These Horror Movie Franchises Refuse to die!
If there’s one thing I’ve learned as a film critic, it’s that horror movies never die. There are some insanely long franchises out there, but that doesn’t mean quantity is the same as quality. In fact, looking over this list there are only a few film franchises out there that are longer than the ones on this list (looking at you James Bond). Now, just to be clear this is not a list of the BEST horror movie franchises, but just the ones that keep coming back to punish us over and over again. Seriously though, most of these series have way more terrible entries than good ones, but that’s neither here nor there. Because at the end of the day horror movies are incredibly bankable. They cost relatively little to make and people just keep throwing more and more money at them. Honestly, horror movie fans are seriously devoted. So, grab some popcorn and make sure the lights are on, because these movies, like their characters, refuses to stay dead.
10. Tie: Child’s Play (7 Films) and Leprechaun (7 Films)
For the first time on Stars & Popcorn, one of the Top 10 Lists has a tie! It seems oddly appropriate that it happens to feature two of the tiniest villains in the horror genre. It’s the Leprechaun vs Chucky in contention for the number 10 spot. Personally, I think both of these franchises should have been put out to pasture a long time ago, but I’ll probably be saying that about all of these entries at some point. However, when one of these franchises survives by sending its villain into space and “to the hood” it’s probably time to find some new blood… Figuratively of course.
9. Saw (8 Films)
This horror movie franchise is the face of torture porn. Sure, there might be more extreme movies out there, but should there really be a competition for that? I’ll admit that the series is disturbingly creative, but I guess that’s what you get when engineers go nuts. What I will say is that the biggest strength (and potential weakness) of the Saw films is that they have a very cohesive storyline. Each film somehow finds a way to tie into the previous ones as if it was all planned. Honestly, though, I’m pretty sure the pitch meetings for them are just people trying to out-gore each other. Hey, everyone needs to make a living.
8. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (8 Films)
Ah that old familiar sound of a chainsaw cranking up in the distance. Leatherface turned what was once a peaceful piece of gardening equipment into a horror icon. Of course, it’s not just the chainsaw. Only in Texas would you find a twisted family of cannibals who use faces as Halloween masks. True there is something a bit goofy about most of the members of the Sawyer clan (Matthew McConaughey had a hydraulic leg for crying out loud), but Leatherface is just as nightmarish as he was in 1974. Of course, he owes his ranking on this list to the recent reboot of the franchise over the past few years. Guess you can’t keep an old cannibal down.
7. Nightmare on Elm Street (9 Films)
Freddy Krueger refuses to stay down. After five movies in this horror franchise, it bold proclaimed that the sixth entry would be “The Final Nightmare.” That is until “The New Nightmare,” which is one of the most bizarre meta-horror films ever made where Krueger proceeds to enter “the real world” to terrorize the actors from the movies. Hell, Robert Englund makes an appearance as himself (he’s a super nice guy). But Krueger doesn’t stop there, he has cameos in a few other films before throwing down with his rival in Freddy vs Jason (a film I actually enjoyed a lot). Of course, like all great horror franchises, A Nightmare on Elm Street even got a terrible remake. Is he finally gone though? I wouldn’t put money on it.
6. Children of the Corn (10 Films)
10! 10 movies about creepy kids hanging out in a cornfield. How? The first one wasn’t even halfway decent. In fact, it was probably one of the worst Stephen King adaptations to hit the silver screen. Yet somehow it spawned not just a franchise, but a prolific one. I would ask how I was completely unaware of this, but with only two of them getting theatrical releases, I can find it in my heart to forgive myself. In fact, the most recent entry was released this year straight to video. As a former camp counselor, I can attest that kids can be really creepy, but I’m not sure if they’re horror movie material. In my experience, most just topple over when they get too excited.
5. Hellraiser (10 Films)
I have to be honest, I look forward to watching the first two installments of this horror franchise every Halloween. Clive Barker really proved to be a master of horror when he introduced his twisted sadomasochistic vision on the big screen. I would go so far as to say that this is probably one of the most acceptable forms of torture porn out there because it was torture porn with a purpose. After the first two though things went downhill fast. Just like Leperchercaun, Pinhead eventually found himself in space and as the old saying goes, “In space no one can hear you groan.” As far as horror movie franchises go, Pinhead had a pretty good run while it lasted.
4. Halloween (10 Films)
Halloween has had some ups and downs over the years. The first two were incredible entries in the slasher horror genre creating one of the most iconic killers the silver screen has ever seen. The third one… I don’t know what happened with that one. There is literally no mention of Michael Myers at all. It has nothing to do with the other entries in this horror movie franchise. Then the franchise slowly stumbled on, like a wounded teen trying to get away from the killer. However, I do love the fact that Busta Rhymes gets into a fistfight with Michael Myers at one point though. Though I feel like it kinda gave up at that point. That is until Rob Zombie swooped in to remake it.
3. Friday the 13th (12 Films)
Full disclosure, I love the Friday the 13th movies. Jason Voorhees is probably my favorite horror icon of all time. There’s just something about the big lumbering brute that I can relate to. Maybe it’s because he was mocked as a child and grew up to be a very large man too. Either way, he’s an unstoppable force of nature who has a really unique superpower. No matter how slowly he walks, he can always catch up to a running teenager. It’s uncanny! Of course, this horror movie franchise had it’s highs and lows. Mostly because it too decided to send the villain into space to kill teens in the future. I’m not sure how that trend got started, but let’s leave horror movies set in space to Ridley Scott from now on.
2. Puppet Master (12 Films, 1 in Production)
This blew my mind. I’ve seen the first Puppet Master. I was aware that there were a few more. But 12? That’s just crazy. I mean, Chucky had branding going on, but I can’t even name one of the killer puppets from the films. Plus I was really confused if they were good puppets or bad puppets or what. To top things off, the newest installment in this horror movie franchise is called Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich, which sounds disturbingly adorable. Honestly, I’m going to have to look into this more to see how the dolls went on to be Nazi killers. I’m not against it, especially in today’s political climate, but I’m still blown away that there is such a high demand for killer puppets.
1. The Amityville Horror (18 Films)
Nothing comes close to this horror movie franchise. While I was doing research for this list, I was shocked to see that there were 18 Amityville movies. Of course, I’ve seen the first one and I won’t speak ill of Ryan Reynolds (unless it’s Green Lantern), but looks through some of these titles it becomes pretty clear that studios were desperate to milk it for everything it was worth. There’s an Amityville Asylum, an Amityville Dollhouse, and even an Amityville Playhouse. I can’t make this stuff up. It’s so bad you can’t help but laugh. Did someone make a joke to a studio head without a sense of humor? How is this even possible? Well, however it came about, there is no question that this is definitely the horror movie franchise that should have been put out to pasture a long time ago.
Of course, there are plenty of other long-running horror movie franchises, like Final Destination,
, and much more. I never said these were the best, but I would love to hear what your favorite franchise is. So make sure that you leave me a comment below and share your thoughts.