With all the highly anticipated upcoming horror movies on the horizon (such as the new Scream or Evil Dead Rise, for instance), it is clear to see that the genre is thriving on the big screen. It has also become extremely popular on the small screen lately, with American Horror Story and Stranger Things earning critical and commercial acclaim. In fact, some of the most beloved recent horror TV shows have taken inspiration from the creepiest cinematic favorites.
The horror movie TV show spin-off has existed for decades, such as in the 1980s when Freddy Krueger hosted the anthology Freddy’s Nightmares, the 1990s Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and into the 21st Century with MTV’s Scream: The Series and Bruce Campbell’s return as the title role in Ash vs. Evil Dead, just to name a mere few. With more titles like 2021’s new Chucky series and a Hellraiser TV show in the works, I have a feeling this trend is here to stay. So, the following are a few of the best horror movies I think could also be made into TV gold, starting with one that I am surprised has not inspired a follow-up yet.
The Sixth Sense
M. Night Shyamalan pulled one of the greatest twists of his career in 2017 by revealing that his psychological thriller, Split, was a sequel to 2000’s Unbreakable – a unique tribute to comic book lore – before bringing the connection full circle with the third and finale installment, Glass, in 2019. While it was great to see Bruce Willis return as David Dunn, a character from the cult filmmaker’s repertoire I am more interested in catching up with is Cole Sear.
Haley Joel Osment received an Oscar nomination at 11 years old for his performance as a boy tormented by his ability to see dead people in The Sixth Sense – Shyamalan’s breakout hit from 1999. By the end, with help from Willis’ uniquely suited child psychologist Malcolm Crowe, Cole comes to terms with his gift as a way to help lost souls. I think a great opportunity for the Servant producer’s next series would be a show exploring what other spirits in need Cole has guided into the afterlife as an adult as played, once again, by Osment.
Friday The 13th
I could get some negativity for this, but an iconic horror movie villain I personally think we have seen enough of is Jason Voorhees. However, with the Friday the 13th movies at a current total of 12 (if you count Freddy vs. Jason), many believe a 13th chapter is appropriate. I agree, but have no interest in another movie measured by its body count, which is part of why I think a TV spin-off might work best.
I would not do some ongoing kill-of-the-week gimmick, nor something in the vein of the late 1980s’ Friday the 13th: The Series, which had no connection to the franchise save the title. My idea would be a direct continuation in the form of a miniseries that builds on the infamous legend of Camp Crystal Lake and, similar to the original 1980 classic, is a more traditional whodunnit with increasingly inventive and brutal kills that would make Agatha Christie fans squirm. To keep up the suspense, the killer would not be Jason, but that does not mean he could not make some appearance to appease the slasher die-hards.
A character I would actually welcome seeing more of is Candyman, who was explored in a deeper and more modern manner in producer Jordan Peele and director Nia DaCosta’s 2021 “rebootquel.” Candyman introduces the idea that Daniel Robitaille (Tony Todd’s character in the 1992 original) is just one of many victims of racial injustice who would assume the mantle of the titular urban legend, which made it one of a few recent horror movies that made me hope for a follow-up (a rarity from me).
However, instead of just another movie that builds off of this haunting concept, an ever better idea might be an anthology series. Each episode could focus on a different “Candyman” and how they came to be a legend to the respective community or culture still haunted by them today. It would also give Peele an opportunity for a better anthology series than his The Twilight Zone reboot turned out to be… in my personal opinion, at least.
Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark
While we are at it, here is another hot take for you: as a fan of the original Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark books, I did not care for 2019 adaptation about teens chasing monsters from a magic book, a la 2015’s Goosebumps. I feel that producer Guillermo del Toro’s adaptation could have worked better as a traditional horror anthology movie that would offer new interpretations of the folk tales compiled by writer Alvin Schwartz (with help from Stephen Gammell’s indelible illustrations).
On the other hand, instead of a movie that builds off of the creepy lore popularized by the seminal book series, an ever better idea might also be yet another anthology series. (Can you tell how much I love anthology TV shows?) Each episode could dramatize and expand upon a different memorable story found in the three books, and even other tales worth digging up, with a different writer and director to bring each story to life in their own vision, just like how folklore was passed down in the old days. Because I did admire his directorial style for the Scary Stories movie, I would also bring back André Øvredal.
Attack Of The Killer Tomatoes!
The aforementioned Ash vs. Evil Dead and FX’s vampiric hit What We Do In the Shadows are a few recent examples that prove great horror-comedy movies can be reworked into great horror-comedy TV shows. There is one film, however, that is not necessarily remembered as a “great” example of the subgenre, but I believe it could be reworked into something really unique and reflective of current trends. Said film is Attack of the Killer Tomatoes!
Director John De Bello’s ridiculous 1978 cult film about mutant, plant-based food products would inspire three sequels (one starring George Clooney) and an early ‘90s animated series that continues the story. I think it would be a fun idea to start from scratch with a live-action TV show that begins as a disaster drama before evolving into a post-apocalyptic survival thriller like The Walking Dead… but with giant, deadly fruits. Speaking of the long-running zombie series, dystopian fantasy TV shows like it are so common these days that now is the perfect time for a Killer Tomatoes spin-off that spoofs them, which was the intention of the original film after all.
Horror fans are a hungry breed, always wanting more from the genre. What better way to satisfy their appetites than with multiple episodes of the stories that keep them up at night, instead of just one more movie?