Previously on “Horror Movies That Should Be TV Series,” we looked at five popular scary films that could even kick more ass in a serialized format. Because if HANNIBAL, BATES MOTEL and BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER turned out better than expected, why not a legal thriller based on THE DEVIL’S ADVOCATE or an historical drama adapted from INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE?
Come to think of it, why not a heck of a lot more classic (and not-so classic) horror movies? Again, all a horror movie needs to turn into a great TV series is a concept that could set up multiple stories, and not just the one that appeared in the film. With a few strong characters and an intriguing mythology, even a show based on a merely adequate horror thriller could wind up turning heads all the way around, as if it were a snap.
So since there was never a particularly good reason to stop at just five, here are Five More Horror Movies That Should Be Made Into TV Series, featuring creepy detectives, way-out science fiction, psychic fugitives and more. We could keep going, but first let’s hear your ideas too!
EVENT HORIZON (1997)
The Pitch: “It’s Star Trek into eternal darkness!”
Not every TV series based on a horror movie needs to expand on the story of the original. In fact, a series based on the sci-fi/horror favorite EVENT HORIZON could easily take place within just one pocket of the original film. The original movie was about a rescue mission in the far reaches of our solar system, where an experimental ship has suddenly reappeared, decades after it went missing. It turns out that the ship, called the Event Horizon, was teleported to a hellish dimension, and the entire crew went mad, and the rescuers are now going to meet the same fate.
So we learn about the original crew’s demise in flashbacks, but why do we assume that their journey was brief? They traveled to a nightmare dimension in a spaceship, so why not take a dramatic step back and watch these doomed souls explore the wonders of that new universe, and then go gradually mad from the experience? Imagine STAR TREK if the crew began to distrust and turn on each other, because each of their adventures had a horrifying angle, and their message of hope was completely lost?
EVENT HORIZON: THE SERIES would probably be a downer, but watching the crew of this ship slouch towards their gruesome fate – as we hope from week to week that there might be some chance of survival, rescue or sanity – could be scary as Hell.
INNOCENT BLOOD (1992)
The Pitch: “It’s THE SOPRANOS with exsanguination!”
John Landis tried to recapture the magic of his 1981 film AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON with this great action/horror/comedy hybrid, about a French vampire in America who feeds off of New York mafiosos and disguises her feedings as gangland assassinations. The film kicks off when she bites a powerful crime boss but isn’t able to finish him off, and then winds up fighting an entire army of undead Italian gangsters with an undercover cop by her side.
It’s a very entertaining film, and certainly one of the most underrated horror movies of the 1990s, but it didn’t have to stop there. A vampire teaming up with a cop to fight undead mobsters is a very fun set-up for an action-horror series, and could easily expand to include other types of demons as well, and truly get into the nuts and bolts of a criminal underworld that’s not unlike the real one, except it’s now run by monsters.
The Pitch: “It’s HEROES with hell-beasts!”
Clive Barker’s cult classic always felt a little bit like a superhero story. NIGHTBREED is about a group of monstrous characters with magical powers who live on the outskirts of society, but they are terrified of the most dangerous monsters of all: man.
NIGHTBREED would be a natural fit for television, with an ensemble cast of exciting characters, and stories that could shift from horrific to comedic to action-packed on a dime. The original story could be used as an opening story arc, tearing the Nightbreed from their homes and forcing them to go on the lam, or it could instead become the series’ destination, in which every episode introduces a new monster character and sets them on the path to Midian, setting up the show’s ultimate conflict.
NIGHTBREED has already been turned into successful comic book series before, and on multiple occasions, so a serialized version of Barker’s story has already been field-tested and approved. Besides, one of those comics was a fantastic crossover with Barker’s HELLRAISER franchise called Jihad, so the series could become the cornerstone of a broad new mythology, combining Nightbreed and Cenobites and, just for the heck out of it, Barker’s favorite private detective Harry D’Amour, who is already ripe for his own feature based on the author’s 1995 supernatural mystery, LORD OF ILLUSIONS.
The Pitch: “It’s BONES, but with bugs!”
Dario Argento has made many great horror movies over the years, but most of them are either insular murder mysteries or dreamy phantasmagorias that probably wouldn’t translate well into a weekly format. But his 1985 thriller PHENOMENA (sometimes released under the name CREEPERS) is one heck of an exception. It’s another serial killer story, and it’s a really weird one, but the setup would make for some great genre television: it’s about a forensic scientist who solves murders with the help of a teenage girl who can talk to bugs.
Yes, that’s strange, and yes, it’s creepy, but the use of entomology in actual forensic science is well-documented, so we figure that if they can get eleven seasons and counting out of BONES then they could probably get about as many out of PHENOMENA. Unusual characters, a quirky yet ominous tone and a bizarre combination of talent and expertise could be applied to just about any situation, criminal or soap operatic, and make for a truly skin-crawling weekly whodunit.
The Pitch: “It’s THE FUGITIVE with exploding heads!”
Everyone knows that scene from SCANNERS where the dude’s head blows up. Oftentimes they completely forget that David Cronenberg’s psychic thriller has an actual plot, filled with conspiracies and espionage and assassinations. It’s all a little confusing, actually, and it’s exactly the sort of thing that a TV series could ultimately improve by letting the story play out naturally and giving the characters room to breathe, not just inflict psychic violence on each other.
So take our hero Cameron Vale and put him in the middle of ConSec (a possibly corrupt, possibly well-intentioned corporation) and Daryl Revok (a possibly villainous, possibly anti-heroic revolutionary), and watch him run from side to side in a desperate attempt to figure out what’s going on and why. Really get into the possibilities and mechanics of a scanner’s powers, and blow up at least five heads per episode. A SCANNERS TV show would be a real mind-blower.