A Bloody Good Time 05.09.13: Ten Horror Movies That Should Become TV Shows
Posted by Joseph Lee on 05.09.2013
From Hellraiser and Army of Darkness to Underworld, Creepshow, The Exorcist and more, 411's Joseph Lee counts down the top 10 horror films that should get TV adaptations!
Opening Logo courtesy of Benjamin J. Colón (Soul Exodus)
Welcome to A Bloody Good Time.
Before we get started this week I'd like to say a bit about Ray Harryhausen. Obviously there's not much else I can say that I haven't said in last month's tribute (which, if you must read, you can find here). I'm glad that I was able to write a proper tribute to him that wasn't tinged in sadness, because his career deserved more than that.
As I said then, his films were some of the first monster movies I ever watched, along with the Universal classics. I also watched Clash of the Titans quite a bit growing up and my love of his special effects never wavered. I'm glad that the man got to live a full live and have a long, memorable career all the way until the early-80s, when the effects of that time weren't used as prominently. As I wrote yesterday when I wrote about his death, thank you Ray for all that you've provided movie fans over the years.
In this week's edition of A Bloody Good Time, I'm going to look at horror films that I think could be come TV shows. Not only is horror TV on the rise with shows like Supernatural still going strong and both Grimm and The Walking Dead bringing in the ratings, but we have Bates Motel (which is awful, but I digress) and Hannibal (which is great) on the air now and apparently MTV has greenlit a Scream TV series.
I think a Scream idea could work, depending on how they go with it. If they make it with a "killer-of-the-week" format, it's doomed to fail. If they stretch out a mystery over the course of the season, it might be a little better. The point is, I'm not ready to outright dismiss it yet. So I'm going to add more fuel to the fire and present my own ideas for ten horror movies that could be turned into television programs.
This one was actually announced as being in development, as far back as 2011. Alexandre Aja was set to direct the pilot. But that was two years ago and there has been no news since then. No casting, no behind-the-scenes info, nothing. I'm going to consider that particular project dead until I hear different.
This is actually a really cool set-up for a series. Think about it, a group of people with special abilities are hunted down an evil corporation. They could conquer the world, but instead stop and try to avoid public detection. You could easily make a series out of this, introducing new "scanners" along the way, killing off characters in mind wars and just generally advancing the story with new secrets about the corporation and building relationships between the rogue scanners. It's no wonder a series was in development, because it could really work.
I've said it before and I'll say it again: horror anthology needs to come back to mainstream television in a big way. If you're not going to bring back Tales from the Crypt, why not go for the next best thing? Creepshow started out as an homage to all of those EC Comics in the day, so it seems fitting that someone could bring it back to carry the torch now that Tales has long-finished its run.
Horror anthologies are so easy to do and yet so hard to do right. You'd have to give the stories a sense of fun or irony, otherwise you're just going to be another Fear Itself. Bring in Stephen King and George Romero as executive producers, get some talented TV writers to work on darkly comedic stories and you've got an instant winner. Even if it only lasted a season, it would certainly be better than Creepshow 3.
You know, the Saw series ran for seven movies and yet if they announced a new one tomorrow I'd still watch it. I wasn't even a huge fan of the series as it finished its run, but the twists and scale of the traps always kept me coming back. The film series probably doesn't have any viability anymore, but a TV series certainly could keep the franchise running, particularly if something that allows heavy gore like a Showtime or HBO could pick it up.
I've always said that the film series itself was like a book or TV series anyway. Each film was a chapter in a story that progressed little by little. As a film series, it kind of felt like a rip off. But imagine if someone were tracking the Jigsaw killer over the course of an entire season, only to end up in what appears to be an inescapable trap for the season finale? You could also throw in "case-of-the-week" scenarios with copycat killers, devotees in Jigsaw's cult or whatever. It's kind of like The Following, only with way more Tobin Bell.
#7: Army of Darkness
Sadly, you'd probably have to recast Ash for this to work, but let's assume they don't and Bruce Campbell is fine with doing some stunts on a weekly television show. Oh wait, he does stunts on Burn Notice. Okay, then he can battle the Deadites on a weekly TV show. With the recently renewed interest in the characters thanks to the remake, it seems like a perfect time to capitalize somehow. As much as I'd like to believe that there will be an Evil Dead 2, then an Army of Darkness 2, then a crossover film, I just can't. The skeptic in me doesn't see it happening as much as I hope for it.
If you're curious about what kind of stories they could go with, just look to the comics. Maybe you'd have to lower the scale some for a TV series, but they have plenty of fantasy/horror scenarios on TV with Grimm, Supernatural and Once Upon a Time. Just insert Ash and more humor and you've got a series! You could even go for some cheesy crossovers due to the concept, assuming you got the rights with other people. Army of Darkness vs Supernatural would be at the top of my list.
#6: Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon
This year will see the final season of Dexter, which has been one of my favorite TV shows for quite some time. So if we're getting rid of one show about a amiable serial killer, maybe we should start a new one and finally a new Leslie Vernon story. This is the one of the least that seems the most unlikely, as the sequel Before the Mask can't even get funding to get going, no matter how much I put into the now canceled Kickstarter account.
A series following a serial killer who is very likable in his beginning years could be interesting to watch. Nathan Baesel is young enough he could return to the role, and I'm sure Robert Englund wouldn't mind a steady job as his doctor. Just don't over-dramatize it and make sure it retains it's sense of humor. It could lead into the first movie, take place after it or just reboot everything entirely. Mostly I just want to see this series continue.
#5: The Exorcist
I never, never, never want to see a remake of The Exorcist. That movie is not only one of my favorite horror films ever, but a true testament to the use of practical effects. Most of the big Academy-Award-winning films tend to get left alone, so I don't see a remake ever gaining real traction, at least not while William Peter Blatty is still alive. William Friedkin has mentioned in interviews how CGi would make everything easier so I fear if one of the two were to attempt it, it would be him.
Anyway, instead of re-telling the story of Regan, how about we create an entire series centered around Father Merrin and his previous battles with Pazuzu? What I'm saying is, remake Exorcist: The Beginning as a TV show. Continue to use the crisis of faith elements present in the original, but don't let there be an exorcism every week. This show would have to be more dramatic with the tension building over the season, much like how the original film is structured. The season finale would be when you pull out all the stops with an exorcism. If you want really dramatic storytelling, have Father Merrin fail the first time, then have the following season deal with the ramifications of that.
#4: Maniac Cop
Maybe this would be more of a mini-series, but I think Maniac Cop in television format is a neat idea. A disfigured cop wanders around slaughtering law-breakers while an innocent cop with his own baggage is falsely accused. You could throw in some procedural elements to it to keep things going. Maybe there is a serial killer on the loose, and it's a race against time to catch him not only to save the lives of future victims, but to make sure the Maniac Cop doesn't get him first.
I'm honestly surprised there hasn't been any talk of anything new regarding this franchise at all, not even a remake. It seems like a perfectly viable idea and property to use an update of some kind. It's even timely considering certain issues that there have been with certain people who happen to be police officers. I would bring back Bruce Campbell for this too, by the way, and probably put him in the Tom Atkins role.
All Dr. Herbert West wants to do is perfect his life-giving serum, but he doesn't really care who gets in his way. This series could be serious, it could have dark humor, it really could be anything you want it to be. I'm not sure if I would have it focus on a young West and seemingly reboot the movie series, or just be the continued adventures of older Jeffrey Combs with flashbacks to his younger days. Actually, I think I'll go with the second option, since it gives Jeffrey Combs some much-needed mainstream exposure.
The series could focus on West's attempts to backstab and politic his way through medical school in the past, while the present focuses on his attempts to finally perfect his serum without any complications whatsoever. Complications happen, of course, but then he has to figure out a way to clean up his own messes and keep anyone from finding out. Think Dexter, but with more zombies.
I think the Underworld films have pretty much run their course. I haven't heard anything about a sequel to Underworld: Awakening, even with unresolved questions and plot threads still hanging around. While it's possible that vampire shows may be reaching overexposure thanks to The Vampire Diaries and True Blood, Underworld could be a more mature handle on things that isn't too overly sentimental or dumb.
The story lends itself to a TV series because of the vast nature of the war between vampires and lycans. It's a centuries long war and an Underworld series wouldn't even need to focus on the story of Selene. Although it would be nice if we could, you know, finally wrap that one up. You could focus on her ancestors, her daughter, anything else set within the mythology of this world. Of all the movies on this list, this is the one that I think would have the strongest chance of actually getting made.
As you can see from the photo above, this one was also set to be created. Just like Scanners, there has been zero news about it for over a year now, leading me to think that it's never going to see the light of day. Instead of trying and failing to finally get a remake off the ground that will probably suck (they've turned down some very good filmmakers and even Barker himself), why not just move Pinhead to the small screen and make an anthology series set in the world.
The comics usually told stories of people who found the box and opened it, leading them into their own personal hell before they were either killed or turned into a cenobite. You could definitely use the comics as a basis to tell weekly stories set in the Hellraiser mythology. Since Doug Bradley wouldn't have to do as much, Pinhead could make cameos every so often. The only way this would work, however, is as an anthology series. A regular cast and a serialized drama just isn't going to fly.
That's it for me. Leave some comments here on or my Twitter. Next week, I'll present a list of ten Stephen King stories that should be adapted.
Closing Logo courtesy of Kyle Morton (get your own custom artwork and commissions at his Etsy account)
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