10 cult classics that wouldn't be completely ruined by a relaunch

Contributed by
Jan 12, 2017

Cult movies are rarely the kind of cinema that benefits from a relaunch of any kind. Hollywood tries this all the time anyway, but that doesn't mean they should. Whether the cult classic in question is too good, too complete, or too ... of a time, let's say, more often than not, they are best left alone.

However, that doesn't mean that all cult movies are best stranded on the shelf; some could even benefit from a remake or an unexpected sequel. Sometimes the subject matter of a cult classic becomes socio-politically relevant again; sometimes the cult classic's idea is great but its execution could be handled better; and sometimes a cult classic's idea is just too fun to pass up taking out for another spin. 

Those were the metrics I considered as I accumulated this list of 10 cult classics that, in my humble opinion, could benefit from a relaunch/reboot/sequel/snack-food tie-in. There were many contenders, but these felt like the most promising. Feel free to share your own. Who knows -- maybe this list will spawn a sequel of its own.

Attack of the Killer Tomatoes! (1978)

There is, I would contend, a fine line between a movie that is intentionally bad and a movie that is a brilliant work of parody about bad, B-grade movies. The original Attack of the Killer Tomatoes walked that line so well that it spawned three sequels, a Saturday morning cartoon series and multiple video games. And yet, there has not been an official movie sequel since 1991. If there's anything that 2016 taught me, it's that sometimes you need something so off-the-wall ridiculous that you can't help but take a break from the things that are stressing you out. If enormous, homicidal tomatoes rolling down the street won't cheer you up, friend, then nothing will. 

The Last Starfighter (1984)

Competitive gaming has grown in population over the years. Is it really so hard to believe that aliens who need new pilots would use the world of competitive gaming as a proving ground to find people with the kind of hand-eye coordination necessary to defeat intergalactic bad guys? Okay, so that is pretty hard to believe, but it would make a great movie. You wouldn't even need to negate anything from the original. Just let the new Last Starfighter be a full-on continuation of the story. You could even have a larger group of pilots instead of the traditional chosen one narrative. It would be a little like that Adam Sandler movie, Pixels, but ... you know, good.

Heavy Metal (1981)

There has been a new Heavy Metal in some form of supposed development since 2002 ... aka two years after Heavy Metal 2000, which I would rather forget about entirely, to be honest. That's a long time, but I hope some sunny day production actually gets moving on a new Heavy Metal. There are plenty of great animators in the world telling interesting stories, so why not gather them together for a thrashing fantasy epic anthology with robots? The closest we've gotten in the last 16 years to something akin to Heavy Metal is in the animation from the Teen Titans Go musical segment "Night Begins to Shine." Yes. Really. And if Teen Titans Go (a show often referred to as "a baby show for babies") can do it, then surely other animators can, too.

Mystery Men (1999)

Possibly the most underrated superhero movie of all time, Mystery Men is 100% due for a bizarre sequel featuring as many of the original cast as possible. Bill Macy? Paul Reubens? Ben Stiller? Janeane Garofalo? Hank Azaria? Eddie Izzard? Geoffrey Rush? The list goes on. Truly, this was one of the most star-studded flops-turned-cult-classic of all time and it would be a worthwhile miracle if you could get all this talent on the same set again. Considering how eh DC movies are and how Marvel's trying to figure out how to break their own mold, I'd say Mystery Men is the breath of fresh air that could teach everyone how to make superhero movies weird again.

Tales From the Hood (1995)

If Creepshow can spawn a sequel, then Tales From the Hood can, too. In addition to finally getting a Blu-ray release (courtesy of Scream Factory) this April, Tales from the Hood is, for my money, one of the best anthology horror movies ever made. The original's shell story seamlessly plays into the other tales, it's socially conscious, it's funny, and it's got some genuine scares, too. Frankly, Tales From the Hood was so well-crafted, I'm almost surprised there haven't been multiple sequels already. But there haven't. Yet.

Invasion of the Bodysnatchers (1978)

Imagine if one day the people you knew and loved started acting ... off. At first you can't quite place your finger on it, but then the changes become so pronounced you think you're going crazy. You don't feel safe. Now imagine that, instead of a horrible election year being the reason, you're actually dealing with alien pod people who are replacing all of humanity with plant-born duplicates. Is that better or worse? That's always been the beauty of the Invasion of the Body Snatchers mythos -- humanity is far from perfect, and you could make an argument that the aliens are more deserving than we are. And you could make a pretty compelling argument these days that we deserve everything that's coming to us.

(Yes, we got a Bush Administration version in 2007 with The Invasion, starring Nicole Kidman and a lot of Mountain Dew, but we're definitely due for another.)

Dark City (1998)

You live. You sleep. You're programmed to be a completely different person. You live again. Oh, and also you're trapped in a city where it is perpetually night because the city is secretly a space ship full of aliens manipulating you. Dark City has a pretty amazing concept, but the execution has always felt a little flabby and uneven for me. Returning to that world in a way that's thoughtful and asks how people would react now if they found out their lives were a lie would be very interesting. Think Westworld meets The Matrix. In fact, come to think of it, a Dark City HBO or Syfy series could be very cool.

Barbarella (1968)

Kate McKinnon stars, Paul Feig directs. Anyway, I'll see myself out since no more explanation is required.

...

Okay, okay. I know. You hate that new Ghostbusters, ARGH! But, listen: Barbarella is not a good movie and it's certainly not as ingrained into the cultural zeitgeist as Ghostbusters. Barbarella is stylistically gorgeous, no doubt, but it's pretty boring. If you let it stay over-the-top and let it be as funny as it ought to be, then you could get something akin to Spy in space. Plus, we've gone way too long without a movie that features an Orgasmostron.

They Live (1988)

I don't know about you, but I'd feel a lot better if it turned out the reason so many people blindly consumed and reproduced while the world burned was because of the ongoing alien occupation. Rampant extraterrestrial manipulation sounds like a dream scenario compared with the actual world, to be honest. Also, much though I love John Carpenter and Rowdy Roddy Piper, They Live is a pretty boring movie full of Piper slowly meandering around. The good stuff only comes in the form of zombie-style alien makeup and that famous 15-minute fight sequence.

Just cast Dwayne Johnson in the lead for a remake and turn this into a sci-fi action movie where he puts his fist through a bunch of alien face holes. Dwayne Johnson already chews bubblegum and kicks ass in his day-to-day -- literally -- so why would you say no to having him do it to aliens while wearing cool sunglasses?

The Running Man (1987)

Let me just begin by giving you a taste of the opening crawl:

"By 2017 the world economy has collapsed. Food, natural resources and oil are in short supply. A police state, divided into paramilitary zones, rules with an iron hand. Television is controlled by the state and a sadistic game show called 'The Running Man' has become the most popular program in history. All art, music and communications are censored. No dissent is tolerated."

Remember when that seemed like a completely ridiculous conceit? Oh, what sweet summer children we were then. The Running Man, very loosely based on a story by Stephen King, feels almost too perfect for a remake. Almost. Heck, not to immediately date this list, but considering the soured relationship between Donald Trump and Arnold Schwarzeneggar, maybe a new Running Man will wind up being a sequel based on true events. A framed person escapes prison only to be forced into a horrifying game show where they fight for their lives against a series of gladiators? Sounds like The Hunger Games meets, you know, the world we're living in right now to me. Really the only problem is that the story might feel a little too real, so a new Running Man could be great and worthwhile, but you probably wouldn't want to watch it more than once unless you want to be unbelievably depressed.