The horror genre has spawned many enduring and famous franchises – but while franchises like Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street and Saw have been more successful, Scream has pulled off a feat that sets it apart from the horror competition.
A comment by Gregor Elsholz
Sequels to successful horror films usually spring up like this freshly reanimated zombies in a crowded graveyard. It’s not uncommon, therefore, for franchises to feature five or more films, although similar to already decomposed undead, most of them lack a brain, heart, and other necessary organs. The slump in quality in such long-lived horror series is often dramatic, with one exception: Scream, the most consistent and therefore the best horror franchise in terms of quality.
From Halloween to Saw, horror often relies on quantity over class
The other day I was working my way through the Leprechaun series out of masochistic curiosity. 8 movies with a deadly goblinwhose charm was mostly used up with the first film – but at the latest with Leprechaun 4: In Space the series itself has lost its last bit of trash charm.
This phenomenon is by no means new to horror franchises – ironically, even the greatest slashers in film history have to show a catastrophic hit rate despite a huge body count. Paranormal Activity has 7 entries, Saw, Nightmare on Elm Street and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre have 9 films each, and Friday the 13th has 12 — but none of these series can soberly boast more than two films at most that don’t feel like a waste of time. The Conjuring Universe (8 films), Chucky (8 films), Hellraiser (11 films) and Halloween (13 films) each have 3 reasonable entries, given a generous assessment.
In our photo gallery we show you 24 horror clichés that we can no longer see:
Scream: Consistently good for a horror series
Scream has only 5 films to date, but the quality of the series is outstanding compared to the other seminal franchises in the genre. Scream 3 is certainly not a masterpiece, but as the weakest entry in the series it is still worlds better than the low points of other series such as Jason Goes to Hell, The Nun, Freddy’s Finale: Nightmare on Elm Street 6 or Hellraiser: Revelations. The other four Scream films, on the other hand, settle somewhere between good entertainment and modern classics.
There are several reasons for the quality of the Scream films: Thanks to the meta-humor and awareness of horror clichés, the series always has clever twists and surprises at hand. Also the different Ghostface killers have helped to keep the level high – the central whodunit puzzle always gives the films an exciting puzzle.
With recurring characters like Sydney Prescott, Gale Weathers and Dwight Riley, the franchise still has a clearly drawn and established world almost 30 years after its original release, without changing like many others in increasingly abstruse world-building entangled and invents rules with each new entry in order to contradict themselves. With these qualities, Scream certainly has the right to claim the title as possibly the best horror franchise of all time – and with the latest and sixth entry, the series returns to cinemas on March 9, 2023.
Check out the trailer for the upcoming movie Scream 6 here: