Watching the remake of Poltergeist – a film that seems just as surprised that there was a remake of Poltergeist as we are – I’m struck by the mercurial nature of remakes in general and horror remakes in particular. It’s easy to bash them, and frankly most of them deserve it. With original content constantly being driven further away, the glut of fill-in-the-blanks new versions can get exasperating. So why do we tune in? Because the trick works often enough to make the misfires – even a lot of misfires – worthwhile. I would cheerfully accept crappy remakes like Poltergeist and Psycho if it means getting remakes like John Carpenter’s The Thing – reviled when it was first released – or David Cronenberg’s The Fly or Philip Kaufman’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers. In fact, I’m willing to be that the crap-to-quality ratio for horror move remakes is about the same as the crap-to-quality ratio for horror movies in general. The great ones are still out there; they just take a little looking to find them. And any horror fan will tell you that that particular treasure hunt is always worth it.