Two Minute Top 10s are a way for me to satiate my desire for writing lists on my opinions, while not getting stuck in over-thinking or obsessively researching them. I get a topic and I spend as little time as possible putting my top 10 together on that topic — it makes the lists personal and genuine. (I can then ramble on about why each thing is where for as long as I want!)
This week’s Two Minute Top 10 is on my top 10 horror movie franchises.
As regular readers and anyone who has ever had a conversation with me for more than 30 minutes will know — I love horror movies. And it’s always difficult to pick just one favourite. So to prepare for Halloween tomorrow, I have put together a list of my favourite horror movie franchises.
Some of them are a little bit cheesy — whether they started that way or descended into the cheese like a twisted fondue as they kept going and, in some cases, going and going.
Minor spoilers ahead for some of these franchises.
I love a lot of b-grade natural horror movies but the Sharknado series is by and far the best of these in terms of entertainment value. You have celebrity cameos coming out the wazoo, you have Steve Sanders wielding a chainsaw, you have that chick from American Pie as a cyborg and best of all … there. are. sharks. in. tornadoes.
Is it particularly scary? Well, some of the acting is pretty terrifying, but generally speaking — no. There is a fair bit of gore but most of that is pretty tacky or obviously fake. Regardless, the Sharknado series has my vote for best worst cheesy horror movie franchise.
9. Lake Placid
I know in the last point, I said Sharknado was the best b-grade natural horror movie series, but hear me out. I don’t consider the first Lake Placid film to be b-grade but rather the crocodile equivalent of Jaws. Most people don’t know (or don’t want to know) there are actually six movies in the Lake Placid series — including Lake Placid vs. Anaconda!
Sharks may have kept the beaches clear after Jaws, but thanks to Lake Placid, you won’t catch me swimming in any dark lakes. Which, in Australia, is actually pretty good advice anyway.
8. The Purge
I like the idea behind The Purge, it’s kind of dystopian but also with a twist because the dystopia is only one day per year and the rest of the year is utopia — or so we’re led to believe. With five films and a television series, we are beginning to feel like the New Founding Fathers of America and their policies aren’t quite all they’re cracked up to be.
Arguably one of the three most recognisable slasher movie villains, Michael Myers and his franchise have earned their place in my top 10 primarily because, despite continuity issues in recent years, the films with Laurie Strode as the main target for Michael’s wrath are fantastic. There is no doubt in my mind that Jamie Lee Curtis is the Queen of Scream and her resilience as a final girl throughout the series is awe inspiring.
6. Friday the 13th
The Friday the 13th series only slightly edges out Halloween because Freddy vs Jason and Jason X. If number 10 wasn’t a dead give away, I like a little bit of cheese with my horror — especially if it is going to go on for 12 movies (including a reboot and a crossover) and a television series and the main villain isn’t even the villain in the first one.
5. Final Destination
If you have seen these movies and will get acupuncture, lay in a tanning bed, drive behind a log truck or go to a live motorsports event, you are a braver person than I. If there was an Academy Award for the highest number of most inventive deaths, you would look no further than Final Destination.
4. The Conjuring
The Conjuringverse is one of my favourite horror series because it brings so much to the table. The ever ominous “based on a true story” disclaimer brings an additional level of horror — although, in some cases, it feels more like it was loosely inspired by a true story someone’s friend’s uncle told after a few pints … The Nun, I am looking at you. Whether you believe in the supernatural or not, the stories, the characters and the scares portrayed in The Conjuring and its sequels, prequels and spin-offs are great fun.
3. The Evil Dead
I recently wrote about how my relationship with the first The Evil Dead film developed and mentioned Army of Darkness was my favourite in the trilogy now. Whether you’re there for the slapstick scares of the first film, scary slapstick of the third or pure ludicrousy of the second, The Evil Dead — including the reboot and television series — has earned its place in the cult cinema hall of fame and my twisted little heart.
2. Nightmare on Elm Street
1, 2, Freddy’s coming for you. The haunting children’s chant, usually sung by small girls, lends a terror to Freddy Krueger that is chilling — and the child murdering ghost who kills teenagers in their sleep thing is pretty terrifying too. Along the way, Freddy became a bit of a gimmick and may not have been as chilling, but he never stopped being entertaining as a horror icon. Then some of the terror returned when Freddy ventured into the real world in Wes Craven’s New Nightmare. Freddy vs Jason brought the dream demon into the modern age for a new generation with Camp Crystal Lake’s favourite camper. And that’s it. It’s a good thing they never tried to reboot Freddy because I’m sure they would have just tried too hard and made a mess of it.
As an elder millennial* I was just at the right age when Scream came out to be both parts terrified and amused by the meta schtick for which it would become famous and parodied. I still love the Scream series**, though I understand some of the more mature jokes and appreciate the puns more now than I may have back then. If Jamie Lee Curtis is the Queen of Scream, then Neve Campbell is one of her Duchesses. Having survived a multitude of killers across four films despite experiencing serious emotional trauma even before the first film started, Sidney Prescott is the final girl millennials needed to reboot the idea behind the concept.
Except, holy mackerels, did the television show suck. Gen Z was done dirty in the Scream lineage.
* A term I first heard from Iliza Shlesinger in this clip from her show Elder Millennial.
** Yes, even the third one. Although, admittedly, it is the weakest of the series. But I love Star Trek: Nemesis too, so.
You’d think after mentioning it twice, Jaws would have appeared in the list — and yet, here we are!
If you have a different take or would like to suggest a subject for my Two Minute Top 10s, drop a comment here or hit me up on Twitter!