It is never a good thing to wear out one’s welcome, so it is always very polite to exit in both a fashionable and timely manner. Besides unwanted house guests, movies are known to have some of their stories continue to release when they should have called it quits sooner than later. Not every great picture is destined to be a long-running franchise or even get to trilogy status. It is scary to think that this could happen to any popular title and some scary examples are notoriously known for making moviegoers cringe when it comes to a problematic sequel.
Horror franchises are great when they are scaring people so bad they throw their popcorn in the air. But not all of the entries in these series of films are on people’s top ten lists nor are they up to the caliber of their iconic predecessors. The game of horror can be a tricky one, and some properties have fared well over several chapters with viewers. But through the vast library of cinematic titles lies several franchises in the spooky genre that may have haunted audiences for one title too many. These ten horror franchises should have just ended earlier.
Children of The Corn
It is hard for any film to keep the story going, let alone interesting for more than a few iterations. When a film passes five motion pictures, it is a safe bet that things are starting to get stale even if the source is somewhat iconic and legendary in the genre. Of all the films adapted from the iconic writings of Stephen King, 1984’s Children of the Corn is far from a masterpiece. The plot is based on King’s short story and follows a couple in Gatlin, Nebraska who are besieged by some terrifying children who have a mysterious connection with the corn fields.
Overall it is a decent flick but nothing to the likes of The Shining. But for some reason it has spawned nine sequels, each terrible experience being worse than the one that came before it. Only one of its follow-ups had a theatrical release while the rests were direct-to-video releases and television premieres. Each chapter in the Children of the Corn Saga provides its own atrocity to the horror community, and the scariest thing about this franchise is the thought of them never ceasing to torture audiences with these barbaric excuses for movies.
Saw is a great horror franchise. It was even placed in the Guinness Book of World Records for the most successful horror franchise. But while most of the sequels are great entries, eventually the tired formula and constant rehashing bring this series down. While the story could have easily been wrapped up nicely upon the third, fourth or even fifth entry, Hollywood pushed this once iconic franchise into the depths of mediocrity.
The traps that put the Saw films on the map continually became uninspired and felt very forced, some even coming off as cartoonish. The creativity didn’t feel like it was lacking but more like they had utilized all the good psychotic ways to kill people and no one can really fault them for running out of ideas in that department. After seven entries, a direct-to-video reboot somehow made its way to a theatrical release where if anyone was curious if the franchise was dead, they had undeniable proof once the credits rolled. 2017’s Jigsaw is a solid indicator they should have cut the cord on this franchise a bit sooner.
Most horror franchises have characters that refuse to die no matter how many different ways they meet their demise in sequel after sequel. A prime example of this is the terrifying Chucky doll from Child’s play. The creepy cuddly plaything for children gets possessed by a psychotic killer that wreaks havoc on anyone that gets in his way. This concept became pretty tired after the first three installments. The iterations that followed began to stray away from the horror aspect of the originals and focused more on the comedic factor of the idea of a doll that killed people, which is pretty funny when one thinks about it.
The Movies in the series that would release after the initial three would see the murderous Big Boy toy get married and have children. The idea of two possessed toys making an evil possessed Cabbage Patch looking baby is horrific enough, but being forced to sit thru this hour and a half long twisted Toy Story tale is downright maddening. While the film’s certainly do have a following, it is pretty safe to say this once killer concept has been a walking corpse for some time and needs to be put out of its misery.
For a film franchise that redefined the art of killing someone on screen in some of the most innovative ways one could ever imagine, it doesn’t seem to want to die. The Final Destination franchise spawned five total films with pretty much every iteration after the first being subpar, to say the least, and really lacking any solid storyline. What was once a unique concept for the genre has quickly turned into the most extreme fetish of murder porn the world has ever seen.
These movies will make you paranoid about doing anything from going on a roller coaster to getting into a tanning bed. The original formula was poorly recycled again and again which resulted in a final product that trades in an ounce of substance the original had for traumatizing scenes of gruesome demises. The idea that death has a plan for everyone and when it is your time to go all you can do is run because eventually it will catch up with you was what really resonated with fans when the original released in 2000. Final destination should have ended with the first one, begging the question of why did the reaper wait for five films to end this madness.
A movie about giant worms called Graboids coming out of the ground and eating people definitely sounds like a one and done endeavor. If a studio could sell that outlandish tale once, that is a huge accomplishment in itself. Well, when this bizarre horror story stars Kevin Bacon in his prime, it becomes somewhat of a cult classic. The nineties were a weird time and Tremors success is a testament to that. While the original does have its merits, it should have definitely ended their.
But like most great things Hollywood produces, it wants to just squeeze as much content out of every intellectual property it has its hands on. So that means of course moviegoers everywhere would get not one, not two, not even three, but four, yes that is correct four Tremor sequels. Each story gets more ridiculous, and the production value noticeably drops resulting in a series of motion pictures that needs to bury itself deep past all the giant man-eating worm creatures. A TV show tried to resurrect this beast from the depths only to cancel after one season solidifying the theory that these dirt dwelling monsters outstayed their welcome.
Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 masterpiece Psycho has stood the test of time and remains a favorite among many to this very day. The same cannot be said for all the sequels that followed. This includes two follow-ups that received theatrical releases (Psycho II, III), A telefilm spinoff (Bates Motel, 1987), a made for television movie on Showtime (Psycho IV) and a rebooted prequel series set in modern time (Bates Motel, 2013-2017). Academy Award Winning director Gus Van Sant also helmed a 1998 remake of the original which was a shot-for-shot copy of Hitchcock’s classic.
Basically, every iteration fails in comparison to the original and the world really did not need the story to continue past the 1960 classic. The story of Norman Bates’s crazy dance with insanity becomes tired and repetitive to the point where audiences stopped caring. Viewers inevitably just end up wanting to re-watch the original to get the stain of these lousy followups out of their now traumatized minds. Medical professionals would easily classify one as a psycho for trying this many attempts at replicating the greatness of the iconic piece of cinematic history that is Psycho. It’s downright horrifying how mad that sounds.
Friday the 13th
There is no better example of franchise fatigue than the Friday the 13th films. Coming from the glorious cinematic age known as the ’80s, these teen sex filled slasher flicks don’t hold up very well in the modern era, and most of the chapters involving the hockey-masked menace are very forgettable. It is hard for most fans to point out which is which due to the fact that they suffer from a heavy dose of repetitiveness. The characters all fail to leave an impression, and their deaths become very boring as the series progresses.
The setting remained somewhat the same with the exception of their trivial attempts at revamping the legendary monster, This happened when Jason ventured to Manhattan (this Manhattan looks surprisingly a lot like Vancouver) one occasion after a boat trip, the depths of Hell only to return as a demon possessing worm thing, and finally, in what has to be a perfect example of the people behind the property completely losing their minds, is the time jump into the future wear the hockey-masked killer wreaks havoc in the depths of space as a cyborg. That list alone says it all when trying to figure out when Crystal Lake Camp should have closed down for good, and Mr. Voorhies should have definitely been chained to the bottom of the lake he originally drowned in.
The first Omen film is a solid entry in the world of horror and began everyone’s fear of small children. The film led to many titles down the road exploring a very similar theme, a few of which to some success. Unfortunately, the titles that follow the originator of these terrifying kids possessed by evil trend were not very good, and once the second one failed to find an audience, that should have been the only omen needed to verify the fact that it was time call it quits on this franchise.
But a third film and remake spawned from what literally feels like the depths of Hell in comparison to the original. The way the story continues in the sequels is awkward at best, and the whole premise begins to feel very ridiculous. The sequel traded in the creepy kid for the annoying gloomy teen, and the third sees a full-grown version of the demon child played by Jurassic Park’s Sam Neill. But getting from beginning to end on this franchise is easier said than done. Overall it feels like a living hell waiting for the credits to appear when watching anything with Omen in the title that isn’t the 1976 classic horror title.
Nightmare on Elm Street
Freddy Krueger is the stuff nightmares are made of, and so is every single movie he is in that released after the original. The first Nightmare is great because it is Wes Carven in his early days, stretching out the budget and really showcasing his skills as a master of suspense. Because of the success of the first film, every year following it had to have a sequel quickly shoveled out, with each iteration greatly removing itself in quality from the original.
The franchise spawned seven titles total and minus a few sorry attempts at expanding on the scope of Krueger’s character, the film’s feel like bad carbon copies of the series opener. The second film messed with the mythology established by Craven. The third title was somewhat inventive with decent effects, but the next three were so awful that they seriously destroyed the credibility of the franchise and really all the goodwill that was left from the original. IMDb rates the original around an 8 with every other title ranging from as low as 4 to 6 to give people a frame of reference for why this bad dream should have stopped sooner rather than later.
A horror film with a great story can resonate really well with an audience. This is especially true when the story in question is based on true events. The Amityville Horror franchise is a set of scary movies that revolve around some alleged paranormal acts. The story of the Lutz family and the supernatural occurrences they experienced in their infamous house made national news, was chronicled in a book and then turned into a horror movie released in 1979.
The real-life murders by Ronald DeFeo, Jr. mixed along with the notion that ghostly encounters happened as a result of this tragedy helped the first chapter become an undeniable hit. What followed was a wave of sequels drenched in mediocrity and disappointment. Throughout the eighties and nineties, seven sequels would attempt to scare audiences in the same manner the actual events or the original flick did. They all contain an uneasy lack of continuity, no story development to get enthusiastic about, and the real kicker is that most of the movies following the original don’t even involve the famous haunted house. A few reboots followed in the early 2000s but they fell flat and barely generated anything close to what the first film did.