One of the stranger trends of the last couple years is the boom of horror adaptations on TV. There have always been horror shows, like the 80s’ Freddy’s Nightmares and Friday the 13th series, but those were based on mega-successful franchises. We’re still giving shows to hit films like Scream and Silence of the Lambs today, but we’re also throwing money into cult films like Evil Dead and From Dusk Till Dawn. So here are 7 horror movies that deserve a TV show of their own.
Currently, the Saw franchise is the biggest horror success of the new millennium, and a lot of that comes from all the things it does differently. It heavily embraces a somewhat syndicated continuity, telling larger stories through the individual adventures. What’s more, it focuses on the police investigating the killer, a rare thing in horror films. It’s less of a horror movie and more of a Batman story, pitting the police against a legitimate super villain. All of those things are tailor-made for the longer scope of a television series, and it’d fit right in with the rash of superhero shows.
Land of the Dead
I must admit, zombies have become somewhat passé lately, but despite their overabundance, there’s very little that eclipses the work of zombie genre founder George A. Romero. Of all his films, Land of the Dead would be the best to adapt, given its scope. It’s set in a zombie-riddled wasteland, but at a point where humans have forged a new society out of the rubble of old cities. The politics and intrigue of the city combined with the rise of intelligent zombies provide plenty of season-long arc possibilities.
Re-Animator is like a sister series to the Evil Dead films. They’re both cartoon-y, out-there blends of horror and comedy through an emphasis on insanely creative gore and monster designs, and a star turn by a leading man who would end up a beloved geek acting icon. Re-Animator is about Herbert West, played by Jeffrey Combs, a mad scientist who creates a zombie-fying serum. The films have always had a great emphasis on West tinkering with his creepy resurrection science, finding new scenarios to throw him into. Given the rise of anti-hero shows and Combs still being in good health, there’s no reason this series couldn’t pull off a revival, Ash vs Evil Dead style.
Horror anthologies have a long, proud history on TV, from The Twilight Zone to Tales from the Crypt to American Horror Story. So it’s kind of shocking no one’s tried their hand at reviving Creepshow in show format. The original films’ unique blend of horror and comedy through the lens of 50s comics has yet to be recreated, and its short-but-sweet format would make for a great multi-episode story experience. Given the budgets afforded to TV shows now, plus the growing desire for more anthologies, this one’s a slam dunk.
In the 70s Satanist trilogy ofThe Exorcist, Rosemary’s Baby, and The Omen, this film is the most applicable to the television format. The series, which revolves around the birth and development of the anti-Christ in the lead-up to the apocalypse, is already geared towards the kind of big finish storytelling that drives a lot of modern TV. We’ve already turned shows about the Biblical apocalypse (Dominion, Sleepy Hollow) into pretty substantial hits, and The Omen is right in that wheelhouse. What’s more, it could play off the Game of Thrones and Harry Potter trick of watching child actors age in real time.
Candyman is the story of a man who fell victim to mob violence, only to return from death as a vengeful urban legend, animated by people’s fear and belief in him. It’s a really freaky movie that gets deep under your skin with the idea that belief in myths affords them power over us. It’s confirmed in the film that there are other creepy legends animated through fear and faith, so there’s already a whole world of possibility to be explored beyond the Candyman himself.
The Grudge may not be the best of the United States’ Asian horror movie crop of the early 00s, but it’s the best suited to a television show. The series is about an ever-expanding web of lies, broken promises, horrible people, and — most of all — murder. The central idea is that one single violent act spawns echoes of itself in the form of pale creepy ghosts that branch out to hurt more and more people, growing the overall freaky mythos of death and ghosts. It would require a lot of talent to maintain a high level of quality in this kind of story through multiple seasons, but it’s still totally doable.
Article by contributor Lido Giovacchini.