Horror isn’t just for movies anymore. While film is the bread and butter of this genre, it actually originated in literature and has expanded to television, comic books, video games and theater. Many of our favorite horror movies have made such a tremendous impact on popular culture that they were brought to the silver screen. Take a look at 10 television shows which take inspiration from famous horror movies, then let us know your favorite show from this list in the comments section on social media.
“Freddy’s Nightmares” 1988-1990
Four years after “A Nightmare on Elm Street” aired in theaters, “Freddy’s Nightmares” was brought to our televisions. This anthology series introduced each episode with Freddy Krueger and the show brought back actor Robert Englund for the role. The series had two seasons before being canceled in 1990, with 22 episodes each and each episode featured two different stories.
“Buffy the Vampire Slayer” 1997-2003
In 1992, the horror movie “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” premiered in theaters and it was met by moderate success. Writer Joss Whedon, however, was unhappy with the direction the film took and five years later, he created a much darker television show with the same name. “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” is one of the most successful horror television shows of all time, running for seven seasons from 1997 to 2003. It’s currently available for streaming on Hulu and Amazon Prime with a subscription.
Following the success of the Hannibal Lecter film series, this television show is based on the characters and story lines crafted by author Thomas Harris. However, instead of focusing on the most notable film in the series, 1991’s “The Silence of the Lambs,” it focuses on the events of Harris’s “Red Dragon,” “Hannibal” and “Hannibal Rising.” The show primarily centers on the relationship between Lecter (portrayed by Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen) and FBI investigator Will Graham (portrayed by English actor Hugh Dancy). The series received critical acclaim and is regarded as one of the best horror series of all time. “Hannibal” is available for streaming on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime.
“Bates Motel” 2013-2017
This series acts as a prequel to Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 film “Psycho,” which is based on the 1959 Robert Bloch novel of the same name. It follows Norman Bates (portrayed by English actor Freddie Highmore) and his mother Norma Bates (portrayed by “The Conjuring’s” Vera Farmiga) in the events preceding the plot of “Psycho.” The show puts a contemporary spin on the story, setting it in present day and the final season of the show loosely adapts the plot of “Psycho,” with Rihanna portraying Marion Crane. “Bates Motel” has left Netflix but is likely moving to Peacock.
“Ash vs Evil Dead” 2015-2018
In 1981, director Sam Raimi created the horror movie “The Evil Dead,” which has since become a cult classic. In 2013, he created a television series, “Ash vs Evil Dead,” which acts as a sequel to the events of the original trilogy of films. In the show, actor Bruce Campbell reprises the role of Ash Williams and he teams up with friend Pablo Simon Bolivar (portrayed by Ray Santiago) to fight off the Evil Dead 30 years later. The series is currently available for streaming on Netflix.
“Scream” is one of the biggest horror franchises in the genre, spanning four films and an upcoming fifth film in 2022. The series earned a television show, aptly titled “Scream” in 2015, with the first two seasons following a group of students in the fictional town of Lakewood. The third season, titled “Scream: Resurrection” featured a new location and cast of characters, which included performances by Tyga, C.J. Wallace and Mary J. Blige. The series is currently available for streaming on Netflix.
“The Exorcist” 2016-2017
In 1973, “The Exorcist” film based on the 1971 novel by William Peter Blatty, premiered in theaters and went on to become one of the most celebrated horror movies of the 20th century. This television series is a direct sequel to the original film (ignoring other film sequels in the franchise) and reintroduced characters such as Regan MacNeil (portrayed by American actor Geena Davis) and Pazuzu, as well as a plethora of new characters. Notable new characters include Father Tomas Ortega (played by Mexican actor Alfonso Herrera) and Father Marcus Keane (portrayed by English actor Ben Daniels), who’re exorcists investigating cases of demonic possession. The series is available for streaming on Hulu.
“The Purge” 2018-2020
In 2013, “The Purge” franchise began with the first film and has since expanded to include four film sequels (one that’s premiering in 2021) and a two season television series. “The Purge” TV show aired in 2018 and takes place between the films “The Purge: Anarchy” and “The Purge: Election Year.” Both seasons of the show are set on Purge Night 2027, with the first season revolving around characters during the night and the second revolving around the aftermath. “The Purge” television show is currently available for streaming on Hulu and Peacock.
“JU-ON: Origins” 2020-Present
In 2000, filmmaker Takashi Shimizu created “Ju-On: The Curse,” which would lead to an entire “Ju-On” franchise of films, novels and graphic novels. For those who aren’t familiar with “Ju-On,” it inspired the American “The Grudge” film series.” “JU-ON: Origins” is the first television series based on Shimizu’s franchise and follows a paranormal researcher looking for the cursed home of the original series. “JU-ON: Origins” is currently available for streaming on Netflix.
Based on the best-selling book “The Silence of the Lambs,” this series gives fans everything they didn’t get from “Hannibal.” “Clarice” is set a year after the events of “The Silence of the Lambs” and dives deeper into the story of Clarice Starling (portrayed by Australian actor Rebecca Breeds). This series is brand new, having premiered on CBS on February 11th, 2021 and is available for streaming on CBS All Access and Hulu.