It’s that time of year again. The crisp fall weather, pumpkin-flavored beverages, and last but not least, horror movies! We wanted to look back at some cinema’s greatest, and worst, horror franchises out there.
Instead of giving our general opinion, we wanted to base this one on numbers. To make this list a bit more interesting, the entries will be ranked based on their average IMDb ratings across all films in their respective franchises. Therefore, some of the franchises may not be what everyone was expecting. A rule that has also been established is that each franchise must have a minimum of four movies in order to keep the averages somewhat fair. Here are the 5 best horror franchises, as well as the 5 worst, according to their IMDb averages.
10 Worst: Wrong Turn (4.8 Average)
Each entry in the Wrong Turn franchise follows the same formula: a group of teens is hunted down by a clan of cannibalistic hillbillies (typical slasher stuff). Wrong Turn has gained some very dedicated fans, though. The movies may be generic, but the creative kills and intense gore give it a step-up on other indie horror movies.
As with many slasher films, they’re not critically praised. The first did have a decent 6.1 rating on IMDb, but there are six movies altogether. Each one got progressively worse, which definitely brought down that average down to 4.8. For horror fans who want to turn their brains off for an hour and a half, the Wrong Turn franchise may just be what they’re looking for.
9 Best: Saw Franchise (6.1 Average)
Impressively, the Saw franchise has eight films but still managed to hold an average of 6.1. Many fans agree that the series dipped in quality with each entry, especially the horrendous Saw 3D: The Final Chapter, which holds the lowest rating at 5.6. The highest, of course, is the first Saw at 7.6.
The first film was quite the surprise hit back in 2004. Despite its critical praise, the Saw series is most-notably recognized as the franchise that ushered in the “torture-porn” era of horror films. Each entry was gorier than the last. Bloodthirsty horror fans flocked to the theaters to see how bloody each entry would get. It seemed to work, however, considering the entire series has made over $1 Billion worldwide.
8 Worst: Sleepaway Camp Franchise (4.6 Average)
If you want to watch a horror movie so unapologetically 80s that it hurts, then look no further than Sleepaway Camp. At this time in Hollywood, studios were releasing these slasher films left and right. For good reason of course. They were cheap to make, but mostly always turned some sort of profit.
The original Sleepaway Camp is actually a fun movie to watch and understandably has a 6.3 rating on IMDb. It’s much campier than other slashers at the time. Although it’s infamously known for its bizarre twist ending. The rest of the series got worse and worse, though, with Sleepaway Camp IV receiving an awful 1.8 rating.
7 Best: The Conjuring Universe (6.3 Average)
With the success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it was inevitable that other studios would try to recreate the formula. New Line Cinema’s Conjuring Universe is probably the second most successful take on a cinematic universe. It all started with 2013’s The Conjuring, which is actually a great film in general.
The universe of these movies would expand on stories that were introduced in previous films, specifically, the creepy Annabelle doll. Quality-wise, these movies do typically well, only with a couple of stinkers like The Nun and the very first Annabelle. Due to this, it’s no surprise that it has consistently decent reviews among IMDb fans.
6 Worst: Leprechaun Franchise (4.4 Average)
Say what you will about the Leprechaun movies, but there’s no denying that it’s a blast to watch actor Warwick Davis play the murderous title character. Yes, these movies are pretty awful, but that’s also part of their charm. The mischievous Leprechaun has had many adventures, which includes trips to space, as well as in “tha hood.”
This isn’t a case of other horror franchises that had an amazing first entry, then dipped in quality. The Leprechaun movies have been terrible from the start. Leprechaun 4 holds the title for its lowest rating at 3.5. Still, they have their own cult-following. They’re worth watching for Davis’s ridiculous performance alone.
5 Best: Scream Franchise (6.3 Average)
One thing that Scream holds above most horror franchises is that it sticks to its main story in each entry, including keeping the three main leads. The original was a smash-hit back in 1996, seemingly revitalizing the slasher genre. For good reason, as it’s a fun yet scary film with a tight script and great characters. It also has the highest rating of the series, with an impressive 7.2
It makes sense that this would have a good average rating. The only stumble is Scream 3, which most of the fanbase agrees is the worst one at a 5.5 rating. Scream 4 brought back the series to its roots, but sadly, director Wes Craven passed not long after it was released. It’s unlikely that there will ever be a fifth movie. The slasher genre owes a lot to the Scream films. Luckily, these movies have aged quite well and are easy to marathon during the fall season.
4 Worst: Silent Night, Deadly Night Franchise (4.2 Average)
The Silent Night, Deadly Night series is…interesting to say the least. The first entry was just a trashy killer Santa Claus movie, then by the fifth movie, we’re dealing with incestuous robots and killer toys. No one can say they didn’t try to be innovative.
That being said, this franchise is pretty terrible and is unsurprisingly the second lowest-rated on IMDb. Aside from some memorable lines, such as “GARBAGE DAY” in Part 2, these movies can be a drag to get through. A huge portion of Part 2 is literally just scenes from the first one, but are meant to be flashbacks. If you’re going to watch any of them, you should watch the remake, Silent Night, which is a balls to wall slasher flick that knows exactly what it wants to be.
3 Best: Psycho Franchise (6.5 Average)
What hasn’t been said about Psycho? Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 masterpiece is one of the most influential horror movies in history. The master of suspense shocked audiences in the first fifteen minutes thanks to the now legendary shower scene. There are many who don’t realize that this actually became a franchise a whole 23 years after.
The three decent, though somewhat unnecessary, sequels continued the story of Norman Bates. As far as the ratings go, they pale in comparison to the original. It’s the first film’s 8.5 rating that puts it on this list. The three sequels that followed had average reviews, with the lowest being Psycho 3 at 5.3. With only four films and a really highly acclaimed first film, the Psycho series has earned second place.
2 Worst: Killjoy Franchise (4.1 Average)
Now we’ve reached the bottom of the barrel. For those unfamiliar, Killjoy is a basic killer clown flick that lacks any personality or artistic merit. Seriously, the first film’s quality matches that of a high-school production. It’s hard to believe that this franchise managed to make five films altogether.
Oddly enough, the ratings actually started getting better with each sequel. Although that’s not very hard to do since the original received an abysmal 2.6 rating. Killjoy isn’t that much of a memorable killer clown, but he holds his own. His awful one-liners and over-the-top nature are the only aspects that make these movies even watchable.
1 Best: Alien Franchise (7.2 Average)
It couldn’t be any other franchise. While the series would go on to make some disappointing entries such as Alien 3 and Alien: Resurrection, no one can forget Alien and Aliens. The original Alien is an intense and claustrophobic film directed by Ridley Scott. It’s follow-up, Aliens, was directed by James Cameron and became one of the best action movies of the 80s.
While the Alien franchise has a sci-fi setting and plot, it’s clearly rooted in horror. The Xenomorph is quite possibly the most terrifying monster in cinema history. Both Alien and Aliens hold a solid 8.4 rating. Therefore, it’s not much of a shock that it holds the highest average rating for any horror franchise on IMDb.
NEXT: 10 Of TV’s Best Halloween Episodes, According To IMDb