But at the same time, there's a large stream of titles out there that really could've been granted a more renown fate than what befell them. Not given the same treatment as efforts like "Friday the 13th," "Halloween," "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" or even efforts like "The Gingerdead Man," "Puppet Master," and "Leprechaun" which have all spread their story-lines across numerous films tied together. Maybe some of these efforts would have been better remembered had they been granted with a franchise of their own, but regardless all of them have something to offer that would've made for a decent and compelling franchise all their own.
So, two guidelines for this project. First, the film must have at the most a sequel but that's it. I did try to limit this to stand-alone films, but there's a few entries here that do have a sequel which really could've used another entry or two to explore more of the story-line or even just had an idea or two that could've been played with a little more. Secondly, the film must have little to no recognition outside the main exploits of the genre, as this is about bringing out efforts through having a franchise. Lastly, their must be no interest in reviving the film or continuing the exploits of their adventures anytime soon.
So, with that done, let’s take a look and see what we come up with.
A SyFy Channel original feature from 2004 (which meant it appeared on Sci-Fi then), this one always struck me as a highly enjoyable and underrated effort. The story concerns a woman who finds that she’s the reincarnation of a demon who appears to be humanity’s only hope against a creature running loose. It’s certainly all that terrible of an effort, it’s got a few good things about it as these demonic killings and battles are quite decent and certainly good enough to at the very least give it a look.
So why would this make a good choice to become a franchise? Simply, the story can really be expanded upon and go into several different directions. Based on the central premise of this one investigating crimes with supernatural powers behind them and then coming across what’s really happening, there’s a potential here for some really intriguing films here that can become a mixture of CSI and Underworld in the sense of having to investigate the crime at the beginning and then leading into the confrontations with the main threat in some nice action pieces that still had a horror-based background to it all. This really could depend all on what the threat would be, but overall it’s quite likely that a few good ideas can come from the idea of a half-demon/half-human woman battling supernatural creatures.
A rather underrated slasher, about a small-town teen and her friends trying to stop a killer clown dressed as a burger-joint mascot, offers some decent and somewhat enjoyable elements to like for fans of the style. The killers’ interesting, the kills are at least graphic and bloody and the final confrontation is really good here which takes some of the classic final-girl style of action that’s featured in the genre, albeit just on a much smaller and cheesier scale.
So why would this make a good choice to become a franchise? This one here would offer up some rather fun slasher-esque efforts in a series of efforts about a maniacal serial killer running wild in a small town like this, going for ‘Friday the 13th’ style goodness in a never-ending series of films concerning teens running into a legendary killer. With the world featured in this one, it’s got the potential to have some intriguing entries that can come from this simple, singular premise which is certainly how the best ones started in the first place, and it’s certainly not like the genre has built a franchise on flimsier premises than a clown-masked killer running loose.
One of the more underrated and enjoyable slashers in the early 80s, this one concerned a group of friends coming across a demonic spirit while enjoying a relaxing vacation at the island home of one of the group and begins killing them off one-by-one. It’s nowhere near the worst of the genre offered up in that time and utilized the idea of a predominantly supernaturally governed slasher a few years before Freddy appeared in the first Nightmare on Elm Street, making this one quite an appealing effort.
So why would this make a good choice to become a franchise? For the same reason that Freddy got a series, the concept behind this one allows for plenty of different potential victims and different concoctions of being unleashed upon people. The idea of a person dreaming of a serial killer and then finding them occurring with her friends and close ones is nothing new, but there’s an inherently terrifying idea about connecting to a killer and being in sync with them during their killing spree that can be worked over here, going from how they discover this power, how it connects to the killer at hand, and even managing to go into different areas and locations which offers a great deal of opportunities for some fun entries later on down the road.
A Thai horror film from 2002, this one concerns one of the more chilling legends of Asian folklore involving the Pennangalan, an evil spirit with the head of a woman connected to a spinal column holding their entire inner organs dangling beneath floating around the countryside killing people who come across its thirst for blood. There’s numerous variations of the legend (some dependent on the country of origin you’re referring to) and is really one of the more enjoyable efforts based on that story.
So why would this make a good choice to become a franchise? Several reasons, namely the fact that this particular legend has so few titles utilizing this rather chilling and terrifying creature. Wikipedia and the IMDb have cultivated barely a dozen titles featuring this spirit, and it really could use a series of films filling in the gap in the social conscious to make it a more notably boogeyman. This Thai variation, wherein it’s treated as an affliction that can befell people somewhat similar to a curse, offers up the chance to fix that as it can explore the idea of several people coming down with this affliction, or even more about people coming into contact with it. There’s a lot to explore here with this myth, and that makes this a solid choice for a franchise.
A highly enjoyable, cheesy horror-comedy from the late 80s when that was the trend in horror at the time, this one sought to meld the phenomenal ‘Mr. Vampire’ films in Hong Kong about the jiangsi, a traditional Chinese variant on the living dead mythos which effectively started a trend of so-called Hopping Vampires which are some of the best films during that period which is certainly an accomplishment. Still, this one brought that style to America with the story about a gang coming across a local shop-owner in Little China who has a hopping vampire in his basement who gets loose after his death and forces a medicine man to bring the creature down.
So why would this make a good choice to become a franchise? There’s a lot of fun that can be had with the idea at play here of the creatures loose in an urban location, something that the Hong Kong films couldn’t utilize which took place out in the countryside. Here, you have plenty of opportunities for the creatures to target a small suburb or town, the option of them coming across various groups of people (the idea of a Chinese hopping vampire coming across a high-school prom or even a Halloween party on campus is the kind of cheesy goodness that must be exploited) and the method of including comedy and martial arts would make for some fun, fast-moving films. There’s a lot of work to go here with these out-of-their-element creatures, and being a franchise is a great way to capitalize on that.
Another SyFy original, and actually one of their better slasher efforts about a group of friends on a road trip stranded on a secluded farm overrun by a group of scarecrows living there and hoping to turn them into more versions of themselves, this one was quite a surprise and ended up being one of their better efforts, even better than the similar ‘Scarecrow’ about killer scarecrows a few years later.
So why would this make a good choice to become a franchise? Well, for the most part there’s quite a lot to like here and offers the potential for some solid world-building which can be utilized over the course of several entries. From how the ritual for the scarecrows to how they collect their victims and where they came from, what the purpose of their ritual is and how it affects other people, there’s the potential for a lot of fun to be had exploring this particular world established. Not to mention, scarecrows are inherently freaky anyway so more of them isn’t all that bad.
So why would this make a good choice to become a franchise? Frankly, there’s a few reasons to keep going. First, it’s hard enough finding good Christmas-themed horror efforts to turn into a franchise, as the only one out there is ‘Silent Night, Deadly Night’ so there’s plenty to work with in terms of being a holiday franchise. Likewise, the idea of putting a wisecracking killer snowman in various locations and settings is always the recipe for some cheesy goodness. Finally, there hasn’t been a bad one yet in the series so the decline hasn’t set in yet, and that’s when a series starts to struggle.
An incredibly enjoyable zombie effort, which details a fictional reality where a worldwide zombie apocalypse was overthrown and have now domesticated the creatures and the adventures that befalls a family that took on the titular zombie, is one of the more original entries in the genre. There’s a lot to like with this endearing and surprisingly engaging effort.
So why would this make a good choice to become a franchise? This here is one of the most intensive world-building efforts in the genre, and there’s so much more to explore here. How does the company work? What is the domestication process? What about the different suburbs around the world? What’s it like in the big cities? It offers the potential for so many different and unique spins to take on this particular universe that a series of films not only exploring but expanding on this start-up story really offers limitless possibilities to do that.
One of the greatest modern horror films ever made, this highly impressive effort concerns a squadron of soldiers in the British countryside who come face-to-face with their intended war-game targets having been turned into werewolves, is just all around fun and is good enough to be ranked up on top of the genre being a debatable Top 3 entry for these films.
So why would this make a good choice to become a franchise? Well, several reasons. Firstly, the fact is that there’s just not a whole lot of werewolf franchises out there, as ‘The Howling’ is really the only one out there. Let’s not kid ourselves, the vampires are the main one in ‘Underworld’ and have been from the beginning, but that just makes the point: there’s so few good werewolf stories out there that need to be explored which can work quite well here. The idea of werewolves turned from a squad of soldiers and using that military training to launch attacks on people can be quite fun, just put them in different locations. As well, though rumours of a sequel originally emerged several years after its release it hasn’t shown up yet and that’s a real shame not to follow up this classic.
Quite simply one of the most original and creative horror films around, this surprisingly new take on the genre finds a group of horror fans who attended a convention who are drugged and wake up in a field forced to play out the events of the film ‘Night of the Living Dead’ with a group of fanatic obsessives who are keeping them on track of the movie.
So why would this make a good choice to become a franchise? Obviously, this one really has the opportunity a wide range of films if this one goes for the same set-up of having people being forced to play out the scenarios of their favorite horror films. You can take numerous classics and make people believe that they have been dropped into a classic horror film and seeing if they can use the knowledge found within to try and survive, which amounts to all sorts of fun that can be found as the common scenes and tropes can be exploited and twisted around yet remain oddly familiar. Not only that, it also flirts but never engages the dreaded feeling of a remake to a film which can be a point of contention with films as a whole. That makes this such a potentially fun series to explore and makes it the number one choice to be turned into a franchise.