Hollywood loves the ‘80s. It also loves remakes, sequels, prequels and any other excuse to trot out a proven property insured to line the studio’s already considerable pockets and prevent any kind of potentially bankrupting missteps. And it’s hard to blame them – in the midst of an increasingly streaming-centric viewing culture, never has it been more difficult to make a film that manages to make any serious profit, which means that the powers that be continue to mine old properties for any cash that might not have been shaken out of its pockets during the first go-round.
The Disney Channel, which unveils its much-heralded 100th original movie this week, joins the remake revolution with an attempt at recreating Chris Columbus’ first beguiling feature, Adventures in Babysitting. The original film, which is decidedly harder-edged than the G-Rated fare the Disney Channel comfortably peddles, spins around a group of children on an unsupervised misadventure through the seedier streets of Chicago, led by the titular babysitter (a fresh-faced, curly-haired Elisabeth Shue). There’s near-constant peril, some pretty adult jokes, and the iconic “don’t fuck with the babysitter” line – all of which are certain to be edited out in the DCOM rendition.
The remake, which is really a follow-up to the film in name only, swaps out the matriarchal guidance of one babysitter for a girl-on-girl rivalry, and drops out the super cringe-worthy blues hall sequence of the original for an equally hard-to-watch rap battle. Call me a scrooge, but it seems a shame that the reputation of the original film, which has become a cult classic in the near-thirty years since it was released, would be marred by a less-than faithful attempt to cash in on name recognition and little else.
But Adventures in Babysitting isn’t alone in the world of questionable ‘80s remakes. Since the mid-2000s, Hollywood has been on an 80s remake tear, with many, many properties having been released in the last decade, and countless more to come. For better or worse, masterpieces like John Carpenter’s The Thing and Tobe Hooper’s Poltergeist get punched up, taken apart and put back together for a modern audience, with varying degrees of success. In anticipation of Adventures in Babysitting (however exactly that one turns out), we’ve rounded up ten remakes that made it to theaters despite the fact that no one seemed to be clamoring for them – from ‘80s cult favorites to serious Oscar contenders.