8 Classic Movies That Unintentionally Remade Other Ones

Movies are frequently praised as "ahead of their time." We're calling BS. Stop saying something like Blade Runner couldn't have been made in the '60s ... because it already was. With only so many tropes, set pieces, themes, and plots, parallel thinking all but guarantees we'll wind up with the same movie twice. Some just happen to vanish into obscurity ...

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8
World On A Wire, A Precursor To The Matrix With No Kung Fu Nor Shitty Sequels

The Classic:

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The Matrix - the trippy blockbuster that inspired hundreds of action movies and thousands of shitty YouTube videos.

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The Forgotten Movie:

World On A Wire - a film so obscure not even your dorkiest film-geek friend has ever seen it, directed by a mad German on a 15-year drug trip.

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The Suspicious but Totally Circumstantial Similarities:

Merely an artificial entity in a supercomputer's simulation, an office-drone-turned-outlaw discovers reality is phony, interrogated by suits, clued in by his code-named contact within the simulation. Characters drone on about metaphysics and are retrieved out of the world by answering a ringing telephone. 

Janus Films
Warner Bros.
"Hello! We've been trying to reach you about your vehicle's extended warranty ..."
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They even use the term "plugging in" in World on a Wire to describe entering the computer simulation. The inclined seat where people enter the "simulacron" more or less identical to the one in the Wachowskis' film, only without the cord jacking into their head socket.  

Warner Bros.
Janus Films
Also, designed by someone who's heard of the concept of organizing their cables.
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Scary dudes in matching suits trying to kill the protagonist? Got you covered. Creepy, short, bald programmer with a mustache who betrays the hero? Check. 

The Critical Difference:

The protagonist in World on a Wire is not actually a real human but gains freedom in the last scene with a flesh and blood form. 

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The Matrix became a behemoth of a franchise, including movies, anime, and video games spanning across three decades. Meanwhile, its German counterpart was shown on TV once in the '70s, then disappeared for three decades.

7
The Expendables Is an Unauthorized Wild Geese Reboot With Fewer British Accents

The Classic:

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The Expendables - nostalgia bait featuring '90s action stars as mercenaries fighting a foreign military dictatorship.

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The Forgotten Movie:

Wild Geese - an easy payday featuring a bunch of slumming Shakespearean-trained actors as mercenaries fighting a foreign military dictatorship.

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The Suspicious but Totally Circumstantial Similarities:

Opens with an expository speech delivered by shady, terse businessmen in suits instructing the commando leader to assemble a tag team full of their grizzled army friends. The endgame: topple a third-world regime so he can steal natural resources. 

United Artists
Lionsgate
Finally completing Stallone's transition from "Critique of hardships facing veterans" to "Machine gun clown."
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Gunning down an army, the mercenaries are set up, saving locals for no reason other than to prove to the audience that the good guys aren't simply mindless goons shooting brown people. The film ends with our beret-enthusiasts killing their betrayer and racing to get to a speeding plane. 

United Artists
Lionsgate
"Anybody who won't be back for the sequel should get their dramatic death scene now!"
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The Critical Difference:

The Expendables wisely sees most of its big-name celebrities survive. Stallone knew how hard it is to make a sequel when you have to recast the whole movie, a lesson the Wild Geese producers learned the hard way.

 

6
Creation Of The Humanoids, An Android Fetish Fix 20 Years Before Blade Runner

The Classic:

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Blade Runner - the film that popularized and perfected the cyberpunk aesthetic.

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The Forgotten Movie:

Creation of the Humanoids - a bizarre little picture that's only famous for allegedly being Andy Warhol's favorite movie.

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The Suspicious but Totally Circumstantial Similarities:

Robots -- filled with human memories -- live among humans following an atomic war, serving as slaves and lovers (naturally). However, these humanoid robots are becoming so damn convincing that they can't be differentiated from humans, surpassing their creators in smarts and strength and probably sexual prowess.

Taunted one too many times by smug androids who wax poetic about the nature of fear, humans decide the superior synthetic race must be wiped out. The robots revolt, killing a couple of humans along the way. Luckily they're easy to spot, possessing glowing golden eyes ... except for the newest models because that would spoil the big twist ending.

Emerson Film Enterprises
Warner Bros.
Maybe one day, the futuristic robot industry will catch up on glass eye tech from the 1850s.
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The hard-boiled hero in Creation of the Humanoids hunts down the conspirators and discovers he's a robot, as Ridley Scott intended for Blade Runner's noir hero, Deckard. He gets the girl, who is also an android, allowed to live in peace, accepting his fate.

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The Critical Difference:

Creation of the Humanoids looks like it was filmed by Ed Wood after a concussion. You know that terrible Harrison Ford voiceover in the original theatrical cut of Blade Runner?

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Now imagine 90 minutes of dialogue as rigid, and you can see why Creation of the Humanoids never quite caught on.

5
Memento, A Remake Of Clean Slate Without The Humor

The Classic:

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Memento - a film made by director Christopher Nolan that helped his career take off.

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The Forgotten Movie:

Clean Slate - a film starring actor Dana Carvey that helped his career come crashing down.

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The Suspicious but Totally Circumstantial Similarities:

Smartass, amnesiac, Angeleno investigator (one's a private dick and the other is an insurance investigator) seeks woman's murderer. Every day he wakes up and can't remember anything, shenanigans and inexplicable sex with mysterious, beautiful women ensue, who exploit his disorder for their own gain.

Memento is famous for Guy Pearce inking clues on his body. Because tattoos weren't as socially acceptable yet, the Dana Carvey character uses Post-It notes and a cassette tape instead.

Newmarket Films
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Presumably right up until when he neglects to write a Post-It note reminder to buy more Post-It notes.
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These films work by making us as confused as our hero, who spends most of the film deducing who is who and who he should trust, with only a vague name to pursue. 

The Critical Difference:

Clean Slate is a PG-13 comedy with a conventional structure and a happy ending instead of a dead wife. It's pretty corny. But on the plus side, you don't need a PowerPoint presentation to decipher the plot. 

4
Alien, An Unintentional High-Budget Adaptation Of Night Of The Blood Beast

The Classic:

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Alien - an iconic film ruthlessly exploited to make countless sequels so tedious that even Aliens: Colonial Marines is embarrassed to share a universe with them.

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The Forgotten Movie:

The Night of the Blood Beast - a film so stilted it was featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000.

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The Suspicious but Totally Circumstantial Similarities:

Extraterrestrials infect spacemen, gestating inside their hosts, who miraculously come back to life after being written off as dead.

American International Pictures
20th Century Fox
Though at least Blood Beast doesn't feel like the kind of nightmare you'd have falling asleep in 8th-grade sex-ed class.
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The creature in Alien is parasitic. Likewise, the life cycle in The Night of the Blood Beast depends on breeding from embryos in the blood of victims. The alien emerges when it is way too late to stop it, culminating in blood-curdling screams from the underwritten supporting female character who is only in the movie to freak out

The crew tries to kill it with fire to prevent it from escaping, it's only weakness. Some dumbass tries to save it in order to preserve the specimen but dies before he puts humanity at risk. 

The Critical Difference:

Blood Beast foregoes the alien face-rape and swaps an isolated space station for an isolated laboratory outpost on earth because it was cheaper to film. Unlike Alien, the Blood Beast director wasn't smart enough to hide the man in the rubber suit

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3
 Hour Of The Wolf Is The Shining If It Were A Swedish Arthouse Film

The Classic:

The Shining - a psychological horror story from Stanley Kubrick about the perils of hedge mazes and improper snowcat maintenance.

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The Forgotten Movie:

Hour Of The Wolf - a psychological horror story starring The Three-Eyed Raven back when he was making expressionist art films with Ingmar Bergman. The following trailer is NSFW.

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The Suspicious but Totally Circumstantial Similarities:

An unhappily-married couple takes what is supposed to be a refreshing trip into the wilderness so that the male character can concentrate on his art. He spends more time assaulting people who bother him, the couple experiencing a nightmarish case of cabin fever rendering them both basket cases. 

Wcensk Filmindustri
Warner Bros.
We're honestly shocked this isn't how every wilderness getaway ended before the invention of the Gameboy.
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His doormat wife tags along as he battles severe alcoholism and a receding hairline, making an ass of himself in parties full of rich degenerates who may or may not be figments of his imagination.

Wcensk Filmindustri
Warner Bros.
Aside: that light-up bar top would be an absolute nightmare to drink at.
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The abusive, insomniac husband--both named John--is driven crazy by apparitions (representing his repressed past actions, regrets, and moral flaws). Here we take a surreal turn. Naked lady ghosts seduce the two Johns but instead spark a mental breakdown in two of the most boner-shriveling seduction scenes in film history (NSFW).

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(57:00 specifically)

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Both are spooked by lecherous old ladies and are preoccupied with killing prepubescent boys; their wives piecing together his mental state by secretly reading his personal papers. The protagonists then plod around in the elements, blathering incoherently, and threatening their wife and child, before dying for good ... or do they? It's hard to tell, the finales being so frustratingly vague.

The Critical Difference:

The Shining is a straight horror movie. Hour of the Wolf is more unsettling than head-on terrifying. And seeing how Hour of the Wolf was filmed in 1968, there's no conceivable way Apollo 11 references could be hidden in there by the director, Ingmar Bergman. But we're sure conspiracy theorists are already at work to prove Bergman was a NASA shill. 

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2
 Apocalypse Now Is Aguirre: The Wrath of God But With Conquistadors Swapped Out For The US Cavalry

The Classic:

Apocalypse Now - a batshit collaboration from two lunatics in a love/hate relationship. 

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The Forgotten Movie:

Aguirre: Wrath of God - a batshit collaboration from two lunatics in a love/hate relationship.

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The Suspicious but Totally Circumstantial Similarities:

Self-righteous white soldiers in jungles, burning down villages while on hubristic journeys up a muddy river. Periodically they go ashore, only to be overwhelmed, returning to the safety of the boat to fire wildly at the natives from their raft with some comically-oversized ordinance. The Spaniards take up cute monkeys as pets, attempt to meet up with some fellow soldiers, and find them dead while hallucinating seeing ships hanging from trees. While, the US grunts adopt an adorable puppy, find bases littered with dead bodies, with helicopter suspended from trees. 

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About halfway through, the captain dies as a result of our protagonist's ethically questionable quest, the crew picked off by spears and arrows. Plus, we can't forget those fantastic decapitations.

United Artists
Felmverlag der Autoren
That's some grade-A head acting there, fellas.
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You can guess the moral of these two stories, our murderous "heroes" left aimlessly drifting downriver, another victim of a superpower's imperialist misadventures.

The Critical Difference:

Herzog admitted he intended to assassinate his lead actor. Francis Ford Coppola only manage to induce one measly heart attack, the lightweight.

1
First Blood, A Western Without Cowboys

The Classic:

First Blood (The first Rambo movie) - made right after the US started to care about all the guys they sent to war who were coming back with mental health and employment issues. Starring Sly Stallone as a decorated Nam vet run amok.

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The Forgotten Movie:

Lonely Are the Brave - made before the US cared about all the guys they sent to war. Starring Kirk Douglas as a decorated Korean War vet run amok.

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The Suspicious but Totally Circumstantial Similarities:

Proud drifter stumbles north into podunk mountain town, finds the wife of his old buddy, and is locked up by sadistic, pear-shaped policemen on trumped-up charges, trying to screw with him as he's just trying to live his life.

Universal Pictures
Orion Pictures
"Clean your ears out deputy!  I said kick him, not tickle him!"
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Authorities learn too late that the film's protagonist is a badass Purple Heart winner, already having escaped the local jail, keystone cops chasing him across the mountains. Bringing down a helicopter that corners him, our morally-ambiguous hero gets revenge on the cruel cop who worked him over earlier, escaping their carefully orchestrated trap.  

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A misfit out of place, last of a dying breed, he returns to civilization and makes one stupid choice in the end that dooms him.

The Critical Difference:

One vet has PTSD, and the other is just a pain-in-the-ass cattle hand because nobody was willing to admit PTSD was real in 1962.

Ironically, Douglas was cast as the mentor role in First Blood. He walked off the set, displeased the film departed too much from the Rambo novel. Or maybe he realized he already made this same exact movie 20 years prior.

Top image: Newmarket Films, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

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