Top Ten List – Horror Franchises

Here is another top ten list of mine. For this top ten list, I am tackling the tricky subject of horror franchises. Of course, if you are doing horror franchises, you need to have some hard rules to go by. I am taking the easy road and basically saying that my top ten horror franchise list will only include horror franchises with a minimum of three movies. That is it. This still narrows the field down quite a bit and leaves us with some solid horror franchises.

Sleepaway Camp#10 – Sleepaway Camp
Probably a little controversial being included in the top ten list here, but if you have not checked this full series out, you should. This series is way more than just the original Sleepaway Camp film. While that film was very good, the subsequent sequels are just campy fun. Angela was in rare form. These are films that could have only been made in the 80s. Case in point is that Return to Sleepaway Camp is an absolutely woeful movie. It is horrible. The characters are boring. The roles are over the top. The dialogue is ridiculous. My rating of the Sleepaway Camp franchise is based solely on the other films. I just pretend that Return to Sleepaway Camp never happened.

Phantasm#9 – Phantasm
I know that there are the die-hard Tall Man fans that love this series. I am one of them. I never understood why people do not like these movies. Some of the acting can get a little questionable, but outside of that, the Tall Man is an incredible character and the movies are just fun. Okay, some of the later movies get a little wacky, but it still is the Angus Scrimm and he rules. All I have to say to you if you hate these movies is … Boyyyyyyyyy!

The Exorcist#8 – The Exorcist
The image to the left should be enough to make you soil your trousers if you grew up on the original masterpiece that is The Exorcist. It probably seems weird that The Exorcist is my favorite film of all time yet The Exorcist franchise comes in so low. I am not a fan of The Exorcist 2. It was not horrible, but not special either. The Exorcist 3 is a great movie though. This series definitely belongs in this list.

Psycho#7 – Psycho
I honestly cannot believe that poor Norman Bates falls so low on this list. First off, the original Psycho is a massive suspense ride. Psycho 2 is another fun movie. Norman is absolutely classic. His lines are delivered superbly by Anthony Perkins. It was as if Perkins was born to play Norman. The rest of the Psycho franchise is just good fun. I would say that the only thing missing from these films would be inventive kills. If it had them, it would be right up there at the top for me.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre#6 – The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
The original The Texas Chainsaw Massacre if an absolute classic movie with so many iconic scenes and characters. Just think of Leatherface slamming the door or the ordeal with the hitchhiker. For the record, there is no way in hell that I would have ever picked that freak up. The sequel introduced us to Chop Top, played by Bill Moseley. That is another great character. The rest of the films has some merits as well. If you want to include the remake and its sequel, then the series even becomes stronger.

Saw#5 – Saw
The Saw franchise comes in here. The strange thing about the Saw franchise is that, based on my rating on the Horror Podcast, this should be my favorite franchise. Yes, the movies are that solid. I know that it is popular to hate on this franchise, but I am not sure why anyone would want to. The original Saw filmed is an absolute classic. Jigsaw is just a great character. The sequels are strong in the own right as well. Even the weakest movie in the Saw franchise is better than 90% of the horror movies releases that see the light of day every single year.

Dawn of the Dead#4 – Romero’s Dead Series
For the record, Dawn of the Dead is my second favorite movie of all time. Day of the Dead is not very far behind either. Night of the Living Dead is easily in my top 50 horror movie list too. Yes, I am also a fan of Land of the Dead, Diary of the Dead and even (wait for it) Survival of the Dead. George A. Romero just knows how to get it done. His fictitious zombie world is amazing and he had a way to write a story that makes you feel like you belong in the movie. You start to think what you would do being in the same situation.

A Nightmare on Elm Street#3 – A Nightmare on Elm Street
I have said it before and I will say it again. Freddy Krueger is one of the most intriguing characters in any horror movie ever. You are talking about someone with the ultimate power. Everyone falls asleep. There is no way around it. The strengths of the Nightmare franchise are the original, Dream Warriors and A New Nightmare.  No, I am not a Wes Craven cheerleader, but face it, those three films are awesome. I could do without some of the really bad jokes though. Whatever you do, don’t fall asleep.

Halloween#2 – Halloween
I go back and forth between the top two. For this list, it looks like Michael Myers comes in a close second. The Halloween series is just pure money. The original film gave me nightmares for far too long in my childhood. The sequels were all solid sans Resurrection (heck, I will even watch that one every once in a while). Halloween 2 is an amazing film. The Return of Michael Myers (Part 4) is a great film. It also introduced us to Danielle Harris. Part 5 was solid. While conventional thinking says that Part 6 stinks, I go ahead convention and say that Part 6 was a fine movie. If you have never seen Halloween 666, which is the Producer’s cut to Halloween 6, then you probably know what I am talking about. That was just a good movie. In my opinion, then made a mistake reshooting it.

Friday the 13th#1 – Friday the 13th
If you did not guess this by now, you should get your head examined. I cannot imagine a top ten Horror Franchise list without the Friday the 13th franchise. The films are cheesy and fun. The kills are over the top and amazing. They just knew what to do with the movies – script out the kills first, then write the actual script and dialogue. Jason Voorhees is a great character.

Honorable mentions go to the Jaws franchise for having one of the finest films ever made and an awesome sequel. I still cannot believe that I left this out and put Sleepaway Camp in here. More honorable mentions go to Return of the Living Dead. The original rocks and the sequels are fun. The Omen franchise deserves some love to. They are good films. Of course, I need to include Hellraiser in here. I am one of the few that actually likes most of the sequels. The other two nods go to the Final Destination series and the Alien franchise.

Let me know your thoughts on this list. I know that a lot of people will take exception to leaving out the Alien franchise among other franchises. Post your list or at least your favorite few horror franchises.

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  • Never been much of a Child’s Play fan myself. I so wanted to put the Underworld series in there, but thought that it may not have been horror enough. Jurassic Park is a good one. Never thought of them as horror, but might truly deserve a spot here anyway. I wanted to put Subspecies in here somewhere.

    Also, I just know that the REC series will have a very high place in this list in two years. I cannot wait for those films.

  • Child’s Play, REC (3 and 4 are being filmed now), Howling, Subspecies, Evil Dead, Underworld, Hellraiser, Hammer Frankenstein, Hammer Dracula, Universal Monsters, Jurassic Park, Terminator, Alien, Predator – you could go on and on and on. Of these, I’d be inclined to put Hellraiser (or Alien if it’s not TOO SciFi for ya) in there somewhere, but maybe not. Your list is solid.