With a big budget remake of DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK opening this Friday and talks of KOLCHAK leaping to multiplexes in the near future, it seems the remake machine is wising up to something many of our readers have known for a long time; that some of the best horror tales in existence spawn from the small screen. I present to you now a list of ten other T.V. movies that I think might deserve a big screen treatment, Be warned I left out STEPHEN KING classics like IT & SALEM’S LOT because nobody needs my nudging to remake KING and I skipped over some of my absolute favorites like SATAN’S TRIANGLE, BLACK NOON, DYING ROOM ONLY and MANY MORE simply because I either could not convince myself that they could be done better or I wasn’t sure modern audiences would know what to do with them. There are so many great T.V. movies that a list of ten was not easy to compile so if I’ve left out any of your favorites, feel free to sing their praises in the comment section!
10. THE BERMUDA DEPTHS (1978)
I’m just going to get this one out of the way right off the bat. I’m not sure if it should be filed under horror, action or romance but I do know that its fans are some of the most passionately devoted out there. A story involving a giant sea turtle may be a hard sell in this cynical age but it may also be exactly what the doctor ordered if the correct tone is established. In fact, if done right it could appeal to a wide variety of ages. The original T.V. movie did indeed receive a theatrical release in foreign countries so perhaps TBD’s leap to the big screen is not nearly as farfetched as one might think. Screw AVATAR sequels, JAMES CAMERON should be all over this epic oceanic lovelorn adventure.
9. DUEL (1971)
I pity the fool who tries to follow in STEVEN SPIELBERG’s footsteps but if it’s ever going to be attempted this is a good place to start. The original was so well received that it graduated to play in not only European theaters but in US theaters as well. An update could add a class war element with the main character being a snooty modern urbanite and the phantom truck driver being a faceless good ol’ boy/ mudflap girl enthusiast. In any case, car movies tend to do well at the box office, so jack up the stunts and let her roll.
8. MR. BOOGEDY (1986)
This family friendly, haunted house comedy is a no-brainer. Go gross, go goofy, go 3-D, rake in the dough and leave BEETLEJUICE in the dust. Many folks have fond memories of the original but even kids unfamiliar with the title would be chomping at the bit to check out this funky phantom. Clueless Disney owns the rights so don’t hold your breath but the original led to BRIDE OF BOOGEDY, so I see major franchise potential. C’mon on Disney, this is your chance to make up for lousing up THE HAUNTED MANSION to such a vile degree!
7. HORROR AT 37,000 FEET (1973)
This movie may be hokey but there’s no reason why the remake has to be. In fact, I think this would be a great project for my pal and yours JOHN CARPENTER. Think about it, the story involves a plane carting ancient druid stones that ends up being threatened by its supernatural cargo. It’s basically PRINCE OF DARKNESS in the air! The endangered are small group of people from all walks of life and who has more experience directing folks thrown together and forced to battle side by side against an unknown foe? (Think THE THING, THE FOG, ASSAULT ON P13, etc…) CARPENTER can upgrade the scares and the believability and he’d have a blast getting all metaphysical explaining the cargos power with his very own screenplay (which he’ll surely credit to a fictional entity.) The story even has a dog in it and I know he has worked with canines before!
6. THE SPELL (1977)
There was many a copycat in the wake of the success of CARRIE but this one offers several unique wrinkles. THE SPELL’s vengeful conjuring teen is overweight and not only has a “perfect” sibling but also a hyper critical mother hiding her own powers that she must battle as well. It would be easy as hell to slap this story into a contemporary setting and touch upon current topics of interest like high school bullying and the pressures on teen girls to conform to a certain body type. STEPHEN KING’s novel CARRIE features a plump protagonist, since none of the official adaptations of his work has yet had the nerve to feature this element, here’s a chance to rectify that slight.
5. THE DEMON MURDER CASE (1983)
History has shown that possession movies, particularly ones based on “true” stories tend to fill theater seats. This tale that takes place in Brookfield, Connecticut where yours truly once resided, is ripe for the picking. Of course you might have some trouble securing rights from the folks who it actually happened to who say it’s all a sham but perhaps they could be quelled by a DVD exclusive documentary focusing on their side of the story. All I know is this movie and the corresponding book “The Devil in Connecticut” scared the living crap out of me once upon a time and that some of the details (the demonic old man with hooves and a charred plaid shirt) true or not, still give me the heebie-jeebies.
4. BAD RONALD (1974)
I don’t know about you but I can’t get enough of BAD RONALD. There’s only so much that can be done on television, so here’s an opportunity to delve even deeper into the psyche of this intriguing character. How about using HEAVENLY CREATURES as an inspiration and showing on screen, in detail, Ronald’s elaborate fantasy world? Nerdy outsider characters seem to be all over the place these days, so how about giving us one who is actually interesting?
3. DON’T GO TO SLEEP (1982)
A little girl comes back from the dead to convince her younger sister to kill the rest of their family. Hey, we need more killer kid movies because nothing is more entertaining! It’s fool proof really because if it fails to convince it will still be funny as hell. The story of course will have to be updated with fancier kills. Has the electric pizza cutter been invented yet? This remake will also get extra points if it casts VALERIE HARPER in the role of Grandma and retains the haunting signature closing shot.
2. TRILOGY OF TERROR (1975)
The truth hurts but it must be said, nobody cares about the first two stories in this trilogy. The best idea would be to make this an all-Zuni doll affair and return to RICHARD MATHESON’s original story title “PREY.” The Zuni fetish doll is a sleeping giant of a horror icon and if Chucky can run for five films and counting, I think little Zuni has the potential to follow suit. By the year 2022, I personally require a Zuni vs. Chucky movie!
1. DARK NIGHT OF THE SCARECROW (1981)
Now this one comes with a genuine, pre-existing fanbase. It hardly matters though because how can you beat that title? What horror fan would ignore such a thing on a marquee? They’d have to be thick! Also, here’s a chance to make something specifically for the Halloween season. My advice would be, amp up the atmosphere a couple notches, pour on some extra blood and just sit back and let the story do the rest. How could it not work? Furthermore this classic tale would offer some seriously meaty roles for actors who were up to the challenge. What A-lister in their right mind would pass up the chance to play a mentally challenged person or an unstable mailman? Both roles are Oscar bait! I’m thinking CILLIAN MURPHY as Bubba and MICHAEL CHIKLIS as Otis and maybe KATE JACKSON as Bubba’s mom as a nod to THE SCARECOW AND MRS. KING. What? Why are you looking at me funny? It needs to happen yesterday. Jeez, give me 20 million dollars and I’ll make it myself!
So that’s my ten and I overlooked only a couple hundred. I wouldn’t talk T.V. movies without asking T.V. movie gal pal Amanda by Night for her two cents, so for ten more T.V. movies that deserve big screen makeovers jump over to MADE FOR TV MAYHEM and check out Amanda’s top ten picks HERE!