Retrospective: When Horror Films Inspire TV Shows

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This year, we’re seeing big networks embracing the horror genre – thanks to the successes of True Blood, American Horror Story, Dexter and The Walking Dead.  And while there are certainly some original projects – and reboots (The Munsters) – heading into the pipeline, big screen fare is informing some forthcoming television shows.

Bryan Fuller is at work on Hannibal, which looks at the early days of Hannibal Lecter, and A&E is developing Bates Motel, another prequel of sorts that looks into the history of a madman, in this case, Norman Bates.

With these shows on the way, we thought it’d be a good time to look at some other movies-turned-TV shows that onces graced the screen.


FREDDY’S NIGHTMARES: A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET THE TV SERIES (1988-1990)

Just before the Crypt keeper was firing off bad puns like they were going out of style, Freddy had his own horror anthology series with production values that betrayed his bloated mega icon status – little to no effort was put into these bite sized nightmares with shoddy set design matched by the oh so awful acting. New line were clearly under the impression that they could sell anything with the pizza faced dream demon’s name attached – but how horribly wrong they were. Sure, Englund himself was present but only sporadically through each episode, offering up Krueger starved fans a darkly comic commentary on the story – a kind twisted intermission that was the only respite from pure television turd. The show has recently resurfaced on NBC in the US and Zone Horror in the UK, so if you’re ever curious and fancy the television equivalent of sticking white hot needles in your eyes, give it a whirl. For hardcore Elm Street fans only.

FRIDAY THE 13TH: THE SERIES (1987-1990)

“Lewis Vendredi made a deal with the devil to sell cursed antiques. But he broke the pact, and it cost him his soul. Now, his niece Micki, and her cousin Ryan have inherited the store… and with it, the curse. Now they must get everything back and the real terror begins.”

It seems Jason Vorhees fancied his chances at TV stardom too and just like fellow maniac Freddy, failed spectacularly. Originally planned to be titled The 13th Hour, Friday The 13th :The Series was the brain child of a producer who just wanted to draw in the horror audience purely on the weight of the Friday brand. The story centres on an old antique shop previously owned by a Lewis Vendredi who sold his soul to the devil tries to break the pact and ends up losing his life completely, cursing the shop and everything in it before passing it on to relatives Micki and Ryan. The duo take it upon themselves to collect every cursed artefact they can find in the hope of saving the owners.

BLADE: THE SERIES (2006)

Following directly after Blade: Trinity the now dead in the water and cancelled series ever rolled into production, film series star Wesley Snipes is said to have been seriously considering reprising his role as the day-walker – we can only wonder how well the series would have fared with the original star in tow.

Kirk’ Sticky Fingaz’ Jones filled in the boots of Snipes’ main character while David S. Goyer returned for scripting duties on the shows pilot, stepping aside for later episodes. 

THE HUNGER (TV SERIES) (1997 -2000)

Fans of Tony Scott’s modern vampire tale were left wanting with offered with the TV companion to the Bowie starring The Hunger – gone was the startling erotic imagery, replaced with a product that felt,well, a little toothless – pardon the pun – in comparison.

Way before the days of True Blood and Walking Dead proved that horror and the macabre can be TV gold, shows like this were handled by TV executives at arms length.

Terrance Stamp took hosting duties for season one then David Bowie himself stepped in for season two.

BATES MOTEL (TELEVISION MOVIE) (1987)

With the commercial and critical tanking of Psycho 3 inspiring Anthony Perkins to steer well clear of another outing as the bat- shit-bonkers-obsessed with his mother Norman Bates he was written out of this one, the focus being on a man who shared a room with him at a lunatic asylum for the better part of 20 years, Alex West (played by Bud Cort).

West inherits the Bates motel when Norman dies only to find the old place may very well still have a guest haunting the grounds.

This was essentially another feature length pilot for a series that will never see the light of day.

TALES FROM THE DARKSIDE (1983 – 1988)

Initially meant to be Creepshow: The Series to capitalize on the success of George Romero’s horror anthology, owners to the rights Warner Bros decided to take the ball and run with it, potentially making another franchise in the process.

The series echoed the EC comics approach to the genre that Creepshow took and later spawned a movie starring Deborah Harry, Christian Slater and Steve Buscemi. A personal favourite from the series is an adaptation of Clive Barker’s The Yattering and Jack, a short story from the Books Of Blood which concerned a man trying the best he can to live his life whilst being haunted by a demon from hell.

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Weekend: Oct. 25, 2018, Oct. 28, 2018

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