Sommerleigh Pollonais – Senior Writer/Horror Head Writer
When a book is made into a movie you know they’re gonna have to leave a lot of stuff out. And as a fan you just hope they keep the vital stuff in there so you don’t have to Hulk out and rampage through your local cinema (which is a shame because Hulk makes rampaging look awesome). Although, no matter how great the end product turns out, it always feels like something got left behind. But logic dictates (stupid logic), they couldn’t fit it all in because then you’d be stuck watching a five-and-a-half-hour-long film and I don’ t care HOW big a fan you are, no one wants to go through that.
This conundrum also applies to a somewhat new phenomenon of movies being made into television shows. Every time they announce one of these, I find myself asking “how the hell do you stretch a two-hour story into a friggin’ season!”
Turns out, it’s not only possible, it can make for some truly epic television. Here are my TOP 5 HORROR MOVIES THAT BECAME AWESOME TV SHOWS:
#5 From Dusk Till Dawn
This cult classic film caught me completely off guard when I first saw it in cinemas. What started off as a badass action road movie starring Quentin Tarantino, Harvey Keitel and of all people George Clooney, quickly turned into a horror movie with enough gore to make Tom Savini stand up and cheer (did I mention he’s in this movie too?). I love this movie!
Nearly two decades later, it pops up in my Netflix queue as a TV show and to say I was confused as to how they were gonna pull this off is an understatement. But stab me in the heart and call me Santanico Pandemonium, the damn show was legit good! Once you get past the first few episodes, that are basically a rehash of the film, the story takes on a life of its own with some of the most unique versions of vampires ever brought to screen. Add a cast of talented and sexy people running around for good measure and From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series ended up being just as entertaining as the cult classic movie it was born from.
#4 Buffy The Vampire Slayer
Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the 1992 movie, was one of those flash-in-the-pan horror comedies that was entertaining for about the length of the year it came out. It’s not a bad movie, but I would be hard pressed to find anyone who’s seen it more than twice. That’s why it came as surprise that creator Joss Whedon decided this would make for great television.
Well Whedon must’ve had one helluva crystal ball because not only did Buffy become one of the most popular shows of all time (even launching its own spinoff with the hunky vampire Angel, not to mention comic books, novels and video games) but it also became the tent pole for other shows with a strong female protagonist. Buffy and her group of Scooby Gang friends have become a mainstay on the small screen to this day.
#3 The Exorcist
Every horror movie turned TV show on this list surprised me, but none and I mean NONE more than this one!
This 1973 film still terrifies people to this day, but the story told is a very singular one. It is the tale of a 12-year-old girl being possessed by a demon who must get laughed at by all the other demons for having the most ridiculous name ever, Pazuzu (sounds like the brand name of a blender) and the priests who risk their very soul to save hers. It’s pretty well wrapped up by the time the credits roll and most people will tell you there’s nothing scarier. So how does a television show top that?
Well if you’ve seen the two seasons of The Exorcist, you’ll know the answer is IN EVERY WAY! This is one of those series you don’t watch right before bedtime. It’s so well-crafted with tons of atmosphere and a great mystery dealing with a conspiracy in the Vatican that would make Dan Brown green with envy (for the non-readers out there, that’s the guy behind the Tom Hanks movies, Inferno and The Da Vinci Code).
I was genuinely disappointed when they cancelled this series, as the creators did such a good job of building this terrifying world and I wanted more than anything to see where it would go.
#2 Ash vs Evil Dead
Whether you prefer the darker, serious tones of Sam Raimi’s The Evil Dead, or his more comedic follow-up Army of Darkness, we can all agree Ash Williams is the coolest amputee to ever grace the big screen. When the TV show was announced, there was no doubt it my mind this would be good, but I honestly didn’t expect it to be that good!
Gore, gore, gore galore made this a true Raimi extravaganza and Bruce Campbell returning as his most iconic character is the icing on this fun, fast-paced cake. Sadly Ash vs Evil Dead was cancelled but there might be light at the end of this tunnel, as the series is being shopped around to streaming sites. So cross those Deadite fingers that Ash and friends may be back for round four.
Honourable Mention: Scream
I’m not the biggest Scream fan, but I did enjoy parts 1, 2 and 4 (3 was rubbish). And while the television series had its moments, it’s not quite enough to get my horror-loving heart pumping. They are planning on bringing it back though so I guess there are enough fans of Ghostface out there to call this one a win.
The Hannibal books were great and the movies are (mostly) iconic, but the television show based on everybody’s favorite cannibal (a sentence I never thought I’d type) is absolute horror perfection.
Sir Anthony Hopkins’ turn as Hannibal Lecter was masterful, so it speaks volumes of his acting abilities that Mads Mikkelsen (Casino Royale/Polar) manages to not only continue making Hannibal the suave, devilish, scarily intelligent man he is, but add a level of sex appeal that (no offence) Hopkins couldn’t bring to the character.
Every episode feels like an artistic portrayal of your worst nightmares, and they even manage to make moments of cannibalism feel like you’re watching the most addictive cooking show out there (admittedly it would be the weirdest episode of Chopped ever). Mads doesn’t do it alone though, as every Joker needs his Batman and Hugh Dancy as Will Graham is the damaged, brilliant profiler who has the unenviable job of trying to beat Dr. Lecter at his own game.
On one hand this series was wrapped up pretty nicely, but on the other hand if you ask Hannibal fan and they will tell you that another dinner or two with these characters is definitely something worth signing up for.
Just don’t tell Lecter you’re a vegan. Trust me, that wouldn’t end well for you.
And that’s it folks! Let me know what horror-movie-turned-television show you adore. Or if it hasn’t been done, which movie do you think would make a great transition to the small screen.
For my Top 5 Horror Films/TV Shows To Watch in 2020 you can click here.
Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apoclaypse comes.
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