a remake at some point, Willard was remade by writer/director Glen Morgan in 2003 – and Morgan made his take on Willard (which was based on the novel Ratman’s Notebooks by Stephen Gilbert) something really special with his choice of leading man. Crispin Glover plays Willard Stiles, a lonely man who is dealing with some bad situations, so he befriends the rats that have overrun his house and teaches them to tear things up at his command, turning them into his personal army. Glover delivers a staggering, deeply emotional performance that makes his Willard captivating to watch. The film gains even more points by pitting Glover’s Willard against a very over-the-top creep played by R. Lee Ermey.


When a copyright notice was accidentally left off of George A. Romero’s 1968 classic Night of the Living Dead, the film immediately slipped into public domain – leading to unauthorized home video releases and television airings that Romero and his collaborators made no profit from. They tried to make up for this mistake by producing the 1990 remake, directed by Romero’s frequent collaborator Tom Savini. Night ’90 isn’t quite as good as the original and disagreements with producers, budgetary limitations, and the MPAA compromised Savini’s vision (he has said the finished film only represents 40% of what he had in mind), but it is a good movie in its own right, with a dark, creepy atmosphere, some gross zombies, and a great cast that includes Patricia Tallman, Tony Todd, Tom Towles, and Bill Moseley. The film’s farmhouse setting is also one of my favorite movie locations, I love the look of this place.

FRIDAY THE 13TH (2009)

When the remake producers at Platinum Dunes got their hands on the Friday the 13th franchise, I was concerned that they were going to mess with the fundamentals and make arbitrary changes to the established history of Jason Voorhees and his mother Pamela. Thankfully, instead of reinventing the wheel or remaking the first movie, Platinum Dunes delivered what is really Just Another Jason Movie, one which I hesitate to even call a remake. (It has been said that it’s referred to as a sequel in the legal deals.) It’s really a “remix” of elements lifted from the first four Friday the 13th movies, keeping the back story intact and setting a fast-moving Jason loose on a new batch of partying youths. Some viewers balk at the idea of Jason capturing a girl who reminds him of his mom, but I’ve always thought that was a clever extrapolation on the ending of Part 2, “What if Jason didn’t realize Ginny was tricking him?”

EVIL DEAD (2013)

This is another film that I hesitate to call a remake, as the producers and director Fede Alvarez have said that they feel it takes place in the same universe as the other Evil Dead movies. However, it does have the exact same set-up: five young people gather together at an isolated cabin, find an ancient book bound in human flesh, and inadvertently unleash the forces of evil. While I feel like the opening sequence is unnecessary and the way Alvarez presents the Deadites is very disappointing to me – the cackling maniacs of previous films are replaced by dull zombies – there’s enough insanity and violence packed into the movie to make it highly entertaining. I admire this movie’s dedication to making the audience cringe, it wants to be as gross and painful as possible. It goes so far that it’s almost overload by the end, the cringe moments lose some of their effectiveness, but it’s still fun to watch.


best horror remakes
THE BLOB (1988)

The Blob was one of the great creature features of the 1950s, which turned red-colored silicone gel into a terrifying, people-consuming monster. Thirty years later, director Chuck Russell and his co-writer Frank Darabont, a duo that was fresh off of making A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors, brought The Blob into the ’80s in a spectacular way, taking the concept of a dangerous bunch of goo that drops out of the sky in a small town and turning it into a large scope, action-packed adventure with some incredible special effects. Unlike the original blob, the blob of the ’80s is corrosive and makes a mess of its victims, leading to awesome gross-out moments. Russell and Darabont created a new origin for the blob, making it a greater threat, and then they sent characters after this thing with machine guns and rocket launchers. The original blob was great for its time, but the FX of the ’80s turned it into something even better.

THE FLY (1986)

Some of the greatest remakes ever made are ’80s versions of ’50s horror movies. For example, David Cronenberg’s take on The Fly, a brilliant reimagining of a 1958 creature feature that was based on a short story by George Langelaan. The story deals with a scientist turning into a man/fly hybrid due to a mishap with the teleportation pods he has created, and Cronenberg digs deep into how horrifying that situation would be. He also digs deep into how disgusting it would be… The original fly looks a bit silly by today’s standards, but the special effects in this version of The Fly still look just as great as they did thirty-five years ago. If you can bring yourself to look at them for very long. Cronenberg’s The Fly is also more interesting than its predecessor, and makes us care about the characters even more than we did the first time around. This is a indeed one of the best horror movie remakes, and one that manages to be better than the original.


Released in 1956 and based on a 1955 novel by Jack Finney, Invasion of the Body Snatchers told a very unnerving story: spores drift through space, take root on Earth, and grow into pods. From these pods emerge perfect but emotionless replicas of human beings, who proceed to take over their human double’s life – and work to create more pod people, their goal being to take over the world. It was a great film, and in 1978 it received a prestigious remake that moved the setting from a small town to San Francisco and boasts a terrific cast led by Donald Sutherland. Director Philip Kaufman and screenwriter W.D. Richter were able to make the story even creepier this time, making it clear just how scary it would be to live in a world that’s gradually being overrun by emotionless “pod people”. It does go on a bit too long at 115 minutes (the original movie told this story in just 81 minutes), it’s awesome nonetheless.

THE THING (1982)

John Carpenter’s The Thing is the gold standard, the best remake ever made… although some would say that it wasn’t a remake, but rather a “new adaptation”. Both Carpenter’s The Thing and the 1951 sci-fi horror film The Thing from Another World were based on a 1938 novella called Who Goes There?, written by John W. Campbell Jr. (a.k.a. Don A. Stuart), but they take very different approaches to bringing the titular thing to the screen. In the ’51 film, it was a hulking bloodsucker referred to as a “super carrot”. In the ’82 film, it’s a shapeshifter that infiltrates a scientific outpost in Antarctica. Carpenter was able to capture a thick atmosphere of dread for this movie, ratcheting up the tension and paranoia as this thing kills and takes the form of the men who populate the outpost. Who is the thing? Who can be trusted? Can the thing be stopped before it’s too late? Call it one of the best horror movie remakes or not, this movie is a masterwork, and one of the best of all time.

Do you think these are some of the best horror remakes of all time?

Source: Arrow in the Head

About the Author

Cody is a news editor and film critic, focused on the horror arm of, and writes scripts for videos that are released through the JoBlo Originals and JoBlo Horror Originals YouTube channels. In his spare time, he's a globe-trotting digital nomad, runs a personal blog called Life Between Frames, and writes novels and screenplays.