Sure, there were more horror franchises in the 1980s and early 1990s than you could shake a stick at, such as A Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th, Children of the Corn, Hellraiser and Halloween. Unfortunately, the current trend of horror films is remakes of older films, except for the Saw and Paranormal Activity franchises.
Here are 5 series of horror films to keep an eye on that have the potential to become long-standing franchises in the horror movie industry.
Hatchet Trilogy – Hatchet (2006), Hatchet II (2010), Hatchet III (2012)
Adam Green, who directed the first two films and served as producer on the third one, brought us this over-the-top and gory love letter to the slasher sub-genre. Appearances by horror genre favorites, such as Kane Hodder, Danielle Harris, Robert England and Tony Todd helped to distinguish this series from other similar films. Technically, the story of Victor Crowley came to an end in Hatchet III giving us a definitive ending, but I think it would be great to see such an iconic character find his way out of the swamp and terrorize the streets of New Orleans.
Malevolence and Bereavement – Malevolence (2003), Bereavement (2010)
Writer/ director Stevan Mena’s horrific saga about 6 year old Martin Bristol, who was kidnapped and forced to participate in killing, is definitely underrated and over-looked. Unlike most horror series, Bristol isn’t just a mindless serial killer, he is a product of his upbringing, which just so happens to be a psychotic murderer who kidnapped him. Malevolence, the first film, starts with Martin Bristol as an older man while the sequel Bereavement, is a prequel and shows him as a young boy learning to be what he becomes. There is supposed to be a third film if Stevan Mena has his way, as he has been quoted as saying his vision is a trilogy. I think, however, that there is great potential in this series becoming a franchise.
Laid to Rest Series – Laid to Rest (2009), ChromeSkull: Laid to Rest 2 (2011)
Writer/ director of both films, Robert Hall is primarily known for his special effects company, Almost Human. But then he created Chrome Skull. While the original film, Laid to Rest, was rough around the edges the exceptional gore and great antagonist made this one worth checking out. The sequel, ChromeSkull: Laid to Rest 2, added a mythology to the character of Chrome Skull and found a great way to bring him back after his apparent demise at the end of the first film. The conclusion of the second film leaves the door open for a sequel, and with an expanding mythology, great villain and overly violent, mean-spirited death scenes, there is great potential for a bunch of sequels.
Insidious Series – Insidious (2010), Insidious: Chapter 2 (2013)
James Wan and Leigh Whannell make a great writer/director combo, and with the Insidious films they have created a creepy universe and great characters to play around with. The first Insidious was actually pretty damn scary and the sequel was off-the-wall and insane, but in a fun ‘whats going to happen next’ kind of way. After The Conjuring, director James Wan, called it quits to the horror genre leaving Leigh Whannell control over the franchise. And thankfully for us, he has expressed his want to continue the series by making Insidious: Chapter 3, and unfortunately also Saw VIII. I would personally love to see more of “the Other”. Plus they’re already responsible for the start of another franchise together that spans 7 films…
The Woman in Black Series – The Woman in Black (2012), The Woman in Black: Angels of Death (2015)
Daniel Radcliffe, the actor mainly known for his portrayal of Harry Potter, put in a great performance in this period piece horror film that follows a young lawyer who travels to a remote village and discovers a vengeful ghost. Hammer Film’s CEO Simon Oakes recently said, “If your second’s successful, then your third, then you’ve got a franchise. I just don’t believe in the notion that you can press a button and create a franchise, but, I mean, I’m definitely planning 3 and 4.” So there you have it, the beginnings of a horror franchise. I am all for this as long as they keep up the amazingly dark atmosphere and tone that set the original apart from all the other ghost movies.
Other Notable Series – The Collector Series, Jeepers Creepers Series
So, are you looking forward to these, or any other, horror series becoming franchises? Let me know in the comments below.