How can the nudity and gore-filled wonder of horror movies translate to TV? It takes some ingenuity and hard work, but these seven flicks turned out pretty well on the small screen!
Besides the fact that horror movies usually deal with levels of adult language, copious nakedness, and unrepentant blood that are unfit for most channels, it’s kind of a surprise that the film genre doesn’t pollinate more with television. Back in the day, TV networks were way more risk-averse than Hollywood studios (the situation has flip-flopped in today’s media climate) and there was nothing more reliable in the 80s and 90s than annual horror franchises.
It’s not easy, but horror movies can make the transition to the small screen if a few key concessions are made. Sure, the gore has to go, but if a show can compensate in other areas (by fleshing out characters or increasing the humor), the movie-to-TV transition isn’t the nightmare most movie adaptations are. Here’s seven programs that show it can be done.
7 – Scream
Happy, millennials?! Even though we should be salty that one of the best horror franchises of the mid-90s has been repackaged as an MTV drama-horror series (a drorror series, if you will), it actually makes sense that MTV has revived this show for a multitude of reasons.
Firstly, us 80s kids have to shoulder some of the blame for SCRE4M underperforming at the box-office – and the Courtney Cox-David Arquette divorce that it probably caused – in lieu of the Paranormal Activities and Saws of this world. Regardless of your age, however, most of what worked for Scream in the 90s is custom-fit to air in between Girl Code and Awkward.
Scream was never big on nudity, so MTV’s customary parade of scantily clad teens doesn’t seem like a cop-out. The soundtracks for the first three movies were some of hottest late-90s CDs (including classics like Master P’s Scream rap), so it makes sense that One Direction or Demi Lovato provide the modern-day soundtrack to Ghostface’s murdering sprees. Plus, the four-film series’ biggest strength is its continuity where Sidney Prescott and those close to her deal with copycat killers, so an entire season of a close-knit group getting slaughtered makes for an intriguing premise.
6 – Toxic Crusaders
This may be blurring the line between action and horror, but if the original Toxic Avenger didn’t scare the crap out of you as a kid, you deserve a Congressional medal for bravery. The original film began with a possibly mentally disabled janitor being tormented by good-looking gym-goers until he throws himself in a vat of toxic waste due to embarrassment:
Once out, he becomes a murderous street hero who is excised from the community due to his mutated visage. Then the sequels made him a witty superhero who fought the devil masquerading as a CEO and laid waste to Japanese warriors as he searched for his father.
As you can imagine, the cartoon adaptation (called the Toxic Crusaders because a true hero doesn’t seek vengeance) dove even deeper into the corny nature of the sequels, but also took advantage of the animation to expand on what the low-budget flicks couldn’t; more mutated heroes.
In a world where kids were going crazy for more Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles characters, many found refuge with Toxie and his pals No-Zone (a man with a giant nose), Junkyard (a homeless man/junkyard dog hybrid), and Headbanger (a pair of fused together twins consisting of a cranky scientist and laid-back surfer dude) as the opening theme showed:
When you add in the fact that the Crusaders fought against villains harming the environment, you get a show about saving the planet that isn’t for giant nerds – sorry, Captain Planet fans.
5 – Attack of the Killer Tomatoes
We somehow live in a world where Killer Klowns from Outer Space never got a cartoon (whoops, we mean “kartoon”) adaptation, so the best B-movie-turned animated series would be this early Fox Kids joint.
Since the Killer Tomatoes movie franchise always leaned more campy than gory, it had a much easier transition than the likes of Toxic Avenger, and it was still a pretty hot property when it hit the small screen a year after the George Clooney-led Return of the Killer Tomatoes. Remember this scene the next time Clooney is mentioned as an Oscar contender:
It didn’t take much to impress a kid of the 1980s so AotKT’s tomato juice, cheesy-puns, and classic theme did the trick. Before the likes of Tiny Toons and Animaniacs smartened us up, Saturday morning toons only needed one of two things; fast action or gross humor, and AotKT nailed both.
Where do Freddy and Buffy rank? Read on to the next page to find out!