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9 Horror Franchises That Should Be Turned into TV Shows

The film and television industry loves dipping back into previous intellectual properties. And though it’s sometimes depressing, it’s also understandable. If a recognizable name or character has the potential to bring in a larger audience than an original concept, they’re going to try it.

With the explosion of long-form content on TV and streaming outlets, it makes sense that they’d also try to milk those concepts for all they’re worth by turning them into series. It’s not a totally new phenomenon, but the frequency has increased in recent years.

The movies chosen to turn into TV series fall into a few categories: Good or Great (Hannibal, Ash vs. Evil Dead, The Exorcist, Bates Motel, Wolf Creek); Fine (The Dead Zone, From Dusk Till Dawn, Scream); Bad (Damien); Series’ Which Never Had a Chance (Tremors: the Series, Blade: the Series, The Crow: Stairway to Heaven); and Series’ That Are Barely Connected to Their Source Material (Friday the 13th: the Series, Freddy’s Nightmares).

With already announced series’ for The Mist, The Lost Boys, American Gods, and Tremors (again) on their way, perhaps there’s room in the television landscape for a few other horror franchises to become TV’s next big hit. And we’ve got some ideas about that…


Hellraiser

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Frankly, I’m surprised this hasn’t happened already. With a deep mythology that runs back centuries, an established presence in the distant future and the 1700s France, and a whole gaggle of visually stunning and disturbing Cenobites just waiting in the wings for their moment to shine, this series has the potential to connect with fans who love the over-the-top weirdness of American Horror Story and the intricate world-building of Game of Thrones. Given that the series has been direct-to-video since the fifth installment, it already feels at home on the small screen.


George A. Romero’s ‘Living Dead’ Series

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Though there is an overall sense of zombie fatigue, not to mention the fact that series’ like The Walking Dead and Z Nation have picked clean the bones of what Romero began decades ago, it’s still compelling to consider what kind of intriguing social commentary he could find if given a decent television budget and the hands-off approach of a network like Starz. He could go in a couple of directions, either continuing the anthology-esque nature of the series and having standalone episodes that all take place in the same universe, or he could start to weave together narratives he’s been creating for forty years. Either way, it would be a fitting conclusion to the modern zombie phenomenon to give the man who reinvigorated it the opportunity to finish telling his story.


Saw

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Even though another installment of this film is on its way, this is a series that has always begged for the opportunity to stretch its narrative legs. Juggling the personal story of Jigsaw (and his disciples), the people in the traps (and their families or significant others), and the police and FBI, every entry in the series is stuffed with plot machinations. The way the series was produced (with a new film coming out every year at the same time for seven years straight) already operated like a miniature television studio, and the stories would benefit from having a writer’s room to brainstorm all the traps and last-act plot twists.


Resident Evil/Underworld

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These wouldn’t be combined into a single show, but they’re grouped here because they have something in common: they would make fun horror-action series’ on Syfy. The network, known primarily for cheesy movies and the occasional brilliant show like Battlestar Galactica and The Expanse, has always gravitated towards action-driven series’ that were out there, but not TOO out there: 12 Monkeys, Dark Matter, Killjoys, Van Helsing. The tone and pacing of movie series’ like Resident Evil and Underworld fit the mold perfectly, with solid genre trappings and just enough silliness and absurdity to appeal to the demographic.


The Purge

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No film universe with the expansive and complex background of The Purge should be limited to only taking place for a few hours during one night a year. If the world of The Purge were expanded into a continuing series, the audience would be allowed to see the inner workings of life outside the annual Purge; the political and financial divide, the quiet resentments building up over a year, the psychopaths gleefully counting down the days until the next Purge. And who would know better about whether or not the movies would work in this format than James DeMonaco, the creator of the films, who already considered making it a series. We’re getting a fourth installment of the movie franchise, but there may be a TV show here yet.


The Conjuring

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This film series is the most perfectly constructed concept to turn into a TV series: husband and wife supernatural investigators struggle to live a normal, happy life with their family while simultaneously battling demons in the cases they find. It already has the built-in “case of the week” element, and a great gimmick in the “based on a true story” angle. And when the story has the room to breathe that television allows, it will give the creators more time to explore the family dynamic and perhaps start to create a larger mythology for the demon creatures that seem to have targeted Lorraine and Ed. The only downside: television might not be able to afford both Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson every week, and I can’t imagine what two other actors they could find that would embody them so wonderfully.


Re-Animator

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Making a successful, sustained horror series is hard enough; adding comedy is even more challenging. No one tried it in earnest for a long time, but then Ash vs. Evil Dead came along and shattered all expectations for serialized horror-comedy on television. Now that the way has been paved, it’s time for Herbert West to get his due. The series could either pick up where the films left off, with Herbert West out of prison and experimenting in secret; or it could totally reboot the story. Starz has Ash vs. Evil Dead, IFC has Stan against Evil; Epix, what are you up to?


V/H/S

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Many people say that Black Mirror has already taken the mantle of “the modern Twilight Zone.” While that is partly true, one aspect of Black Mirror that is different from The Twilight Zone is its origins: while Black Mirror is brilliant dark satire, it has a specifically British sensibility. The Twilight Zone was as distinctly American as its creator/host Rod Serling, and much of the commentary of the series was filtered through that lens. All three entries of V/H/S touch on uniquely American perspectives in their entries, giving the found footage and anthology subgenres a geographical specificity; getting a weekly half-hour of segments of varying length, style, and plot (but all still in the “captured footage” arena) might lead to another great renaissance in television anthology storytelling.

Which of these would you love to see? And can you think of any others?



COMMENTS

51 Comments
  • Colonel Ives

    never crossed my mind but VHS should be a thing. and even if some episodes aren’t great (like most of the shorts within the series) it would be good fun to invite some friends over and have a viewing. maybe have some BLOODY Mary’s ha. and would be an outlet for indie or upcoming directors and producers. or debuts

  • A2VL

    Re-Animator would actually be brilliant as a show. I could easily see it happening.

  • Blood Boil

    Hellraiser would be great but on the right network and in the right hands; like mentioned above, it has a great mythology, especially after reading the Scarlet Gospels there are plenty of directions it could go…but please, no more zombie anything, I can’t handle anymore, that dead horse has been beaten into glue.

    • Wil McMullen

      I’ve been meaning to read Scarlet Gospels. All the reviews I read didnt make it sound too good. I think i may bite the bullet and read it now.

  • CB Punk

    Phantasm.

    • ShadowInc

      That was my first thought.

  • Grimphantom

    The Thing- I think it can work well where we see how 10 people are normal till later episodes show how paranoid everyone are not knowing that the person who’s along with them is an alien that wants to eat and imitate you. This could be a continuation of the movie or completely different.

    The Howling- Borrowing stuff from the first movie of how werewolf try to co-exist with humans but they can’t and start killing showing them as serial killers at first but the people realize there’s more to them,

    They Live- On what’s happening in today’s world nowadays i think a series to another John Carpenter’s classic would be nice to see.

    Fright Night- The movie has alot of influence on the classic horror tv shows with an iconic host i think a series would fit well with Fright Night.

    • Necro

      Good point about ‘Fright Night’

    • Wil McMullen

      I would tune in for just about all the shows u mentioned. Ecspecially ‘They Live.’

    • Randy Moses

      I was thinking “They Live.”

  • Travis_Bickle

    NOTLD does not need to be made into a TV show because we already have a half a dozen crappy zombie shows. You really can’t do alot with a Purge tv show.

  • Hell Raiser definitely. It’s the only way to save the series at this point. Re Animator would also be good. The rest, absolutely not.

  • The world doesn’t need another zombie TV show (aka Resident Evil).

    • Corey

      If they followed the story line from the first three games and their spinoffs it might be entertaining. I don’t understand why the current films turned into super hero movies.

      • Bart Crowe

        Give me the Las Plagas from 4 those things were neat looking and different than your run of the mill zombie.

    • sailor monsoon

      The world needs a good zombie show

  • Rohan

    ReAnimator would be fucking fantastic, and I would love to see Hellraiser but there is no way in hell thats gonna happen.

  • Wil McMullen

    Re-Animator…. Yes!
    Resident Evil…. I could see that might work.
    Underworld…. Maybe.
    V/H/S…. Im not too sure about that one.
    George Remero’s Dead Series…. Naw, we already have The Walking Dead.
    Hellraiser…. Hell no! I can’t see that bring stretched out for a season.

    I think Hellboy might make a good series though (shit, seems we wont be getting a 3rd installment so i can’t see why not).

    • WALKTER

      Read the Hellraiser comics dude, they’re badass. They were a collection of short stories overseen by Barker, they would make a pretty narly anthology series.

      • Wil McMullen

        I definitely will check those out. Thanks for that! Ive always been interested in that whole mythos (not so much the sequels beyond Bloodline though).

        • WALKTER

          Yeah, alot of the movies were pretty shitty, the comics were great. I can’t remember who published them, I think they were made in the 80s or 90s though.

  • Prince Of Darkness

    How about “Stephen King Theater” on FX or cable where each 13 ep season covers an entire King novel. IT would have been good fit for that instead of a 4 hour, 2 part movie.

    • Corey

      That would be cool, just don’t let Ryan Murphy or anyone from AHS do it.

    • Darkhearst

      There’s something like that in the works, actually. I think it’s gonna take place in Castle Rock or something. I forget what platform is making it, but JJ Abrams is involved.

  • Fester B. Gone

    I’d like to see The Purge done in the style of 24. Re-animator could work as well to see how Herbert West came to be.

    • oh_riginal

      I like this and also the idea mentioned in the editorial. I wouldn’t be against a mash up of these two ideas. Maybe have half a season be the year-long build up, with grudges made, enemies playing nice, etc. Then have the second half be the 24-style story of the Purge itself.

      But maybe the two styles wouldn’t mesh well together. I don’t know.

      An alternate idea would be to do both across the entire season, in a style similar to Lost, with the main narrative taking place 24-style, with flashbacks telling what happened since the last Purge.

      • Fester B. Gone

        I hate Flashbacks though, i think it is sloppy storytelling.

        • oh_riginal

          If done right they can work, but yes, they are more often a crutch.

  • WALKTER

    Hellraiser and Re-animator sound alright, the comics they made based on those IPs were awesome, and could adapt well into a show of some sort. Maybe a anthology series similar to Tales from the Crypt, or a more long form anthology series like true detective, provided they aren’t anything like American Horror Story, that show blows goats.

  • DigitalBeach

    Hellraiser/Night Breed series could be great. Re-Animator could also be great.

  • The One and Only

    FRIGHT NIGHT-Now Comics ! right after retelling the original flick’s story in an ongoing, went on to tell the further adventures of Charlie Brewster and Peter Vincent after their battle with Jerry Dandridge. Other vamps, brain eating bats from space, and the return of Evil Ed showed up to do battle with our two heroes. FRIGHT NIGHT always seemed to be perfect for weekly television looking back at it.

  • ShadowInc

    From those mentioned, I think REANIMATOR, or HELLRAISER could “potentially” make for a cool series. However, I would hate to see them neutered on network tv. HBO could probably handle it though.

    THEY LIVE, or PHANTASM would be my go to picks.

    • Corey

      Depends on what network. FX is basically HBO at this point. Taboo was every bit as violent and graphic as HBO. All it was missing was full frontal nudity. It really would not surprise me if by 2020 their shows have uncensored nudity.

    • Judge Satchmo

      I’m with you on They Live. That could be amazing.

    • uriah369

      Definitely They Live, love that movie sooooo much, would make a great series. RIP Rowdy Roddy Piper, we miss you.

  • Steven Miranda Miranda

    Hellraiser has so much potential to be a diverse and haunting series that can be different with each episode if given a series. Each episode can take place in any city or country in a variety of different time periods with the lament configuration being the pandoras box to each characters own hell. Or the series can follow a core of characters and focus on their legacy and branch out on their journey through the vast mystery of hell that fans never got to see because none of the movies never really got passed Pinhead and shown us what else lies in hell. To me there is so much that can go into a series with creative writers that really want to create and explore their imaginations and interpretations of hell and demons, in my opinion its the long awaited justice this franchise needs for the original 2 movies.

  • Bart Crowe

    I always thought a proper series based on Friday the 13th could work. Not good movies but Jason goes to Hell and Jason X hint at a world that knows of Jason Vorhees existence. It could revolve around the government wanting to study what makes Jason nearly invulnerable and/or use Jason Vorhees as a biological weapon.

    • Meisha’s Taint

      They can’t even settle on a movie once every 10 years. TV show might be a long shot.

      FRIDAY THE 13TH IS DEAD. Execs killed it it’s been to long

  • Corey

    I never understood why the Vampire girl from VHS looks like here forehead is splitting open.

    • Bart Crowe

      I assume they were inspired by Del Toro’s Blade 2.

      • CR

        I always got the feeling that she was a Succubus versus a vampire. But it seems that most sources say she’s a vampire…

    • Meisha’s Taint

      It means she’s clearly not human. This ain’t no crack whore, she’s other worldly

  • jurgmandr

    Hellraiser or Reanimator could be amazing tv shows in the right hands. Underworld could be a lot of fun like the Magicians is right now. Another fun one could be another Dracula series. Am I the only one who actually enjoyed that show on NBC?

  • diapers

    No series for any of these. That is all. -1 for mentioning VHS.

  • Judge Satchmo

    I’d be interested, though wary, of a re-animator or Hellraiser series. However the others I strongly disagree with. I love zombies, I always have, but the idea of another plodding zombie series that is in no hurry to go nowhere makes me throw up in my mouth.

    And before I’m assaulted by the legion of Walking dead fans, just know, I have no quarrel with you, you like what you like. I loved the first season. Then it slowed way down, and started running in circles for 9 of its 13 episodes. It’s just not for me. I’m more of a Ash vs Evil dead guy. Each episode drives the series forward, and the pace is quick and engaging.

  • CR

    Aside from the first Resident Evil, the only thing that made the movies watchable was the special effects and explosive action. I don’t think it would be possible to emulate that in a cheesy SyFy show.

    • Meisha’s Taint

      I couldn’t make it through a single movie. I can’t imagine a full TV series

  • Meisha’s Taint

    Reanimator is the only good idea here but could totally work. It could be a blend of medical drama shows and a cop show on the other end trying to catch him and follow the clues. Those are the two most popular type of shows now sprinkle some blood and guts and severed heads in the mix and you got a recipe for success.

  • DucksonAPlain

    I’d love to see a Hellraiser or V/H/S anthology series, or a Re-Animator TV Show, but everything else on this list, not so much. Especially not a Resident Evil series based on those movies. Please, let that shit die.

  • Carlton Fisher

    I could see Hellraiser making a great series if it didn’t get a ton of second-guessing and Standards & Practices interference. It would have to be for a streaming network of cable/pay-TV. I just can’t see the concept working on network/broadcast TV.

    Do the first season as a backstory set-up establishing the rules of the Lament Configuration and some of the key moments from its past for the non-initiated, then season two starts with a retelling the original movie but moves into the comic story where Kirsty Cotton becomes the Queen of Hell. Have Pinhead be present in the series, but not so central–more like a recurring character who falls in and out of power.

  • Khy

    No Final Destination?

this week in horror

This Week in Horror - August 7, 2017

The hard copy of Friday the 13th: The Game is coming, Sarah Paulson joins M. Night Shyamalan's Glass, and Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark gets a re-release with the original art.

Posted by Bloody Disgusting on Monday, August 7, 2017
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