The 5 Top Horror Franchises!!! - Bloody Disgusting!

The 5 Top Horror Franchises!!!

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Franchises. As much as we like our smaller, more artistic, horror films we keep returning to the well of the familiar. There’s nothing wrong with that really, time has shown us that there’s plenty of space for more unique horror films to thrive (and perhaps become franchises themselves) alongside the old profitable standbys.

But what makes a good franchise? A great first film helps, and a lot of these have GREAT first films. But that’s not all it takes. For a franchise’s legacy to endure it requires an unholy (and sometimes contradictory) mix of consistency, variety and history. It’s entirely possible to have a flat-out classic as your first film but then taper off into highly unremarkable territory.

Head inside to see how your favorite franchises stack up and to vote in our poll! Needless to say, my list is highly subjective and I welcome differing opinions. Also – please note I stuck to franchises with 5 or more entries (including remakes)!

5: THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE


Of course Tobe Hooper’s 1974 original is a classic, a truly beautiful film. And his 1986 sequel is a masterpiece of gonzo universe reinvention. But man are parts 3 and 4 abysmal. The 2003 remake was decent enough (though I didn’t care for its prequel) but there’s not a lot of the original franchise to left to chew on. Once you get to this year’s remake/sequel you’re seeing this series push up against its limitations (though I agree with one of my friends who asserts that 3D would have been a much better film if they’d had the conviction to drop the “modern day” angle and keep it in 1994 – which was clearly the original intention).

4: HALLOWEEN


This feels sort of nuts because it has bar none the best film out of any of the franchises that beat it. John Carpenter’s 1978 Halloween is without question one of the best horror films ever made, and certainly the best slasher. But, deep in my gut, I can’t muster much enthusiasm for this brand as a whole. Sure Halloween 2 is okay and Halloween III: Season Of The Witch is pretty great but the subsequent Michael Myers installments (I’m including the remake and its sequel in this assessment) just kind of all fade together. The 4th film is pretty good but it begins a slow bleed out and the way the mythology is expanded just doesn’t interest me. I’m not a fan of H20 or Resurrection at all and can’t relate to Rob Zombie’s take on the material either.

Perhaps the diminishing returns can be boiled down to one fact. The more you explain Michael Myers, the further you get away from the point of the original film – that evil simply is. Of course, I think we’d all welcome a visceral new installment that got back to basics.

3: CHILD’S PLAY


While none of the films in the Child’s Play franchise come close to hitting the highs of the original Halloween or Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Don Mancini’s enduring creation gets points for consistency. Even if you don’t like the direction taken by Bride Of Chucky or Seed Of Chucky, you still feel like they’re an (admittedly weird) extension of the original story. The newly released Curse Of Chucky also carries some surprises in that department. Like it or not, the Child’s Play films provide their villain with a complete journey – something that oddly satisfies me.

2: A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET


The same can be said for A Nightmare On Elm Street and its sequels. While the quality of the films (especially in terms of scares) begins to decline after Dream Warriors (hey, I like Freddy’s Revenge) they still present a complete arc for Freddy. On top of that, they’re not lazy about exploring the milieu of the dream world and the ability of Freddy and his victims within it. As horrible as Freddy’s Dead was, it was preceded by 5 movies that all felt like part of a larger story that really worked towards developing whatever ideas its universe offered. The first and third entries are legitimately great (with a case to be made for the second), and the creativity of the two subsequent disappointments actually earns the franchise points as a whole. Not even the aforementioned Freddy’s Dead or the widely hated 2010 remake can take that away.

1: FRIDAY THE 13TH


Perhaps the messiest franchise of them all, this one earns points for variety as well as its compelling history, legacy and cultural impact. I’d argue that Jason Voorhees became the most famous modern slasher through this franchise’s sheer force of will to survive (if not quality). Jason’s journey is much more fractured than Freddy’s or Chucky’s, but it still breaks down in an interesting manner. You’ve got a good first film in which he’s only alluded to (save for the end). Then Parts 2-4 form an interesting “living Jason” semi-trilogy that traces our antihero’s evolution from myth to actualized killer to dead special needs case. Then you’ve got your Tommy Jarvis trilogy (sharing part 4 with the semi-trilogy). The continuity between all of these films can be shoddy, but there’s at least a narrative thrust here that I can get behind. After that we get a variety of (almost) stand alone takes on the character that reward different camps within the overall fanbase, culminating with Jason X.

The series also gets points for unpredictability. It doesn’t suffer from the slow decline that most franchises do. While the original Friday The 13th might be the weakest first installment out of any of the series listed above, none of them had what was arguably their best moment six films in. Part 2 is great, The Final Chapter is even better and Jason Lives is (for me) the best. It also doesn’t hurt that the 2009 remake is handily better than the Chainsaw, Halloween or Elm Street remakes. Bonus? You can throw on an F13 movie any old time. People just don’t say that about Halloween: Resurrection or Freddy’s Dead.

But don’t take my word for it! Vote in our poll below! I’ve also included a few additional franchises to choose from (like The Howling and Hellraiser – IMO the quality of their sequels weighed them down. Evil Dead and Scream are great but didn’t have enough entries etc… so I put them in the poll instead).

  • anezka

    I disagree with Child’s Play in this list. I really like the first 3 films (and I’m very anxious about the new one), but, in my opinion, it does not have horror fuel enough to compete with the others mentioned, even when the sequels are bad. I would put Saw in the list, because of consistency. Without giving away any spoiler, I was revisiting the franchise a couple of weeks ago and I noticed some details in the second and third films that already hinted things we would only discover in the last film.

  • Sick_skwerl

    I had to vote ANOES.
    I can’t believe that Scream is voted number 4 so far. Don’t get me wrong, I think the first one is very clever, but I think the following three lose all of that satirical/meta charm. I can’t believe franchises like Hellraiser (sure, some of the recent ones should be thrown in a sack and drowned in a river, but 1 is great and the subsequent sequels weren’t always GOOD, they at least did interesting things with the series) and Evil Dead (Ash would kick Ghostface’s ass up and down Woodsboro).

    • Sick_skwerl

      *can’t believe hellraiser and evil dead are so low*, is what I meant. Not very eloquently though.

  • djblack1313

    Evan out of all the HALLOWEEN pictures you could have used you chose a Busta Rhymes pic from the abomination RESURRECTION?! LOL.

    for me it’s the F13 franchise even though i only like parts 1-5 and the reboot.

    • EvanDickson

      Haha I had to use that pic to make my point!

      • djblack1313

        Evan, oh! lol. πŸ™‚

  • ill_mindedd

    take off childs play, replace it with SCREAM.

  • Skull-And-Crossbones

    there’s so many great franchises out there that this list could easily be expanded to 20 or so

    scream, saw, tremors, paranormal activity (yes, i love the first 2, the 3rd was ok, haven’t seen the 4th yet), alien, from dusk till dawn, halloween, friday 13th, a nightmare on elm street, evil dead, wrong turn, final destination, the texas chainsaw massacre, the hannibal lecter movies, jaws (quality over quantity here), one could also include argento’s ‘three mothers trilogy’. plus the rest that were already mentioned that i didn’t include
    also, the children of the corn movies. i never sat through any of them from start to finish so i can’t really definitively say if i like any of them or not

  • doomas10

    Scream should be mentioned in the top five. Not only it is a colossal and critical success-ok exclude part 3 – it created a whole school and displayed original meta ideas. Child’s play on the other hand not so much. And just for the record, Rob Zombie’s take on Halloween rocks!

  • Beanis

    You forgot the classic Silent Night, Deadly Night series and remake. Ok, only the original is “good”, the rest are “naughty”. And the Leprechaun series is dumb fun too.

    I voted for NOES but I am a hardcore fan of all the franchises mentioned. Can’t wait for Curse of Chucky, I love that foul-mouthed little fucker πŸ˜‰

  • Optiluiz

    While I love the TCM, F13 and Halloween franchises to death, Evil Dead is, to me, the only one where all the movies have been amazing…

    • splatterhead4ever

      I wouldn’t call Army of Darkness amazing but I still voted for Evil Dead. The remake while flawed, is a million times better than most fourth entries or remakes on this list. The only one close for me is the TCM remake. If this was a poll about the strongest three movies of any franchise, I would take Hellraiser over Evil Dead. I also think that the Silent Night Deadly night sequels are arguably better than the Howling sequels. And the first three Sleepaway Camp movies are better than most of the sequels in this poll.

  • guttersnipesurfs

    On the merits of every film in the franchise, the Phantasm series should be on this list.

  • HalloweenVic

    1.HALLOWEEN. 2. FRIDAY THE 13th 3. SCREAM. 4. TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 5. NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET I do disagree that the F13 remake was better then Halloween’ s or TCM(2003) I think they were honestly good in their own ways all 3 definitely delivered unfortunately can’t say the same for nightmare on elm street (damm what happened their?!?) But I respect your opinion and I like your list as well obviously I’m without a doubt I’m a HALLOWEEN nerd I can honestly say I love all the film’s in the franchise including the remakes but that’s just me! Definitely agree with u on the previous f13 films!!

    • doomas10

      about the Halloween remakes, trust me, it is not only you! πŸ™‚

      • HalloweenVic

        Right? Especially Michael himself in the movie was pretty amazing still had his shadow, stalker vibe like in the original but also was ruthless and angry!! We need a Michael V.S. Jason TBH Hollywood make it happen 2015 release date please!!! πŸ˜›

  • Remember-Slithis

    Even though part four is dumber than Sharknado!Why not Jaws on the list.If Scream can be on there why not?

  • ThunderDragoon

    I love that you put Child’s Play on the list! I thought I was the only horror fan who has it in my top 5. Gotta say something now, though. You said: “You can throw on an F13 movie any old time. People just don’t say that about Halloween: Resurrection or Freddy’s Dead.”

    Not true. Jason Goes to Hell, which is the worst out of the 3. I rest my case.

    • doomas10

      I would even go and mention Jason takes over Manhanttan -it was “bloody” awful.

      • HalloweenVic

        I like Jason takes Manhattan to be honest in my own twisted mind πŸ™‚ but Jason goes to hell now that was just flat out ridiculous not to mention Jason was literally in the movie for about 15 minutes and the concept was just dumb!

  • christiandunks

    love them all but saw should be up there i think.

  • SonOfVoorhees

    Saw should be on the list.

    As for the Halloween remake, Michael was always pure evil. So would the remake have been better if his family life as a child was perfect? His family being loving and caring would have made Michaels evil persona better as he would have been born evil, not turned evil by an abusive and bad family.

  • Tomie Kawakami

    You should be using the word “reboot” when talking about franchises. You can only remake a film , not a franchise, but if that remake is a part of a franchise it’s a reboot by definition. Be more correct, you’re writing for a film site.

    Also, sorry, but all of these franchises are terrible and messy. Literally none of them are nowhere near “best”. Saw should definitely be on this list but the writer is clearly biased so…

  • mav07

    I understand your opinion that the more you explain Myers, the less scary he is but I have to disagree. Sure Loomis always said Michael was nothing more that “pure evil” BUT……that just doesn’t make sense from a realistic standpoint.

    With as much as we know NOW about the effects of mental illness’s such as schizophrenia, and even bullying at a young age, its more believable that Michael suffered from one or more of these. and in MY opinion, that is MUCH more scary because of that fact that senseless violence does and has happened as a result of these.

    Rob Zombie understood this and thats why his version was the way it was. and thats why I think it deserves a little more credit than people give it. He didn’t shy away from the reality of it. His kills were not “creative” but very brutal and real. I’m not saying it’s “better” than Carpenters, i’m just saying its more realistic for todays audiences.

  • Darkness69

    Perhaps just because I’m insanely in love with Freddy, I voted for NOES (despite of the dreadful remake)!

  • All these films had terrific first movies (with the exception of the wildly overrated “Friday the 13th”), however their sequels just SUCK. The only horror trilogy/franchise that didn’t either go downhill from the first or just consistently has put out great films is Evil Dead, and I don’t count the soporific re-boot. I would’ve said Scream considering Scream 2 was a great sequel but the last two films left a lot to be desired.

    • brvoorhees

      OMG, someone else who thinks Friday the 13th(the original) is totally overrated!
      That movie is totally “whatever”, lame characters with zero development, boring final girl and nothing special about the deaths. And the pacing is totally “off”.
      Weak screenplay and direction. Only the final moments are “ok”.

      • scottyvoorhees

        Bite your tongue. Some people don’t like it because Jason is only in it for a few seconds. But what an appearance he makes. Completely unforgettable. Nothing wrong with Mrs. Voorhees, nothing a few shots of thorozine wouldn’t cure. If not for the original, we’d have no sequels to praise.

  • splatterhead4ever

    What about some more obscure ones like Prom Night and Night of the Demons? Those sequels were pretty fun. Also the three Hatchet movies could probably go up against the first three movies of any of these franchises. Just thought of the Witchcraft series too. Loved those when I was a horny teenager. I probably wouldn’t get through a single one now.

    • thatenddown

      Another obscure series would be the Subspecies films.

  • LuJr81

    Great list! I’m personally a Michael Myers fan but I’m a huge fan of all the franchises you mentioned. The sad truth is none of these franchises are perfect I was gonna say the Evil Dead series(the original is one my all time favorite horror movies) but I just can’t stand Army of Darkness, I really don’t get why people suck that movies dick so much. Yeah Ash is still awesome but the movie is atrocious. But I’m ready for Michael Myers to return to the big screen. I also wouldn’t mind getting another Robert Englund Freddy movie but who knows. Curse of Chucky was ok but they need to reboot it and make it really dark with Brad Dourif as Chucky still of course. Just my 2 cents lol πŸ™‚

    • HalloweenVic

      Agree with you 100%!!!! And Michael really needs to return to the big screen again!!! I hate that it’s still delayed and on pause πŸ™

      • LuJr81

        I know right. I’m ready to see what another director can do with Michael Myers. Don’t get me wrong, I’m one of the few who loved Zombies Halloweens, Tyler Mane was just a badass I loved it. But it would be interesting to see what another director does with the franchise. Maybe Alex Aja(High Tension)? I think he could make a great Halloween film. Who do you think would be good to direct?

        • HalloweenVic

          I actually love the remakes to be honest and tyler mane honestly portrays the best Michael he is truly a bad ass he definitely knew how to play the role of Myers himself! And as a director for the next one it would be kind of interesting to see what Marcus Nispel could do with his own version of Halloween, I really liked what he did with Texas Chainsaw Massacre(2003) and Friday the 13th(2009) he seems to really understand the role of a sadistic killer but also the story behind them! He really knows what the fans want and I think he can definitely scare the shit out of us with his Halloween!!! Him or also Drew Goddard(Cabin in the woods)

          • LuJr81

            Those are some good choices. Especially Drew Goddard I think he could bring something fresh to the franchise like he did with Cabin in the Woods. While I did enjoy Marcus Nispel’s TCM, I thought the prequel(TCM:The beginning 2006) was a little better it was so brutal and I loved that almost all of them got hacked up by the chainsaw and Andrew does play I think the best Leatherface since Gunnar Hansen. Hey your cool man I like discussing with you. You really know your shit.

          • HalloweenVic

            Yea I really like the idea of Goddard bringing something new to the Halloween series… TCM(2006) was definitely more brutal then the remake I like them both equally they both deliver what the Texas chainsaw massacre is all about! Your pretty cool to talk too u definitely know your shit also lol.. love your avatar by the way!! And what would u think of John carpenter coming back and giving us one more Halloween film??

  • Zerotc2345

    my personal top 4 are Friday The 13th, Halloween, A Nightmare On Elm Street and Scream but i do essentially agree with this list. i do think Halloween should be a lot higher up but again my personal preference. i’m a fan of the later sequels of Michael and Jason especially since my first horror movies were Halloween 4 and Friday The 13th Part 6. definitely glad you added in SAW, Evil Dead, Scream, Hellraiser and many more to the poll

  • thatenddown

    I am very, very tempted to vote for the Howling series, if only for the fact of Howling II’s greatness. Yes — it is a stunningly awful film, but it is entertaining in its awfulness. Come on, it stars Reb Brown! How can you go wrong?

    A question for everyone: what are the feelings towards New Nightmare?

  • AndrewSoukup24

    5.Texas Chainsaw Massacre
    4.Saw
    3.Halloween (Not Including Rob Zombies Bullshit)
    2.Nightmare On Elm Street
    1.Friday The 13th

  • macguffin54

    Halloween should be higher (despite the remake, which was trash, in every sense of the word), based on the first, fourth, second and, hell, even fifth-I have always thought that was the worst out of all of the movies but after 20 years I think I am beginning to see what they were TRYING to do, though failed at. I even liked, though with serious reservations, H2, which worked hard at correcting most of the remakes mistakes, while making new ones; F13 should be lower; Chucky should not be on the list; and, the Living Dead series should at least be in contention (though I only liked the first 3).

  • Anthony Fracassi

    SPOILERS -I have to give the Child’s Play series a little bit more credit after Curse of Chucky. The movie had a little Hitchcock flavor. Although they really screwed up the ending. SPOILERS – We see him taking over the body of a little girl, but then Andy shoots him in doll form. Actually I was confused by the entire continuity of the end. I think everything after the courtroom scene was just for kicks. Why didn’t they use the camera footage in court? Who knows? Good movie. Good franchise.

  • macguffin54

    And the Psycho series should be in contention, as well. Even though they got progressively less impressive, each of the first three ranged from solid to excellent. The fourth was bad and the remake is not worth mentioning. But most of these series only have 3 decent movies in their lineup, so that should not count against it.

  • i find it telling that no modern franchises made the list

  • Krug09

    My list.
    Freddy: concepts, killer having great personality, freddy fan base, can be scary, rich story, can be funny, great one liners, characters, special effects, cool kills.
    Jason: I think you hit the nail on the head for cultural impact because without the friday movies many things would have not have happened, cool kills, good characters, great setting, nice look to each jason.
    Halloween: Similar to Jason, Halloween is an important movie but less then friday was/is. Michael Myers is the shit, fan base.
    Chucky: Just like you said, the neatest of all the slashers, chucky is different because he is a doll but works because of great special effects, heart and brad dourif is awesome. Great personality.
    Leatherface: Only for the killer and impact. Movies are so so.

    Scream would almost be on the list because part 1 was good two had its moments, 4 was ok. Ghost Face and the concept is good and has impact… but yeah it did create a series of bad movie posters and trends for years so i cant put it on my personal list. on an official it would be 4 or 5.

    Worst franchises
    SAW: first movie was a piece of shit to begin with. The rest got worse.
    Exorcist. First movie is a masterpiece, Rest are useless shit that add NOTHING to the story. NOTHING. Even freddy jason hell even SCREAM had gotten something out of the sequels.
    Paranormal Activity: I am a huge fan but even i can admit that the first one wrapped things up well enough and even though the second and third were good they showed us nothing.
    Hellraiser. No need for a second film let alone 12…

  • Eyeless

    I dream of Freddy Krueger hand cut with a sword hahaaaaaaa

  • HorrorJ

    Disagree with Friday the 13th as number one. I’d put Nightmare on Elm Street up there instead. As much as I enjoyed the first one, I’m glad to see Paranormal Activity left off this list. Some part of me wants Hellraiser to be on here even though some of the movies are pretty terrible.

  • IconOfSin

    For me it’s Hellraiser. The 1st one stands as my favourite horror film & Hellbound is an amazing sequel. While many of the rest in the series ain’t great films Pinhead is a classic character. Hellraiser:Inferno is an under-rated & powerful entry. Following this it’s Friday the 13th then Lucio Fulci’s Gates of Hell trilogy. TCM,ANOES & Halloween have good entires I never got into them as a whole franchise.

  • CuChullain

    No love for the Romero Zombie movies or Return of the Living Dead series?