It can be hard trying to find a horror movie that’s worth watching. After all, it’s one of the hardest genres to get right, and finding one that suits any number of criteria is a mission sometimes. However, if you stumble onto a franchise it means instant ease of viewing. For the most part, if you like one movie, chances are you’ll like the rest. So, here to take the struggle out of your search, here are four of the scariest modern movie franchises.
Just to preface this before we get started, these are all well-known, popular franchises, and it is because of how scary they are that they have achieved this status. While this didn’t start as a list of the most mainstream horror movie franchises’, it became that because of the recognition they all received in light of their quality scares.
The first film in the franchise was quick to catch the attention of horror fans everywhere in 2007, with Katie and Micah’s struggles with a demon-infested house becoming the perfect base for seven more films, with an eighth set to release later this year.
As a franchise, Paranormal Activity receives a lot of unfair flack, in part because of its quick popularity and found footage elements and in part because of the quality of the scares. While the films are terrifying and well crafted, Paranormal Activity came out at a time when fans wanted something different, which somewhat affected the reception of the franchise. Saying that however, the films are a big hit and their following grows bigger every year.
While some of the films aren’t quite as strong as others, altogether they are fun films that build upon the lore and keep fans coming back for more. Revolving around sisters Katie and Kristy who have been followed by a demonic presence called Tobi since childhood, the demon will do everything in its power to get what it wants, including murder and possession. Though not always prevalent in the films, Katie is a common thread in all of them.
Starring Ethan Hawke as Ellison, a crime writer who puts his family in danger when he doesn’t tell them that their new house was the scene of a horrific crime. But while things start fine, there was no chance of them staying that way when Ellison finds old film reels that show that the murder that happened in their house was only one in a string of terrifying and supernatural deaths.
Sinister 2 follows the next family set to join this grizzly history, as a mother and her two sons move into a new house. They are joined by Deputy So & So, who had a minor role in the first film and has the information that the family needs to survive. Both films terrified audiences with the ominous Mr. Bogie and his group of child ghosts.
However, the second film didn’t land as well with audiences as the first film did, and Producer Jason Blum, recently said in an interview that they had reached the end of the Sinister story. While disappointing, Blum, however, has a large and varied filmography that is full of great films.
What started as a single terrifying film has since branched off into a frightening and varied franchise. The first two films center on the Lambert family as they find their family threatened by The Further, and the demons that call it home. With the success of these films, two more films soon followed with a fifth film set to release later this year.
In the third Insidious installment, audiences go back in time, focusing on a young girl who accidentally lets a demon into her life when she mistakes it for her dead mother. This prequel gives fans a better look at the Paranormal Investigators that became fan favourites (one of whom is played by the man, the myth, the legend himself, Leigh Whannell).
The fourth Insidious film goes back even further and gives insight into everyone’s favorite psychic, Elise, while also overlapping the other films, nicely tying them all together. James Wan and Leigh Whannell are incredible in every project they’ve been a part of, and the Insidious franchise is no different.
Following real-life demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren, The Conjuring Universe features three movies in the direct Conjuring movie line, three in the Annabell, one in the Nun, and one in La Llorona. That isn’t including the films that are on the way, of which we will get a second Nun film, and a movie about The Crooked Man, who was in the second Conjuring film.
Before The Conjuring, Patrick Wilson starred in Insidious, and once again he delights on screen. Ed and Lorraine help families who have demonic-sized issues, all of which are based on real cases. Though these cases are real, in that they are documented, skeptics and believers alike debate the veracity of the accounts.
However, true or false they might be, we can all be thankful for the franchise that they spawned. Aside from the three Conjuring films, which are your run-of-the-mill haunting and possession films, the Annabell films follow the now infamous haunted doll of the same name while The Nun revolves around a demon who frightened fans in the second Conjuring film.
La Llorona takes Mexican folklore and gives us a new take on the wailing woman in a film that is the furthest removed from the franchise. Once again James Wan gives it his all, and the effect of that can be shown in the stats. The Conjuring franchise is the second highest-grossing horror movie franchise ever, just behind the Godzilla franchise.
Somehow both this list and my other Horror related list, Four Of The Scariest Modern Horror Movies To Watch Now, have turned into an homage to James Wan and Leigh Whannell. While other films and directors do a feature on these two lists, most of the films recommended are theirs. This must say something about the quality of their filmography or the gap in the horror movie market at the moment.