Franchises are a large and admittedly crucial part of the horror genre. The series that have spawned the most movies tend to resonate in people’s minds, for good or bad. Jason Voorhees, Freddy Krueger, Michael Myers…these guys will always be icons. They join the classics like Dracula, Frankenstein, and The Wolf Man in the all-time pantheon of horror.
But there are dozens more franchises than those listed above. In the 1980’s in particular, if a movie was good enough to get released, it was good enough to spawn a sequel. Only the die hard horror fans would call Angela Baker from Sleepaway Camp an icon, but that doesn’t mean it’s not true. Even the B-franchises have their place and their deserved fans. And with so many things making a resurgence, it would be nice of those others could get the chance to come back too.
Night of the Demons
Night of the Demons saw an at least halfway decent remake in 2009, but that was the end of it. And even then it had been over a decade since Night of the Demons 3. There’s really no reason why another one couldn’t get off the ground, because these features were very cheap to make. Even the first one. The second two didn’t quite recapture everything that made the first special, but they were a lot of fun in their own right, making things more and more ridiculous as they went along. It would be neat to return to that cheap slapstick horror and it would be great to see Amelia Kinkade take on the role of Angela one final time.
There’s been talk of a Critters web series, but no official movement. I hope it works out because I love the Critters movies and would love to see them make a return. At this point—and it goes for just about every series on this list—I don’t care about the format. I just want it back. These were the most fun of the post-E.T. flicks about carnivorous aliens. Even if the fourth feature was a bit of a down note, the first three were definitely entertaining and that would be all the more reason to give it a better note to go out on.
In 2012, there was a release of Sleepaway Camp IV: The Survivor, which was shot in the early ‘90’s, until the money ran out. To make it something close to feature length, the new DVD was padded out with flashbacks to the other movies. That doesn’t really make it a new film. It’s hard to justify this as a new Sleepaway Camp sequel. For better or worse, the last Sleepaway Camp movie we got was Return to Sleepaway Camp in 2008. I still think we can do better. The gang all seems to be willing to get back together, they just need the time to do it, so hopefully that will work out.
Pumpkinhead is one of my favorite horror movies of the 1980’s. And if I’m being totally honest with myself, it’s probably one of my favorite franchises too, for better or worse. There’s a genuine plot with a surprising amount of depth, and one of the best creatures ever put to film. It would be great to make up for the two SyFy sequels by letting the demon return on his own terms. The concept is so wide it could be applied to almost anything. There could be a Pumpkinhead movie in virtually any time period. The first even implies that there are other demons out there, with the line “For each of man’s evils, a special demon exists.” What are the others? There’s so much room to explore the mythology set up by Pumpkinhead, it would be a shame if nothing else ever happens.
With a lot of success in both television and film, Tales from the Crypt is something that everyone remembers. The Crypt Keeper is considered an icon, and he was only on screen for a very short amount of time in each episode. He was only there to introduce the story, but had such an impact that it led to him hosting a cartoon spinoff and even a tie-in game show as well. In the 1990’s, the Crypt Keeper dominated pop culture. It’s surprising that Tales from the Darkside would get a reboot before Tales from the Crypt, but it did come first. Maybe one will lead to the other.
Candyman is considered an A-lister when it comes to the horror icons. People know who he is. This was the second of two franchises created by Clive Barker, the first being Hellraiser, obviously. Yet while that has nine films to date, Candyman has three. And of those three, only two are good. It’s a shame, because the first was one of the definitive horror pictures of the 1990’s and Tony Todd was always incredible in the role. Whether it would be a remake or a sequel, it would be great to hear people trying to say his name in front of a mirror again.
House of Re-Animator was going to be the big reunion movie between director Stuart Gordon and stars Jeffrey Combs and Bruce Abbott. Sadly, it never got off the ground. That was in 2004. It’s such a current idea that, by the time they could feasibly make it, it wasn’t culturally relevant anymore. But that doesn’t mean there’s nowhere for the series to go. Hell, Herbert West re-animating the President of the United States is a pretty bizarre first idea in its own right. Beyond Re-Animator is almost fifteen years old now, and there’s a good chance that Herbert West may never return to the screen. Not with Jeffrey Combs, at least. And that seems bizarre, considering that he seems open to the idea of returning.