Much like us grumpy fans, the stars of our favorite horror movies are sometimes averse to the idea of their movies being remade. Other times, however, they’re so on board that they agree to actually appear in the remakes of classic films they were in. And when it happens, we can’t help but smile.
This list is pretty self-explanatory, so we can cut the chit-chat and get right to it…
Here are seven horror remakes that featured cameos from stars of the originals!
1) INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS – KEVIN MCCARTHY
Long before remakes were the most popular trend in Hollywood, the 1956 sci-fi/horror classic Invasion of the Body Snatchers found itself on the remake chopping block, just over 20 years after it was released. The 1978 version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers starred Donald Sutherland, and in a clever nod to the original film, Kevin McCarthy made a cameo appearance as a raving man who accosts Sutherland’s character in the street; essentially recreating his character’s final scene in the original film. Legend has it that while McCarthy was rehearsing the scene, a homeless man recognized him and shouted that “The first one was better,” which goes to show that our society’s aversion to remakes is nothing new!
2) DAWN OF THE DEAD – TOM SAVINI, SCOTT REINIGER, KEN FOREE (PICTURED)
James Gunn and Zack Snyder, who have recently found themselves on opposite sides of the Marvel vs. DC battle that comic fans love to debate, were the two main creative forces behind one of the best modern horror remakes of them all: 2004’s Dawn of the Dead. The film, written by Gunn and directed by Snyder, featured a brand new cast of characters trapped in a situation similar to the 1978 classic, and Snyder paid tribute to George Romero’s original by working in cameo appearances from stars Tom Savini, Scott Reiniger, and Ken Foree. Savini played a sheriff, Reiniger played a general, and most notably, Foree appeared as a televangelist who says, like Foree did in the original, “When there’s no more room in Hell, the dead will walk the Earth.”
3) THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE – JOHN LARROQUETTE
Who could ever forget the opening narration from the original Texas Chain Saw Massacre? The chilling narration, which presented the film as “an account of the tragedy which befell a group of five youths,” was spoken by John Larroquette, and at the time it was only his second contribution to the world of film. Larroquette, who went on to become a prolific actor in the decades that followed, returned to the Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise for the 2003 remake. The film’s opening narration starts off almost exactly the same as the original’s, with several added lines of new dialogue. Larroquette also narrated the opening of 2006 prequel Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning.
4) FRIGHT NIGHT – CHRIS SARANDON
One of the most iconic horror movie villains whose name isn’t Freddy, Jason or Michael is unquestionably Jerry Dandrige from Tom Holland’s Fright Night, a seductive blood-sucker who was played pitch-perfectly by Chris Sarandon in the 1985 film. For the remake, released in 2011, Colin Farrell took over the role that Sarandon made famous, and you probably found yourself silently cheering in your local theater when new Jerry came face-to-face with old Jerry. After a brief encounter in the street, remake and original literally collide when Farrell’s Dandrige swiftly kills Sarandon’s character with a bite to the neck. In a humorous nod to the original, Sarandon’s character was named Jay Dee in the closing credits!
5) THE OMEN – HARVEY STEPHENS
Harvey Stephens has one of the most unique acting resumes on IMDb, with only two feature films listed on it: The Omen 1976 and, exactly thirty years later, The Omen 2006. In the original Omen, a young Stephens played the pint-sized Damien Thorn, one of the most memorable evil kids in the history of horror cinema, and he popped up for a brief appearance in the remake as “Tabloid Reporter #3.” If you didn’t recognize him, don’t feel bad; Stephens was seldom seen in the wake of The Omen, so it was impossible to know what he looked like as an adult, prior to the remake coming out!
6) EVIL DEAD – BRUCE CAMPBELL
The argument could be made that 2013’s Evil Dead is actually a sequel to 1981’s The Evil Dead, rather than a remake, and many fans have pointed to the cameo appearance from Ash’s iconic Oldsmobile as evidence to support that theory. Either way, it’s hard to call it anything but a remake, though co-writer/director Fede Alvarez was smart to put brand new characters into the infamous cabin in the woods. Instead of Ash, Alvarez created a badass hero of his own in the form of Mia, but he made sure to also work a nice bit of fan-service into the very end of the film. After the credits, Bruce Campbell appeared on screen as Ash for the first time since Army of Darkness, delivering a groovy soundbite and then looking into the camera. Two years later, Campbell finally reprised the role proper in the first season of Starz series “Ash vs. Evil Dead.”
7) GHOSTBUSTERS – BILL MURRAY, DAN AYKROYD (PICTURED), ERNIE HUDSON, SIGOURNEY WEAVER
The worst-kept secret about this year’s Ghostbusters remake was that most of the original stars would be returning for cameo appearances, the most surprising of course being Bill Murray. After years of refusing to participate in anything Ghostbusters-related, Murray agreed to play paranormal skeptic Martin Heiss in Paul Feig’s remake, and the role was a bit larger than most fans expected it to be. Dan Aykroyd also popped up as a cab driver; Ernie Hudson played the uncle of new character Patty Tolan; and, in a scene that was oddly relegated to the end credits, Sigourney Weaver appeared as Rebecca Gorin. A statue of Egon Spengler was also briefly seen, which served as a nice tribute to the late Harold Ramis. The cameos, of course, did nothing to get the remake-haters on board with the film, but it was at least nice to see the original stars back in the Ghostbusters universe.
Can you think of any other horror remakes that fit the bill? Let us know!