As featured last year on MeTV's "Svengoolie," The Monolith Monsters is an utterly forgotten gem from Universal during its monster-ific '50's heyday. It's essentially The Blob, but instead of a gelatinous alien substance crashing on Earth, it's a mysterious crystalline alien substance that grows exponentially with water and has the power to turn people to stone. It's biggest aggressive tendency seems to be the ability to grow so huge that it topples over and crushes people, houses, etc. Put in the hands of someone who shows an inventive affinity for realistic CGI on a budget, like The Maze Runner's Wes Ball, and you would have a very potent addition to the core Universal Monster universe.
Considered the first real Canadian horror film, the plot follows the mental deterioration of a psychiatrist (Paul Stevens) after he puts on an ancient tribal mask that induces dark psychedelic visions dredged up from his subconscious. The gimmick was that every time Stevens puts the mask on the audience put their 3D glasses on and had a little trip themselves. A filmmaker with a facility for the surreal could really take this concept far and push the boundaries of 3D, especially in the modern age of superior polarized 3D glasses. Panos Cosmatos, director of 2010's art horror gem Beyond the Black Rainbow, could absolutely nail the eerie, psychologically testing atmosphere at work in the original.
Somewhere between The Addams Family and Hard Candy lies Girly, the dream project of brilliant cinematographer-turned-director Freddie Francis (Dr. Terror's House of Horrors, Dracula Has Risen from the Grave). Given complete control over any story he wished, he chose this adaptation of Maisie Mosco's two-act play "Happy Family," in which naughty underage nymph Girly (Vanessa Howard) lures men to her family's sprawling country mansion where they are forced to play an elaborate "game" in which they assume a role in the family. Typically guests are "sent to the angels," with Girly making snuff films of the murder for the family's later enjoyment, until a male prostitute (Michael Bryant) gets the idea to use his own sexuality to turn them against each other. With plenty of cheeky humor and irreverent sexual politics, Diablo Cody would positively CRUSH a movie like this.
There are so few underexploited icons in the horror game, but one of the last ones with genuine name recognition is Dr. Phibes! As played to perfection by Vincent Price in two movies, the good Doctor was a faceless freak with a taste for setting diabolical Rube Goldberg-style deathtraps that would make Saw fans nervous. While several scripts for a third film languished in development hell, the Dr. Phibes movies have found a new life on Scream Factory editions in America and an Arrow release in the UK. It would be amazing to see a modern villain master like Hugo Weaving (V For Vendetta, Captain America) in the role, but the real trick would be which hottie to cast as his silent assistant Vulnavia?
What can we say about The Baby? This movie is absolutely bugfuck nutty, and a total guilty pleasure. Imagine you're a social worker, and you come across a woman who has kept her son literally infantilized (crib, baby talk, the whole nine yards) into his twenties as payback to the lousy ex-husband who abandoned her. That's the plot of the movie, but where it goes, including a wowser of an ending, would be considered more button pushing than it was in the early '70s. Ted Post of Beneath the Planet of the Apes and Nightkill fame made the original, and it would take a lunatic of the first order (we're looking at you, Todd Solondz) to up the ante for modern moviegoers.
De Palma's other sojourn into psychokinetics, 1976's Carrie, has spawned a sequel, two remakes and two off-Broadway plays, yet The Fury has little if any cultural cache beyond cineastes. Hits like Looper and Chronicle (not to mention the X-Men franchise) have shown that audiences are primed for stories like this, and with the right helmer a Fury remake could have franchise potential as well. The original revolved around an ex-CIA man (Kirk Douglas) searching for his kidnapped son (Andrew Stevens) who is being molded by the organization into a psychic assassin.
Ray Bradbury's 1962 novel is one of his most chilling and a YA favorite. Although the big budget Disney movie version tried its best to uphold the dark tone of the book, with a terrific performance by Jonathan Price as Mr. Dark, it remained tainted by that sickly sweet Disney style. Consequently, the movie they wound up with was too nice for fans of the book and too dark for audiences expecting a Disney movie. "Pride & Prejudice & Zombies" author Seth Grahame-Smith currently has his sights set on directing a more authentic version, but only time will tell if that remake ever gets going.
I know what you're thinking: Why would a series with 11 movies, including one coming out this year (Puppet Master: Axis Termination) need a remake? Well Puppet Master series producer and occasional director Charles Band is known for many things, but deep pockets is not one of them. Dave Allen's original stop-motion animated killer puppets are iconic in the world of B-horror, but the lamestream public would probably dig the concept too if it were presented with all the studio bells and whistles. It doesn't even have to go all CG either, but a healthy budget could definitely go a long way towards giving state-of-the-art puppetry a whole new meaning.
The idea of blending a Scorsese-style gangster film with a sexy, red-blooded vampire story is the kind of cut-and-paste pitch that should have yielded a masterpiece, especially in the hands of An American Werewolf in London director John Landis. Unfortunately the movie we got never quite takes off, either in the humor or the horror department. Some of that could be blamed on Parisian lead Anne Parillaud's tenuous grasp on the English language and her lack of chemistry with Anthony LaPaglia, though the truth is the script just wasn't very good. This type of delicate balance requires a filmmaker with a fluid grasp of the camera who can inject a Tarantino-esque edge to the material.
Oscar-winning director Mike Nichols took a couple interesting detours into genre over his four decades making movies, including The Day of the Dolphin and What Planet Are You From?, but Wolf was the most successful and the most fascinating. It combined an already intriguing look at the machinations of a New York publishing firm with a werewolf story, with a completely game Jack Nicholson at the center of it proving that lycanthropy is the ultimate Viagra. Unfortunately the movie derails in the third act when it devolves into a hirsute wrestling match between Nicholson and James Spader. Someone with a lot of political moxy like Adam McKay could really lean into the subtext about corporate ageism, and probably up the werewolf carnage factor.