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Horror Movies You Didn't Realize Were Turned Into TV Shows

The horror genre contains some of the most legendary franchises in film history as well as some of the most prolific characters in pop culture. Although most were introduced in the 70s and 80s, some of the genre's most prolific franchises are still slashing up the screens today. From Michael Myers still terrorizing Haddonfield and Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) in Blumhouse's "Halloween" trilogy to a new era of Ghostface killers in the recent return of "Scream," classic horror slashers are still slashing decades later, even on the small screen.

While most of horror's notable franchises got their start on the big screen, a lot of them have also been adapted to the small screen. Some of these series have crafted new stories and even redesigned iconic horror characters, while others have expanded the lore and ideas from the movies. Believe it or not, some have even garnered quite a lot of praise from fans and lasted multiple seasons. Most recently, USA Network's "Chucky" series has gotten renewed for a second season and continues to attract some notable names to its cast. Not all these horror adaptations may have been as widely recognized as their film counterparts, but that doesn't mean they should continue to go unnoticed.

The Purge will be televised

"The Purge" has become one of the most dominant modern horror franchises. The films take place in a society where, for one night each year, laws are suspended and violent chaos reigns as citizens unleash their darkest and most gruesome fantasies. "The Purge" has only become more terrifying with each new installment. For better or for worse, the movies also address current political and social issues, tethering themselves to reality. It's the perfect kind of horror franchise to make the turn to TV.

USA Network's TV adaptation of "The Purge" debuted in 2018, bringing the night of violence to the small screen and delving into the aftermath. The series followed new characters as they participated in or survived the Purge and then dealt with the consequences of their actions following its end. It was an interesting concept that fleshed out the world and ideas of the films further and saw creator James DeMonaco return. However, its viewership numbers heavily declined in its second season (via Deadline), leading to the series' cancelation.

Tremors TV series featured Michael Gross' return

"Tremors" is a fan-favorite cult horror franchise whose first film remains memorable for its stellar cast and notorious Graboid creatures. While the first film was barely a box-office success, the franchise lives on through six direct-to-video sequels. Actor Michael Gross is especially dedicated, appearing in every single entry as the beloved Burt Gummer. Gross even returned in the 2003 TV series that only lasted for one season on Syfy.

The series picked up where "Tremors 3: Back to Perfection" left off. It sees the residents of Perfection, including Gummer, attempt to co-exist with the Graboids, only to have more chaos ensue because of government experiments. While the series carried the same delightful comedic tone that fans love, sticking to the franchise's central location of Perfection didn't help much. According to Reel Rundown's Arthur Thames, a self-proclaimed longtime Tremors fan, staying in Perfection "limited what writers could do with the characters and creatures alike." The series just added more characters to complicate the lore and create new dynamics that weren't as special. Plus, it probably didn't help that the episodes aired out of order on the Syfy, leading to a confusing viewing experience. It wasn't too long before Syfy canceled the series. A potential revival in 2018 that could've seen Kevin Bacon return to the franchise was also scrapped.

MTV put a new spin on Scream

Wes Craven's "Scream" became a huge hit when it debuted in 1996 and carved up the genre with some influential meta-commentary and the iconic masked killer Ghostface. Throughout all the "Scream" movies, audiences have been terrified by Ghostface's bloody kills and entertained by a thrilling whodunnit mystery. "Scream" recently returned with a so-called "requel" from "Ready or Not" directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett that's totally revived the franchise. A sequel is set to release next year.

Before Bettinelli-Olpin and Gillett's requel, though, both MTV and VH1 created TV adaptations of "Scream" that featured some changes from the films. In 2015, MTV had crafted their own adaptation of "Scream" with a new cast of characters, a new story and setting, and even a new masked killer. While discussing the changes with MTV News, executive producers Jill Blotevogel and Jaime Paglia talked about not wanting to be "beholden" to the lore of the films and wanting to touch on new ideas. The series did garner some praise from fans and provided some great commentary on TV horror, and it enjoyed a solid two-season run. VH1 also tried to capture that same magic with "Scream: Resurrection," even bringing back the iconic Ghostface look, but was less successful overall

The Gecko Brothers fight vampires on the small screen

Back in the '90s, horror fans were treated to the collaboration of Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino with "From Dusk Till Dawn." The film saw the bank-robbing Gecko Brothers (Tarantino and George Clooney) head to a secluded bar with a family they're holding hostage only to have to fight a coven of terrifying vampires. The film is still regarded as a cult classic and, in 2014, Rodriguez returned to craft a TV adaptation.

The first season mostly stuck to what the original film's story offered, but with more time to expand on the mythology of its Mesoamerican vampiric creatures. The series was very popular and well-liked, even garnering the top spot on Entertainment Weekly's Must List at one point. However, just before its third season concluded, the cast was released from their contracts, leaving the series in limbo. At the moment, "From Dusk Till Dawn" seems to have been canceled and a return seems more and more unlikely. Those looking to check it out can currently do so on Netflix. 

King's The Mist hit the small screen

Frank Darabont's 2007 adaptation of Stephen King's "The Mist" has garnered a reputation for not only being a terrifying King adaptation but also for creating a dark ending that King didn't write. The story sees a group of civilians trying to survive a bevy of horrifying creatures that come from a mysterious mist that's encompassed their entire town. "The Mist" still terrifies audiences to this day through its unnerving tension, horrific creature sequences, and an iconic ending that will gut you with its gruesome realism. It's what made Spike TV create their own adaptation in 2017 to bring the terrors of "The Mist" to the small screen.

The series' story was pretty much the same as the film's, adding in apparitions of people's fears to affect them psychologically and expanding the setting to multiple locations to round out its large cast. The series received some praise for its atmosphere and effects for its scares, but also sharp criticism for its lackluster story and characters. It also didn't that help after the first episode, the series' viewership numbers heavily declined (via Hollywood Reporter), leading to its swift cancelation after only one season.

Creepshow found new life on Shudder

"Creepshow" is one of the only Stephen King films not based on one of his books. The George A. Romero-directed 1982 horror-comedy anthology was actually the first screenwriting effort from King and has gained a growing cult audience since its release. Inspired by other horror anthologies like "Tales from the Crypt," "Creepshow" told five horror stories filled with fun, colorful frights that'll make you shudder and laugh at its insanity. "Creepshow" spawned two sequels and eventually a TV adaptation in 2019 on the horror-centric streaming service Shudder.

Right from its debut, "Creepshow" has become a marquee show for Shudder, providing some new stories that not only live up to the legacy that Romero and King created but also push the series forward in delivering new frights. Notable names like Giancarlo Esposito, Tobin Bell, Keith David, Marilyn Manson, Ali Larter, Ted Raimi, and others have appeared throughout the series' three-season run. "Creepshow" has become so popular that it's even had animated and holiday specials and was recently renewed for a fourth season (via Deadline).

When The Omen became Damien

There are very few creepy kid movies as chilling "The Omen." The 1976 classic, directed by Richard Donner, absolutely terrified audiences with its shockingly gruesome deaths and Harvey Spencer Stephens' haunting performance as Damien, a young child who is an embodiment of Satan. "The Omen" remains a disturbing watch for those who seek it out. While the franchise has seen plenty of sequels and a 2006 remake, most probably don't remember that it also had a TV adaptation.

In 2016, A&E tried to craft a follow-up series to "The Omen" titled "Damien." The series followed a 30-year-old Damien (Bradley James), who is now a war photographer, as he attempts to control his demonic urges and Satanic powers. Don't be too ashamed if you didn't know "Damien" was a thing, though. The different approach to the series didn't garner much praise from critics. Most found the series to be a bland adaptation, leading to "Damien" being canceled after just one season (via Variety). 

Before Hannibal, there was Clarice

"Silence of the Lambs" continues to be an influential force in pop culture. Based on a novel by the same name, the film brought the infamous Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins) to life while also giving audiences a new detective to love in the form of Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster). While there have been plenty of attempts to keep Hannibal's image fresh in people's minds, including multiple spin-off films focusing on the character and a beloved TV series that introduced the world to Mads Mikkelsen, there hasn't been much for Clarice. That changed when CBS announced a series back in 2021 that would focus on Clarice. 

Set after the events of "Silence of the Lambs" and before "Hannibal" (2001), "Clarice" follows a young Clarice (Rebecca Breeds) as she grapples with the trauma from her case with Buffalo Bill. While the series was ripe with potential, most felt that its bland procedural style didn't take advantage of its characters or Clarice's personal narrative. "Clarice" has yet to be canceled, but is currently on pause as it deals with new negotiations that could give it new life on Paramount+ (via Deadline).

Amazon's IKWYDLS trades out teen slashing for teen drama

Although generally stuck in "Scream's" shadow, "I Know What You Did Last Summer" remains a beloved slasher of the '90s. Its central hook-handed killer is memorable and its star-studded cast makes the film an enjoyable ride. "I Know What You Did Last Summer" has always seemed like the perfect kind of classic flick to get a reboot or remake. Amazon took a stab at doing so with a TV adaptation for Prime Video.

The series, which debuted in 2021, follows the same idea as the first film: a group of teens becomes the target of a brutal killer one year after they kill someone during a car accident. Unfortunately, the series often traded the bloody slasher aspects for typical teen drama, which led to many seeing the show as a subpar attempt at reviving the franchise. The series scored low ratings from critics and fans alike. While it seemed like a new flagship series for Amazon prior to its release, the series was quickly canned after just one season (via Deadline).

A Friday the 13th series...without Jason

"Friday the 13th" is one of the most legendary franchises in the horror genre. Its central killer, Jason Voorhees, is one of the most iconic villains in pop culture. Over the course of his reign, Jason has amassed a hefty body count and his hockey mask has become a Halloween staple. 

So it's kind of baffling that the 1987 TV adaptation "Friday the 13th: The Series" didn't include Jason Voorhees whatsoever. Truthfully, "Friday the 13th: The Series" isn't even a slasher like the films. Instead, it follows the events of a cursed antique store and its owners on the hunt for lost items. The series was originally pitched as an original fantasy horror series titled "The 13th Hour" until longtime "Friday the 13th" producer Frank Mancuso Jr. threw the franchise's name onto the series to draw a larger crowd (via That Hashtag Show). 

Although the series had nothing to do with Jason, it did have a veteran crew behind it and star John D. LeMay did eventually star in "Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday." Its title might be a big lie, but "Friday the 13th: The Series" did find some success on its own as it ran for three seasons.

Chucky's reign of terror continues on the small screen

The "Child's Play" franchise has gone through some turbulent transitions throughout its films. From starting as a scary slasher to becoming a meta-horror comedy, only two things have stayed constant: Chucky being a crudely comical killer doll and Don Mancini sticking with the franchise through thick and thin. Mancini even created more modern entries with "Curse of Chucky" and "Cult of Chucky" that have tied the confusing lore of the "Child's Play" universe together. Mancini followed up his two films with a TV series on USA Network that's continued to expand the story.

"Chucky" sees the titular killer doll, voiced by Brad Dourif, back in action alongside a new kid named Jake (Zackary Arthur) as he returns to his childhood roots to enact a devious new plan. Not only does Mancini continue to explore Charles Lee Ray's origins before he became Chucky, but the series also sees a lot of returning cast members, including Fiona Dourif as Nica, Jennifer Tilly as Tiffany, and Alex Vincent as Alex Barclay. "Chucky" brings the legacy of the "Child's Play" franchise together in grand fashion and spares no expense in delivering some bloody and brutal kills. Recently, the series got picked up for another season and casted nonbinary actor Lachlan Watson to play Glen/Glenda, Chucky and Tiffany's child from "Seed of Chucky."

Freddy hosts a horror series?

Wes Craven's "A Nightmare on Elm Street" conjured up one of the scariest killers of all time with Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund). Freddy's ability to invade people's dreams has led to some of the most horrifying and creative kills in the genre and he's provided some of the most notable one-liners in the genre, too. Did you know that there was a time where Freddy had a TV series of his own? Well, it wasn't what you'd expect.

"Freddy's Nightmares" was horror series that debuted in 1988 and starred the titular Freddy, but not as the main antagonist. Instead, Freddy narrated and introduced the series' several original horror stories, in a similar vein to the Crypt Keeper. With Freddy only being the antagonist in a few episodes (via Bloody Disgusting), the series didn't showcase much of his talents. Still, "Freddy's Nightmares" lasted for two seasons and is generally regarded as a cult favorite for "Nightmare" fans. Plus, who could resist seeing Englund host as Freddy?

The Exorcist resurrected and rebooted

"The Exorcist" is widely regarded as one of the most influential and impactful horror movies of all time. Its unsettling atmosphere and tremble-inducing suspense still are just as effective today and the original film only becomes more influential by the day. Most would consider the effort of trying to remake or reboot "The Exorcist" a fool's errand because none of the film sequels ever came close to matching the original. However, that didn't stop Fox from creating a TV adaptation that was surprisingly solid. 

The series acted as a direct sequel to the original film and followed a pair of exorcists (Alfonso Herrera and Ben Daniels) investigating different cases of demonic possession. While it struggled to live up to the same heights at the first film, the series did provide an engagingly thrilling narrative of its own that kept viewers hooked for its two-season run. Alas, "The Exorcist" was eventually canned due to low ratings (via Variety), but "Exorcist" fans can now look forward to Blumhouse's upcoming attempt at a requel, due to hit theaters soon. 

Ash faces the Evil Dead on the small screen

"The Evil Dead" remains one of the biggest cult horror franchises in the genre as it introduced fans to a gory and often hilarious brand of horror. The 1981 original not only launched the careers of both director Sam Raimi and leading man Bruce Campbell as Ash Williams, but also garnered a loyal fanbase that's only grown as the indie film has become a part of a bigger franchise. "The Evil Dead" not only saw a couple of sequels and a 2013 reboot from Fede Álvarez, but also sparked the creation of a TV series on Starz titled "Ash vs Evil Dead."

Both Raimi and Campbell reunited for "Ash vs Evil Dead," with Campbell reprising his role as the titular Ash and Raimi developing the series to expand the "Evil Dead" universe. With new characters and a new expanded story set 30 years after the events of the original trilogy, "Ash vs Evil Dead" found a way to bring a new audience to the franchise while also giving longtime fans the reunion with Ash they've always wanted. Some fans even felt that the series made Ash more of a "fully defined character" (via Collider) and gave a clearer picture of who he really is. Although "Ash vs Evil Dead" received plenty of acclaim over the course of its three-season run, it was ultimately canceled