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The 10 Greatest Horror FIlm Franchises of All Time

Horror franchises, like their villains, never die. This is an undeniable fact. This year alone, we have had entries, of various degrees of quality and success, to The Ring, The Conjuring/ Annabelle, Alien, Chucky, and more. This past Friday marked the return of one of the most profitable, popular, and bloody of them all: Saw, in the form Jigsaw (which has done good at the box office!).

As such, now is the perfect time to ask and answer, which are the very best horror film franchises ever. I have taken into account, the quality of each series and the films there in. The better the movies and the higher amount of actually good films contained therein, the higher the ranking. Longevity, success, and influence are also weighed in. So, sit back and enjoy, and who knows, maybe you will wanna binge on some of these after reading this (it is Halloween on Tues, so now would be the perfect time!).

But first, here are some honorable mentions, in no particular order:
I Spit on Your Grave
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
The Slumber Party Massacre

10. Final Destination- One of the most outright fun horror franchises ever made, the Final Destination movies are gleefully gory and imaginative in their creative kills. They don't always have the best characters, and not even the best film (that would be the first one, of course) in the series is great. But, none of the movies are bad. And, that is certainly more than I can say for most of the franchises here.

9. The Conjuring- The youngest franchise on this list, The Conjuring Universe is made up of two connected series: The Conjuring, itself, and its spin-off series, Annabelle. While, both Conjuring films are excellent, with the first one being one of the finest ghost films ever, the first Annabelle movie is a load of fucking shit. Thankfully, its sequel, Annabelle: Creation, released earlier this year, is a solid film.

8. Friday the 13th- The franchise with the most entries on this list, Friday the 13th, for better or worse, was synonymous with the genre in the 80s. The original remains one of the finest slasher movies ever made and a prime example of quality 80's horror. It's sequels, crossover, and remake range in quality from the solid (Friday the 13th part VI: Jason Lives and Freddy Vs. Jason) to a piece of cinematic excrement (Friday the 13th part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan). But, the majority of it is dumb fun, filled with some cool kills and hot, and many times naked, babes. And, for anyone who grew up in its era, is one that surely played a big part in their lives as horror fans.

7. Alien- The Alien franchise starts off amazingly with its first two entries. The original is a classic, but then along comes Aliens, the rare superior sequel and even rarer perfect movie, and blows it away! Perhaps the bar was set too high by these two movies, since the franchise could never reach those levels again. It's movies, which also included a semi-prequel, a sequel to that semi-prequel, and two crossover movies, range from the dumb and entertaining: AVPR, to the barely mediocre, mostly shitty: Alien Covenant and Alien 3.

6. Halloween- Perhaps the franchise with the most wildly all over the place continuity, this long, running series has, one sequel that has nothing to do with anything else before or after (Halloween III: Season of the Witch), as well as a remake and it's own sequel. A new sequel has been promised (threatened?), which will ignore everything expect the first one! The original, itself, is a masterpiece of horror and fear, a scary and extremely influential piece of genre cinema. It is arguably John Carpenter's best film. The following movies have ranged in quality from great, like the Rob Zombie remake, which at least attempted something new instead going through the same old motions, to the piss poor: Halloween: Resurrection. That movie is one of the absolute fucking worst entries in a major horror franchise ever! While most comparable to the Friday the 13th movies, I have gone on to appreciate the attempt of these movies at being more serious, especially in the stronger sequels. 

5. A Nightmare on Elm Street- The best of the big three slasher franchise, ANOES always had the advantage over Halloween and Friday the 13th because of characters. Freddy is an innately more interesting villain than Michael or Jason because, he has a personality. The other characters are usually fleshed out better, too, with more of an attempt at making them likable than the cardboard knife fodder of its competition. The series was extremely successful, enough so that it made New Line Cinema (AKA the House that Freddy built!). The first movie might very well be the greatest slasher movie ever. Aside from the sequels, it also had a crossover with Jason and a less than desirable remake. The quality of the movies that followed the first one range from one of the greatest horror sequels ever made (Dream Warriors) to one of the most imaginative meta-horror movies (A New Nightmare) to one of the biggest balls of fucking shit ever (Freddy's Dead).

4. Romero's Living Dead Films- I have to be honest, if not for the last two movies, this franchise would be number one. Sadly, those bring down the franchise to this position. That being said, the first three movies (Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, Day of the Dead) are perfect. The fourth movie, Land of the Dead, is not on that level, but it still an excellent movie, one of the finest of its kind. That movie was a great way to end the franchise. Sadly, Romero decided to reboot it with the godawful Diary of the Dead. I hated that  movie, and must admit to never bothering with Survival of the Dead. Regardless, of the later entries, this series has three, possibly four, legitimate classics in its series. Most franchises are lucky if they have one, let alone two, legitimate classic films in its roster.  Also, it should be mentioned that at the best of these films, they are smart and profound (not words I associate with most horror franchises), and the gore is fucking phenomenal putting to shame most of the movies splatter content on here.

3. Saw- Perhaps the bloodiest big studio horror franchise, the Saw movies is one of only four film series on this list where I like, to some degree or another, all the entries. I love the plot and writing, and the honest-to-god attempt, and success there of, of keeping continuity. They took the care that Friday the 13th admit ably didn't seem to give a flying fuck about. The acting was also mostly, if not always, solid. The best sequel, the incredibly awesome Saw II, is my personal favorite entry, though, technically speaking the first movie is the best in the series. Yet, even its weakest entry, Saw IV, is still a pretty decent movie, which more than I can say about most of the worst of the aforementioned movies. Even more awesome, the latest film, the damn good Jigsaw, continues the story, and is not a motherfucking remake.

2. Evil Dead- Like Alien, the first two movies are masterpieces. Also, like Alien, its second installment tops its first. Though, the range of just how much better Evil Dead 2 is better than Evil Dead is much smaller than how much Aliens blows away Alien. Anyway, its next installment, Army of Darkness is easily the weakest in the franchise, but it has a huge amount of love, especially among more mainstream fans. That being said, it is still an very fun movie, one that easily tops the worst entry in most, if not all of the aforementioned movies. The remake easily tops it, though, and is one of the best modern remakes around, as well, as one of the bloodiest big, studio horror movies, ever!

1. Chucky- Coming to this conclusion took a lot of thought, on my behalf. But, for as many years as this series has gone on, it is amazing that it is still this damn good, and that it always was. It is the only major slasher franchise, and one of the few overall franchises, where I like every film. Even its weakest movie, Seed of Chucky, is still a very interesting movie, something that cannot be said about the worst stalk and slash sequels. It also, always cared for continuity and had continuously returning characters and actors. Plus, its creator, Don Mancini has been involved with every single movie, and still  is. Other than Evil Dead and the Living Dead films, none of the other franchises can attest to that. The finest movie is the great first film (the classic Child's Play), but its best sequel the fun, wild, and stylish Bride of Chucky is one of the most easy to love slasher sequels ever. Plus, it managed to add a female counter part villain to its lead villain in the form of Tiffany. She is embodied by, what a body it is is(!), and voiced by the gorgeous Jennifer Tilly. No other slasher series can admit to that. The fact that the latest movie, the fucking solid Cult of Chucky, still adds new twists and intrigue (and, even ups the gore!!!) is a testament to the greatness of these movies. And, so it is without question in my mind that Chucky is the king of horror franchises!

What do you think is/ are the best horror franchises? Do you agree with my choice as Chucky as king? Comment below and discuss!


Anonymous said...

Universal monsters? Frankenstein, Dracula, Wolf Man, Mummy ... not too shabby a franchise.