The Top 5 Worst 80s Reboots

There is concrete evidence that Hollywood can’t produce decent remakes. This deters precisely no-one from remaking stuff. After all, remakes save studio executives and writers the ultimate discomfort of having to use their own minds, and for another thing: the marquee value of a familiar franchise is usually enough to sell tickets — regardless of how idiotic the remake itself inevitably proves to be. But why must they tarnish our favorite eighties movies? Is nothing sacred?

On the heels of the announcement that a new Ghostbusters film is in the works (with an all-female cast, no less) here is a look some of the worst eighties reboots to date:

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Conan the Barbarian (2011)
Game of Thrones star Jason Mamoa plays Conan the Barbarian in this reboot of the classic sword-and-sorcery swashbuckler from 1982 starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. and although the actor consistently has many young ladies’ hearts swooning, the same cannot be said about the characters and plotline. What was once a sorcery and adventure film, the reboot lacks the magic and depth that completely made the original. Although both films follow the same general story in which Conan seeks revenge against the evil emperor who murdered his family, the 2011 movie depicts hollow characters and an unengaging story — and Mamoa’s performance makes Schwarzenegger look like Sir Laurence Olivier. More details here on where to watch the original or take a chance at the newer film.

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A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)
In addition to this film lacking Johnny Depp sporting a crop top, the Nightmare on Elm Street reboot failed to reproduce any of the scares of Wes Craven’s masterfully created original. While the 1984 original was exceedingly disturbing and left more to the imagination, the newer film makes an earnest effort to iron out the minutiae of Freddy Krueger’s backstory (when will people learn to stop trying that with Freddy…), which ultimately makes for a less engaging and uncreative  horror movie. Nevermind the fact that the film doesn’t feature Robert Englund. What was supposed to be a film that makes you think twice about sleeping, A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010) does exactly the opposite, leaving viewers in the theaters snoring, drooling, and (hopefully) dreaming about better movies. If you need an antidote (i.e., a film that’s still crappy but at least crappy in a way that’s sort of nostalgic), you can find the original’s sequel on Netflix.

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Day of the Dead (2008)
The 1985 original of Day of the Dead became one of the most memorable zombie classics to date. And even though it ate, erm…“brains” at the box-office upon its initial release, the film has retained a cult following and is still shown regularly at midnight screenings and on Robert Rodriguez’s El Rey genre-nerd network (more details here). A reboot would be just as successful, right? Wrong. The 2008 Day of the Dead was a hodgepodge of zombie guts and gore with no actual memorable storyline. Recently, the zombie horror sub-genre has been getting increasingly popular but this remake has brought nothing new to the table except for one huge chaotic mess of gore. In fact, the zombie market is so oversaturated that Romero himself can’t find work. His own son has had to take to Kickstarter to fund a zombie film. Confirmation, perhaps, that the real zombie apocalypse can’t come soon enough.

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Red Dawn (2012)
You would think that because the 1984 version of Red Dawn received mixed reviews when it premiered, a reboot wouldn’t do any better. You would be right. The 2012 remake starring well-known actors, Chris Hemsworth, Josh Peck, and Josh Hutcherson, received mostly negative reviews from film critics. The mindless violence and lackluster acting all make for a poor attempt at an already generic original and watching American teenagers recite sub-par scripts leaves something to be endured. To check out the mess, watch the remake here.

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The Karate Kid (2010)
Although one of the better remakes on this list, The Karate Kid 2010 remake hardly pays a respectable tribute to the original. It is relentlessly long and lacks the depth of the coming-of-age story that it once was about. In the 1984 movie, Ralph Macchio starred as Daniel, a charming kid who, left to his own devices, lacked the confidence and skill to stand up to the bullies of Cobra Kai. We become attached to his character as we watch him grow and learn with Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita). The Son of Fresh Prince does his best, but he doesn’t have the chops to carry this turkey. To revisit the original Daniel-San, check out the original movie, uploaded on YouTube.

Kate Voss

Kate Voss is a freelance entertainment blogger living in the Windy City. She is an MSU alum with a love for creative writing, reading and restoring antique furniture.

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2 thoughts on “The Top 5 Worst 80s Reboots

  1. In my opinion, Conan shouldn’t be on this list, as it’s not really a reboot/remake of the Arnold vehicles and is merely another adaptation of the Robert E. Howard source material…maybe my fellow Retroist chums feel differently…
    The rest of these? Yeah, they all are pretty dismal, especially that NOES…

  2. TheSixMillionDollarJedi says:

    I agree about Conan. If a property didn’t start as a film then it doesn’t count as a remake/reboot.

    The Red Dawn remake is pretty awful. The original was just a product of the time. Setting in the present day just doesn’t work. The Karate Kid isn’t even a remake. It’s just using the title. They aren’t even the same characters.

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