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The Top 5 1980s Horror Movies That Should Be TV Shows

April 16, 2021 | Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz
Monster Squad

The Top 5 1980’S Horror Movies That Should Be Made Into TV Shows

The only reason I can think of to make a TV show out of a movie is to expand on the movie’s story. With a movie, you basically have just two hours to get from point A to point B to point C. With a TV show, you can take as long as you want, theoretically, to get from point A to point A1 (point B is for the second season, if you manage to get that far). So, with that in mind, I thought about what horror movies could be made into a TV show. What movies could stand to be longer? What horror movies could be expanded upon with a TV show format? So I came up with a list of horror flicks from the 1980’s that I would like to see as a TV show. I will do further lists about 1990’s horror flicks and 2000’s horror flicks in the coming weeks, so be on the lookout for that.

And now, The Top 5 1980’s Horror Movies That Should Be Made Into TV Shows:

The Top 5 1980’s Horror Movies That Should Be Made Into TV Shows

Honorable Mentions

Return of the Living Dead: I know that the whole zombie TV show thing has been played out (The Walking Dead and its spinoffs are still popular but they’re clearly not as popular as they once were), but I do think that, much in the way Return of the Living Dead altered the way people looked at zombie movies, I think the general idea behind the movie could do the same thing for zombies on TV. Why not do a funny, weird as hell zombie show where zombies can talk, run, and are essentially indestructible (some people would be freaked out by the idea that shooting a zombie in the head doesn’t do a damn thing). And it would be kind of cool to see a zombie show that doesn’t take place in a post-apocalyptic landscape. I think it would work. I think people would watch.

Critters: The original Critters has two things going for it that would kick ass in a TV show: the little spikey monsters (the crites, as they’re called throughout the movie by the space bounty hunters looking for them) and the space bounty hunters looking for them. It wouldn’t necessarily matter where the story took place (I would have it take place, just like in the movie, in some rural area somewhere because you don’t see many TV shows set in rural areas but I could see the concept working in other parts of America or the world or whatever), but having the creatures and the bounty hunters is key. Because the creatures are kind of fun (I wouldn’t make the critters the dog killers they are in the web series thing Critters: A New Binge) and one of the bounty hunters could be played by someone different in every episode (what a great way to get interesting guest stars to show up). And think of the redo of the Critters theme. That would happen and it would be awesome.

Silent Rage: Easily one of Chuck Norris’ best movies and one of the best slasher movies in the 1980’s, I would either like to see a full reboot of the concept from the ground floor or a TV show sequel to the movie. If you do a full reboot it would work (badass lawman has to destroy an unstoppable killer that was created in a lab), and if you do a TV show sequel it would work because we never got a sequel to the movie and I would love to see someone discover the killer, John Kirby, originally played by Brian Libby, still alive in that well Chuck Norris dropped him into at the end of the movie. I mean, yeah, Kirby would still be alive but he might look different now (Libby would be too old to play the character again so you could either get an actor that sort of resembles Libby from 1982 or you could just get an actor that “embodies” the character). And Chuck Norris is obviously too old now to play his sheriff character again, but it would probably be easy to find a new martial arts badass actor to take on the killer again. So reboot or sequel, I think this would be cool.


5- Slime City: The great late 1980’s splatter classic from writer/director Gregory Lamberson has all of the necessary pieces for a badass TV show. Essentially, Slime City is about an artist who moves into a weird beard apartment complex with his girlfriend, meets a bunch of weird people, starts interacting with a guy named Zachary, drinks a strange elixir of some sort, and then becomes a killer slime monster that needs to kill people in order to not become a complete and total slime monster. There’s also stuff about a cult that lived in the building. You can practically see the HBO series based on that plot description. I’m sure HBO (or maybe Netflix) could drag out the big slime transformation until the middle of the series, and then go for broke in the second half. If I were in charge of the series, though, I would try to get to the slime as quickly as possible and, as the body count grows, I would also make all of the weird stuff that’s in the movie even weirder, and I would then add even weirder stuff. I would also try to make it funny. Not ridiculous, but funny. I would also keep the title, although I doubt an HBO, with its prestige reputation, would want a different title. Are rich people going to watch something called Slime City? Maybe it would be better as a Cinemax show? Cinemax probably wouldn’t change the title. Probably.


4- The Fog: At its core, John Carpenter’s The Fog is an ensemble horror flick where a bunch of people have to band together to figure out why the town of Antonio Bay is being taken over/attacked by a thick, malevolent fog. Based on that, you can easily see it expanded into a TV show, where the narrative can spend more time than the movie was able to on the various characters, why it’s important for them to band together, and the backstory of Antonio Bay and how the whole “fog” business started. Or it could be done as a sequel to the movie, where the fog attacks some other town for some reason. Or you could just take the concept of the malevolent fog and use it in different settings (like a new setting each year. Season 1 could be an expanded movie story. Season 2 could take place in an inner city environment, something I remember Carpenter saying he would personally do if he remade the movie). And each season could come up with a new reason to have the fog. Maybe in one season it’s a revenge thing. Maybe in a different season it’s a force for good. The concept is pretty malleable once you start thinking about it. It would be neat to see at least three seasons and three different scenarios. Just what can the fog do to people?


3- The Wraith: The Wraith is all about a killer ghost car that shows up in a small Arizona town in order to wipe out a gang of thieving, murdering motor head scumbags. You could either go with the full movie story, where a stranger rides into town and falls in love with the reluctant girlfriend of the leader of the gang while the gang is being wiped out and it turns out that the stranger is the driver of the killer ghost car. You can easily have each episode end with a new race between the ghost and a different member of the gang, with the ghost killing the gang member during the race. Or you could have the gang be the focus/main actors in the show and we follow them/get to know them as they are picked off one by one by the ghost car. The show would likely be super expensive to make because of all of the car stunts that would be necessary for the story, but it would be worth doing because when is the last time we had a really cool “car” TV show? Hell, you could make the wraith in the show a sort of revenge seeking Knight Rider type, where he deals with a “case-of-the-week” while also chasing down the people who killed him. That would be worth doing, too. Clint Howard would definitely have to be a part of the show. Charlie Sheen should come back, too. I don’t know about trying to get Randy Quaid back.


2-The Monster Squad: I’m shocked that we haven’t had a movie sequel to The Monster Squad, a full on modern reboot of the movie, or a TV show based on the movie because it has all of the necessary elements for a potentially great TV show. A group of monster movie loving kids have to save the world from real life monsters. You could either do it where the kids have to take on one monster a season, or you could do a new monster every few episodes. I would think that the show would work best as a family friendly type thing, with a good mix of goofy kid comedy and scary monster moments that aren’t too scary. I don’t think the show would be interesting if it was super dark and mean spirited (you can totally see the internets getting all upset about the show not being super dark and mean spirited. At least I can). Now, would the show work best with new, made up monsters or would it be wise to do Dracula, the Wolfman, Frankenstein’s monster, etc.? I don’t know. You could probably do both. As long as it’s fun that is what would matter most.


1—Phantasm II: One of the great things about Phantasm II is its road movie structure, where our heroes Michael and Reggie hit the road to take on and stop The Tall Man. I’m not sure how the potential show would begin, as you would likely have to introduce the world of Phantasm pretty quickly in order to get the story going. That would probably be a gigantic narrative pain in the ass. I mean, would you start fresh without dealing with the first movie at all, or would you use the first movie’s story as the occasional flashback during the main story? I would probably do the second one, at least when it comes to how Michael and Reggie met and what happened to Michael’s brother Jody, although you could probably do either one and it would work. The main draw for the show would be the camaraderie between Michael and Reggie, the special effects and gore, and the action scenes. That is what would be in the show’s trailer. And, of course, you would have to find someone who could be The Tall Man and he would have to be as good/memorable as Angus Scrimm. That would probably be the hardest thing to do. It would be worth trying, though. And think of all of the weird people Michael and Reggie could meet along the way to finding The Tall Man? This show would rock.

“It’s just a dream!”

“No, it’s not!”


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