Thanks to the way the film industry works, pretty much the exact moment a horror movie does well, its producers start salivating at the thought of creating the next installment (or installments). Sometimes this results in franchises that seemingly make no sense (why are there so many Children of the Corn movies?), but at its best the continuation of a good story allows the horrific characters and concepts we love a chance to evolve and change in wild-as-hell ways.
This week, Rob Zombie revealed the first teaser trailer for 3 From Hell, the final movie in his Firefly Family trilogy that also includes House of 1000 Corpses and The Devil's Rejects. In honor of that, we posed the following question to you: What is the greatest horror franchise ever? You all responded with a ton of choice picks, and we tallied the results to the top five. While classics like Child's Play, Scream and Alien didn't make the cut, we can't say we disagree with the final results. See for yourself in the ranked list below.
Friday the 13th and Jason Voorhees embody the bloody fun of slasher movies like no other. So much so it's become a classic trope: teenagers alone at a secluded camp, unwittingly signing up to be slaughtered off wholesale for acting like jerks, partying, fucking or just being in Jason's way. When a franchise can start with a myth of a drowned boy out for revenge and evolve over a few films to see him become an un-killable man-monster smashing skulls in outer space — you know you're doing something right.
Despite an eventually convoluted, weird-as-hell plot involving a dead man's wishes and double-agent police officers, no film series brings the brutality as consistently as Saw. Before the slew of "torture porn" movies weighed down the world of horror in the mid-2000s, the first Saw film offered up a gripping horror-mystery centered around the question of why two men were chained up in a bathroom. The stakes are ultra-high, showing truly sickening contraptions bent on straight-up destroying the body if victims don't comply in Jigsaw's morality play. As the movies go on, the devices get more viciously elaborate, always pushing the limits of what you can do with gore. We can't wait to see what insanity Chris Rock has in store with his upcoming reboot.
Hellraiser is Clive Barker's masterpiece and a nightmarish exploration of our innate demons done in the most insidious way possible. One theory postulates the use of limit experiences and heavy BDSM imagery in the film franchise represent our innate desire to transgress, which adds deep psychological terror to the already-gory images stirred up by Pinhead and his legion of Cenobites. While some of the latter films in the series are definitely wonky, Hellraiser is bound to get back on track with Dark Knight writer David S. Goyer's new installment.
John Carpenter's Halloween is the film that helped solidify the trope of the final girl, and it did so with style, panache and genuinely gripping scare tactics (which is why film students are still taught it in classes today). Add in an unforgettable performance by eternal babe Jamie Lee Curtis and Carpenter's genius ear for creating entrancing synth scores that have been mimicked by everyone and their mother at this point, and the recipe is complete.
No series of slashers have inspired as much imagination and fandom as Wes Craven's A Nightmare on Elm Street. Even in some of the weaker iterations, you're always guaranteed to get some wacky, totally imaginative kills from Freddy Krueger — from being turned into a human marionette and squashed like a roach to getting smashed headfirst into a TV or sucked into a bed and blood-geysered all over the room. The franchise's craziness is anchored by the one-and-only Robert Englund, who has managed to imbue both humor and terror into the role, making Krueger an otherworldly, compelling and iconic character. Long live Freddy!