Whoever said “Less is more” clearly didn’t see the big picture when it comes to slaughtering teens and young adults on screen. Franchises are a huge part of the movie industry. When a film performs well, chances are there’s a suit sitting behind a desk demanding a sequel to continue the cash in.
Which brings me to my Top 13 Horror Movie Franchises. In order to qualify for this list, the films have to have at least one sequel and are popular among movie goers. (Having a sequel in the works for a stand-alone film doesn’t qualify) This list is solely my opinion and I encourage debate if I leave off a franchise that you feel has done exceptionally well. I will not condone abusive comments. So with that in place, let’s begin….
Never has a television movie been so popular. An over-the-top, ridiculous concept about a freak hurricane picking sharks up out of the ocean and tossing them onto the main land to cause carnage had viewers tuning in to the SyFy network by the millions. I’ll admit I wasn’t one of them, but have since had a Sharknado marathon. This horror-comedy (would it be safe to call it satire?) was so successful it has managed to score itself three sequels. That’s a lot of sharks.
Tara Reid, Ian Ziering, and Cassie Scerbo headline this successful franchise and with the many celebrity cameos (seriously, too many to count) I have a feeling we haven’t seen the last of this Sharknado any time soon. It certainly ranks as one of the most, if not THE most, successful TV horror franchise of all time.
12: PARANORMAL ACTIVITY
I’ll be the first to admit I have absolutely no love for this film, let alone the series, but I cannot pass over how successful this suspense-filled horror franchise truly is. Playing on the human emotion of fear, this “found footage” style film revived the horror genre in 2007, taking a step back from the blood, guts and gore movies that flooded cinemas at the time.
Paranormal Activity was successful because it was unique. It spawned five sequels, each following the same formula; less blood, more suspense. While it’s not my favorite series, there’s no doubt that Paranormal Activity is abound and here to stay.
11: WOLF CREEK
Based on true events that shook Australia to its core, Wolf Creek has given the land down under a villain that will stand the test of time. His bloody rampage leaves carnage wherever he goes and that laugh chills us to the bone.
A film that shocks a nation is a rare gem. Following that up with a sequel that smashes the country’s box office record in its first week is near impossible. But Greg McLean and John Jarratt did just that with Wolf Creek. If that wasn’t impressive enough, John returned a third time as the elusive Mick Taylor in a six part miniseries on live streaming service, Stan, bringing the outback killer into the living rooms of Australians far and wide. There is also a third film is in the works, proving that Mick Taylor is indeed here to stay.
10: THE AMITYVILLE HORROR
Another film based on true events, The Amityville Horror left an entire generation wondering if the house really did have a presence or was the entire thing a hoax by a murderous lunatic? When newlyweds move into a large house where a mass murder was committed, they begin to experience strange manifestations which drive them away. And a little insane.
Since the release of the film in 1979, there have been a staggering twelve sequels (including a remake) with another sequel due for release in 2017. Fourteen films all based on one house? I may not believe in the paranormal, but even I’m steering clear of 112 Ocean Avenue.
9: THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE
A cannibal family living in a secluded farmhouse in Texas? Sounds like a great premise for a gritty horror film. Team that with a chainsaw wielding madman who goes by the alias Leatherface, and you have a recipe for a franchise. Two siblings visit their grandfather’s grave in Texas along with their three friends and are attacked by this cannibalistic family of psychopaths.
Leatherface is returning to the big screen shortly, making this the eighth installment of the franchise. It’s been remade, the remake has been remade and yet we still can’t get enough. Ranging from sadistic and gruesome to comedic with a What-The-Fuck-Did-I-Just-Watch mentality (part 4, I’m looking at you) The Texas Chainsaw Massacre earns its place on this list for bringing the terror since 1974. If nothing else, enjoy it for Chop-Top in part 2.
8: CHILD’S PLAY
Academy Award nominee Brad Dourif gets nasty as a serial killer on the run. After a robbery gone wrong, Charles “Chucky” Lee Ray (Dourif) finds himself being shot by police. Cornered in a toy store, the climatic opening to this 80’s film sees the dying psychopath impute his soul into the body of a Good Guy doll. And that’s where the fun really begins.
Child’s Play was released in 1988 with its sequel, which is often described as being better than the original, released in 1990. A third installment was released in 1991 and bombed, but that wouldn’t be the end of the franchise. 1998 saw the revival of the series with Bride of Chucky before Seed of Chucky burst onto the scene in 2004. In 2013 Chucky returned once again, rebooting the series with Curse of Chucky taking the franchise to six films. The seventh is rumored to be in production. “Sorry, Jack. Chucky’s back.”
7: FINAL DESTINATION
Call it a premonition or maybe intuition, but this franchise has taken the movie world by storm. With no perceivable bad guy, this film’s franchise sees our protagonists going up against Death itself. What happens when you mess with Death’s design? Death gets pissed. Then Death gets even.
Starting way back in 2000, Final Destination has spawned 4 sequels, all with creative death patterns. My personal favorite film in this series is part 3. As a theme park nut, the rollercoaster opening sequence was enough to send me running for the hills. Rumor has it that there’s a sixth installment in the franchise due out in 2017. Death may tell its victims when their time is up, but there is no end in sight for this fun horror franchise.
Alfred Hitchcock’s masterpiece, Psycho, has stood the test of time. Its 1982 sequel, 22 years after the original film was released, has just as many fans. But I found it surprising that so many people didn’t know that there was a third and fourth entry (as well as remake and has inspired a television series) into this legendary film franchise.
Anthony Perkins reprised his role as Norman Bates for all four original films, and even trying his hand at directing the third film. While I found the third film to be rather weak, the television movie Psycho IV more than made up for it. It wasn’t a great film, but it was a befitting end to the character Norman Bates. Yeah, sure the franchise got rebooted in 1998 with a remake and then, rebooted again, in 2013 with the successful series, Bates Motel, but I’ll continue to check in with the first four films…
Someone took their love of movies one step too far with this iconic slasher franchise. Want to play a game of horror movie trivia? You better have the right answers because if you don’t, you die. And even then, if you get them right, you die.
From the brilliant mind of Kevin Williamson and directed by the late Wes Craven, Scream became the quaint-essential 90’s horror film. Mixing blood and gore successfully with comedy and giving us characters that we love, Scream powered through the late 90’s and early 00’s with 3 successful films. We returned to Woodsboro in 2011 for one final scare before MTV decided to refresh the series with their own show. Just remember, whether it be on film or a live streaming service, the rules still apply…
4: A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET
Sweet dreams are made of this. Another Wes Craven creation makes this list, and why not? A Nightmare On Elm Street not only provided the horror genre with one of its ultimate villains, Freddy Krueger, but it also gave Johnny Depp an acting career.
The nightmare began in 1984 and by 1992 it seemed that Freddy Krueger was dead after six movies. In 1994, Wes Craven revived Freddy in Wes Craven’s New Nightmare. Krueger would stay dormant for nearly a decade before returning to the big screen to take on another horror movie juggernaut, Jason Voorhees in Freddy Vs. Jason. Including a remake (which was a real nightmare), this franchise has gone from strength to strength. Will Freddy be back? Of course he will, with the rumor-mill in overdrive regarding another reboot set for 2017/2018. And I’ll be waiting because I want to take a walk down Elm Street with the man of my dreams.
You guys know me well by now. This is my favorite franchise in the entire horror genre. John Carpenter’s Halloween is a masterpiece. If Psycho is the Granddaddy of the slasher genre, then Halloween gave birth to the Bogeyman.
Paving the way for fellow franchises, Halloween gave us characters that we cared about. When its first sequel rolled around in 1981, audiences went nuts. After Halloween III failed due to the antagonist Michael Myers not returning, the studios quickly produced Halloween 4 and 5. Michael Myers would return in 3 more sequels before being rebooted by Rob Zombie in 2007. With a total of nine films (ten if you include Halloween III, which I’m not) centered on the brutal Michael Myers, it’s no wonder we’re still talking about the night HE came home.
Describe as ‘torture porn’, this second placed franchise came straight out of the minds of two Australians back in 2003. Scream may have dominated the 90’s horror revolution, but it was Saw that dominated the 00’s gave audiences something they were craving; an intellectual killer, gory deaths and a reason to return to the cinema for the many sequels.
Saw had one intricate plot that stemmed over seven films, yet each film branched off with its own sub-plot. But it was the remarkable death devices that had audiences returning. What ‘trap’ would Jigsaw lock his victims in this time around? Saw VIII has been rumored for a number of years and it actually looks like something is stirring at Lionsgate with Saw Legacy set for release in the coming years. I guess it’s time to get our game faces on as we wait with anticipation for those six little words; “I want to play a game.”
1: FRIDAY THE 13TH
Was there any doubt that this series out take out top honors? As much as I love Halloween, whenever I think horror franchise, Friday the 13th comes straight to my mind. Released in 1980, the initial film entry gave us a reason to fear summer camps. By 1981, we were given the first sequel and a new reason to fear summer camps. His name was Jason Voorhees.
With 9 sequels, a battle mash-up against everybody’s favorite dream demon, Freddy Krueger, as well as a reboot, this franchise is set to gain its thirteenth entry in 2017 (not to mention a video game in October 2016). As the franchise rolled on throughout the 80’s, audience began to care less about the characters and more about how Jason was going to off them. Ever the anti-hero, we wait with baited breath for his return to Camp Blood.
So what did you think? Did your favorite franchise make the cut? Let us know what horror movie franchise makes your list.
Until next time, stay spooky.