Some of the best horror movies of all time belong to a series of films within a franchise. Horror movies like Friday the 13th, Halloween, and Saw, continue to release sequels throughout the years that fans love and support (regardless of critics’ opinions). Though horror franchises like Leprechaun and Paranormal Activity have released some popular movies, many wouldn’t expect to find them in the top 10. But which horror franchises belong in the top 10, and how do they rank?
Friday the 13th
The film that taught us as teenagers that promiscuous sex could get you killed enters as No. 10 on the list. Aside from the over-the-top additions like Jason X and Jason Takes Manhattan, I was never a fan of this particular horror series. But its impact in the industry and our pop culture is undeniable. Ever since its debut, every Halloween you can expect to see a handful of people in hockey masks and jumpsuits. This film also helped lead the way for teen slasher movies.
If we’re going by the critics’ ratings, which we’re not, then this franchise is considered to have one of the best collections of horror movies. Very few of the movies in this horror franchise actually received bad reviews, and even the most recent additions like The Curse of Chucky were praised by audiences and critics alike.
The later sequels of Saw pale in comparison to the first two movies, but it still remains one of the most successful horror franchises of all time. It gave us a new baddie (Jigsaw), which the industry desperately needed at the time, and it’s the second highest-grossing horror franchise of all time (Alien is the top grossing). There is a total of eight movies in this franchise including the soon-to-be-released addition Saw: Legacy.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is one of the most popular horror movies of all time. From its horror-comedy sequel to the modern reboot, generations of horror fans continue to enjoy Leatherface and his twisted family.
Entering at No. 5 on the list is Phantasm. With five movies in this horror franchise (the fifth and supposed final being released in 2016), the Phantasm story has entertained fans for decades. This low-budget horror gem has a well-deserved cult following, and the late Angus Scrimm’s portrayal of the Tall Man is iconic in horror cinema. Rotten Tomatoes describes one of the best horror movies and franchises of all time.
“Phantasm: Remastered adds visual clarity to the first installment in one of horror’s most enduring—and endearingly idiosyncratic—franchises.”
Blending sci-fi with horror, Alien was one of the first horror movies to take place in outer space, and it’s as terrifying today as it was in 1979. Sigourney Weaver became a sci-fi and horror icon for her role as Ripley. The franchise has a collection of six movies including the highly-anticipated 2017 addition (Alien: Covenant), but not including the Predator and Alien series, and director Ridley Scott plans on making even more in the future.
Sam Raimi’s famed trilogy starring Bruce Campbell is not only one of the most popular horror franchises of all time, but it has become one of the most popular horror television series (Ash vs. Evil Dead). Unlike many horror reboots, even the 2013 remake is popular among critics and fans alike. And even more unique, all of the horror movies within this franchise received high marks.
What Wes Craven did for horror movies in the ’80s with A Nightmare on Elm Street, he did for the ’90s with Scream—he made the genre fresh again. Scream simultaneously pokes fun and pays homage to the horror genre, and fans love it for that reason. Horror directors are lucky if they make even one horror franchise, much less two; this feat makes Wes Craven one of the best horror filmmakers of all time.
Though this is my personal favorite horror franchise, why it comes in at No. 2 on the list and not the top spot will be revealed with the next movie. Halloween is one of the few horror flicks that garnered an R-rating that didn’t have blood, excessive nudity, and gore; it received the rating simply because of its intensity. When people think of horror baddies, three names usually come up first: Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees, and Michael Myers. John Carpenter’s masterpiece is considered one of the most iconic horror movies of all time, and the 11th installment (including the two remakes from Rob Zombie) will be released near Halloween of 2018.
A Nightmare on Elm Street
Wes Craven’s A Nightmare on Elm Street gave audiences the most popular horror baddie of all time, Freddy Krueger. With toys, appearances on TV shows like The Muppets, and its own series (Freddy’s Nightmares), Krueger has become entrenched in our pop culture. Just like Jason and Michael Myers, it’s nearly impossible not to see a few people dressed as the fedora-wearing killer during Halloween.
Robert Englund’s charisma, humor, and dedication to the Krueger character helped make Wes Craven’s A Nightmare on Elm Street one of the best horror movies of all time, and it’s the best horror franchise ever made.
[Featured Image by Dimension Films, Lionsgate Films, and New Line Cinema]