Gremlins

There are so many great monster movies and creature features in the world of horror. Even when they’re bad, they can be good. They can be fun, entertaining, funny—sometimes even scary, depending on how well the monster is pulled off. Some of them, like Jaws, Alien, Godzilla and King Kong, have spawned iconic franchises. But most don’t get to do that.

Whether they’re true classics or cult classics, there are many monster movies that I think haven’t gotten the chance to blossom and become their own franchises, even if they have always had the potential to do so.

Some of these franchises could truly have been blockbusters and could have gone on to dominate the box office time and again. Some obviously wouldn’t have. They would have been very independent, DTV creature features, which are always great in their own way. In some cases, if a movie has a great monster but is kind of mediocre, it could actually be improved by a sequel.

With that in mind, here are some monster movies that never spawned franchises. Here, I’ll be ruling a franchise as something with more than one sequel. These never received the numerous sequels of other, sometimes less inventive properties, but they should have.

Rawhead Rex

While it’s not up to the level of the original short story, Rawhead Rex certainly has its fans. As Candyman and Hellraiser both spawned franchises, it would have been great to see a few low-budget follow ups to this story of a rubbery Celtic demon roaming the Irish countryside.

Rawhead RexAlligator

Alligator had more franchise potential than Jaws. Spielberg’s shark masterpiece was such a singular, celebrated story that attempting to sequelize it proved to be difficult. Alligator only had a follow-up in the form of Alligator II: The Mutation. There was room for more than just that, I think.

Alligator 1980C.H.U.D.

We deserve better than C.H.U.D. II: Bud the C.H.U.D., which isn’t even a sequel. At the very least, we could have at some point had an actual follow-up bringing back those terrific, imaginative monster designs, something that would dive a little deeper into that franchise’s surprisingly rich mythology.

CHUD 1984Shrieker

I don’t know why I love David DeCoteau’s Shrieker so much. Maybe it was because I had the action figure as a kid. Either way, Full Moon made sequels to almost everything in its catalogue except this one and a few select others. The monster was terrific and I would have loved to see it return. The idea that someone has to be controlling it, that the creature is always seen before it’s heard and that it can walk through walls, these are all interesting things that could have been built upon.

Shrieker 1998The Lurking Fear

C. Courtney Joyner’s The Lurking Fear—also for Full Moon—boasted a great cast and some terrific creature FX. Those things alone should have warranted a sequel, but we never got one. I would have loved to see a follow-up that would have brought the creatures to the forefront a little bit while hopefully enriching the overall mythology and backstory.

Lurking Fear 1994Nightbreed

Clive Barker planned two trilogies. He outlined two sequels to the book and two sequels to the movie. Those stories were going to be entirely different as the book and film ended in different ways. Sadly, none of it materialized. The feature was considered a failure for a long time. Now that it’s finally getting the recognition it deserves, it’s been too long for a sequel to be a realistic possibility.

Monsters in Clive Barker's NightbreedGremlins

Of all the things on this list, this one is the most absurd to me. It’s crazy to think that we’ve only ever had two Gremlins films. They’ve been landmarks of pop culture since 1984. They’re iconic monsters. Sure, there’s been talk of a reboot for years, but it’s never come close to happening. Maybe their recent turn in The LEGO Batman Movie might renew some interest, but I doubt it.

These nasty scaly gremlins emerge from the back of the Mogwai Gizmo.

  • Zak Greene

    Weren’t they talking about doing a Nightbreed tv series? Is that dead in the water?