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The Dreadful Ten: 10 Horror Properties That Deserve A Series Adaptation!

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Originally scheduled for last week, technical difficulties prevented this installment of THE DREADFUL TEN from hitting on time. Therefore, this week will feature a BONUS Dreadful Ten, which you can read below!

With HANNIBAL, BATES MOTEL, ROSEMARY’S BABY, TWIN PEAKS, ASH VS. THE EVIL DEAD, WESTWORLD, FROM HELL, DAMIEN, SCREAM and many, many more, it appears that the future of many horror properties will be on the small screen. After all, television allots a certain budget that is frankly unavailable to feature horror films at the moment, and the stigma of TV is virtually gone now that A-list talent both in front of and behind the camera have explored the format. And with my generation’s unfortunate obsession with nostalgic properties, it seems that anything that’s been established and embraced is seemingly up for a serialized reboot, which many horror fans seem more okay with than a flat-out remake.

So with the inevitability that a good number of our most beloved horror properties will be adapted to television in the future, FANGORIA decided to contemplate which horror flicks deserve a new life as a series. Once again, this is all wishful thinking based on what this writer thinks are horror stories that have a narrative angle worth exploring further, but if Ash Williams can further his story on Starz, anything is possible.

10. RE-ANIMATOR

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With the amount of established mythology from Lovecraft’s works, it’s a surprise that there’s never been a proper Lovecraft-based horror series throughout the years; however, as far as characters go, there are few as iconic to the genre as Dr. Herbert West. Eccentric, meticulous and stubborn, Dr. Herbert West is a mad scientist for contemporary audiences, and the combination of his strong stomach and a brilliant brain make him a nerdy, brutal anti-hero. But above all, West’s studies always seem to get him in trouble with the living and the dead, and I think I wouldn’t be the only one wanting to see West test his mettle on the small screen, week by week. Of course, a returning Jeffrey Combs would sweeten the pot, but if Combs has hung up his lab coat, this writer wouldn’t mind someone else taking up the mantle.

9. I SELL THE DEAD

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With a “Burke and Hare” structure and the possibility for a “Monster of the Week” presentation, I SELL THE DEAD is an exceptional cult classic with much promise for a television adaptation. First of all, a straightforward I SELL THE DEAD series would do wonders as a continuation to the film, especially considering the wonderful chemistry between Dominic Monaghan and Larry Fessenden as Blake and Grimes. But beyond that, I SELL THE DEAD would work as a series even as a reboot considering how much imagination can be culled from Glenn McQuaid’s clever concept; the mythos of the film was as important to I SELL THE DEAD’s funny and engaging story as the gory bloodletting, and both of which could absolutely be built upon.

8. CAPTAIN KRONOS

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With Hammer’s output being on the rise once more, why not move on from where the company left off by bringing CAPTAIN KRONOS back to life once more? As a series, the property could be revised as a GAME OF THRONES alternative for horror fans, exploring the development of Kronos as a the foremost killer of ancient vampires and his storied legend since. The universe of CAPTAIN KRONOS is vast, and could make way for a vampire hunter series unlike any before it. Even if a continuation would take a contemporary route, as ill-advised as it might seem, CAPTAIN KRONOS could make for a fun series should the vampire hunter find his way around our tech-based culture, especially considering the flamboyant and old-school nature of its source material.

7. THE PURGE

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This writer isn’t the only one who has been disappointed by THE PURGE films, as they’ve yet to truly capitalize on the brilliant concept in order to lay emphasis on social and political allegories. But yet, both the concept and the messages could be served if THE PURGE had more time to tell its story, and considering there’s so much backstory that is left in the dark, THE PURGE could definitely work better as a television series than as a film franchise. There are obviously big stories that could exist within THE PURGE universe, and with a TV budget and talent, the series could shift focus to all sides of the argument, from the unseen shadow government to the poor who are forced upon the streets to the rich hiding away against security systems to even the psychopaths who count down the days to the next PURGE. But more importantly, THE PURGE could really help flesh out the characters within its world in a series format, which would go against the criticism of the characters in the films appearing as caricatures of a philosophical message.

6. GOD TOLD ME TO

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For fans of the film, GOD TOLD ME TO is a no-brainer as to why it would work as a series: part cop procedural, part horror flick, the film’s twists are among the most imaginative and fascinating in the genre’s history. But in order for such weirdness to be on display, GOD TOLD ME TO opens up many doors, all of which would be interesting to explore as a series. Furthermore, due to the nature of the crimes and their “inspiration”, GOD TOLD ME TO could definitely have long legs as a narrative as well as a certain unpredictability within security of the cast. And with the world in the state that it is, GOD TOLD ME TO could really be effective, especially if the series could move into the suburbs and beyond.

5. SOCIETY

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In a world where America’s economy is in shambles, and yet complacency is all around us in our possessions and social networks, there’s few films that would be as relevant and fruitful as a series as Brian Yuzna’s SOCIETY. After all, it’s easier than ever to get our fifteen minutes of fame, and there could be more people than ever that could fall into the clutches of the titular SOCIETY in a series format. But considering the paranoia of the film and the potential for growth with those characters, SOCIETY could be a body horror TV series that would satiate both horror fans and social cynics; after all, what better way to justify the success of the Kardashians than the reasoning within SOCIETY?

4. HELLBENDERS

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While this writer may have been lukewarm on the final film, J.T. Petty’s HELLBENDERS has an undeniably amazing premise that would definitely be served well by television. Following a team of sinful exorcists who take on extreme cases of possession, the dark humor and character building potential of HELLBENDERS would certainly separate it from the crowd of horror television series. And with more time to delve into the sins of the HELLBENDERS and the demonic world around them, a series could improve upon the faults of the film and introduce the property to mainstream audiences, who might find a greater appeal in HELLBENDERS’ BAD SANTA-meets-GHOSTBUSTERS dynamic.

3. The Three Mothers Trilogy (SUSPIRIA, INFERNO, THE MOTHER OF TEARS)

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Wait, why hasn’t there been a giallo TV show?! Between the soap opera melodrama, the over-the-top kills and the wonderful varied mythos within the genre, giallo seems to fit the serialized television model. And considering the costly nature of a potential remake to these properties, perhaps the best route is to revive them for the small screen, where a TV budget and a built-in horror audience could really bolster the subgenre into the modern age. Yet there’s no mythology worth exploring better than Argento’s Three Mother trilogy, which would bring together both fans of Italian horror and AMERICAN HORROR STORY with a slew of expendable cast members and the freedom to explore some seriously experimental visuals.

2. HENRY: PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER

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Back when DEXTER first came to television, horror audiences were abuzz with the fact that there was going to be a series following a serial killer. Yet, while the show was both dark and bloody, DEXTER also had a very specific model to keep Dexter Morgan a charismatic and empathetic figure, and a show that would look inside the mind of a tried and true killer has yet to be bred on American shores. But there’d be no gateway better than HENRY: PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER; a brutal, blue collar serial killer with an understanding of his own limitations. The character is the anti-Dexter, who finds his empathy in his sad cognizance rather than genuine charm, and an uncompromising series would give a station like HBO or Starz their darkest series to date.

1. NIGHTBREED

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If you’re one of the many who picked up the director’s cut of NIGHTBREED on Blu-ray last year, you likely also found yourself wishing there would be more on-screen stories of Boone, Lori and the rest of the NIGHTBREED. And while there has long been talk of a NIGHTBREED series, there has also been little movement on a project that’s structure would seem fitting to explore the past and future of such a carefully constructed universe. A NIGHTBREED series has the chance to bring monsters to a place in the mainstream where vampires and zombies have profitably resided, and if they were to involve Clive Barker, there’d be no doubt that it would appeal to even the most jaded horror fan. With a TV budget to help bring these monsters back to life, everything just seems right for NIGHTBREED to bring its wicked fantasy to airwaves.

And now, some honorable mentions that almost made this week’s Dreadful Ten:

The Horror Anthology: TRICK ‘R TREAT

Ever since the departure of TALES FROM THE CRYPT (which could be more attributed to declining stories than ratings), there’s been a hole in the heart of horror that no anthology horror series has seemed to fill. Alas, a property like TRICK ‘R TREAT might be able to bring back the attitude of TALES FROM THE CRYPT with a festive contemporary embrace.

Undocumented: THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT

Whereas THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT was very groundbreaking for its time, part of the film’s longevity comes from it’s fascinating rural mythology. Should a series explore the Blair Witch legend in greater detail, perhaps the property can once again scare audiences throughout the country.

True Assassin: KILL LIST

Ben Wheatley’s cult creeper is one of the strongest horror offerings in recent memory, but it’s supremely bleak ending and ambiguous nature could certainly make for an interesting follow-up series. There are many questions posed by KILL LIST, and perhaps a series could help find those answers in its brutal, bloody wake.

Beyond the Freak Show: SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES

For those who have yet to get over the ending of AMERICAN HORROR STORY: FREAK SHOW, there’s few tales that could be as creepy in the same vein as SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES. With a bit more wicked territory to cover, and a much more straightforward story, a SOMETHING WICKED series could ride FREAK SHOW’s momentum into the new millennium.

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About the author
Ken W. Hanley
Ken W. Hanley is the Managing Web Editor for FANGORIA and STARLOG, as well as the former Web Editor for Diabolique Magazine and a contributing writer to YouWonCannes.com. He’s a graduate from Montclair State University, where he received an award for Excellence in Screenwriting. He’s currently working on screenplays, his debut novel "THE I IN EVIL", and various other projects, and can be followed on Twitter: @movieguyiguess.
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