Horror on television isn’t anything new. However, with the success of shows like A&E’s Bates Motel and MTV’s Scream, concepts originally written for the big screen are finding homes on the small screen. For example, The Exorcist is arriving on Fox this fall. If it’s a hit, we can expect to see even more follow suit. Here are 12 classic horror movies with stories we’d like to see unfold week after week.
In his 2007 reimagining, Rob Zombie told us everything we’d want to know about the origin of Michael Myers. However, in the pilot episode of an ongoing television series, the story would be re-told, ending with the boy being put into a mental institution. The rest of the series would take place there in the form of an anthology about the other patients. The underlying mythology, though, would be the continued development of Michael Myers as an unstoppable force of evil.
11.) The Ring
Imagine an anthology not about people, but about a cursed videotape. Each week, the tape changes hands and creates murder and chaos for whomever possesses it. The clever and interesting connective tissue of the series would be the way it is transferred each week, creating a cliffhanger every time.
10.) The Monster Squad
What is Stranger Things if not a variation of The Monster Squad? This, however, would be more a “monster of the week” series than a slow burn mystery. The casting of the children would be key. This would be short-lived, though, because it would suffer from criticism that it’s too much like Stranger Things, which is ironic considering it’s been criticized for borrowing too heavily from 80’s nostalgia.
This was already tried in 2002; the pilot episode remains as a TV-movie remake of Stephen King’s story. However, it ended with an idea that could be resurrected today. Following the disaster at school, Carrie left town to start a new life. Her arrival in a new town at a new school could be interesting, balancing the stress not only from trying to fit in, but from also trying to control her telekinetic powers.
8.) The Wolf Man
The Universal Monsters films of the ’40s featuring Larry Talbot were really just episodes in a series following the tortured man as he tried to rid himself of the werewolf curse. That’s a concept that could easily be adapted to weekly television, using The Incredible Hulk (1978) with Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno as a pattern.
7.) Fright Night
Focusing more on the horror show host than the suburban teen, a Fright Night series could feature Peter Vincent, a sad sack with a knack for unwittingly stumbling into supernatural adventures. The show could also have an underlying mythology when vampire Jerry Dandridge moves into town, but it we’d see only a little of that each week, sustaining our interest in the long run.
The Saw franchise ended up being a convoluted soap opera with more twists and turns than audiences could keep up with. In other words, it’s perfect for TV! This could actually be an improvement on the movies by introducing all the intricacies of the story as it progresses, rather than retro-fitting them when they make no sense.
5.) House of Wax
This anthology series would be only loosely based on the original movie and/or its 2005 remake. It takes place in a wax museum where every display has a horrific story. Each story would end with a freeze frame as hot wax covers the person/persons in the same positions as they appear in the displays. Perhaps the owner of the museum is evil and instigates the horror so that he can add to his collection.
4.) Invasion of the Body Snatchers
Of all the classic movies listed here, this has the most potential for longevity. It could start slowly with the mystery of people changing and our hero/heroes cannot get the authorities to believe them. With a large cast, it could be like The Walking Dead, but instead of wondering who will get killed next, the fun is in learning who is taken over by aliens to become a pod person.
3.) The Stepford Wives
See above. If aliens aren’t in vogue, use synthetic android replacements for all the women in town. Wash, rinse, repeat. For fun, we could call this, “The Unreal Wives of Stepford!”
This would be a version of the movie in name only. It’s really a remake of Falling Skies, now that it’s been off the air for a couple years. In the midst of an alien invasion, a ragtag band of freedom fighters try to take back their country. A nice Easter egg would be an episode where they stumble upon an unstable survivalist trying to survive within a bunker. Maybe he kidnaps one of our heroines…
1.) Village of the Damned
Finally, I mention Village of the Damned because I don’t know that the original movie or John Carpenter’s 1995 remake amply explained what the heck was going on with the children with the blonde hair and blue eyes. The series would slow it down, provide a backstory, and eventually get to their transformation rather than begin with it.
What do you think? Could any of these make the fall TV schedule? They’re not entirely original, but we’ve seen that originality is not always a requirement to have a hit show. What other classic horror movies would you like to see translated to television?