Halloween is coming. In the coming days and weeks, you’ll most likely see an ever-increasing number of pumpkin-spice foods and jack-o-lanterns show up even in places you would least expect them. This is, for many, the worst part of this holiday, a symbol of how commercial and trite it has become over the years. There is a good part of the Halloween madness, though – the emergence of horror stories all over the place. Cinemas are holding horror screenings, TV channels show endless re-runs of classics involving monsters and maniacs, and new horror flicks also tend to hit the theaters around this time of the year to set the mood for trick-or-treating. This year’s Hollywood horror menu will include titles like Cult of Chucky (October 3), Dementia 13 (October 6), Demonic (October 10), Nightworld (October 20), and Jigsaw (October 27). Next year, we already know that we’ll see Michael Myers return to the big screen on Halloween, in a special, 40th-anniversary movie reuniting the serial killer with Jamie Lee Curtis on the silver screen. This Halloween, in turn, we’ll have to make do with a slot machine adaptation of the original set to join the already massive collection of All Jackpots online casino slots on October 8th.
Incidentally, Halloween is one of the longest-running horror franchises of all time. The first movie in the series was released in 1978. It was made on a low budget – $300,000 at the time, which translates to about $1.2 million in today’s weaker dollar. It was a box office hit, though, collecting $47 million ($182 million) domestically, and further $23 million (around $90 million) internationally. As you might expect, the movie spawned a franchise with seven sequels, and a Rob Zombie directed reboot in 2007. The 11th movie in the series, helmed by director David Gordon Green, will be released on the 40th anniversary of the original, and will once again bring actress Jamie Lee Curtis back to the screen (just like the movie’s 20th-anniversary sequel did in 1998).
Halloween is not the only horror series that has arched through the millennia. Hellraiser, written and directed by horror mastermind Clive Barker, has also rung a bell with fans, spawning a long-running series, with a total of 10 films featuring the Lament Configuration. Made on a budget of just $1 million in 1987, the original Hellraiser movie wasn’t such a big hit in theaters but gathered a cult following. The most recognizable character from the series is Pinhead (officially called Hell Priest), a quiet but articulate and intelligent interdimensional soul-seeking demon, played by British actor Doug Bradley in the first eight films in the series.
A remake of the original Hellraiser is reportedly in the works but stuck in development hell – possibly waiting for somebody to solve the Lament Configuration on its behalf.
There are many other horror franchises out there that have scared entire generations that seem not to die peacefully to this day. Among them, we find the “Friday the 13th” series with 12 movies released since 1980 (the 13th, a remake, was canceled), The Exorcist, which was recently turned into a pretty impressive TV series, and Children of the Corn with 10 films made since 1984, which has unfortunately become corny over the years.