In recent years, the entertainment industry has witnessed a surge of successful TV shows adapted from movies, from Westworld and Fargo to Cobra Kai and The Mandalorian, crossing boundaries and expanding the narratives of beloved films. While various genres have benefited from this trend, the horror genre offers a particularly ripe landscape for such adaptations. With its rich history of iconic movies that have left indelible marks on audiences, numerous movies have already been adapted including Scream, The Purge, Wolf Creek, and Psycho.
Yet the world of horror cinema still presents a plethora of untapped potential for TV show adaptations. This list highlights 10 classic horror movies that have yet to be explored on the small screen. From spine-tingling suspense to supernatural terror, these films offer the perfect blueprint for extended storytelling, character development, and a chance to immerse viewers in the eerie worlds they once witnessed on the big screen.
10 The Others
Released in 2001 The Others is a supernatural horror film starring Nicole Kidman as a woman living in a darkened mansion with her two light-sensitive children, who believe the house is haunted with one of the most memorable twists in recent history. The series could expand on the unsettling events of the film, delving deeper into the lives of the seemingly cursed inhabitants of the grand mansion.
Set in the early-20th Century, the show could explore the history of the house, unveiling the stories of its former occupants and the tragic events that unfolded within its walls. As the present-day family grapples with the sinister forces that surround them, they gradually uncover the mansion’s dark secrets and the connection to the unsettling figures they encounter. The show would intricately weave together supernatural elements, psychological tension, and character-driven narratives, inviting viewers on a suspenseful journey into the realm of the unknown and the unexplained.
9 A Quiet Place
A Quiet Place was a huge surprise hit upon its release in 2018 and wowed audiences worldwide with its unique premise and blend of horror and suspense. The film’s success led to a highly acclaimed sequel, A Quiet Place Part II, solidifying the franchise’s popularity. With its tension-filled premise of a world terrorized by sound-sensitive creatures, the concept holds significant potential for a compelling TV show adaptation.
The extended format would allow for a deeper exploration of the post-apocalyptic world, its survivors’ struggles for survival, and the intricate backstory of the creatures’ arrival. As fans eagerly anticipate more from this universe, a TV series could provide an engaging platform to further immerse viewers in the intricate lore, character dynamics, and heart-pounding suspense that have made A Quiet Place a standout franchise in modern horror cinema.
8 A Nightmare on Elm Street
Admittedly there was an ill-fated prequel series that aired in the late-80s, and many of us are still hoping that was just a bad dream. However, thanks to the recent influx of recent successful horror TV show adaptations, we think its high time the iconic Freddy Krueger got the adaptation he deserves, and the beloved A Nightmare on Elm Street movie franchise provides an ideal foundation for a really interesting and exciting TV show.
Ignoring some of the later, less well-received movies, the premise could revolve around the ominous town of Springwood, plagued by a shared nightmare realm created by the vengeful spirit of Freddy Krueger. As the citizens of Springwood continue to grapple with the haunting legacy of their past, a group of diverse individuals, each possessing a different connection to Freddy, must unite to uncover the truth behind his origin and his hold on their dreams. With each episode delving into the surreal and sinister dreamscapes, the show could explore the characters’ personal struggles, fears, and traumas while battling Freddy’s nightmarish reign.
This adaptation would not only capture the essence of the original film series but also offer a fresh perspective by delving deeper in the victim characters and further the psychology of dreams, fear, and the blurred lines between reality and the supernatural. And since there’s been some talk about the idea of Kevin Bacon donning the striped sweater and gloves (per CBR), it would definitely be an added bonus to bring him on board.
7 Cabin in the Woods
Cabin in the Woods masterfully subverted horror movie expectations by cleverly deconstructing and satirizing the genre’s tropes. The film left audiences hungry for more, as its intriguing premise and tantalizing hints at a larger mythology begged for further exploration. A TV show adaptation has the potential to dive deeper into the secretive organization orchestrating the horror scenarios, peeling back the layers of their operations and revealing the bizarre creatures and horrors they control.
A series could effectively balance the tense mystery with moments of humor, offering a fresh perspective on the genre while exploring the lives of the quirky individuals behind the scenes. Viewers could enjoy the thrill of unraveled secrets, along with a mix of suspense, scares, and laughter.
Midsommar, acclaimed for its disturbing and surreal take on folk horror, has all the elements to translate into an engrossing TV show. The film’s unsettling exploration of a pagan cult’s rituals and its focus on psychological horror make it ripe for an extended narrative format. The TV adaptation could delve even deeper into the traditions, beliefs, and history of the cult, unraveling the mysteries behind their actions and the disturbing events that unfold during their ceremonies.
As the story follows a group of outsiders becoming entangled in the cult’s practices, viewers could experience a slow build of tension, escalating to terrifying climaxes in each episode. With its visual symbolism, psychological complexity, and suspenseful atmosphere, Midsommar could make for a truly unique and engaging TV series.
5 Black Christmas
Although the last thing on your mind right now is about purchasing Christmas presents for your loved ones and preparing large festive meals for the family, the reality is, Christmas is fast approaching, and people love to sit round the TV and watch a good Christmas themed show. Enter Black Christmas: The TV Series.
Originating in 1974 and later remade in 2006 and 2019, Black Christmas is a seminal slasher film that laid the foundation for the genre. The story revolves around a sorority house terrorized by an unidentified killer during the Christmas holidays. With its suspenseful atmosphere and innovative use of point-of-view shots, the film garnered acclaim for its contribution to the horror genre. A TV show adaptation could capitalize on the intriguing premise by exploring the origins of the malevolent sorority house and its cursed history.
Delving into the past, the show could introduce new generations of characters encountering the horrors within, while also delving into the mythos of the killer’s motivations and the connection to the sorority’s dark legacy. The extended format of a TV series could allow for richer character development, intricate mysteries, and layered suspense, appealing to both fans of the original and those seeking a fresh take on the chilling story.
4 Prom Night
The classic slasher movie Prom Night holds the potential for an exciting adaptation that could resonate with Gen Z audiences, in a way that the recent I Know What You Did Last Summer series attempted. A contemporary TV series could tap into the themes and sensibilities of today’s youth. The show could follow a diverse group of high school students navigating the pressure-filled world of social media, peer expectations, and the anticipation of prom night.
As the characters grapple with their own secrets and insecurities, a masked killer could emerge, seeking vengeance and exposing their darkest truths. This adaptation could effectively blend the tension of the slasher genre with relatable themes of identity, self-discovery, and the consequences of their actions. By infusing the classic premise with Gen Z dynamics, the TV series could offer a thrilling and relevant experience for a new generation of horror enthusiasts.
3 The ‘Burbs
Whilst not technically an all-out horror, this comedy cult classic from 1989 certainly threw its fair share of horror elements into the mix. The ‘Burbs possesses the perfect ingredients for a TV series adaptation set in the modern day. The show could pick up after the events of the original film, following the same quirky suburban neighborhood starring some of the original characters who have aged over the years (here’s your chance Mr. Feldman). The premise could revolve around a new mystery or threat that emerges, drawing the reluctant protagonists back into a web of bizarre and comedic situations.
As a nod to the original, the show could explore how the passage of time has affected the characters’ dynamics and their willingness to get involved once again. By blending elements of mystery, dark humor, and suburban satire, the TV series could tap into the nostalgia of the original while introducing a fresh narrative that would appeal to both long-time fans and new audiences alike, all while paying homage to the charm that made The ‘Burbs a beloved cult classic.
2 The Thing
John Carpenter’s sci-fi horror sleeper hit, The Thing is now considered to be a groundbreaking addition to the genre, thanks to its brooding atmosphere, chilling soundtrack, and impressive practical effects. A TV series based on the movie holds immense promise for fans of nostalgia, providing it stays true to the tone and practical effects that made the original film an iconic masterpiece.
Putting the atmospheric suspense and paranoia that characterized the original to the forefront, the TV show could delve deeper into the chilling Antarctic setting, exploring the brooding tension among the group of characters facing an insidious alien threat. As long as it stays true to embracing practical effects instead of an over-reliance on CGI, the show could recreate the visceral horror of the creature’s transformations and suspenseful encounters.
1 Happy Death Day
Happy Death Day and its sequel are among modern horror’s most significant success stories, offering a unique blend of slasher thrills and lighthearted Day-style time-loop intrigue. With its premise of a college student reliving her own murder day after day, the film managed to infuse a fresh spin into the well-worn genre, whilst its sequel incorporates some additional sci-fi elements.
As a TV show, Happy Death Day could expand on this concept, providing a broader canvas to explore different characters, their connections to the central mystery, and the underlying reasons behind the time loop phenomenon. The series could maintain the balance between suspense, humor, and character development that made the movies a hit, while also allowing for more intricate storytelling arcs and mysteries to unfold over multiple episodes.
By delving into the lives of various individuals experiencing the time loop, the TV adaptation could keep the essence of the original while offering an even more immersive and compelling exploration of the time-warping horrors that have resonated so well with audiences.