Ranking the top horror franchises

Why do we eat up horror movies? They are the Jan Brady of Hollywood. They can never live up to the Marsha level hype of a “Schindler’s List” and they aren’t as cute as the Cindys, i.e “Finding Nemo.”

Answer. We love to be scared. Also, they’re cheap to make.

The horror genre has seen many B, C and D-list movies. It can even be argued that all films of the genre fit the latter category. Becoming a franchise is a whole different beast to tame. So, what does it take to get that staying power? Simple. You need a memorable villain, a few laughs and plenty of gore. Here are the top horror movie franchises to date.

The “Final Destination” franchise is one of the few to have consistent quality. It never blew me away but it always left me coming back for more.

10. “Final Destination” 

• Films: Five.

I’m amazed at the new ways this series finds to kill off its characters. The idea that death will find you no matter what has a sense of gravity to it. It’s almost sad to say Devon Sawa hooked me those years ago and this is a series that I’m amazed has The “Final Destination” franchise is one of the few to have consistent quality. It never blew me away but it always left me coming back for more.lasted as long as it has.

9. “Evil Dead”

• Films: Four.

Sadly, I only entered the world of “Evil Dead” in the past year. Fan boys, you can stone me later. This is camp at its best. Something interesting happens in this series. The sequel shifted to a horror/comedy with plenty of slapstick moments. Director Sam Raimi turned the comedy up to 11 with “Army of Darkness,” which made this series all the better.

Friday the 13th has spawned 11 sequels. Despite the repetitiveness the first four broke the mold of common horror franchises and got progessively better.

8. “Friday the 13th”

• Films: 12

Jason Voorhees is probably one of the most recognizable villains on this list. “Friday” has the distinction of having the most sequels of any horror franchise. Despite many of the sequels being repetitive, the franchise has the distinction of getting better until part four. A tough feat in the genre.

7. “Child’s Play”

• Films: Six.

As a kid what were your favorite things in the whole world? Your toys. So, a toy that is a serial killer is a child’s worst fear. Don’t tell me whenever you see a doll now that Chucky doesn’t creep into the back of your mind. P.S. Stop watching this series after No. 3.

6. “Paranormal Activity”

• Films: Four.

Handheld-camera movies had been done before, but this franchise took it to a whole new level: Putting the villain in your own house. This is the first horror movie that I had seen since I was little that had me turning the lights on in my house as I went room to room. If you ask my wife, I woke her up 20 times the night after seeing this movie. I beg to differ.

5. “Night of The Living Dead”

• Films: Six.

Zombies! The franchise that introduced the world to the traditional zombies we love today is more than deserving of this spot. The films may not seem so scary now, but during their time they were the most terrifying films people had ever seen. Just think without “Night of the Living Dead” we wouldn’t have “The Walking Dead.” Respect your elders.

4. “Texas Chainsaw Massacre”

The quality of the first film drives “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” franchise up the list, despite the lower quality of its sequels.

• Films: Three.

The first film in this series is probably the best

horror movie ever. It’s sheer terror at its finest. Chainsaw-wielding Leatherface alone is scary enough, but the idea of an entire family of crazed killers is terrifying. Most of the sequels/remakes/prequels have been downright laughable, but the strength of the first film pushes this toward the top.

3. “Scream”

• Films: Four.

Two Wes Craven franchises in my top three? Of course. This was the return of the classic slasher flick. It turned the entire genre on its head working almost like a commentary on the very genre it was a part of. Oddly enough, the franchise fell to the same fate as those it mocked.

2. “Halloween”

• Films: Nine.

The introduction of scream queen, Jamie Lee Curtis, will always have a special place in my heart. The idea of basing this series around the scariest holiday of the year was genius. It adds to the fear. The mythology, added later in the series, that gave Michael Myers a back story was nice. A horror movie with an intricate story? Who knew?

Freddy Krueger puts the “Nightmare on Elm Street” franchise on the top of the list. His witty one-liners make you crave more and more.

1. “Nightmare on Elm Street”

• Films: Nine.

It takes a lot to top the list, but it was close. Freddy puts “Nightmare” over the top. He’s easily the best horror villain. The idea of attacking you in your dreams is so terrifying. I know I’ve lost many hours of sleep after watching any of the series’ nine films, well … maybe not the remake.

Honorable mentions:

• “Alien”

This is a borderline action movie, so it almost shouldn’t be mentioned. It does have its tense-filled, scary moments though. Sigourney Weaver’s bad-assery is nothing to scoff.

• “Psycho”

Norman Bates/mother made us a little freaked out to take a shower. That would explain that smelly kid in third grade. The sequels in the series prevent this one from making the list.

• “Hellraiser”

A very scary villain who tortures your soul would seem like a win, but a dreadful sequel followed by progressively worse sequels destroy the luster on this franchise.

• “The Ring”

A tape that your aren’t supposed to watch or you would be killed. Really? Don’t watch it. I know horror movies usually don’t make much sense, but come on. The moment when Samara comes out of the TV still shakes me to my core though. Oh sorry. SPOILER ALERT!!!

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