Horror’s Best Franchises

Good horror movies are not difficult to find. There are so many that grab you out of your seat and take you through a ride of terror, making you leave with that feeling of excitement and exhilaration. Good Horror franchises, on the other hand, are much more difficult to find because sustaining that level of terror and timing the jumps and screams is not nearly as easy to do as a writer or film maker. But there are some franchises worth your time. Here is my list of the top Horror franchises and for the sake of this article, there have to be more than two installments within the series.

  1. Stephen King (1976 – still going) – Yes, I’m listing Stephen King as his own franchise because whom else has contributed so much to the horror genre of films than he with the adaptations from his novels and stories. From the 1976 Carrie, directed by Brian De Palma to the new soon to be released Firestarter, King’s works have been a constant in the horror universe and the best horror franchise in existence.
  2. Halloween (1979 – 2022) – From the original with John Carpenter as writer and director, this monster was created and while there have been some extremely weak, Halloween original, and II, along with the most recent films in 2018 and 2021 with Halloween Kills were excellent. And in October this year, Halloween Ends will be out, directed by David Gordon Green who did Halloween 2018 and Halloween Kills. David Gordon Green, by the way, co-wrote on each of the newest films.
  3. Friday the 13th (1980-2009) – What an incredible franchise that encompasses movies, television series, comic books, video games and merchandising. This is one of those that has some really good installments but a lot of bad ones, too. Either way, Jason Vorhees is a legend in horror and you have to see some of these flicks.
  4. Nightmare on Elm Street (1980 – 2010) – Like Friday the 13th, this franchise is all over other platforms. The creator of this monster, Wes Craven, only wrote two of the installments – the original and Wes Craven’s New Nightmare in 1994. Freddie Krueger is one of the best horror villains ever created.
  5. Evil Dead (1981 – 2013) – Sam Raimi created a very good series here, with four feature films and rumor of the fifth to come this year, though we’ve been waiting on it since 2013. These are very good films but for sheer horror, I like the original and the remake from 2013.
  6. The Conjuring (2013 – 2021) – While there are only three “Conjuring” movies that carry that in the title, the Conjuring Universe has eight films including, Conjuring 1, 2, and 3, Annabelle, Annabelle Creation, The Nun, Annabelle Comes Home. James Wan was brilliant directing the Conjuring I and II and I’m hoping if there is a fourth that he will be back in the director’s chair.
  7. Saw (2004-2021) – James Wan co-wrote the first and third of this nine film series and the villain they created, serial killer John Kramer, otherwise known as Jigsaw, is one of the most notorious in horror/slasher/serial killer films. The last film, from 2021, did not have John Kramer as the villain but rather a “copycat” killer. Excellent series if you are into slasher-blood splatter movies.
  8. Insidious (2011 – 2018) – The original was written by, guess who, James Wan. It seems he has his hand all over the most successful horror movies of the last decade. Leigh Warnell, who also co-wrote the original Saw film with Wan, had a part in writing all four films in this franchise and is slated as the writer for the fifth.
  9. Paranormal Activity (2007-2021) – Based around various families who become haunted by the demon Asmodeus “Tobi” of the Book of Tobit, that stalks, terrifies and ultimately murders several members of the family and other bystanders during the course of the films. Oren Pel wrote and directed the first film, but served as producer on the rest of the series. You have to enjoy found footage films to get into this series but it can be scary as hell.
  10. Night of the Living Dead (1966-2009) – Originated by George Romero, it launches and is the grandfather of all of Zombie horror. George Romero was the screenwriter and director for all six of the movies tied in this series.

** I struggled not to put the Exorcist in here but the trth is, though the original and the third are probably two of the best horror movies made, the rest of the series fell way short. The same was true with Texas Chainsaw Massacre. While the first was very good, the rest of the series struggled, in partiuclar the most recent film.

One thought on “Horror’s Best Franchises

  1. I love almost everything on this list. Surprisingly I haven’t seen any Nightmare on Elm Street movies. But the rest I’ve seen most of and love them. Halloween and Friday the 13th would be my favorites though.

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