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Top 5 Horror Movies That Should Be Adapted Into TV Shows

Written by: Daniel Hadley 

With shows like Scream, Bates Motel, From Dusk ‘Till Dawn and a bunch more, horror movie franchises seem to be getting bigger and bigger on the small screen. So with that, I put a list together of horror movies I think could and should make the transition from the silver screen to the small screen.

5 A Nightmare On Elm Street

Right off the bat I’ll admit that while I like the Elm Street series, I don’t love it. There are some stand out movies like Dream Warriors for instance and I loved Freddy Vs Jason – no matter what anyone tells me I will never stop seeing that fight scene as anything less than awesome. But I didn’t like the evolution of Krueger’s character. He was best in the original and Wes Craven’s New Nightmare which for my money was the best of the series after the original, but after the first couple of movies Krueger moved more towards a one-liner slinging demonic cartoon character with his demeanor becoming more gleefully maniacal, and I know a lot of people loved that about him and I can appreciate that, but I believe that removed some of his menace.

Now if they were to adapt this series into a TV show (we’re disregarding the 80s anthological series, because, well, it really wasn’t about Krueger, at all) it would be a great opportunity to showcase just how fucking terrifying Krueger can be, because at the end of the day, unless you have the ability to pull some eleventh hour mcguffin out of your ass like a lot of his would-be victims managed to do in the later movies, he’s going to kill you. You nod off and you’re in his playground and while the remake, which was for the most part total dog shit, did at least try to make Krueger scary again, it failed, as he came off like a whiny schoolgirl. But if nothing else the remake left me thinking that Krueger had the potential to be one of the most sinister and truly terrifying horror villains spawned from the eighties.

A TV show would be a great opportunity to explore Krueger’s inner working, find out what makes him tick and flesh out his character. Also imagine a whole episode in one of his dream worlds. With TV taking huge steps now with visuals and just overall quality; think of what could be done with this setting. It would also be great to see more of him before his death – it would be cool to see him built up before he’s knocked down, or as it was in Freddy’s case, burned to death.

4 Aliens

With a movie series which is home to one of the greatest sci-fi action movies of all time and some of the most quotable lines in cinema, it might be hard to take this seriously but here me out. The Alien franchise is home to a lot more than just the four movies (soon to be six, when you factor in the Prometheus prequel and the forthcoming Alien: Covenant), fans of the series will well know of its expanded universe, but to the uninitiated they may be surprised to discover the plethora of novels, comics and video games that make up the Alien universe. There is so much material to draw from that I’m surprised word of a TV show hasn’t surfaced before and in today’s TV landscape it would fit right in.

Horror is already huge on TV and with Star Wars and Star Trek both bringing sci-fi back in a big way, a sci-fi horror show seems like a fair bet. Why not use one of the greatest sci-fi horror franchises of all time? There is so much that could be adapted, even just a straight adaption of one of the many standalone novels (James A Moore’s Alien: Sea of Sorrows would make for a fine transfer, and Tim Lebbon’s Alien: Out of the Shadows would be brilliant) would work just fine. Personally I would be interested in a show that explored the inner working of the Weyland Yutani Corporation or even just a simple story involving a colony falling victim to the Xenomorphs. Anything would really do, and with TV coming on leaps and bounds and budgets getting bigger and bigger, it doesn’t seem like too much of a stretch to see an Alien TV show coming to the small screen.

3 The Howling

Joe Dante’s werewolf movie spawned quite the franchise. Although any semblance of quality was destroyed after the first sequel, the original still stands as a classic example of the criminally underused werewolf genre and its story is perfect for a TV adaption. Karen White, a news anchor is being stalked by a serial killer and after a traumatic showdown with the police she is left with mild amnesia and is sent to a resort known as the “colony,” which is filled with strange oddball characters. After a few subtle hints and a couple of attacks it’s revealed that the “colony” is home to a pack of werewolves and Karen frantically fights her way out, burning it to the ground in the process. But not before she is turned herself, and in a fantastic scene she decides to transform live on TV before being gunned down, revealing the existence of werewolves to the world. It’s a great movie and if you haven’t checked it out, you really should, despite the fact that I just ruined the whole movie for you.

Where I think this would really work as a TV show would be if they really played up the mystery of the colony and what secrets it holds. They could really flesh out the idea of this werewolf pack that has been operating for generations in total secrecy, playing up the horrifying implications of such a discovery. And other than Teen Wolf, werewolves haven’t really had a fair crack of the whip when it comes to television.

I really think this could be made into something great and truly terrifying if handled in the right way. With this pick, it was a tossup between The Howling and Dog Soldiers, and a much as I love Dog Soldiers, The Howling would work better from a narrative point of view. Watching a bunch of soldiers shoot a bunch of werewolves to pieces works for a ninety minute movie, but stretched into a TV series I just don’t know… although From Dusk ‘Till Dawn worked (if you can forgive the garbage effects they used to kill of vampires in the first season), which was a movie essentially building up to a huge throw down with a bunch of vampires, so maybe it could work. But my money would be on The Howling. Give it the right atmosphere and don’t skimp on the werewolf effects and it could something great.

2 Hellraiser

After a string of terrible sequels culminating in Hellraiser Revelations where the only thing revealed was the filmmakers massive ineptitude, Hellraiser deserves another moment in the sun. And by sun I mean weird torturous hell dimension, which is where the series’ main antagonist, Pinhead spends much of his time. The first two Hellraiser movies, while appearing a little dated by today’s standards, were great movies. And while Hellraiser 2 isn’t as fondly remembered as the first (it’s far and away the finest sequel released to date), it should be applauded for trying something different and not rehashing the plot of the first movie. Simply adapting the first two movies into a TV show could be something truly special.

For those not in the know, the Hellraiser franchise revolves around the lament configuration, a puzzle box which upon solving summons the Cenobites, a party of sadomasochistic extra dimensional beings who exist to perform sadistic experiments through extreme sexual experiences. So this fun little group collect whomever was mis-fortunate enough to solve the puzzle box and whisk them away to a realm of untold pain and nightmarish torture. Sounds like a fun old time, right?

The Cenobites themselves were a peculiar group of monsters and weren’t actually the villains (well at least not in the first two movies) they came only when summoned and they had to be summoned willingly. Their leader, Pinhead was also incredibly well-spoken and articulate. Despite his gore infused S&M gear and the nails sticking out of his face he was quite the gentleman; the Cenobites along with their leader all serve the godlike entity known as Leviathan, to what end is never revealed and it never really needed to be. Hellraiser was a tale of lust, greed and humanity’s selfish desires which done in the right way would make a truly fantastic TV show

The Thing

Honestly the idea of The Thing becoming a TV show makes me giddy. If it was ever announced I would go weak at the knees and begin swooning like a Jane Austin character when they first see a rich male protagonist. I have loved John Carpenter’s The Thing ever since I first saw it as a child. It’s simply a masterpiece and nothing will ever sway me from that belief. I even liked the prequel, it was just unfortunate that all of those incredible practical effects they used in the movie had terrible CGI mapped over them (a great deal of the practical work, handled by Amalgamated Dynamics was actually completely axed) at the studio’s insistence (why God, why?!). The Thing stands in my eyes as a near perfect movie.

So the thought of a TV adaption stirs the joy, joys down in my heart. All they would need to do would be take the movie and stretch it into ten one hour episodes. Given all the extra time, they could really play with the idea of paranoia and really expand on the ‘The Thing’ itself. Take the small scenes of scientific analysis from the movie and really get into how it works and why it does what it does. There were many questions left unanswered in the movie and I would love to see these things explored. That’s not to mention the creature’s origin, although some things are best left undiscovered which I can appreciate. But it’s my favorite monster, I want to know more about it.

The sense of dread that a show like this could drum up would be immense, building up characters but never revealing if they were infected until they transform. The audience would be left completely in the dark wondering who was human and who wasn’t. It could be amazing and although it’s only wishful thinking I pray to the gods of television – whoever they may be (Panorama or something like that) – please bestow us with this gift.

Although enthusiasm for this franchise probably dwindled to the point of nonexistence with the prequel, I’ll always hold out hope that this may one day happen. And of all the countless horror movies out there I think this would be the best served for a TV adaption.

About The Overseer (2283 Articles)
Author of Say No to Drugs, writer for Blumhouse, Dread Central, Horror Novel Reviews and Addicted to Horror Movies.

1 Comment on Top 5 Horror Movies That Should Be Adapted Into TV Shows

  1. An Aliens TV show would be so cool ! Nice list ! 🙂


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