As Halloween comes closer, horror fans and novices alike gather to binge the best horror movies for Halloween and their franchises. There’s something in the air around the month of October that makes the process of sitting down for a spooky horror movie franchise marathon rewarding. Given how expansive the horror genre is, there are a lot of franchises to choose from.
This list will include some of the most popular horror franchises of all time. Additionally, it will include a few that might not get the credit they deserve. No matter which one you choose, you can be sure that you’ll have a spooky good time binging any of these great horror movie franchises.
8) A Nightmare on Elm Street
Wes Craven is a singular voice in horror that arguably kicked off the slasher genre with Last House on the Left. He also nearly ended it two decades later with Scream. However, his most popular contribution to the horror genre is Nightmare on Elm Street. When the original film slashed its way into theaters in 1984, it was a breath of fresh air.
There was something so captivating about the childhood trauma, the perversion of dreams, and the sick sense of humor that Freddy Kruger embodied. The film quickly became one of the most popular horror movie franchises of all time. Since then, the series has evolved, spawning six sequels, one remake, and a crossover film where Kruger fights Friday the 13th’s Jason Vorhees.
Some of the best entries in the franchise include the original, A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors, and Wes Craven’s New Nightmare. Dream Warriors is considered by many to be the best in the franchise, with its unique fantasy elements and compelling setting. New Nightmare also shakes things up by introducing a meaner Freddy and a fun meta plot wherein Freddy haunts the set of a new Nightmare film.
7) Child’s Play
When it comes to killer dolls, there’s no doll more terrifying and iconic than Chucky. Don Mancini’s Child’s Play entered the cultural consciousness and terrified children everywhere in 1991. The film itself was a unique blend of the serial killer mythos that dominated the market in the ’90s, with the voodoo doll stories present in the early days of horror.
However, unlike other horror movie franchises, Child’s Play never ran out of steam. Boldly defying the notion that straight-to-video sequels are terrible, the Child’s Play series has been consistently putting out great sequels that match the quality of the original. There are currently seven films in the original series and a remake that came out in 2019. Some of the highlights include the original Bride of Chucky, Cult of Chucky, and the 2019 remake.
John Carpenter’s Halloween is known as the official beginning of the modern horror movie genre. It has since become one of the most successful horror movie franchises of all time. Halloween now has seven sequels and two different reboot series. The series was originally conceived as an anthology series that would focus on a different concept for each movie. However, Michael Myers proved to be such an instant success that the franchise focused solely on him.
Since the original film, iconic directors Rob Zombie and David Gordon Green have rebooted the series with their own unique touches. Indeed, there is a rich catalog of Halloween movies at your fingertips. Some of the best entries in the horror movie franchise include Halloween, Halloween III: Season of the Witch, Rob Zombie’s Halloween 2, and the 2018 Halloween.
5) Final Destination
Final Destination came out during the 2000s when slasher films were on the decline and horror took on a sleek, sexy teenage-oriented aesthetic. However, Final Destination offered something that departed from the standard horror movie franchises. The films deal out a series of Rube Goldbegian kill sequences that unfold with brutal efficiency.
The series is unique for their employment of a killer that was death manifested rather than a traditional killer. Final Destination now has five entries, each chock full of some of the most memorable kill sequences of all time.
4) The Slumber Party Massacre
The Slumber Party Massacre is the least famous entry among the horror movie franchises on this list. The film was originally written as a satire of the rampant sexism in the slasher genre. The studio retooled the movie to be a more straightforward slasher. The film was written by author and feminist activist Rita Mae Brown. Brown wanted to comment on the gratuitous male gaze and violence against women present in slashers. However, against her wishes, producers retooled the project to make a “serious” slasher.
The executives decided to hire Amy Holden Jones, who shot the movie as a standard slasher film. However, the satirical elements of the script remained in the movie. This created a unique series that is fascinating to watch. The blend of sly parody present in the script mixed with scenes that lumber through the tropes with no self-awareness makes The Slumber Party Massacre horror movie franchise a delight to behold.
The franchise is also notable as the first horror movie franchise entirely directed by women.
3) The Evil Dead
When The Evil Dead came onto the scene in 1981, director Sam Rami began a revolution of aspiring filmmakers looking to break into the horror movie world. The film featured a plethora of practical gore effects and innovative camera work that struck a chord with audiences. Indeed, The Evil Dead as a horror movie franchise is a staple of the independent film scene. It even went on to influence a new generation of filmmakers. Some of these filmmakers include Peter Jackson and Edgar Wright.
The series is consistently great, and horror fans place among the best comedy horror movie franchises of all time. It’s a joy to watch each installment, diving further into the humorous energy that defined the first film. Many consider Evil Dead 2 to be one of the greatest horror comedies of all time. Bursting at the seams with crazy cinematography and magnificently over-the-top performances, The Evil Dead franchise is a go-to cult classic for horror fans.
2) The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre showcases a desolate sliver of Texas that feels both prehistoric and post-apocalyptic. The film also features one of the grisliest killers in film history. It stands above other horror movie franchises as one of the best horror movies for Halloween. It is singular in its vision of claustrophobia and chainsaw-induced terror. The movie has since spawned nine installments. Some of the best entries include the iconic original, the demented Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, and the brutal 2003 reboot, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
1) Friday the 13th
Friday the 13th sets itself apart in that there are no specific entries that represent the best in horror movie franchises. However, the series is iconic and caused a lot of controversy on its release. The series has undergone every single iteration imaginable, from going to space to crossing over with Freddy Krueger. The film was a target in the ’80s, known detriment to social norm. Indeed, the movie single-handedly redefined what violent content could be shown in mainstream productions.
Among the best include the first Friday the 13th, which does not actually include Jason at all, and Friday the 13th Part III, which finally features Jason donning his iconic hockey mask. Whether you choose a great installment or a mediocre one, you will have a fun and campy time!