Horror movies are designed for Halloween. For whatever reason, this particular genre is known for long-running franchises. There are so many horror franchises that it’s difficult for newcomers to know which ones are worth watching. Let’s look at the best of them.
5. ‘Friday the 13th’
The Friday the 13th movies are unique since they have a fairly large place in popular culture despite the fact that not a single one of them has garnered critical acclaim. It’s hard not to see why. These films are much more interested in gore, titillation, and jump scares than they are in character development or suspense. They are by-the-numbers horror films; critics generally hate them but fans and audiences have embraced them as pure adrenaline rushes.
4. ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street’
By the time A Nightmare on Elm Street arrived on the scene, the slasher genre had gotten a touch formulaic. Wes Craven added some spice to them by adding a supernatural twist, as well as more humor than previous slasher films. Freddy Krueger is a deservedly iconic character, even if he has been in several bad movies. At the very least, this franchise features more creative visuals and special effects than just about any other horror franchise in history. Even the series’ lesser offerings are fun to look at.
3. ‘Child’s Play’
Child’s Play has a lot of the same DNA as the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise. Both center on an undead serial killer with a sense of humor. The Child’s Play franchise works a little better than Elm Street because it never stays in the same place for too long. The original film is a by-the-numbers slasher movie, but later films in the franchise embraced other genres like comedy, the murder mystery, and the Italian thriller genre known as giallo. In a genre that is often formulaic, the Child’s Play franchise earns points for it’s desire to remain fresh and surprise audiences with each new entry.
Halloween is one of the rare horror movie franchises that is very committed to continuity. What makes the franchise’s convoluted story work better than a lot of other horror series is that it reuses the same lead character – a relative rarity in horror. Audiences are able to latch onto the character of Laurie Strode and grow attached to her over the course of the series. The memorable music that John Carpenter composed for these movies also helps them to be more frightening than most. Michael Myers, the series’ villain, is downright terrifying as his motivations (mostly) remain mysterious.
1. ‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre’
The original Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a stone cold classic that captures sheer, raw terror better than just about any other movie. The subsequent films in the franchise often played up on the black humor in the original film and are horror comedies more than pure horror films. The bizarre sense of humor found in some of the franchises later entries make the series a lot more interesting than it probably should be. There is a reason why everyone from Quentin Tarantino to Rob Zombie is taking some inspiration from this series.
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