Looking for a Halloween horror binge for the weekend? Stream the three seasons of Penny Dreadful on Netflix. Want to frighten your friends and loved ones?  Turn on Splatterdays, Pluto TV’s free marathon of horror classics. Keep reading to learn more about the season’s best Halloween programming.


MARATHONS

Picture Alliance/Everett Collection

(Photo by Picture Alliance/Everett Collection)

31 Nights of Halloween, Freeform
The annual event on the network features its usual lineup of Halloween-themed movies — The Addams Family, Maleficent, Hotel Transylvania, The Nightmare Before Christmas, and of course Hocus Pocus — along with a special (31 Nights of Halloween Special Fan Fest) and an all-day Hocus Pocus marathon on the day itself.

Huluween, Hulu
Visit the streaming service’s Halloween-themed hub for a personalized selection of popular Halloween TV episodes and movies. Hand-picked Halloween collections include Freaky Franchises, Foreign Frights, Psychological Horror & Thrillers, Sci-Fi Scares, Indies, Zombies, Humorous Horror, Anthologies, alongside Hulu Originals and Huluween Essentials.

AMC FearFest, AMC
The network’s annual horror marathon promises 104 spooky titles, including Alien, Halloween, Friday the 13th, Final Destination, The Omen, Leprechaun, and more (ongoing).

Netflix & Chills, Netflix
The streaming service’s spooky hub contains plenty of horror movies and horror TV series, plus a selection of original movies and series debuting throughout the month of October.

Splatterdays and 31 Nights of Horror, Pluto TV
In the free streaming service’s horror marathon, watch a different scary movie every night starting at 10 p.m. ET. Selections include classics like Day of the Dead and Hellraiser and modern hits like You’re Next and Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones. In the “Splatterdays” terror marathon, watch a marathon of slasher movies every Saturday night starting at 7 p.m. ET. Titles include Prom Night, Prom Night 2: Hello Mary Lou, I Saw The Devil, Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers, and Severance.

Supernatural, TNT
On Halloween day, TNT will air nine hours straight of some of the CW hit’s spookiest episodes, including “Ghostfacers,” “Monster Movie,” “ScoobyNatural,” and many more. The marathon runs from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Oct. 31.

A Shudder Halloween Collection, Shudder
The horror streaming service is highlighting classics including the Halloween movies and originals including Belzebuth and Terrified.

13 Nights of Halloween, HDNet Movies
A mix of classic and modern horror and thriller films will play every night on the network. Highlights include a Night of the Living Dead Marathon, an Edgar Allan Poe/Vincent Price night, and a 24-hour marathon on Halloween itself.


RELATED: Vampire TV Shows Ranked By Tomatometer


SERIES

American Horror Story 77% — Wednesdays at 10 p.m. on FX

Castle Rock 88% —  available to stream on Hulu

Charmed  — Fridays at 8 p.m. on The CW

Creepshow — streaming Thursdays on Shudder

Daybreak 70% — streaming Thursday, Oct. 24 on Netflix

A Discovery of Witches  — available to stream on Sundance Now

Glitch 80% — season 3 is now available to stream on Netflix

Legacies  — Thursdays at 9 p.m. on The CW

Halloween Baking Championship — Mondays at 9 p.m. on Food Network

Haunted  —  available to stream on Netflix

Into the Dark 69% — Blumhouse’s horror anthology — available to stream on Hulu

Marianne 94% — available to stream on Netflix

Mr. Mercedes 91% — Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on Audience

Light as a Feather 50% — available to stream on Hulu

Penny Dreadful 91% — available to stream on Netflix

Prank Encounters 40% — streaming Friday, Oct. 25 on Netflix

The Purge 42% — Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on USA

The Walking Dead 80% — Sundays at 9 p.m. on AMC

Zomboat! — streaming Friday, Oct. 25 on Hulu


RELATED: Best Horror TV Series to Watch on Netflix


MOVIES & SPECIALS

In the Tall Grass (2019) 36% — the film based on the novella by Stephen King and Joe Hill, now streaming on Netflix

Fractured (2019) 59% — a family’s car trip goes wrong in this film starring Sam Worthington and Lily Rabe, now streaming on Netflix

Wounds (2019) 47% — a New Orleans bartender’s life begins to unravel after a series of disturbing and inexplicable events that begin to happen to him after picking up a phone left behind at a bar, now streaming on Hulu

Little Monsters (2019) 79% — the critically acclaimed Australian horror comedy about a school field trip that ends with a zombie outbreak stars Lupita Nyong’o and is now streaming on Hulu

Rattlesnake (2019) 30% — a single mother (Carmen Ejogo) and her daughter drive across the country to start their new life, but things go wrong when their car breaks down in the middle of nowhere and the daughter is bitten by a rattlesnake, premieres Friday, Oct. 25 on Netflix


RELATED: Best Horror Movies on Netflix to Watch Right Now


The Top Ten Revealed: Rockin’ Ghoulish Songs — premieres Sunday, Oct. 27 at 8:30 p.m. ET on AXS TV

Agatha Raisin — premieres Monday, Oct. 28 on Acorn TV

World’s Biggest Ghost Hunt: Pennhurst Asylum — premieres Wednesday, Oct. 30 at 8 p.m. on A&E

The Very VERY Best of the 70s: Horror Films — premieres Thursday, Oct. 31 at 8 p.m. ET on AXS TV

The 13 Scariest Movies of All Time — premieres Thursday, Oct. 31 at 8 p.m. ET on The CW, hosted by Dean Cain


EPISODES

Treehouse of Horror XXX, THE SIMPSONS ™ and © 2019 TCFFC ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

(Photo by THE SIMPSONS ™ and © 2019 TCFFC ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.)

The Simpsons 85% — “Treehouse of Horror XXX” now available to stream on Fox.com

Evil 93% — “October 31” premieres Thursday, October 24 on CBS

The Conners 93% — “Nightmare on Lunch Box Street” premieres Tuesday, October 29 on ABC

Schooled 73% — “Run, Rick, Run” premieres Wednesday, October 30 on ABC


Riverdale -- "Chapter Sixty-One: Halloween" -- Image Number: RVD404b_0249.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): Camila Mendes as Veronica, KJ Apa as Archie and Eli Goree as Munroe -- Photo: Jack Rowand/The CW -- © 2019 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

(Photo by Jack Rowand/The CW)

Riverdale 84% — “Chapter Sixty-One: Halloween” premieres Wednesday, October 30 on The CW

Nancy Drew — “The Haunted Ring” premieres Wednesday, October 30 on The CW

Young Sheldon — “Seven Deadly Sins and a Small Carl Sagan” rebroadcast Thursday, October 31 on CBS

Mysteries Decoded — “Vampires of New Orleans” premieres Thursday, October 31 on The CW


RELATED: The Scariest TV Episodes Ever


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Horror has a way of making an unlit hallway look like a trek through hell, inducing heart attacks though jumping cats, and transforming everyday tools like chainsaws and double-barrel shotguns into instruments of doom. The marketing and posters for Us suggests that Jordan Peele’s new horror flick will do for golden scissors what Get Out did for tea cups, which also happens to be one of selections for the 25 most iconic props from horror movie history! Read on to get your fill of creaky carriages, demonic dolls, and bloody blades.


It’s October, people! That means it’s time to sharpen your pumpkin-carving knives, stock up on candy, and…turn on your TV (or at least set your DVR) to celebrate the spookiest holiday of the year. TV networks and streaming services are celebrating Halloween all month long with marathons, specials, series, episodes, and more.

Check back periodically throughout October as we update the list with the latest in Halloween programming!


MARATHONS

Picture Alliance/Everett Collection

(Photo by Picture Alliance/Everett Collection)

31 Nights of Halloween, Freeform
Expanding from 13 nights to 31, the network is celebrating Halloween all month long for its 20th annual celebration. Programming includes fan-favorite movies (The Addams Family, Maleficent, Hotel Transylvania, The Nightmare Before Christmas, and the exclusive television home for Hocus Pocus), a new special (Decorating Disney: Halloween Magic), short-form content and an all-day Hocus Pocus marathon on the day itself.

31 Days of Halloween, Syfy
The network’s October programming includes the debut of multiple original movies, a new installment of horror anthology Channel Zero, new seasons of Z Nation and Van Helsing, and airings of fan-favorite scary movies including The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Resident Evil, and The Cabin in the Woods.

AMC FearFest, AMC
Beginning Oct. 14, the network’s annual event includes marathons of the Halloween movies, The Exorcist, Hellraiser, Friday the 13th, and Stephen King films; a Slasher-thon; and the AMC debut of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.

Rob Zombie’s 13 Nights of Halloween, HDNET
The cable network is resurrecting the horror icon’s Halloween programming with 13 films hosted by Zombie himself, airing nightly at 9 p.m. beginning Oct. 19. Selections include Zombie’s The Lords of Salem, The Blair Witch Project, Flatliners, and more.

Classic Horror, TCM and Filmstruck
The classic film network is dedicating different days of the week to various Halloween-themed programming. Every Wednesday will celebrate a different Horror Star of the Week (including Christopher Lee, Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, and Vincent Price), while Sundays are for the Monster of the Month: The Mummy (programming includes 11 of the best mummy-themed films ranging from 1936’s Mummy’s Boys to 1971’s Blood From the Mummy’s Tomb). On the network’s streaming service, Filmstruck, find a lineup of monster movies, Japanese horror films, and more.

Nerdoween, Alpha/Nerdist
Three new original series from Nerdist will debut on Legendary Digital Networks’ Alpha during October: Bizarre States: California, Vampire: The Masquerade – L.A. By Night, and The Dark Side, in addition to other Halloween-themed programming.

Supernatural, TNT
On Halloween day, TNT will air 12 hours straight of some of the CW hit’s spookiest episodes, including the pilot, “Bloody Mary,” “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Sam Winchester,” “Monster Movie,” and many more.

Halloween and Alfred Hitchcock Collections, Shudder
The horror streaming service is highlighting classics including Halloween, Halloween 4, Halloween 5, and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre; and an Alfred Hitchcock collection that includes Psycho, Vertigo, Rear Window, The Birds, The Man Who Knew Too Much, Rope, and Shadow of a Doubt.

Halloween Programming, Cartoon Network App
Check out Halloween specials for popular Cartoon Network Series The Powerpuff Girls, OK K.O.! Let’s Be Heroes, Unkitty, and more.

Halloween Movies, Pluto TV
Stream ‘n’ scream with plenty of holiday classics, including Night of the Living Dead, Paranormal Activity 2, Leprechaun In the Hood, Silent Hill, Idle Hands, and more.

BBC AAAAAAmerica, BBC America
Get in the spooky spirit with a week’s worth of programming with movie marathons, a takeover of The X-Files, and hours of Hitchcockian horror. Plus, the network is partnering with streaming service Shudder for a Saturday of original films seen for the first time on television.


SERIES

Halloween Baking Championship — Mondays at 9 p.m. on Food Network

The Purge 42% — Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on USA

American Horror Story 77% — Wednesdays at 10 p.m. on FX

Mr. Mercedes 91% — Wednesdays at 10 p.m. on Audience

Creeped Out — this horror anthology for kids bows Oct. 4 on Netflix

Into the Dark 69% — the first installment of Blumhouse Television’s monthly event series, “The Body” starring Rebecca Rittenhouse and Tom Bateman, bows Oct. 5 on Hulu

Z Nation  — season 5 of the zombie series premieres Friday, Oct. 5 at 9 p.m. on Syfy

Van Helsing — season 3 of the vampire hunter series premieres Friday, Oct. 5 at 10 p.m. on Syfy

The Walking Dead 80% — season 9 premieres Sunday, Oct. 7 at 9 p.m. on AMC

Light as a Feather 50% — based on the children’s game of the same name, all 10 episodes debut Oct. 12 on Hulu

Apostle — premieres Oct. 12 on Netflix

The Curious Creations of Christine McConnell — the spooky baking show debuts Oct. 12 on Netflix

The Haunting of Hill House 93% — premieres Oct. 12 on Netflix

Charmed  — the reboot premieres Sunday, Oct. 14 at 9 p.m. on The CW

Haunted — premieres Oct. 19 on Netflix

The Good Witch — season 5 premieres Sunday, Oct. 21 at 8 p.m. on Hallmark

Legacies  — The Vampire Diaries and The Originals spinoff premieres Thursday, Oct. 25 at 9 p.m. on The CW

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina 81% — premieres Friday, Oct. 26 on Netflix

Castlevania 94% — season 2 premieres Friday, Oct. 26 on Netflix

Midnight, Texas 61% — season 2 premieres Friday, Oct. 26 at 9 p.m. on NBC

Channel Zero: Candle Cove 93% — “The Dream Door” premieres Friday, Oct. 26 on Syfy and airs in full across Halloween week

Tell Me a Story — the creepy fairy-tale anthology bows Oct. 31 on CBS All Access

Stan Against Evil  — season 3 premieres Oct. 31 at 10 p.m. on IFC


MOVIES & SPECIALS

No Escape Room — a father and daughter check out a small town escape room and discover there is something sinister about the place in this original movie debuting Saturday, Oct. 6 at 9 p.m. on Syfy

Cucuy: The Boogeyman — a teenage girl confined to her home on house arrest soon discovers that the nightmarish urban legends of the Mexican boogeyman, El Cucuy, are actually true in this original movie debuting Saturday, Oct. 13 at 7 p.m. on Syfy

Karma — when recent college grad Manny has trouble making ends meet, his father-in-law offers him a job evicting delinquent tenants. Manny soon finds himself unleashing a karma demon which stalks him at every turn in this original movie debuting Saturday, Oct. 13 at 9 p.m. on Syfy

Killer High — Sabrina’s perfectly planned high school reunion goes south when a monster keeps killing all the guests in this horror-comedy original movie debuting Saturday, Oct. 20 at 9 p.m. on Syfy

The Good Witch — “The Tale of Two Hearts”

Dead in the Water — an all-female crew on a boat in the middle of nowhere must deal with an invader on their ship in this original movie debuting Saturday, Oct. 27 at 9 p.m. on Syfy


EPISODES

(Photo by Fox)

Fresh Off the Boat 94% — “Workin’ the ‘Ween” premieres Friday, Oct. 19 at 8 p.m. on ABC

Last Man Standing  — “Bride of Prankenstein” premieres Friday, Oct. 19 at 8 p.m. on Fox

Raven’s Home — “Switch-Or-Treat” premieres Friday, Oct. 19 at 8 p.m. on Disney Channel

Speechless — “I-n-Into the W-o-Woods” premieres Friday, Oct. 19 at 8:30 p.m. ABC

The Simpsons 85% — “Treehouse of Horror XXIX” premieres Sunday, Oct. 21 at 8 p.m. on Fox

Bob's Burgers — “Nightmare on Ocean Avenue Street” premieres Sunday, Oct. 21 at 8:30 p.m. on Fox

Family Guy — “Big Trouble in Little Quahog” premieres Sunday, Oct. 21 at 9 p.m. on Fox

Rel 44% — “Halloween” premieres Sunday, Oct. 21 at 9:30 p.m. on Fox

The Goldbergs  — “Mister Knifey-Hands” premieres Wednesday, Oct. 24 at 8 p.m. on ABC

American Housewife — “Trust Me” premieres Wednesday, Oct. 24 at 8:30 p.m. on ABC

Modern Family 85% — “Good Grief” premieres Wednesday, Oct. 24 at 9 p.m. on ABC

The Cool Kids 75% — “Politician, Freemason, Scientist, Humorist and Diplomat, Ben Franklin” premieres Wednesday, Oct. 24 9:30 p.m. on ABC

Superstore 93% — “Costume Competition” premieres Thursday, Oct. 25 at 8 p.m. on NBC

Young Sheldon — “Seven Deadly Sins and a Small Carl Sagan” premieres Thursday, Oct. 25 at 8:30 p.m. on CBS

MacGyver — “Dia de Muertos + Sicarios + Family” premieres Friday, Oct. 26 at 8 p.m. on CBS

Hawaii Five-0 — “A’ohe mea ‘imi a ka maka (Nothing More the Eyes to Search for)” premieres Friday, Oct. 26 at 9 p.m. on CBS

Movie remakes tend to get an automatic bad rap, but this time we’re putting some numbers behind it. Take the original’s Tomatometer rating, subtract by the remake’s number, and voila: the 24 worst movie remakes by Tomatometer!

Rings is out in theaters this week, continuing the ghostly VHS story started by the first American Ring 15 years ago. Not a bad length for a horror franchise that started this century, but in this week’s gallery we look at 24 series that have been taking a stab at audiences for over two decades. Remember: If your franchise has gone over four movies without a Fresh rating, consult a script doctor.

We here at RT went deep into the vault of horror franchises to tally up the victims of some of film and TV’s most deadly psycho killers. Take a peek at the results — if you dare!

 


Norman Bates  – Psycho (1960) 96%

Norman-Bates

Haunting Grounds: Bates Motel
Estimated Body Count: 20
Has there ever been a cinematic slasher more pitiable than Norman Bates? The poor guy is practically at war with himself, and his mom nags him from beyond the grave. Heck, every time he makes friends, they seem to end up dead. If Psycho exerted a profound influence on the slasher genre (and onscreen violence in general), it wasn’t because Norman was a particularly prolific killer. Alfred Hitchcock’s original (and the sequels) depicted a man in the clutches of inner torment and madness that was so gripping and scary that it didn’t need buckets of blood (or, in one memorable case, chocolate syrup) to be deeply unsettling.  Nine deaths are attributed to Norman Bates (Freddie Highmore) on the five-season AMC prequel TV series Bates Motel. But, really, who can say for sure?

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THE CREEPER – Jeepers Creepers (2001) 46%

creeper

Haunting Grounds: The Jeepers Creepers series
Estimated Body Count: 20
When Harry Warren and Johnny Mercer wrote “Jeepers Creepers” in the late 1930s, they surely never guessed their snappy little pop ditty would go on to provide the theme song for a murderous winged creature who possesses a bee- and dog-like ability to smell fear, and who can regenerate body parts by ingesting those of his victims. And that’s not all — the Creeper can also overcome overwhelmingly negative reviews, too! Although critics kept 2001’s Jeepers Creepers from a Fresh certification, the Creeper was back just two years later with a sequel, and there was even talk of a third installment. Not bad for a bad guy who’s limited to a single 23-day feeding frenzy every 23 years, right?

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THE THING – The Thing (1982) 82%

The-Thing

Haunting Grounds: The Thing from Another World, The Thing, The Thing
Estimated Body Count: 20
Human beings have long wondered what otherworldy monstrosities might be lurking out in the far reaches of space, which helps to explain the enduring appeal of John W. Campbell’s 1938 short story, Who Goes There? It’s the tale of an Antarctic research team that unwittingly rescues a malevolent alien from an icy grave. The creature repays the favor by forcibly (and messily) assimilating every living being within reach, including 20 unlucky scientists and a handful of dogs. Campbell’s monster — referred to as the Thing — has provided rich fodder for filmmakers over the decades, inspiring 1951’s The Thing from Another World, John Carpenter’s 1982 cult classic The Thing, and, most recently, the 2011 prequel/reboot of the same name.

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JAWS – Jaws (1975) 98%

Jaws

Haunting Grounds: The Jaws series
Estimated Body Count: ~21, if you count the whale in Jaws 2
Most of the slashers on our list are bona fide film icons, but few of them can boast of having changed the entire industry the way Peter Benchley’s great white shark did: Before Jaws‘ 1975 debut, studios actually held their big films out of the summer market, believing the vacation months to be a commercial graveyard. Almost $500 million (and lots of bloody ocean water) later, a franchise was born — and although the third and fourth installments aren’t good for much besides unintentional humor, the original remains a certified classic with a 98 percent Tomatometer rating. Granted, the kill count here takes into consideration the havoc wreaked by multiple great whites over the course of the franchise, but it merely illustrates what Benchley already knew: the ocean is scary enough even without a gigantic bloodthirsty shark chasing you around, so tossing one in the mix just ups the ante.

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LEATHERFACE – The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) 89%

Leatherface

Haunting Grounds: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre series
Estimated Body Count: 30
The twisted true-life tale of grave robber Ed Gein has inspired many notable cinematic grotesques, from Norman Bates in Psycho to Buffalo Bill in The Silence of the Lambs. However, Tobe Hooper may have done the most to immortalize Gein in the annals of perverse pop culture by emphasizing his habit of making clothing out of human flesh. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre introduced Leatherface, a developmentally disabled fellow under the control of his cannibalistic family. Though he started out as a pretty timid guy who was as afraid of visitors as they were of him, Leatherface came out of his shell in the sequels and reboots, making up for lost time in liberally employing his Poulan 306A.

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PINHEAD – Hellraiser (1987) 72%

PinheadHaunting Grounds: The Hellraiser series
Estimated Body Count: 35
By the late 1980s, the slasher genre was starting to feel a little stale — and then along came Pinhead, the sadomasochistic leader of the extradimensional pack of hooligans known as the Cenobites. The spike-headed hook fetishist wasn’t featured heavily in 1987’s Hellraiser, but Pinhead’s combination of creepy appearance, selective taste for victims, and clear fondness for gruesome torture stole the movie; throughout the eight-film series (four of which were released straight to DVD), Pinhead has remained the only constant, and for good reason: although his body count may be relatively low, no one else can match his prowess with a sharp, well-placed hook.

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CHUCKY – Child's Play (1988) 71%

ChuckyHaunting Grounds: The Child’s Play series
Estimated Body Count: ~38
Chucky may have devolved into a pint-sized Tony Clifton at this point, but the original Child’s Play was a superior genre piece — creepy, suspenseful, and blessed with an insidious sense of humor. Child’s Play riffed on the idea of innocence gone horribly wrong, with a quasi-Cabbage Patch Kid embodied by a vicious serial killer thanks to a voodoo ritual. Subsequent sequels — the most recent of which, Curse of Chucky, just recently made its way onto home video — have delivered more camp than scares, but Chucky’s left a trail of more than 35 corpses in his wake — and probably didn’t enamor himself to Teddy Ruxpin.

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FREDDY KRUEGER – A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) 95%

Freddy-KruegerHaunting Grounds: The Nightmare on Elm Street series
Estimated Body Count: ~39
Arguably the most recognizable movie monster of the 1980s, Freddy Krueger may not be able to compete with other horror icons when it comes to killing in bulk. But the dermatologically-challenged Elm Street resident certainly wins points for style; in addition to his expert use of claw-tipped leather gloves, Freddy is adept at shape-shifting, strangulation, and generating geysers of blood from the bodies of future heartthrobs. Even accounting for the various forms Freddy has taken over the years in his efforts to turn the sweetest dreams dark and bloody, we’ve got his kill count somewhere in the vicinity of 39. That might be fewer than one might expect, but Mr. Krueger is an artiste who chooses his victims very specifically.

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FATE – Final Destination (2000) 35%

Final-Destination-2Haunting Grounds: The Final Destination series
Estimated Body Count: 39
Remember the old margarine commercials that said you can’t fool Mother Nature? Well, according to the Final Destination series, you can’t cheat Fate, either. It’s often said that revenge is a dish best served cold — but for the unseen hand of Fate, it tastes even better when garnished with a series of incredibly brutal (and, it must be said, very morbidly entertaining) booby traps. The series’ unseen antagonist has dispatched 39 victims, using everything from the mundane (death by falling brick) to the cleverly rewind-worthy (shower cord strangulation, ladder through the eye, death by falling cherry picker). By the time we surpassed The Final Destination and got Final Destination 5, the series was clearly aware of its silly appeal, and each creatively choreographed death was equally as hilarious as it was cringeworthy.

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GHOSTFACE – Scream (1996) 79%

GhostfaceHaunting Grounds: The Scream franchise, Scream (TV series)
Estimated Body Count: 49
One of the rare slasher antagonists who’s a killer by committee, the Scream series’ Ghostface is played by a revolving door of mask-donning, knife-wielding psychopaths. Their motives are different (peer pressure, revenge, etc.), but the results are the same, no matter who wears the Edward Munch-inspired getup: teenagers will turn up dead, following the conventions of horror movies. And, as with other horror franchises, the body count increases with each sequel. Adding to the mayhem was the first season of MTV’s Scream, which aired this summer. All in all, this council of killers is responsible for at least 49 slayings.

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LEPRECHAUN – Leprechaun (1993) 27%

LeprechaunHaunting Grounds: The Leprechaun series
Estimated Body Count: 50
The Leprechaun series is the embodiment of the finest that Irish culture and letters has to offer, easily surpassing the works of James Joyce and Oscar Wilde. The titular antihero is murderously committed to acquiring a pot o’ gold, an undertaking that prompts travel to such exotic locales as Las Vegas, Compton, and outer space. Despite his diminutive stature, the Leprechaun’s super-sharp claws and teeth have helped him tally 50 onscreen fatalities, including a very young Jennifer Aniston, who made her big screen debut in the first film.

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JIGSAW – Saw (2004) 51%

JigsawHaunting Grounds: The Saw series
Estimated Body Count: 60
John Kramer was first christened “Jigsaw” by detectives who discovered the serial killer’s calling card was a puzzle piece-shaped hunk of flesh carved from the corpses of his victims. The name stuck as the cops closed in on Kramer and realized his elaborate, irony-laden traps were designed to punish those he deemed guilty of criminal acts or taking life for granted (he must have been a fan of Se7en). More characters and plot twists (Jigsaw doesn’t work alone! Something about cancer!) were introduced as the series wore on, and Saw evolved into a labyrinthine annual soap opera drenched in blood and agony. A Grand Guignol for our times.

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HANNIBAL LECTER – The Silence of the Lambs (1991) 96%

Haniibal-Lecter

Haunting Grounds: Manhunter, The Silence of the Lambs, Red Dragon, Hannibal, Hannibal Rising, Hannibal (TV)
Estimated Body Count: 98
Before 1991, you may not have even known what fava beans were — but after Anthony Hopkins’ first appearance as Doctor Hannibal “The Cannibal” Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs, nobody ever thought of them the same way again. Like Jason Voorhees, Lecter doesn’t appear in much of the famous reboot — he’s only in a little over 15 minutes of Lambs — but it was the first time we actually witnessed the good doctor rack up a few kills on screen (both Manhunter and its remake Red Dragon only imply Lecter’s murdered some folks), and audiences had a clear, um, appetite for the flesh-craving serial killer’s brand of mayhem: he’s gone on to appear in a number of other books and movies. Although we just saw the end of Hannibal‘s three-season run on NBC, series creator Bryan Fuller insists we haven’t seen the last of Lecter just yet.

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MICHAEL MYERS – Halloween (1978) 96%

Michael-Meyers
Haunting Grounds: The Halloween series, minus Season of the Witch
Estimated Body Count: ~107
The best-known escapee of Smith’s Grove Sanitarium, Michael Myers has never been a big fan of babysitters, nor is he particularly fleet of foot. He digs Blue Oyster Cult, and makes special use of Star Trek paraphernalia and kitchen cutlery. Since the release of John Carpenter’s landmark Halloween, Myers’ legend has been told in a number of sequels, and if his reasons for killing are obscure, he’s still coldly efficient at the task; he’s racked up a whopping 100-plus notches on his belt.

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THE INVISIBLE MAN – The Invisible Man (1933) 94%

InvisibleManBodyCount
Haunting Grounds: The Invisible Man (1933)
Estimated Body Count: 123
We were shocked (shocked!) to discover that killers with high body counts could even be found in Old Hollywood fare. Based on the H.G. Wells 1897 novel, James Whale’s pre-code horror film featured Claude Rains (Casablanca) in his American film debut as the titular villain, also known as Dr. Jack Griffin. Hiding away in a snowy village, Griffin experiments on himself while working on a drug called “monocane,” which he believes is the secret to invisibility. Although he does succeed in turning himself invisible, he also becomes a crazed murderer. Killing those who get in his way, and a train full of people just for kicks, Griffin eventually causes the death of 123 people – including himself.

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JASON VOORHEES – Friday the 13th (1980) 63%

HalloweenHaunting Grounds: The Friday the 13th series
Estimated Body Count: 146
Rocking facial protection that would do Jacques Plante proud, Jason Voorhees terrorized Camp Crystal Lake with cold precision (and an ability to cheat death that Rasputin would envy) in Friday the 13th. Occasionally, he breaks out of the bucolic confines of the countryside to wreak havoc in the big city (Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan), Hades (Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday), and the future (Jason X). According to our research, Jason has put a whopping 146 unfortunate souls on ice. Pretty impressive for a cat who drowned in 1958.

Watch Trailer


En español: Read this article in Spanish at Tomatazos.com.

Survivors-Hall-of-Fame

The most successful horror franchises tend to feature protagonists audiences can root for — heroes that viewers hope will beat the odds and emerge from their respective situations victorious and, well, alive. With that in mind, we here at RT decided to look back at some of cinema’s most stubborn survivors, those characters that somehow managed to avoid being offed in multiple horror movies.

Needless to say, you may want to avoid what follows below if you’re allergic to spoilers. Without further ado, here are our choices for the Horror Movie Survivor Hall of Fame!


Ellen Ripley

Ellen-Ripley

Survived: The Alien Franchise

You can’t keep a good woman down. Case in point: Ellen Ripley. Even if she only survived two-and-three-quarters of the first three Alien films, the DNA in her blood cells was enough to create a pretty killer replica (which gives us all hope for future Chuck Norris clones, but we digress).

Ripley could have gone the way of Dr. Frank Poole a whole bunch of times throughout the series. As the only survivor of the Nostromo (not counting Jones the cat), she still could have been torn to shreds when the alien hid on her shuttle. In Aliens, Ripley and a few of her compatriots survived a tough battle with the Alien Queen aboard the Sulaco. Even a universe-saving suicide in Alien 3 barely slows Ripley down — the follow-up isn’t called Alien Resurrection for nothing. How does she do it? Our guess is those decades-long stasis naps do a body good.


Ash Williams

Ash-Williams

Survived: The Evil Dead Franchise

You can possess him with a few demons. You can chop off his hand. Hell, you can even send him back through time. But the one thing you cannot do to Ashley “Ash” Williams: keep him down for good.The same can’t be said of Ash’s friends, who, in the first two Evil Deads offer up a survival rate of exactly zero. Ash is actually supposed to have died in the final frames of The Evil Dead, but the sequel retcons the whole thing, causing him to re-endure a gory getaway in the forest cabin. In the process, he loses his hand, but hey, chainsaw hand as replacement.

In the final Evil Dead, Army of Darkness, Ash is sent to 1300 AD. His only way to get back to the present time and his job at S-Mart: Going through a horde of the undead (led by an Ash clone) to retrieve the Necronomicon, the book of the dead. Groovy.


 Dr. Frankenstein

Dr-Frankenstein

Survived: The Frankenstein Series by Hammer Films

Some folks just don’t know when to quit. You’d think that Baron Victor von Frankenstein would reconsider his diabolical experiments in reanimation after nearly getting his dome lopped off in The Curse of Frankenstein, but no; this guy’s got a one-track mind. Unlike the Frankenstein of Mary Shelley and the Universal movies, our man Vic (played with eyebrow-raised relish by Peter Cushing) doesn’t evolve from hubristic to guilt-ridden — he’s pretty much a murderous mad scientist from minute one. After surviving the guillotine in The Curse of Frankenstein, the Baron continued his artificial life experiments in a bunch of Hammer films (either five or six, depending on whether you count the Cushing-free The Horror of Frankenstein as part of the cannon — many don’t). It’s pretty amazing that Frankenstein can perpetually stay one step ahead of death, given that angry townspeople, public officials, and even his own stitched-up creations are always trying to kill him.


Tommy Jarvis

Tommy-Jarvis

Survived: Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter, Friday the 13th, Part V – A New Beginning, Friday the 13th, Part VI – Jason Lives

The Friday the 13th series only had two protagonists who would carry themselves into sequels. The first was the original camp survivor who would be unceremoniously offed in Part II‘s opening sequence. The other: Tommy Jarvis. He first appeared in arguably the series’ best installment, Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter, as a young boy vacationing with his single mother and sister. With a penchant for masks, he and his sister succeed in confusing Jason, before Tommy is taken over by madness and hacks poor ol’ Jason Voorhees to death. The ambigious final shot of The Final Chapter suggests he has taken on an evil spirit.

In the godawful sequel, A New Beginning, Tommy is a taciturn mental patient, drifting in and out of institutions. As copycat murders begin around him, he suspects that his psychosis is taking over under the cover of night. Turns out the killer was just a disgruntled paramedic. In his final appearance, Jason Lives, Tommy attempts to tear Jason’s corpse asunder, but a steel pipe left in his heart attracts a bolt of lightning and Jason is resurrected. Ultimately, Tommy lures him back to the lake and to a watery grave. But we all know how long the dead stay dead in horror movies, don’t we?


Laurie Strode

Laurie-Strode

Survived: Halloween, Halloween II, Halloween H20Halloween (2007)

It’s no wonder that Laurie Strode takes a breather every couple of Halloween installments; neither sleep nor time nor even a franchise reboot can rid her of Michael Myers. In the original Halloween, Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis) survived the babysitting gig from hell, successfully keeping Michael Myers at bay (though he killed a couple of her friends). In Halloween II, she learned why she’d been stalked — it turned out that she was a blood relative of the knife-wielding psycho.

Laurie lay low for the next four Halloweens, but reemerged in Halloween H2O; she had faked her own death and changed her name, but she couldn’t stay hidden from her brother forever. Unfortunately, Myers finally got the best of Laurie in Halloween: Resurrection. Rob Zombie’s 2007 franchise reboot began at the beginning of the Laurie Strode story, with Scout Taylor-Compton stepping into the role; whether this incarnation of Laurie Strode shows the same survival instinct as the first remains to be seen.


Dr. Loomis

Dr-Loomis

Survived: The Halloween Franchise

Most psychology PhDs don’t receive gun training in school, tranquilizer or otherwise. Not sure about cursed zombie entrapment (that could be covered during mandatory intern hours), but Dr. Samuel James Loomis is somehow capable of all these things. At one point in Halloween 4, he agilely escaped death by diving behind some convenient barrels while his unkillable former patient took out a gas tank with a truck, causing a near-fatal explosion.

Dr. Loomis’ constant attempts at shooting Michael Myers really only impeded the guy’s momentum. It only took the first two films for Loomis to realize that bullets just wouldn’t work. At the end of II, he decided to be the martyr and blow both Michael and himself up using a combo of oxygen and ether.

Oh wait… but they both survive — somehow. Maybe Loomis got the explosive recipe wrong. But that’s great because then we got him for four more films! In those films we saw him use Michael’s female prey as bait to lure him into a trap consisting of a metal net, a tranquilizer gun, and his fists. But it was when he used his shrink skills to reason with the monster that we thought, “Oh yeah, that’s what he was trained to do.”


Kirsty Cotton

Kristy-Cotton

Survived: The Hellraiser Franchise

Puzzle boxes were all the rage in the 1980s. Of course, when Kirsty Cotton played with one, she suffered the consequences: the opening of another realm filled with sado-masochistic Cenobytes led by none other than Pinhead himself. Pinhead’s posse included Butterball, Chatterer, and the Female. After attacks from a deceptive dead-skin-wearing uncle, a group of deal-reneging “explorers” from another realm, and a stepmother hell-bent on devouring her boyfriend, Kirsty even withstood a trip to the Cenobyte realm. In Hellraiser III, she existed only through old interview footage, but she returned in Hellseeker with some gruesome tricks up her sleeve.

Being orphaned could inspire one to focus on new hobbies and interests, like mastering such a puzzle box, incidentally called the “Lament Configuration.” That, and a propensity for turning the tables on your loved ones, could be all you need to survive when confronted by violent unearthly beings that thrive on the pleasures of pain.


Nancy Thompson

Nancy-Thompson

Survived: A Nightmare on Elm Street, Wes Craven’s New Nightmare

How exactly does one defeat a nemesis who manifests himself in the dream world and makes nightmares come true? Nancy Thompson seemed to have figured out the trick, but not before notorious burn victim Freddy Krueger dispatched a good number of her friends and family in gruesome ways.

After Freddy skewered her BFFs and effectively turned her boyfriend into a bloody geyser in the original Nightmare on Elm Street, Nancy somehow managed to escape, only to meet her end in Part 3: Dream Warriors. But here’s the kicker: Freddy actually came after the actress who played Nancy, Heather Langenkamp, in Wes Craven’s [very meta] New Nightmare, in which he also terrorized director Craven himself and the man who portrayed him in the movies, Robert Englund. Whoa… And maybe, you might think, a name change would help protect poor Nancy, but Freddy’s too smart for that.


Jill Tuck

Jill-Tuck

Survived: Saw III through Saw 3D

Throughout all the twists and turns of the Saw franchise, one woman emerged as the series’ unlikely hero (seriously, the bad guys got waaay more screen time than the goodies): Jill Tuck, the ex-wife of serial killer Jigsaw. Jill was a rehabilitation clinic director who suffered a miscarriage after an assault from a junkie, prompting Jigsaw’s descent into madness.

Despite the Saw series’ brutally high body count, Jill survived five filmed appearances. After Jigsaw’s death in Saw III, she received a mysterious box via his will. For a while, her role as either protagonist or antagonist was up in the air, making her the most compelling character outside of Jigsaw himself. Then it was revealed her final role in Jigsaw’s twisted blueprint was to “test” his apprentice, crazy corrupt cop Mark Hoffman. Jill almost took him out, but was eventually killed in the final Saw with the infamous reverse bear trap.


Cindy Campbell

Cindy-Campbell

Survived: The first four Scary Movie movies

A high-school-student-turned-college-student-turned-anchorwoman-turned-professional-boxer-turned-caregiver, Cindy Campbell knows how to throw down and maybe even snap some necks. Her response to a home-attack by Ghostface? What else? Throw a HOUSE PARTY! That would be the safest thing to do, right? But everyone ended up dead. Go figure. Her Matrix-like aerial fighting skills got her through another night, but could she survive a wedgie in Scary Movie 2? Turns out… she could and did!

This one was handy though. Only Cindy Campbell could MacGyver random objects into a tractor, allowing her to crash through the door of a refrigerator she was locked in. Even a UN nude-ray couldn’t stop this savvy ingénue. At one point, an alien Command tripod ensnared her with Venus flytraps in a grimy old bathroom, and she was instructed to find the key to free herself and her friend Brenda. The key was located behind her eye, but it wasn’t a problem for Cindy. She’s got a glass eye (old bar fight injury).

Cindy has survived a lot. She’s slick and sagacious. But we’re still not sure whether she’s still with us, since she sat out Scary Movie 5.


Sidney Prescott

Sidney-Prescott

Survived: The Scream Franchise

Poor Sidney Prescott. She survived an entire franchise dedicated to her demise, and it really all came down to reasons that were far beyond her control. What’s that saying about “the sins of the father” (or, in this case, mother)? Yeah, Sidney sort of represents the epitome of the adage.

Consider this: Sidney’s own boyfriend, Billy, played the long con on her and ultimately tried to off her in the first Scream because Sidney’s mom broke apart his parents’ marriage — yikes. But it got worse: who should come around for revenge in Scream 2 but Billy’s mom herself, understandably upset, along with an accomplice who just wanted to be famous for killing Sidney. Scream 3 saw Sidney terrorized by a half brother she never knew she had, upset about being rejected by their mother, and 4‘s Ghostface Killer turned out to be Sidney’s own cousin, itching to get a taste of Sidney’s fame. Sidney is safe and sound as of now, of course, but you never know; there might be a great granduncle or a step-niece just rarin’ for a go at her.


Alice

Alice

Survived: The Resident Evil Franchise

At first, it wouldn’t appear that the Umbrella Corporation of the Resident Evil films planned very well for a possible outbreak of their zombifying T-virus. In fact, the soldiers sent to Umbrella’s secret lab in 2002’s Resident Evil spent most of their time simply trying to survive.

But even in the face of this population-decimating epidemic, there was one particular survivor who eventually went on the offensive for the good of all mankind, and her name was Alice. The folks at Umbrella must have spotted her potential, too, because in Apocalypse (2004), they outfitted Alice with some genetic modifications, and in Extinction (2007), they even cloned her in hopes of building a butt-kicking army. She’s survived attacks by all kinds of mutations, speedy, strong, and grotesque, but she hasn’t fallen yet. Alice and Umbrella both know the whole ordeal is Umbrella’s fault, and her quest to bring them to justice continues through to the franchise’s sixth installment, which is scheduled to open next year.

There have been so many horror remakes that there’s no way we could cover them all at once. We did, however, decide to collect a sampling list, making room for some of the best, worst, and most puzzlingly misguided examples from the genre. Let’s get started, shall we?


The Amityville Horror (2005) 23%

Amytville
Like many of the movies on this week’s list, the latter-day Amityville Horror was produced by Michael Bay’s Platinum Dunes — and like more than a few of them, it suffered in comparison to the original. Which is a shame, because Amityville‘s central story — about a young family moving into a horrifically haunted house — is both devilishly simple and allegedly fact-based, which has helped the franchise retain its aura even through a series of sometimes-silly sequels and spinoffs. Unfortunately, despite a talented cast that included Ryan Reynolds, Melissa George, and a young(er) Chloe Grace Moretz, this Horror was mainly scary for the studio execs who had to account for its $64 million domestic gross, which sentenced the franchise to years of direct-to-DVD purgatory.

 


The Blob (1988) 62%

The-Blob
Inspired by the way David Cronenberg used modern special effects and less-campy storytelling to amp up the horror in The Fly, Hollywood spent a portion of the late 1980s rushing to the vaults and searching for other long-dormant properties that might benefit from the remake treatment. Hence 1988’s The Blob, in which an alien goo plops down in a small town and starts gorging on its unsuspecting residents. It was just as fantastically cheesy a premise as it had been in 1958, when Steve McQueen starred in the original — but thanks to a solid screenplay from future Shawshank Redemption director/adapter Frank Darabont, as well as a (slightly) more believable Blob, it managed to just about reach the rather low bar set by its predecessor, which is about all one can hope for when making a film about hungry interstellar plasma.

 


Cat People (1982) 61%

Cat-Peopl-1982
The original Cat People, produced on the cheap by Val Lewton in 1942, emphasized suggestion over explicit horror; four decades later, director Paul Schrader used the movie’s central idea — about people whose sexual desires trigger a sometimes-deadly feline transformation — as the basis for a steamy softcore flick that made up for its lack of genuine scares with an abundance of Natassja Kinski and a cool soundtrack featuring David Bowie and Giorgio Moroder. While it may not be the most terrifying movie on this list, it’s probably one of the hardest to turn away from if you happen across it on the cable dial during a bout of late-night viewing.

 


The Crazies (2010) 70%

The-crazies
“WHY ARE THE GOOD PEOPLE DYING?” screamed the poster for George A. Romero’s paranoid The Crazies about the side effects of a military accident that resulted in a small American town being poisoned with a biological weapon that turns people into violent lunatics. Sadly, the tagline for Romero’s 1973 effort might as well have been “WHY WON’T MOST THEATERS SHOW THE CRAZIES?,” because the picture died with a whimper at the box office — but a good idea always turns up again in the horror genre, and in 2010, director Breck Eisner repurposed Romero’s original to create a sleek, gleefully nasty update that managed a surprisingly robust 71 percent on the Tomatometer. Alas, while Eisner’s Crazies at least made it to wide release, they didn’t fare a whole lot better at the box office, managing to slash together ony $54 million worldwide. The result of a military-industrial conspiracy, perhaps?

 


Dawn of the Dead (2004) 76%

Dawn-of-the-Dead
Did George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead really need a remake? Perhaps not. But if we were going to get one, it might as well have been one that blended the the visual wizardry of director Zack Snyder with a screenplay from future Guardians of the Galaxy mastermind James Gunn, and that’s just what we got with this 2004 “re-envisioning” of the zombie classic. Using the original’s basic framework as an effective delivery mechanism for a fresh round of gruesome gore and heart-pumping action, the new Dawn proved surprisingly bright for most critics, including Aisle Seat’s Mike McGranaghan, who wrote, “Dawn of the Dead is ultra-violent, excessively bloody, and extremely gory — all in a good way. I left the theater feeling pumped full of adrenaline.”

 


Don't Be Afraid of the Dark (2010) 60%

Dont-Be-Afraid
It might seem a little odd to base a horror remake on a TV movie from the 1970s, but the original Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark — starring Kim Darby as a housewife whose new home comes with some nasty little tenants lurking in the basement — is a cult classic for aficionados of the genre, so a theatrical version was probably inevitable. Given that the 2011 edition was co-written and produced by Guillermo del Toro, fans had reason to be hopeful that the remade Dark would be even scarier than the first; alas, after being trapped in studio limbo for months due to Miramax’s shuttering, director Troy Nixey’s update on the story — which focused on an eight-year-old (Bailee Madison) and her father’s girlfriend (Katie Holmes) — was greeted with lukewarm indifference by audiences and critics alike. Perhaps some things are just more frightening on the boob tube.

 


Evil Dead (2013) 63%

Evil-Dead-Remake
How in the world do you put together a remake of one of the most beloved horror-comedy cult classics of the last 40 years? If you’re director Fede Alvarez, you film a new version of Evil Dead with production input from creator Sam Raimi and original star Bruce Campbell, a much bigger budget, and a far more serious take on the story of young campers who unwittingly unleash a demon plague while goofing around with the Book of the Dead. The amped-up gore in Alvarez’s Evil Dead certainly wasn’t for everyone, but it arguably made more sense, given the film’s narrative outline — and the resultant uptick in attention to the franchise helped lead to the subsequent TV series Ash vs. Evil Dead.

 


The Fly (1986) 93%

The-Fly-1984
The original version of The Fly, released in 1958, was a Vincent Price classic that didn’t really need to be remade, but that didn’t stop producer Stuart Cornfield (working with an uncredited Mel Brooks) from getting the ball rolling on a new version. After several years in development, plenty of studio struggle, and some turnover at the screenwriter and director positions, Cornfield had his movie: David Cronenberg’s gorier, more suspenseful take on The Fly, which went back to George Langelaan’s 1957 short story and emerged with one of the more delightfully suspenseful horror/sci-fi movies of the 1980s. Unfortunately, Cronenberg’s Fly — starring Jeff Goldblum as the ill-fated scientist whose experiments leave his DNA accidentally intertwined with the titular pest, and Geena Davis as the woman who loves him — was too successful to prevent a sequel: 1989’s rather uninspired The Fly II. Rumors of another remake (and a quasi-sequel penned by Cronenberg) have popped up over the years, but it’s all been for naught. So far, anyway.

 


Friday the 13th (2009) 26%

Friday
Featuring a “star” hidden behind a hockey mask and a brilliantly low-budget conceit that needed nothing more than anonymous young actors capable of screaming in various states of undress, the Friday the 13th series was one of the most reliably profitable horror franchises of the 1980s — and ripe for the reboot treatment in the 21st century. Platinum Dunes did the honors in 2009, reimagining the murderous Jason Voorhees as more of a lethal maniac and less of a lumbering dolt, with cooler special effects and plenty of T&A; once again, the formula worked, producing plenty of pure profit for the studio and signaling that perhaps a new slew of sequels was on the horizon. Alas, Jason slumbered for the next several years, although he’s currently set to terrorize a fresh batch of Crystal Lake campers on May 13, 2016.

 


Fright Night (2011) 72%

Fright-Night
If director Craig Gillespie had polled horror fans in 2011 and asked them if he really needed to remake 1985’s Fright Night, the answer probably would have been a resounding “no”; after all, the original was not only a surprise hit, it had matured into a solid favorite among scary movie lovers, and little seemed to be gained by updating the story of a horror-loving teen (William Ragsdale) who makes the awful discovery that his new neighbor (Chris Sarandon) is secretly a vampire. While it may not have been strictly necessary, the new Fright Night — starring Anton Yelchin as young Charley Brewster and Colin Farrell as the undead addition to the neighborhood — proved surprisingly potent, with Farrell’s charismatic performance matching Gillespie’s confident lens. While box office returns were fairly weak, the remake brought the Fright Night franchise back to life, with a direct-to-video sequel arriving in 2013.

 


Halloween (2007) 28%

Halloween-Remake
By the 2000s, producer Moustapha Akkad’s once-proud Halloween franchise had fallen on hard times, with deathless serial killer Michael Myers resurfacing in a series of low-budget sequels that bore little resemblance to John Carpenter’s classic 1978 original. All that was left was to start over from the beginning — and that’s what director Rob Zombie did with 2007’s Halloween, which retold Myers’ gruesome origin story and returned him to poor, unfortunate Haddonfield, Illinois for a gorier version of his first grown-up killing spree. While Zombie had previously flirted with critical respectability with 2005’s The Devil’s Rejects, his Halloween mustered a mere 25 percent on the Tomatometer — not as high as 1982’s much-maligned Halloween III: Season of the Witch, but still better than the sixth installment in the series, 1995’s The Curse of Michael Myers, and good enough to greenlight a sequel (dubbed H2) in 2009. A planned 3D follow-up eventually fell off the schedule, but the next sequel, reportedly titled Halloween Returns, is currently in development.

 


Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978) 92%

Body-Snatchers

If Gus Van Sant’s Psycho serves as an argument against remakes, then the 1978 version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers offers an equally persuasive rebuttal. While the 1956 original is one of the most highly regarded sci-fi/horror movies of its era, director Philip Kaufman’s update matched it with a thrillingly gritty, ensemble-driven look at what might happen if alien spores landed on Earth and started sprouting eerily emotionless replicas of our friends and loved ones. Sharpening up the special effects without overly relying on them, the new-look Body Snatchers featured solid performances from a stellar cast that included Donald Sutherland, Leonard Nimoy, and Jeff Goldblum — and although it definitely made its share of money at the box office in 1978, if anything it’s even more highly regarded today. Here’s hoping Kaufman’s Snatchers continues to stand as the most recent version of the movie for many more years to come.

 


My Bloody Valentine (2009) 61%

My-Bloody-Valentine
If you’re looking for fright value, bad guys don’t come much more elegantly brutal than a bloodthirsty lunatic with a pickaxe, which might be why the low-budget 1981 Canadian slasher flick My Bloody Valentine — about a miner who survives a collapse by dining on his fellow crew members, goes crazy before being rescued, and wages murderous revenge — proved even more potent when its 3D remake surfaced in 2009. And although it may not have generated blockbuster numbers at the box office, it fared surprisingly well with critics; it can’t be long before we’re treated to yet another Bloody Valentine.

 


A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010) 15%

Nightmare-on-Elm-Street-Remake
Given how much money the Nightmare on Elm Street movies made for New Line during the 1980s and early 1990s, remakes and/or reboots were probably always a matter of course; problem was, the series was just as memorable for Robert Englund’s outstanding performance in the role of series killer Freddy Krueger as it was for its scores of inventive on-screen murders. Faced with the unsolvable problem of replacing Englund, the folks at Platinum Dunes hired Jackie Earle Haley to take over the part for their 2010 reboot — and although Haley is certainly a talented actor, and more than capable of exuding a sinister aura, he isn’t as physically imposing as Englund. Add that to a story that hit many of the same beats as the original, and the end result was a movie that, while certainly profitable, failed to land with as much impact as it had the first (eight) time(s) around.

 


Nosferatu (1979) 95%

Nosferatu
Werner Herzog’s filmography offers more than a few case studies in audaciousness, not the least of which is 1979’s Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht. Occasionally referred to by its less cool English title, Nosferatu the Vampyre, this remake of F.W. Murnau’s classic 1922 silent film finds Klaus Kinski stepping into the bloodsucking role so memorably inhabited by Max Schreck, with all parties involved acquitting themselves admirably. No less a cinematic authority than Roger Ebert agreed, writing that “To say of someone that they were born to play a vampire is a strange compliment, but if you will compare the two versions of Nosferatu you might agree with me that only Kinski could have equaled or rivaled Max Schreck’s performance.”

 


Psycho (1998) 39%

Psycho
Of all the remakes on our list, Gus Van Sant’s Psycho embraces the concept more eagerly than most, delivering a somewhat bafflingly precise update on the 1960 Hitchcock classic with a shot-for-shot replication that, while assembled and acted by talented creative types, exhibited no real creativity of its own. But while Van Sant’s Psycho wound up bottoming out at a rather miserable 37 percent on the Tomatometer, he dodged a few bullets in at least one sense — unlike a lot of remakes of classic films, his attempt to re-Hitchcock Hitchcock inspired more critical bafflement than anger or derision. Ultimately, the 1998 Psycho serves as a perfectly persuasive (albeit most likely unintentional) argument against remakes in general.

 


The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003) 37%

Texas-Massacre
A man, a plan, a chainsaw. Oh, and a facemask made out of human skin. It may not sound like much, but from the moment 1974’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre terrified its first audiences, it’s served as the basis for one of the horror genre’s more surprisingly durable franchises — in spite of the mostly miserable track record suffered by its spate of periodic prequels, sequels, and spinoffs. The horror remake enthusiasts at Platinum Dunes tried to take things back to the beginning (again) with their 2003 Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and although most critics claimed time had dulled Leatherface’s blade, audiences still turned out to the tune of more than $100 million in box office grosses. Yet another prequel followed in 2006,  followed by a 3D sequel to the original in 2013, and the origin story Leatherface is currently scheduled for 2016. Confused? Don’t think too hard; in the end, it all goes back to those first simple ingredients.

 


The Wicker Man (2006) 15%

Wicker
There are worse (and far, far better) horror remakes than Neil LaBute’s update on The Wicker Man, but we absolutely had to include it here, because no other film provides its particular brand of sheer, cackling lunacy. While it’s misguided on just about every level, the 2006 Wicker is chiefly noteworthy thanks to Nicolas Cage’s presence as police detective Edward Malus, whose journey to a secluded island in search of his abducted daughter ends very badly for all concerned — including any audience members not prepared for the unforgettable sight of Cage punching a woman in the face while wearing a bear suit, or the equally memorable sound of Cage screaming “Oh God! Not the bees!” Avoid it if you’re looking for truly scary viewing, but it still needs to be seen in order to be believed.


En español: Read this article in Spanish at Tomatazos.com.

Sometimes they come back from the dead…again! And sometimes…they never come back at all. That’s what happened to the horror movies in this gallery: they never got the sequel they deserved, so we’re dreaming up our own. You’re welcome, Hollywood!


[Spoiler alert for the whole gallery!]


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As a special treat for Halloween, Team Tomato recorded an audio commentary for the 1978 John Carpenter classic Halloween. Matt Atchity, Grae Drake and Kerr Lordygan are joined by Ryan Turek from Shock Till You Drop for this special edition of the podcast. Download this podcast, listen to it while watching Halloween, and it’s almost like having Team Tomato in the comfort of your own home!

 Halloween-Podcast-700

It’s hard to imagine just how surreal Damien Echols’ life must have been. In 1994, the teenager was sentenced to death for his alleged part, along with two others, in the gruesome 1993 murder of three boys in Arkansas. Convicted by state prosecutors riding a wave of public and media hysteria, the so-called West Memphis Three spent the next 18 years in prison — until an accumulation of new evidence raised doubts as to their guilt and, in 2011, they were finally set free.

Having spent most of his adult life incarcerated, Echols has since become something of a celebrity, drawing the support of people like Peter Jackson, Johnny Depp and Eddie Vedder, who lent their weight to the campaign to free the falsely-accused men and expose the miscarriage of justice. Jackson also co-produced an extensive new documentary about the case — Amy Berg’s West of Memphis — and with the film opening theatrically this week, we had the opportunity to sit down and talk with Echols recently.

“That’s the reason we’re doing this,” says Echols of the film, “just to get as many people to see this as possible, to try and get the word out. Cause in the end that’s all the state of Arkansas cares about, you know. They don’t care about justice or anything else: they only care about how many people are paying attention to what they’re doing. I mean, that’s what keeps them from getting away with stuff — how many people are watching.”

Behind tinted shades he occasionally removes for a rich, lively laugh, an understandably haunted Echols is also exhausted by the process of promoting a movie. “Burned out doesn’t even begin to describe it,” Echols sighs. “It gets to the point where you wanna start screaming and throwing sh*t through windows,” he laughs. “[I’m] not used to this at all. Even actors get burned out by this stuff. I’m not an actor. At least then, if you’re talking to an actor, they’re talking about a project they worked on, like a piece of art they created. But when you’re having to talk about this for hours — we’re not even talking about something we created, it’s more like we’re talking about some f**kin’ horrible tragedy that was dumped on us. So it’s not like you can really take pride in the work that you’ve done.”

Read on for more of the interview, in which Echols talks about life in prison, his admiration for Stephen King, how the support of those famous pals helped save him from death row, and his plans with Depp to produce a screen version of his memoir.

First up, he took a moment to talk about his five favorite films.

The Mothman Prophecies (Mark Pellington, 2001; 53% Tomatometer)



Normally if a movie doesn’t have a monster in it, I’m not interested. All I like are horror movies; but I don’t like slasher movies. To me, just seeing people getting hurt, that’s not entertaining to me. My favorite things of all time, they have to have a supernatural element to them, and there has to be a sense of romance to them, and an otherworldly quality that makes you feel like there’s more magic in life. So for me, my five favorite movies of all time are the ones I’ve watched over and over and over.

Number one, just first and foremost my favorite movie of all time — The Mothman Prophecies, with Richard Gere and Debra Messing. Have you ever seen that?

I haven’t seen it, no. It sounded interesting.

It’s great. It’s so subtle, but haunting at the same time. So that one…

The Sixth Sense (M. Night Shyamalan, 1999; 85% Tomatometer)



…and M. Night Shyamalan’s The Sixth Sense. That’s another one, it’s just got that — it’s like the otherworldly and the mundane just clash, and blend together in this way that you can’t tell where one ends and the other starts. I love that movie.

The Fourth Kind (Olatunde Osunsanmi, 2009; 19% Tomatometer)



Did you ever see a movie called The Fourth Kind?

You’ve got me there again. I don’t think so.

Milla Jovovich is in it. It’s another one of those ones that’s based on a true story, like The Mothman Prophecies. They use a lot of found footage in it — well not found footage, but like cop car cameras and things like that. This is one of those movies that, you know, it will make the hair stand up on the back of your neck. It’s horrifying.

Bram Stoker’s Dracula (Francis Ford Coppola, 1992; 80% Tomatometer)



Bram Stoker’s Dracula, that came out in 1992, with Gary Oldman.

Now that movie I love.

I love that movie. I watch that one over and over and over again. I love that one. The costumes, the people… even though the people… like Keanu Reeves, he may not be the greatest actor, but you don’t even realize that when you’re watching it — it’s like you’re so sucked into the world of the romance, and the visuals that are just so rich and decadent. And it makes you wanna live that life, you know. It makes you wanna live in a castle somewhere where you only use candles for lighting.

But no mirrors, of course.

[Laughs] Yeah.

I think Keanu’s fine in that film, by the way. He’s perfectly hammy, in an almost Hammer horror way.

I do too! But everybody else says he was terrible, that he was horrible in it.

Halloween (Rob Zombie, 2007; 24% Tomatometer)



Now I just said I don’t like slasher movies, but this is the exception to that rule — because it’s the exception to horror movies. The Rob Zombie remake of Halloween — that thing is f**king genius. It’s like he violates every rule of horror movie making and makes it work. Most horror movies are atmospheric, they’re really dark or they’re at night and they’re creepy; his is taking place in bright noon sunshine daylight, out in the yard. And the way he goes into the story of the Michael Myers character, you know, the reason why he’s making all these masks. That is a great movie.

I guess I also like it because of the outside scenes. You know, when they show people walking down the sidewalk or something — it feels like Autumn. You see leaves skitter across the sidewalk as the wind blows ’em, and you feel Halloween when you’re watching ’em. I remember the first time I saw that was when we were in prison. They’ll show movies on holidays just to take the tension out of the air a little bit — and that was the movie we got to see on Christmas. On Christmas they showed us Halloween. And when it was over — it was Christmas night, about 9 o’clock — as soon as it went off I went into such a deep state of mourning, because it was like my favorite time of year was gone. From the Equinox to Christmas morning, that is like the richest, most velvety, delicious time of year.

People always ask me, you know, they would say, “How would you describe heaven — in this perfect atmosphere where everything is exactly how you wanted it, how would it be?” And I say, “It would always be December.” So I realized that time of year was over, it was gone, and I was going to have to wait all the way around the will of the year to get back to Autumn and Halloween again. And seeing it in that movie, I just sat down and started crying when it was over, because I realized I was gonna have to make it through another long, hot, brutal summer, you know — prison guards torturing you, there’s nothing to look forward to. It was a horrible feeling. It feels like there’s a hole in you or something. But I can watch that movie now, and automatically feel that time of year again.


Next, find out what movies they won’t play in prison — and just how many times Echols has seen The Shawshank Redemption. Plus, his thoughts on writing, the support of Depp and Vedder, and playing laser tag with the cast and crew of The Hobbit.


 

So, do they have a policy in prison about any movies they won’t show you?

Damien Echols: Yeah. They won’t show anything — this is the weirdest thing, they’re so paranoid — like, for example, they shut all magazines out of prison, except for TV Guide and Entertainment Weekly. All other magazines, like Rolling Stone, GQ, Esquire, Playboy — they said they promote homosexuality. So they block ’em out of the prison and say they’re not coming in. Which I always thought was kinda weird when you take into consideration that this is an institution that forces hundreds of men to shower together every day. But that was like their movie policy, too: They wouldn’t show anything like, say Brokeback Mountain. Doesn’t matter how many awards it wins, or how great it is, they just say, “No. It promotes homosexuality. It’s not in.” But they’ll turn around and show Rob Zombie movies, you know, on Christmas Day.

Do they ever show prison escape movies? Did they show The Shawshank Redemption?

DE: They showed The Shawshank Redemption, I’d say, 20 times in the time I was there.

Was that just to torture you? You know, “This guy escaped but you’re stuck in here.”

DE: [Laughs] I don’t know. [Laughs] I have no idea what their reasoning behind that was. There was another one that they would show over and over and over, too. What was it? The Shawshank Redemption and, oh, The Green Mile.

You’re a Stephen King fan, aren’t you? There’s that scene in West of Memphis where they’re collecting your books and there’s a lot of his stuff in the box. Is that your kind of genre to write in?

DE: Oh yeah. Well people say — I mean, I have a ninth-grade education, I never even graduated high school…

But from what I’ve seen, you’re a good writer.

DE: Well that’s what people say: “How did you learn to write?” And I learned to write by reading Stephen King novels. I started reading them when I was somewhere between 10 and 12 years old. Some of them now I’ve read in the double digits, because the characters feel like old friends that I like to go back and visit sometimes. And that’s how I learned how to write.

One of the first things I did when I got out was — I’d self-published a memoir when I was in prison called Almost Home — and I looked it up online just to see what the reviews of it were, what people were saying about it. And I saw this one by this one woman that said, “The whole time I was reading this book I kept having this nagging sensation that I’ve heard this voice before, and about three-fourths of the way through I realized it’s Stephen King.” To me that was about the greatest compliment she could have given me.

We’re writing about different things: He’s writing fiction and I’m writing non-fiction; he’s writing stories about monsters and the end of the world and I’m writing about daily prison life — but at the same time I tried to write to the beat. Like when you listen to music, you hear a beat, and you could write a new song to the beat of the old song — well it’s the same thing for me when I’m reading. It’s like I feel a beat to the writing style. So whenever I sat down to write, I guess I’d just read so many of his books, so many times, that I automatically started trying to match that beat while I was writing. And that’s where I learned how to write from.

Now that Johnny Depp’s picked up the rights to your new memoir, Life After Death, what are the plans for it?

DE: Well we’re still in the very early stages of it. We’re still sort of kicking around ideas now about who we would want to do it, but one of the things we’re really strongly considering — and it’s probably the direction we’re gonna go in — is, instead of making like a big theatrical movie, do something like a mini-series. Pitch it to someone, you know, like HBO and see if they would be interested in it. It gives you more time to tell the story. You could do it in a shorter time period — you know, it takes like two years to get a movie into theaters, and you could do this in a year. So it gives you more time to tell the story and it reaches a wider audience. And you can get really quality directors and actors and writers. I mean, you’ve got people like Martin Scorsese directing Boardwalk Empire.

Is it weird to be in this position now? I mean, you were in prison for 18 years, and now you’re out and you’ve got people like Johnny Depp and Eddie Vedder by your side, supporting your cause.

DE: You know, there were people that over the years that became such good friends with us that I have no idea what we would have done without them. Johnny’s become like a brother to me. I absolutely love him dearly. Eddie too, you know. The first place I went when I got out was to Eddie’s house in Seattle. When we left Arkansas I didn’t have a single penny in my pocket; I didn’t have a suit of clothes to change into and I had nowhere to go. We went to Eddie’s house and immediately his wife takes me out and buys me all new clothes, and Eddie walks up and hands me a wallet with money in it, and I had no idea what in the hell we would have done without these guys. Eddie, Johnny, Henry Rollins, Peter [Jackson] and Fran [Walsh] — they saved my life.

One of my favorite moments in the film was when Eddie Vedder was reading from your diary, and I think it was that quote about time — it was really affecting.

DE: I was always afraid it would come across as a little flaky.

No, not at all. It really got to me. So has Peter shown you The Hobbit yet?

DE: No, but I was on the set while they were filming it for a whole three months, so it feels like I’ve seen it, because I saw them go through each scene, you know.

You must have seen Gollum in person, with his motion-capture suit.

DE: I didn’t see Gollum, but I did see a lot of the other guys wearing them. I’m trying to remember the guy’s name.. the guy in Spartacus, he plays this, was it a troll?

An orc? The Goblin King?

DE: He wasn’t the Goblin King. The Goblin King was Dame Edna. That was really weird. We went to Peter’s place out in the country one time, and there was about 30 of us: me, [Echols’ wife] Lorri [Davis], Peter and Fran, Barry Humphries, Ian McKellen, Elijah Wood. All of us are out there playing paintball, and we’re all dressed in our camouflage — wait, not paintball, laser tag — and we’re all running through the woods and shooting each other, and that was an insane day. I think Barry Humphries ended up being a casualty of friendly fire.

See, what’s funny about that is Barry Humphries plays laser tag. Did he do the Dame Edna voice? “I’ve got you now, possums.”

DE: [Laughs]

Alright, I think I’m getting thrown out now. Thanks for hanging in there, you’ve been great.

DE: Thank you so much. And thanks for helping to get the word out.


West of Memphis opens theatrically in select locations this week.


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