What works, what sucks and what's coming for 11 horror remakes!

Contributed by
Dec 14, 2012, 4:09 PM EST

According to Hollywood's logic, anything worth doing is worth doing over again—especially if people remember you did it the first time.

Sequels notwithstanding, the studios are churning out one remake, reboot or "re-imagining" after another of familiar and not-so-familiar horror movies and franchises, the latest of which is The Crazies, Breck Eisner's update of the 1973 George Romero movie of the same name.

While the jury's still out on A Nightmare on Elm Street—which probably qualifies as the Holy Grail of horror remakes—SCI FI Wire decided to take a closer look at some of the other classic horror films that will return to the screen in the not-so-distant future and why the originals deserve to stand on their own.

Don't Be Afraid of the Dark (1973)

The Plot: A young heiress is accused of losing her mind when a group of evil, tiny creatures start making her life a living hell.

What Works: Old-school atmosphere and solid performances make this a low-key classic.

What Sucks: The effects are TV-grade, because, well, it was made for TV.

What's in Store: Guillermo del Toro is producing the remake for first-time director Troy Nixey, who promises something a little more elegant and gothic, focusing on the young daughter of a man who relocates to a remote house with his girlfriend.

Suspiria (1977)

The Plot: A teenager attends a dance academy only to discover it's actually a front for a coven of witches.

What Works: Dario Argento's imagery is some of the most famous in horror history, and it features some spectacularly intense gore as well.

What Sucks: For modern audiences, Argento's dreamlike approach feels remarkably anachronistic, if not purely nonsensical.

What's in Store: David Gordon Green (The Pineapple Express) was recruited to remake the film, suggesting that a new version would pay tribute to the original without succumbing to broad scares or bloody shortcuts to suspense.

The Fury (1978)

The Plot: A teenage girl becomes a dangerous weapon when a government agency tries to harness her psychic powers for military use.

What Works: Another instance of a terrific last shot, not to mention John Williams' score is boss.

What Sucks: Except for director Brian De Palma's trademark set pieces, the movie crawls along, and not much happens until the final act.

What's in Store: Fox 2000 green-lighted an adaptation in 2008 based on a script by Brian McGreevy and Lee Shipman, and original author John Farris is confident there are enough ideas in his source material (not to mention subsequent novels) to make a more well-rounded, explosive interpretation, no pun intended.

I Spit on Your Grave (1978)

The Plot: An aspiring female novelist takes revenge on her attackers after three locals rape and attempt to murder her.

What Works: Nothing like seeing men get their junk chopped off.

What Sucks: The film features one the longest and most grueling rape scenes ever put on film.

What's in Store: Director Steven R. Munroe (Ice Twisters) is set to release his version in the fall of 2010, with Anchor Bay handling the DVD distribution, which means that it will probably be faithful in many ways to the original—although hopefully with slightly less than an hour of rape this time.

Piranha (1978)

The Plot: A swarm of military-engineered piranha fish find their way into a water park.

What Works: As a cheap knockoff and even parody of Jaws, the film delivers gore, nudity and more.

What Sucks: It was heavy on the cheap, and even for actual deadly creatures, piranha aren't especially intimidating on screen.

What's in Store: Director Alexandre Aja (The Hills Have Eyes remake) insists that his upcoming 3-D version isn't a direct remake but an homage, but with a wet T-shirt contest judged by director Eli Roth, it promises to be charming for you and your chums.

The Brood (1979)

The Plot: A woman's inner emotions manifest physically in the form of violent offspring.

What Works: Director David Cronenberg's body-horror masterpiece fully explores the idea of monstrous maternity.

What Sucks: Despite its wealth of ideas, the film is surprisingly light on gore.

What's in Store: Although director Breck Eisner (The Crazies) is no longer attached, a remake is set to go based on a script by Cory Goodman.

Mother's Day (1980)

The Plot: Three girls reunite after 10 years to go camping, only to be abducted and tortured by hillbillies at the behest of their mysterious mother.

What Works: The final shot is one of the weirdest, creepiest moments in horror movie history.

What Sucks: The rest of it is a boring, clichéd rape-torture drama with little or no suspense.

What's in Store: Darren Lynn Bousman (Saw, Repo: The Genetic Opera) claims his version will be more gritty and realistic, which promises more suspense before that last, shocking shot.

The Funhouse (1981)

The Plot: Four teenagers get trapped in a funhouse and find themselves stalked by a deformed man.

What Works: There's a double dose of terror given the fact that the freak has a violent father.

What Sucks: Sandwiched between two of Tobe Hooper's best movies, Salem's Lot and Poltergeist, it's no surprise that this got the short shrift creatively and commercially; plus, for a carnival of horrors, it's painfully short on horrors.

What's in Store: Eli Roth is in the process of developing a new version with Universal, which means that it should feature plenty of homages to the original, plus a lot more gore.

Fright Night (1985)

The Plot: A horror-addicted kid recruits a late-night TV host to help him kill the vampire next door.

What Works: One of the best horror-comedies of all time, it features great performances and great scares. Plus, Roddy McDowall!

What Sucks: It's pretty perfect, although some of the special effects feel slightly dated.

What's in Store: DreamWorks is supposedly committed to keeping its tone balanced between horror and comedy, but even with the success of Zombieland's hybrid horror, this is strictly an if-it-ain't-broke-don't-fix-it situation.

The Gate (1987)

The Plot: Three teenagers unleash a horde of horrible little creatures when an uprooted tree in their backyard releases the forces of hell.

What Works: The idea of young kids alone, fending for themselves and fighting off pint-sized monsters.

What Sucks: The special effects are not great, but the plodding drama and lackluster performances are where the movie mainly falters.

What's in Store: Actor-director Alex Winter (Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure) is set to start shooting this summer, promising a faithful and fun re-imagining of the original's core elements.

Hellraiser (1987)

The Plot: A teenage girl must fend off monsters from hell after her uncle makes a pact with the creatures, resulting in the removal of his skin.

What Works: Clive Barker's brilliantly deranged vision offers glorious gore alongside great ideas. Plus, the Lament Configuration! And Doug Bradley's Pinhead!

What Sucks: Mostly the many sequels that followed, although the original's psychosexual politics are pretty messed up for mainstream audiences.

What's in Store: After a couple of efforts to remake the film ended up in turnaround, Dimension still plans to relaunch the series, although at this point it's tough to know what hasn't been explored.

What are YOU afraid is coming??

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