The new Halloween is no less than the 11th film to have that title. The franchise has been sequeled to death and even remade, but the new Halloween, which is the third of those 11 movies to share that exact title, does something quite interesting: it completely ignores almost everything about the franchise.
Even though Jamie Lee Curtis was in some of those sequels, none of them exist as far as the new film is concerned. There’s the original movie and then this one, and that’s it. This gives the new movie an immense amount of freedom as it isn’t bogged down by existing canon, and the movie uses that freedom to great effect.
It works out so well for the new Halloween that we can’t help but think that other horror franchises could benefit by being given the same treatment. Here are three franchises that would benefit by having all the sequels stabbed through the heart and having the bones burned.
Friday the 13th
The Friday the 13th franchise has a lot in common with Halloween. Both series deal with masked silent killers that have been given more sequels than we know what to do with. Both have also been remade. The thing about Friday the 13th is that almost everything that we think of when we think of the franchise was born in the sequels, not the original.
Spoiler alert if you haven’t seen the original Friday the 13th or the opening of Scream, but the killer in the first movie isn’t Jason Voorhees, but his mother. Jason died as a child at Camp Crystal Lake and dear old mom blames the camp counselors for being too busy fooling around to rescue her boy from drowning. The end of the first film gives a hint that maybe somehow Jason is alive, but that’s all it is, a hint.
If we take that movie as a starting point and then try to make a sequel, we can do almost anything we want with it. Jason Voorhees doesn’t even need to actually be a character at all. You could set the movie in the modern day and have Camp Crystal Lake once again reopening following the murders from decades ago. But of course, the killings would be back as well. Who’s doing it and why? I don’t know. I’m not here to write the entire screenplay. Not for free anyway.
If you do want to bring Jason back for this new Friday the 13th, you certainly can, but you have the complete freedom to remake Jason anyway you want. Give him a new look or even a new attitude. A wise taking Jason who quips as he kills? That’s probably actually a bad idea, but you could do it, is my point.
A Nightmare On Elm Street
No horror franchise got quite so out of hand during its run than the Nightmare on Elm Street movies. While Freddy never became the hero of his story as many movie monsters have (because child killer), the latter films got pretty ridiculous, a far cry from the truly horrifying original.
The original A Nightmare on Elm Street saw teen girl Nancy seemingly defeat Freddy by drawing him into the real world where he had no supernatural power. It ended with Nancy waking to find all her dead friends somehow alive once more. In the final seconds, we learned that this itself was just a dream and that Freddy was apparently still very much alive.
This is the perfect place from which to launch a new film. The question you have to ask is, if the movie ended inside a dream, how much of what we saw was “real?” The answer is, however much you need to be.
If Freddy successfully kills Nancy in the final scene of the original movie, then he has seemingly killed all the children of the people who killed him, which was his supposed goal the first time around. So why would he come back? Has he been brought back for a purpose? Maybe his spirit is being used by somebody as a weapon to kill people in their dreams.
If Nancy survives the first film, what happened to her? How has she survived Freddy for all these years, and what has brought them together again. Or, do you simply have a new actress as Nancy wake up from the dream and pick up the new sequel immediately following the original, continuing the fight. The plan to kill Freddy clearly didn’t work. Why not?
However, the story is handled, you could have some real fun with modern special effects in a modern Nightmare on Elm Street story. It could be the horror movie version of Inception.
Hellraiser is a franchise ten films deep with the most recent entry being released earlier this year. No, really.
I found the original Hellraiser to be an utterly terrifying movie, and the sequels never really lived up to that. Similarly to the Friday the 13th franchise, most of the lore that’s associated with the franchise came in the sequels, with the original film just being about a puzzle box that opened a gateway to some sort of hell dimension when the terrible cenobites promised the opener of the box all forms of sadistic pleasures.
The sequels made one particular cenobite, Pinhead, a star character, and it humanized the cenobites, literally revealing them to have once been human. All of that can be done away with once we send the sequels to hell. The cenobites don’t need names or personality, they’re murderous movie monsters and are better that way.
A new sequel can be started up in a simple and obvious way, with the puzzle box being found and opened by somebody new. A new film wouldn’t even technically need to connect to the original film beyond the basic concepts, though it’s not really a sequel if it doesn’t. Once again (because horror movies have tropes), this movie could see its own “final girl” Kirsty Cotton return decades later. Whether she’s fighting the cenobites or whether she has succumbed to the temptation of the box, the idea here is that the new movie should focus on human characters and their desire for/battle with the box. The cenobites can be interesting creations, but they should only be monsters to contend with.