So, what do these GVN listicle gomers mean by that headline, “The Top 10 film franchises that made one movie too many?” Glad you asked because a recent online chat from Bloody Disgusting inspired this list.
Did you see the home invasion horror, The Strangers? That one where many mimes attack Liv Tyler’s bougie, unsuspecting house in the hills or some such?
Producer Roy Lee spoke with the horror blog about his new movie Barbarians, which comes to theaters next month. While talking it up, Lee was asked about the sequel, The Strangers: Prey at Night. To wit, he gets Film Twitter all lathered up with:
“I think the next three are in production next month with another filmmaker that people will know.”
Um, sorry? Who asked for three sequels to the movie?! His mom? Well, it’s all about math. On a $9 million budget, The Strangers net $82 million at the global box office. The sequel went a little frugal with a $5 million budget netting $31 million.
The first movie had an eerie trailer, so it was bound to put butts in seats. The sequel was a decent weekend. But three more sequels?! C’mon. Those two films weren’t that good, were they?
Somewhere, there is a shark jumping!
And that’s what we mean by a film franchise that one movie too many–or three. So, consider fanfare, pop culture, skill, box office, and the suck factor. Here are the Top 10.
A Note About These Franchises
Let’s get this out of the way. Film franchises like Batman, Planet of the Apes, Superman, X-Men, James Bond, and Godzilla are disqualified. All have had reboots that didn’t have a lousy dismount. Because fans have kept them alive for decades, they don’t count. We’re talking swirling the toilet bowl stuff here…
- The “monsterverse” started with the new Godzilla, but the historic nuclear lizard includes all those comedic Japanese Toho takes with full-size puppets. There are more than 30, so that puts Gojira on the same platform as James Bond and Planet of the Apes, which began in 1968.
- CBMs like Superman, Batman, and X-Men all rebooted, which recharged the entire franchise. Some of those films sucked out loud (Superman IV, Quest for Peace, Batnipples, and X-Men 3D, we’re looking at you). But, overall, entertaining stuff every time they jump the battery.
- Avatar will probably end up on a list featuring the top 10 film franchises that made one movie too many. Just how attractive can James Cameron keep the Smurf meets Plasticman Na’vi tribe? For four more sequels? Eh, probably not.
On with the show.
HM. Halloween (1978-2022)
We first met Laurie Stroud and her William Shatner-mask boy serial killer brother in 1978. Since then, including the upcoming Halloween Ends, there have been 13 movies. Seriously?! You mean, no one can kill that guy after all this time? Damn! It’s like a Michael Myers sandwich. The bread is light, fluffy, and even sourdough. The first couple of films were fantastic, and this saga ends with monumental greatness.
So, why the honorable mention? Because the meat in the middle of this sandwich is week-old ham, wilted lettuce, spoiled mayonnaise, and cheese that fell on the kitchen floor. So bad! Nonetheless, the refreshed version of Michael Myers’ quarrel with his bad mama-jama sister has been fun to watch and brought fans back to the legacy story.
10. The Purge (2013-2021)
Kicking off this list of the top 10 film franchises that made one movie too many is a novel concept that got hammered into submission. The Purge: Election Year?! You believe these sinister cosplay neophytes even vote? C’mon! In 2018, we got the prequel with The First Purge, but they weren’t done with the heyday of crime anthology. What could be next? I got it! A western Purge?! Yes. Well, no! Just arrest these bad kids and move on. Please?
9. Child’s Play (1988-2019)
Yes, we get it. A doll that gets a screw loose starts talking like a 1940s gangster and gallivants all over town with his stubby-legged self, killing anything in sight. The first one was a marketing bonanza. The second one was entertaining, but you couldn’t stop there. Chucky got a woman, then a kid, then a curse, and on into a cult.
Sure, the reboot came (see the trailer) featuring the great Mark Hamill. Not even his superior voice acting skills could get America interested in this Day-Glo plastic torrent. There are 10 movies altogether, including two that went to DVD–and were eight years apart. So, so bad!
8. Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974-2022)
Who knew Ed Gein‘s legacy would live on this long? Well, it’s been 20 years and nine movies too long. When the first movie came out, Leatherface became an instant horror movie icon. Then, the sequels and reboots happened. None worked, even though some were connected in a ham-handed way that peanut butter goes with tuna fish in a sandwich. (Hi, Dad.)
And they’re still squeezing more blood out of this turnip with a 2022 Netflix reboot sequel in February. Did it suck? No one knows because so few people streamed it. Let’s pretend the chainsaw has no more oil and put it back in the garage.
7. Hellraiser (1987-2018)
Is anyone seeing a trend here yet? Among most of the Top 10 film franchises that made one movie, too many are the misguided dorks making horror movies. Just stop. Enough of the cash grab, plot removed, written on a dingy bathroom wall script already! Another example of refusal to dole out grade-school crap is Hellraiser.
Pinhead is an undeniable force of a character. And he kept that status for two years. No doubt! Then, the saga went 30 more years with straight-to-VHS-or-DVD-or-the-dumpster movies–eight more in total. And they’re all hysterically stupid.
6. Home Alone (1990-Present)
Let’s break up “Horror Talk” for a second and visit a Yuletide franchise that ended the moment Macaulay Culkin grew hair on his Schmekel (and discovered cocaine). Yes, Home Alone. Special note to the word “present” because there is a seventh movie coming called Home Alone: Homecoming. Some of you are shocked there were six of these films, huh?
The first two in this Christmas franchise are all-time greats. Kevin and the Wet Bandits are a must-see viewing during the holidays. Then Culkin left, and that disheveled franchise has never been the same. It doesn’t stop movie studios from hurling cash in its direction. It will never come back. Things would have been better if mom never went back home, and Kevin ended up joining a carnival because he didn’t want to be homeless any longer.
And then, he still finds drugs from his Carni friends. Don’t you love it when things come full circle?
5. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984-2010)
One thing is sure: Robert Englund never met a reboot he didn’t like. He’s like Samuel L. Jackson minus the purple light saber. Freddy Krueger was everywhere for a decade from the original finger blades in 1984, a TV series from 1988-1990, a chance encounter with another slasher film goat, a jacked-up game show, and a feeble attempt at a reboot in 2010.
Wes Craven is a twisted genius, which is why Freddy had so much staying power, but even villains must go to the old folks’ home and enjoy their Jello. It’s a surprise there aren’t plans to “Weekend at Bernies” Robert Englund after he dies for another doltish movie. That’s the absolute nightmare out of this whole thing.
4. Saw (2004-2021)
Jigsaw is a phenomenal character–horror movie or any other genre. The Saw franchise had staying power up to the fifth film. Following that movie, fifth graders could figure out these dopey games in an escape room at the local mall. (Fun fact: Tobin Bell doesn’t even like horror movies.)
Then came the reinvention of the saga with…Chris Rock?! Spiral was made “from the Book of Saw,” startling fans because who knew Jigsaw could read. He’s a troubled detective looking for a game to play. It was a decent film, but blowing this horn needs to be sawed off. It was good while it lasted.
3. Paranormal Activity (2007-2021)
This movie was so influential that it created an entire sub-genre in horror–home video. It was different and felt so real getting that first-person viewing pleasure. It’s also the most profitable film ever! It was made for $15,000 and profited $193 million!
This franchise picked up where The Blair Witch Project wanted to go. But, after this franchise passed “trilogy” status, the only thing paranormal was why in the hell do they keep making these bad movies?! Even the skilled Jason Blum, who produced this franchise’s last film, can’t take it any longer. In 2021, he created “Next of Kin,” which earned next to nothing. It sucked so bad. The jump scares weren’t even jumpy.
With other things, you just have this feeling it’s time to put them to bed. It would come back if some director I love, like Scott Derrickson, said: ‘I have a great idea for a ‘Paranormal Activity’ movie. But it’s not something I want to do [at the moment].
In other words, “Nighty-night home video fans!”
2. The Fast and the Furious (2001-Present)
Have. Mercy. Stop. The. Madness! A dozen projects in this franchise that should have been running on empty for the past decade, but no! They are so crafty at finding gas stations to keep on trucking because “family.” You have the 10 demolition derby films (including FF10 next year), the Hobbs and Shaw spinoff that The Rock won’t even do again (and he never says no to a check), and a prelude in 2003 called “Turbo Charged.”
Let’s not forget the Netflix animated adaptation Fast & Furious Spy Racers.
Would someone please flatten the tires on this hooptie franchise? It’s time to pull into the rest stop, put all these actors in a home for the designated hapless, and leave them there. And don’t act like Vin Diesel is up for an award. The guy says three words in every movie he has and gets paid for all that effort! Unaware of this franchise’s hypnotic spell over people, it keeps driving.
I’m calling a tow truck!
1. Friday the 13th (1980-2009)
Jason Voorhees had to stand on the gold medal platform here. When you think of the top 10 film franchises that made one too many, this hockey mask mama’s boy ne’er-do-well has been chopping up stupid white girls at summer camp since 1980. There is no denying Jason’s place in all-time horror characters and no replacing him either.
But, for the love of all that’s serene at that cursed summer camp, there’s no need to keep going there. You would think the word would have gotten out already about “not all of the campers come home.” No one has figured that out after all these years?!
The irony is there have been 12 movies in this beleaguered franchise (including when he slashed the crap out of Freddy Kruger). Since 2009, horror enthusiasts have been waiting for the unlucky 13. Even Jason decided this idea needed to be drowned in Crystal Lake. Nonetheless, this is a shark-jumping, body-slashing franchise that will never die.
Just like our boy, Jason.