11 Classic Horror Movies That Should Be TV Shows

Fans have always relied on the film world for their horror fix, but recent years have seen a shift towards more horror on TV. Shows like and Hemlock Grove has shown that original horror ideas can thrive on TV, while the likes of and have proven that TV is a great home for remakes and reimaginings.

Luckily, it looks like the trend is going to continue. Fox has The Exorcist on the way, taking its inspiration from William Friedkin’s 1973 hit, and its and key art illustrate that the series could be just as bone-chilling as its iconic source material.

If The Exorcist is a success, we can expect plenty more horror remakes to hit the airwaves. With that in mind, we’re running through 11 classic horror movies that we want to see turned into TV shows.

1. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

Upon release in 1974, was considered by many to be the scariest movie of all time. Director Tobe Hooper’s twisted tale of backwoods cannibalism still holds up today thanks to its artfully composed violence and tension-filled story. And of course, it gave us one of horror’s most enduring villains in the form of Leatherface.

But Leatherface wasn’t alone — he had a family of weirdos in his rural Texas home. The family has been explored a bit in the film’s various sequels and remakes, but a TV series would provide the chance to really develop the characters and let their twisted psyches shine. We might even get some new horror icons along the way.

2. Halloween (1978)

John Carpenter created with the introduction of Michael Myers in Halloween. Myers is a lumbering force of evil always ready to rip you up with his signature knife. And while you might be able to evade him and even defeat him, he’s never gone for long.

Myers may be an iconic terror, but what makes him really interesting is his backstory. As a young boy, Myers killed his older sister, and was sent to the care of Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasence). Loomis attempted to rehabilitate Myers for years before determining the boy was pure evil. With so much story to tell, a Halloween TV series could expand on the relationship between Loomis and Myers, using the good doctor as a protagonist determined to ensure Myers can’t kill again.

3. Videodrome (1983)

David Cronenberg is the king of body horror, with Videodrome considered by many to be his masterpiece. The film follows TV executive Max Renn (James Woods) after he stumbles across Videodrome, an obscure foreign series that seemingly depicts the torture and death of anonymous victims. After one watch, Renn slowly becomes obsessed with the series, sending him on a quest to find its true origins. The only problem? Videodrome causes nightmarish hallucinations in its viewers.

Cronenberg’s film used horror as a commentary on the media and its effects on the masses. The media landscape has changed a lot since the ’80s, and a Videodrome TV series could use the same premise in a contemporary setting for more modern commentary. And if you aren’t into all that thought-provoking stuff, you could stay tuned for some brutally wild special effects.

4. The Ring (2002)

may be a little young to be considered “classic,” but considering its influential status we think it’s pretty fair to include on our list. It’s also here because it’d provide the basis for an awesome TV series.

We envision a series based on The Ring to bear little resemblance to the film and its sequels. Instead, a show could build a new story with original characters discovering the film’s infamous cursed videotape. The show could even follow the tape as it travels across the country, switching locations and storylines from season to season a la American Horror Story.

5. The Wicker Man (1973)

is probably best know thanks to its notoriously awful 2006 remake, but the original film is actually pretty great. The film follows a police sergeant who goes to an island off the coast of Scotland in search of a missing girl. But his investigation is hindered at every turn by the islands Pagan inhabitants and their strange rituals.

A Wicker Man show could combine the best elements of mystery and horror for a unique blend that hits on some of TV’s most popular trends. The series could play kind of like True Detective but with a supernatural tinge.

6. The Monster Squad (1987)

and are the only horror-comedies currently on TV, which means there’s more than enough room for some more. Thankfully, The Monster Squad is ready for adaptation.

The 1987 flick centers on a group of kids obsessed with monster movies who take it upon themselves to protect the world from Count Dracula and his monstrous army, which includes the Mummy, the Wolfman and Gill-man from Creature From the Black Lagoon. The Monster Squad would be a great kids show, following the group’s adventures as they battle Dracula and various monstrous menaces.

7. The Legend of Hell House (1973)

The poster for "The Legend of Hell House."

The poster for “The Legend of Hell House.”

Haunted houses are a staple of the horror genre, and we could use some more on TV. So, why not bring The Legend of Hell House to the small screen?

The movie focuses on a group of researchers tasked with determining if an old mansion is haunted. We think the premise alone would work as a great mini-series, charting the team’s trip into the heart of the hellish home. Will they make it out alive? Or are they doomed to die just as everyone else whose ventured inside? Watch to find out.

8. Hellraiser (1987)

Pinhead from "Hellraiser."

Pinhead from “Hellraiser.”

We all know that violence sells, and luckily Hellraiser has plenty of it. While casual horror fans know that the film introduced us to , diehards are well versed in the history of his ghastly crew of Cenobites and their sadomasochist tendencies.

As a TV show, this one should play to its strengths. When it comes to Hellraiser, we could care less about the plot. We just want to see as much violence as you can get away with on cable. Thankfully, Pinhead and his loyal crew are always ready for dismemberment, because that’s the gross kind of stuff they love.

9. Carrie (1976)

Stephen King’s Carrie inspired one of , which in turn spawned its own remake in 2013. Carrie even got a TV movie on NBC written by Hannibal mastermind Bryan Fuller, which was intended to launch a series. But we haven’t given up hope on a Carrie TV show just yet.

NBC may have tried it out, but it just wasn’t the right place for the film. Instead, Carrie should play to its teenage audience and find a home on MTV. We could follow the high school drama surrounding the titular Carrie’s life, and get a closer look at what pushes her to the edge — resulting in her pyrokinetic powers. A Carrie series could be the perfect replacement for the outgoing , and the Scream TV series has already made MTV a destination for teen horror fans.

10. Nosferatu (1922)

Count Dracula is the most common vampire across film and television, and while we aren’t dissing the Dark Lord we do think some of his fellow vampires could use some love. That’s why we want to see a new show based on Nosferatu.

The 1922 German Expressionist film may have been an unauthorized adaptation of author Bram Stoker’s Dracula, but it’s still a classic of the silent era. It illustrated unparalleled artistry at the time while introducing us a new, monstrous vampire in the form of Count Orlok. Considering the popularity of period dramas, a Nosferatu show could take place in Germany in the ’20s, chronicling the drama of a village on the brink of madness when the legendary monster comes to town.

11. Child’s Play (1988)

Who would have guessed that an evil doll would become a horror legend? Chucky from Child’s Play managed to overcome the obstacle of being a man trapped in a doll’s body to become a fan favorite character. Considering how much the people love him, it only makes sense to bring Chucky and to TV.

We suspect there’s a pretty big crossover between horror lovers and late night cartoon fans, so we think Child’s Play should be adapted as an Adult Swim style cartoon. Simple animation, twisted humor and a quick runtime would help this series soar, playing to the series’s signature blend of dark humor and slasher violence without overstaying its welcome.

What horror movies would you like to get adapted for TV? Let us know in the comments below!


President of the Salacious Crumb Fan Club. Staff Writer at Movie Pilot. Twitter: @Matt_Kranis