Special Features

6 Franchises, 50 Horror Films, and Loads of Opinions

I started 2020 with a clear-cut movie watching goal. I’ve loved horror movies since college, but I’ve never devoted myself to really getting into the franchises. Series like Friday the 13th and Halloween are huge time commitments, spanning the decades and ranging from beloved classics to almost unwatchable films. I decided I would watch every movie in what I consider the five big series: Halloween, Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street, Alien, and Chucky, with Scream thrown in for good measure. Check out the reviews and if you’re interested in renting, click through the images!

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Halloween

My favorite: Halloween
My bottom of the barrel: IV, V, VI, and Halloween: Resurrection

Michael is one of my favorite villains due to the brilliance of the first film in the Halloween series. He’s a villain without frills, walking with purpose, never saying a word. There was something truly terrifying about a suburban setting in the grasp of a man believed to be the root of all evil by his own psychiatrist. Unfortunately, the middle films are pretty hard to get through, with at least two that I considered unwatchable. My hope is that another marathon will show me the error of my ways. While it’s not really related to the other Halloween movies, I especially love Halloween III: Season of the Witch, primarily because it’s an interesting experiment in anthologized filmmaking that unfortunately wasn’t popular with lovers of the series. 

Friday the 13th

My favorite: Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives
My guilty pleasure: Jason Goes To Hell
My bottom of the barrel: Jason X tied with Friday the 13th Part III

I went into my multi-day Friday marathon expecting to struggle through most of the movies. To my surprise, I loved the series, once it got past films two and three. There are definitely some duds, but the character of Jason is unmatched in my opinion. He’s this beast of a character who’s part myth, party reality. My favorite part of the series is near the back half when they just throw all sense to the wind and turn him into the equivalent of an immortal demon who cannot be killed. It’s vastly different from the first films, but the later entries remain self-aware of that fact and just power through their fanatical story lines. 

Nightmare on Elm Street

My favorite: Nightmare on Elm Street
My guilty pleasure: Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge
My bottom of the barrel: Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare

Of the bunch, I’d say Nightmare on Elm Street is definitely the most original premise. Craven is a master of framing scenes for maximum impact, giving us a few of the most memorable stills in horror history (I’m looking at you, claw in the water). The first film is fascinating to watch and is so good that the rest are hard to compare, with the exception of the third entry. Honestly, I love the second film in spite of it being widely panned. It’s extremely strange but impossible to look away from.

Alien

My favorite: Aliens
My bottom of the barrel: Alien: Resurrection

Aliens was one of my first creature features, and I honestly love every line and shot from the film. I think it’s one of the few perfect movies out there, and it never gets old for me. I enjoy the first, but it’s definitely more of a slow burn horror flick, and I like the action-packed plot of the second better. Unfortunately, entries three and four aren’t great, so as a series it ranks a little lower for me, but I can’t deny how amazing the second entry is. 

Chucky

My favorite: Bride of Chucky
My bottom of the barrel: Seed of Chucky

I love the Chucky series for its dark humor and ridiculous premise. I think of it as an evil sort of Toy Story that only gets stranger with each passing film. It took a while for the first Child’s Play to grow on me but, once it did, I tore through the movies and loved almost all of them. Bride of Chucky is my absolute favorite thanks to Tiffany and her general badassery. Overall, I think it’s a solid series that remains surprisingly consistent until the final film, which just blows everything out of the water in a great way.

Scream

My favorite: Scream AND Scream 4
My bottom of the barrel: Non-existent in this series

I’m a 90s kid, so this series holds a special place in my horror fandom. It revitalized the slasher genre, bringing back the excitement of a brand-new villain who was more idea than person. On top of the genuine thrills, it’s a great commentary on horror tropes and subverting the expectations of the audience to present something totally original. Craven is a true master of the horror genre. 

I’d love to hear what your favorites are in the comments below, and I hope everyone has a fun, safe Halloween!

Photo by Jeremy Yap on Unsplash

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