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Are you bored of watching the usual mundane horror movies? Put together below is a list of successful horror movies from franchises that never received the credit deserved.
The horror genre can be subjective, as what one person finds scary, another may find humorous. While reviews from critics can help determine a film’s success, sometimes even horror movies with poor ratings can still be enjoyed by audiences. The horror genre has the ability to tell powerful stories, but it often doesn’t receive the recognition it deserves in awards and accolades.
It’s crucial to develop your own perspective instead of blindly parroting the popular opinion. Many horror movies that receive negative reviews from critics end up being successful at the box office and become a hit among fans.
Starring: Jay Hernandez, Derek Richardson, Eyþór Guðjónsson, and Barbara Nedeljáková.
The Hostel series by Eli Roth accurately depicts the violent tendencies seen in horror movies from the 2000s. Many of these films followed a similar plot where young adults on vacation were preyed upon, taken captive, and subjected to extreme torture.
Roth’s Hostel tries to push the boundaries of the horror subgenre it belongs to and even adds a feminist perspective in its sequel, which is unexpected. Despite receiving mixed reviews from critics, the movie’s success at the box office led to the creation of two more sequels, making it a trilogy.
Starring: Cary Elwes, Danny Glover, Monica Potter, Michael Emerson, Ken Leung, and introducing Leigh Whannell.
The Saw franchise, created by James Wan and Leigh Whannell, played a significant role in shaping the horror genre of the 2000s. For almost a decade, a new movie was released each year around Halloween, and now the franchise is preparing for its tenth installment in 2023.
However, the franchise’s success would not have been possible without the strong foundation established in the original movie.
The Saw franchise is known for its excessive use of torture traps, but the original movie actually has minimal violence and a compelling closed-room mystery. Although it is much less intense compared to its sequels, the first Saw still received mixed reviews from critics.
Starring: Michael Stephenson, George Hardy, Connie McFarland and Jason Wright.
Troll 2 is considered by many as the worst movie ever made, and it even has a documentary about it. The story follows a young boy named Joshua and his family as they visit the small town of Nilbog, where they find out they have to face-off against dangerous goblins.
While most people don’t consider Troll 2 a good movie, it can be enjoyable to watch with friends. Although it received negative reviews for its below-average acting and production, it’s perfect for those who just want to have a good time.
Starring: Warwick Davis and Ice-T.
The success of the Leprechaun franchise, which has now spanned 25 years, was unexpected given its origins as a quirky slasher movie.
As the sequels progress, they become increasingly absurd, particularly after the character travels to space in the fourth installment. Unfortunately, the fifth movie, Leprechaun in the Hood, was attacked by movie critics for its shoddy plot and offensive stereotypes.
Despite this, the film has since gained a following and is considered an odd cult classic. In fact, there is even a direct sequel, Leprechaun: Back 2 tha Hood, that embraces the film’s chaotic style.
Starring: Lexa Doig, Lisa Ryder, Chuck Campbell, and Kane Hodder.
Jason Voorhees, the notoriously iconic character from Friday the 13th horror franchise, has come a long way since his introduction as a slasher villain at Camp Crystal Lake.
Although the series isn’t highly acclaimed by critics, it has always been well-received by audiences. One of the more controversial entries in the franchise is Jason X, which sees the character venturing into outer space. The ’90s and early 2000s saw a rise in horror sequels set in space.
Despite its tongue-in-cheek humor and provocative stereotypes, Jason X is not considered high art. However, its gutsy premise and memorable setpieces have made it a fan-favorite installment in the Friday the 13th franchise.
Starring: Tom Atkins, Stacey Nelkin, Dan O’Herlihy, Michael Currie and Ralph Strait.
John Carpenter’s Halloween is an important slasher film, with Michael Myers being one of the most frightening villains in horror. The first two movies tell a complete story, and the plan was to continue with standalone stories.
Halloween III: Season of the Witch started this trend with a spooky tale involving Druids, consumerism, and killer Halloween masks. Although Season of the Witch has been praised as a great horror film from the ’80s, critics were initially confused by the absence of Michael Myers. The criticism was so harsh that Halloween 4 was given the subtitle, The Return of Michael Myers, just to give clarity.
Starring: Elisha Cuthbert, Chad Michael Murray, Brian Van Holt, Paris Hilton, Jared Padalecki, Jon Abrahams and Robert Ri’chard.
Jaume Collet-Serra, known for directing popular movies like Jungle Cruise and Black Adam, got his big break in the movie industry with the 2005 film House of Wax. This movie is actually a remake of Tourist Trap, rather than the ’50s Vincent Prince vehicle. The plot follows a group of college students who visit a creepy wax museum and end up with one-way admissions.
Despite being criticized by critics for being a generic slasher movie and for featuring Paris Hilton, House of Wax has some highly effective setpieces that have resonated with audiences for decades.
Starring: Michael Kenworthy, Marsha Dietlein, Dana Ashbrook, Thom Mathews, James Karen, and Phil Bruns.
Night of the Living Dead, a classic zombie film by George A. Romero has inspired a plethora of horror franchises. Return of the Living Dead delves into the story of a poisonous gas with the mysterious power to resurrect the dead, leading to some punk rock zombie obstacles.
Return of the Living Dead Part II successfully expands on the original film, but some critics may need to be open-minded about this unconventional take on the undead. However, fans who enjoyed the first movie will likely find the sequel’s heightened antics equally or even more entertaining.
Starring: Liv Tyler, Scott Speedman, Glenn Howerton, Gemma Ward, Laura Margolis, and Kip Weeks.
Over the last two decades, the home invasion subgenre of horror films has gained tremendous popularity. Among its most prominent examples is The Strangers. This movie depicts a small-scale domestic attack, highlighting how violence can strike innocent people randomly and without warning.
Although it did not receive much critical acclaim, The Strangers is considered an important film in the home invasion horror genre. It took ten years for the first sequel, Prey By Night, to be released. However, fans can look forward to a new trilogy of Strangers movies in the near future.
Starring: David Arquette, Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, Parker Posey, Patrick Dempsey, Scott Foley, Lance Henriksen, Matt Keeslar, Jenny McCarthy, Emily Mortimer, Deon Richmond, and Patrick Warburton.
The Scream franchise, which features a self-aware approach to the slasher genre, played a vital role in reviving it during the late ’90s. Today, it remains highly popular, thanks to the unprecedented box office success of Scream (2022) and Scream VI.
The franchise’s initial trilogy concludes with Scream 3, which takes place mainly in Hollywood studio backlots and satirizes the film industry and the franchise itself instead of solely mocking horror movies.
However, in the aftermath of the Columbine High tragedy in 1999, many horror movies became sanitized and avoided showing on-screen violence and blood. While Scream 3 has a broad energy somewhat like Scooby-Doo that some critics found off-putting, it has since been embraced by fans.
If you have, for some reason, avoided watching any of the movies on this list due to critics’ reviews in the past, we hope you’ve changed your mind after reading through this blog.
However, if you’ve already watched all the movies on this list and their sequels, HBO Max is home to a plethora of horror movies, so you must check out How to Watch Evil Dead Rise on HBO Max today!
Kyla is a seasoned technology writer with a passion for streaming and security. With over a decade of experience in the industry, John has become an authoritative voice, providing valuable insights and practical advice to readers worldwide.