You can’t keep a good horror movie franchise down! Just when you think one has finally been laid to rest in the annals of Hollywood history, up it pops again to scare the pants off moviegoers everywhere! Halloween is one of the most recent, a film series that, like its antagonist, Michael Myers, refused to stay dead for very long. The 2018 reboot was critically well-received, unlike The Grudge and Wrong Turn, two other rebooted horror movies that did little to ignite interest in the franchises that spawned them! Over the next few years, we are going to see the return of several other movie franchises, many of them getting a horror reboot. Will they be any good? Only time will tell, but here are just a few upcoming releases that might be worth keeping on your radar.
Torture films have been all the rage in recent years, with such titles as Hostel, Martyrs, and Wolf Creek doing much to creep out the theatergoers who have squirmed their way through them. 2004’s Saw was another in this increasingly popular genre and over the course of 8 movies, we witnessed the demise of many unlucky victims at the hands of Jigsaw’s torture devices. The first movie is still regarded as a classic but many of the sequels that followed failed to make the same kind of impact. Yes, the torture devices became increasingly more creative, but for critics at least, the twists and turns within the franchise started to stretch credibility.
There is hope that the upcoming reboot will be a good movie, however. Spiral: The Book of Saw is due for release in May this year, and it promises to be a fresh restart for the ailing franchise. Director Darren Lynn Bousman, director of some of the better entries in the franchise, is at the helm, and Chris Rock stars as the cop trying to put the pieces together when investigating murders that resemble those from Jigsaw’s past. Samuel L. Jackson is also in the movie, and his presence alone gives hope that this might be better than the sometimes tortuous movies that preceded it.
1981 was a great year for fans of the werewolf genre. John Landis directed An American Werewolf in London and Joe Dante brought The Howling to the big screen. Both movies are now regarded as classics in their own right, although the same cannot be said of the sequels that came after them. Landis’s werewolf picture only saw one follow-up, the incredibly underwhelming An American Werewolf in Paris. But several howlingly bad movies followed on from The Howling, threatening to put an end to the werewolf resurgence that the original helped to kickstart in the first place.
Fans of Dante’s movie have little reason to howl in anger at the next full moon, however, because it is hoped that the reboot will be better than those terrible sequels. Andy Muschietti, the director of Mama and IT, is allegedly in line to direct, and the project is apparently earmarked for Netflix. This is the news that was originally announced early in 2020 although there have been very few updates since. The lack of new information could be worrying, but as there has been no announcement with regard to the project’s cancellation, it can be assumed that it is still happening.
Clive Barker’s Hellraiser was an adaptation of his 1986 novella, The Hellbound Heart, and it was critically well-received when it was released in 1987. The story revolved around a puzzle box that, once opened, unleashed a gang of extra-dimensional beings (the Cenobites) into the world. While these demonic creations were effectively scary, most people will largely remember the movie (and the franchise) for their leader, Pinhead, one of the most iconic horror characters of the 80s. Sadly, the sequels that followed failed to capitalize on the nightmarish horrors of the original and, after the fourth entry, they bypassed theaters completely. As hellish as some of these sequels were, however, the franchise is about to get new life.
A new Hellraiser movie is apparently in the works although little has been heard about that for a while. However, we know Pinhead will be rearing his spiky head again soon, because HBO has announced plans for a new television series. Planned as a continuation of the Hellraiser mythology, Clive Barker will be executive producing and Halloween director David Gordon Green will be directing some of the episodes. We don’t have a release date yet but a late 2021 or early 2022 premiere has been speculated.
The Toxic Avenger
News of The Toxic Avenger reimagining is a little surprising, as unlike some of the other entries on this list, the original Troma film isn’t one that is known for it’s broad commercial appeal. Released in 1984, it was a superhero origin movie of sorts, as it was about a janitor who gained superhuman size and strength after falling into a vat of toxic waste. This was more splatterfest than a traditional superhero movie, however, as the deformed hero at the heart of the tale struck back against his tormentors through increasingly violent means. Several sequels followed, as did a Marvel comic book run, and plans are afoot for The Toxic Avenger to hit our screens again.
The movie has been in development hell for years but it has finally mutated into a project we can talk about. Troma co-founder Lloyd Kaufman is producing, The Hunt actor Macon Blair is directing, and Peter Dinklage is set to star as Toxie, the horribly disfigured superhero. Jacob Tremblay has also joined the cast, presumably as Toxie’s son. A release date hasn’t yet been announced but production is expected to start soon. There were once rumors that the reboot might be more family-friendly than the original, but as this was speculation from a few years ago, it is hoped the new movie will retain its gory violence and R-rating.
Another Clive Barker adaptation, the original Candyman was only a moderate success when it was released in 1992, but it is now regarded as one of the best horror movies of that decade. The hook-handed figure at the heart of the story was creepily effective, but while scary to watch, his backstory was more tragic than that of Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees, and other famous slasher movie horror icons. As fans of the movie will know, the Candyman was the ghostly reincarnation of a Black man who was murdered by a racist mob for daring to fall in love with a White woman. It was the racially charged themes of the movie that marked it out from others of its ilk. While the sequels disappointed, they didn’t dissipate the racial subtext of the original.
Get Out and Us director Jordan Peele is producing the new movie, and he wrote the script with the reboot’s director, Nia DaCosta, a superstar in her own right. It’s less remake and more of a sequel to the original, wisely ignoring the other movies in the franchise. A trailer for the new movie has already been released, alongside a puppet video that explores the tragic backstory of the Candyman legend. Check them out above and below. Expect the new movie to highlight the real-life horrors of racism as well as scares a more traditional kind when it hits theaters at the end of August this year.
These aren’t the only horror movie franchises earmarked for resurrection, of course. There are rumors that another Friday the 13th movie could be on the way, and Freddy Kruger could be returning to Elm Street in the hopefully not-too-distant future. Work is underway on a new Urban Legend movie too, and there are plans for a second reboot of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. More will undoubtedly pop up over the next few years too, so if your favorite franchise hasn’t been mentioned here, don’t fear. It might still come back to haunt you!
Lee Brown is a UK-based freelance writer, and has written movie-related articles for such websites as Flickering Myth, Screen Rant, and So The Theory Goes. In his spare time, Lee continues to write, focussing on story writing, playwriting, and poetry. Some of Lee’s work has been published in printed and eBook formats, and he has had one play transmitted over local radio. He is an avid movie buff and TV binge-watcher, and probably spends more time than he should sat behind a pillow watching horror movies from his sofa!