1. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)
Director: Philip Kaufman
Writer: W.D. Richter
Remake of: Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)
Alien invaders show up on Earth and start replicating humans to take over the planet. The pod people of the '50s classic get a '70s revamp in a film that retains all the paranoid horror of the original while also adding some nifty new effects, like a mutant dog with a human face you won't be able to unsee. Perhaps the best update is a chilling ending involving one of the most piercing cinematic screams.
2. Nosferatu the Vampyre (1979)
Director: Werner Herzog
Writer: Werner Herzog
Remake of: Nosferatu (1922)
The 1922 Nosferatu was an unauthorized adaptation of Bram Stoker's iconic vampire novel Dracula; Werner Herzog's stylish remake didn't have to be so coy, which means that Klaus Kinski is actually playing Dracula here. This is a more somber, thoughtful version of the classic story, with an emphasis on Dracula's isolation. It's also — like the film that inspired it — strikingly beautiful with gorgeously constructed shots throughout.
3. Cat People (1982)
Director: Paul Schrader
Writer: DeWitt Bodeen and Alan Ormsby
Remake of: Cat People (1942)
Werecats but make it sexy. Yes, Paul Schrader's '80s erotic thriller takes the subtle sexuality of the far more restrained 1942 original and ramps it up to 11. There's a lot to enjoy here, whether you're more thrilled by Nastassja Kinski or the natural beauty of the black leopard. And if you're worried the film won't meet your standards of perversity, rest assured there's a deeply upsetting incest reveal.
4. The Thing (1982)
Director: John Carpenter
Writer: Bill Lancaster
Remake of: The Thing From Another World (1951)
Technically speaking, The Thing is more a new adaptation of the novella Who Goes There? than a remake of the '50s film — but it takes enough inspiration from the latter that it merits inclusion here. There are so many memorable moments of body horror as the titular creature takes on new monstrous forms, but as with Body Snatchers, the real terror is the paranoia of not knowing who is harboring the alien host.
5. The Fly (1986)
Director: David Cronenberg
Writer: Charles Edward Pogue and David Cronenberg
Remake of: The Fly (1958)
Speaking of body horror, the master of the genre gave the story of a man-fly hybrid a distinctly Cronenbergian update in his 1986 film. Jeff Goldblum stars as scientist Seth Brundle, who accidentally gets his DNA spliced with a housefly's. His metamorphosis into the Brundlefly is both revolting and affecting — there's surprising pathos alongside the nausea-inducing effects.
6. The Blob (1988)
Director: Chuck Russell
Writer: Chuck Russell and Frank Darabont
Remake of: The Blob (1958)
It doesn't get much more fun than The Blob. I mean, it's a movie about sentient pink slime turning people into mush — what's not to love? The '80s remake, made 30 years after the original, majorly upped the gore, offering a much more visceral look at what happens when the blob consumes you. It's truly disgusting, which is a big part of what makes the film such a delight to watch.
7. The Ring (2002)
Director: Gore Verbinski
Writer: Ehren Kruger
Remake of: Ring (1998)
A cursed videotape causes people to die seven days after they view it — and the whole thing is a lot more terrifying than the concept sounds. The Ring ushered in an era of US remakes of Japanese horror, most of which were pretty forgettable. The Ring, however, is as good as if not better than the original. Samara (Daveigh Chase) is easily one of the scariest horror villains of all time — no small feat for a young girl.
8. Willard (2003)
Director: Glen Morgan
Writer: Stephen Gilbert and Glen Morgan
Remake of: Willard (1971)
It's not that Willard — about a socially awkward man who trains a colony of rats to do his bidding — is especially good. It's more that it's a vehicle for Crispin Glover to lean into his weirdness and deliver a performance that exaggerates his distinctly unsettling qualities. He is relentlessly creepy as an outcast whose only real friend is a white rat named Socrates.
Page 1 of 3