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Ten Horror Franchises You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

I love sequels. There’s something fantastic and chaotic about returning to a character or a world that you love and watching it ramp itself up until it’s totally out of control. I especially love forgotten sequels that nobody but the most devoted cinema nerds have dug up, like THE BIRDS II: LAND’S END or SCANNER COP. Usually for a movie to get a sequel, it must have at least been a decent-sized hit. But in the ever-fertile horror genre, it’s not uncommon that a film will churn out a handful of sequels even if nobody’s ever seen the original.

That’s what we’re here to celebrate today: Not only sequels that flew under the radar, but entire franchises that did just that. These sprawling series have been hiding in plain sight for decades, just waiting to be unearthed.

NOTE: For the full list of every movie in each franchise mentioned, scroll to the bottom of this article.

 

MIRROR, MIRROR

Began In: 1990

Number of movies: 4

For an entire decade, the world received a string of movies about a demonic mirror with supernatural powers (this was decades before OCULUS, mind you). They were met with deafening silence, despite a fairly solid cast, including Karen Black, Roddy McDowall, Billy Drago, David Naughton, and THE MUNSTERS’ Yvonne DeCarlo. The second and third films even feature early performances from a baby-faced Mark Ruffalo! The sequels are generally unrelated except for the presence of an evil mirror, but actor William Sanderson appears in the first two, playing different characters each time.

 

D@BBE (Cover Photo)

Began In: 2006

Number of Movies: 6

Turkish readers will probably know this one, but more people need to learn about the horror export D@BBE. In the tech-inflected first film, a rash of suicides spread across the globe, and one particular victim’s friends begin receiving disturbing posthumous emails from his account, dragging them into a macabre world of demonic threats. The five sequels (all directed by Hasan Karacadağ) are increasingly apocalyptic tales of possession. I dare you to Google D@BBE 3 and not be incredibly creeped out by every screenshot that crawls across your screen.

 

THE BROTHERHOOD

Began In: 2001

Number of Movies: 6

Homoerotic schlockmeister David DeCoteau brings us this epic six-part tale of a fraternity run by handsome young men who may or may not be vampires. The series boasts performances from such illustrious actors as THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL’s Brandon Beemer, MAD MEN’s Samuel Page, and GENERAL HOSPITAL’s Nathan Parsons. I wouldn’t count these movies among my favorites, but they certainly have a surprisingly robust catalogue.

 

THE BLIND DEAD

Began In: 1972

Number of Movies: 4

A Spanish-Portuguese co-production, TOMBS OF THE BLIND DEAD was to George Romero’s NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD what Lucio Fulci’s ZOMBIE was to DAWN OF THE DEAD, spawning an entire franchise across the Atlantic while wearing its zombie movie influences on its sleeve. Not only are there undead revenants assailing the abandoned town of Berzano, they’re the reanimated corpses of the Knights Templar, whose eyes have been plucked out by seagulls. It’s a gnarly quadrilogy from Spanish director Amando de Ossorio.

 

WITCHCRAFT

Began in: 1988

Number of Movies: 16

We’re used to 80’s franchises spawning endless litanies of sequels, but the obscure WITCHCRAFT flicks – about Satanism in all its wild and wacky forms – has somehow outmatched even Jason Voorhees and Michael Myers in terms of sheer quantity. And they’re still churning them out! The most recent WITCHCRAFT flicks came in a triple whammy as recently as 2015. Fun fact: About two thirds of these movies are currently streaming for free on Amazon Prime. Have at ‘em!

 

TOMIE

Began In: 1999

Number of Movies: 9

It’s time to dive deep into that vast well of Asian horror. TOMIE is a Japanese film franchise based on a manga by horror maestro Junji Ito. The series follows the exploits of Tomie Kawakami, a young woman so beautiful she drives men into a violent passion. Unfortunately for them, she also has the power of regeneration, so she and many copies of herself come back from the dead to exact bloody revenge.

 

WHISPERING CORRIDORS

Began In: 1998

Number of Movies: 5

This South Korean series is an anthology which tells different stories set at an all-girls school. They celebrated the loosening of Korean censorship by covering previously taboo topics like homosexuality and teen suicide (don’t do it), pushing the envelope and allowing the country’s cinema to move into new spaces.

 

SHAKE, RATTLE & ROLL

Began In: 1984

Number of movies: 15

15 movies?? How could we not have noticed a franchise with 15 movies? Its time for us English speakers to expand our scope, because this Filipino anthology series is a damn institution. It’s the longest-running film franchise in the history of the Philippines, with each film divided into three twisting tales of terror.

 

TROUBLESOME NIGHT

Began In: 1997

Number of movies: 19

I guess I spoke too soon, because the Hong Kong horror-comedy franchise TROUBLESOME NIGHT just blew SHAKE, RATTLE & ROLL right the hell out of the water with a whopping 19 entries. Mostly produced by Nam Yin and with the first six directed by Herman Yau, TROUBLESOME NIGHT films hit at a rate of about two per year until the final entry in 2003. Somehow, they deposited four of these flicks in 2001 alone, beating their own record in 2002 with five discrete releases. That’s a rate even Roger Corman would envy.

 

1313

Began in: 2011

Number of Movies: 14

We couldn’t leave this list without hitting up David DeCoteau one last time. After wrapping up THE BROTEHRHOOD, he pulled the trigger on a new homoerotic horror series featuring buff shirtless men wandering through various horror-inflected situations. Most of them feature at least one glammed-up cougar among their midst delivering a truly sensational diva performance. Again, I can’t say I’m a fan, but the man can’t help but make fascinating work. And his speed is incredible. All fourteen of these films were created in a mere two-year span. Incredible.

 

Complete Film List:

 

MIRROR, MIRROR (1990)

MIRROR, MIRROR II: RAVEN DANCE (1994)

MIRROR, MIRROR III: THE VOYEUR (1995)

MIRROR, MIRROR IV: REFLECTION (2000)

 

D@BBE (2006)

D@BBE 2 (2009)

D@BBE: A DJINN ACCIDENT (2012)

DABBE: CURSE OF THE JINN (2013)

DABBE 5: ZHER-I CIN (2014)

DAB6E (2015)

 

THE BROTHERHOOD (2001)

THE BROTHERHOOD II: YOUNG WARLOCKS (2001)

THE BROTHERHOOD III: YOUNG DEMONS (2003)

THE BROTHERHOOD IV: THE COMPLEX (2005)

THE BROTHERHOOD V: ALUMNI (2009)

THE BROTHERHOOD VI: INITIATION (2010)

 

TOMBS OF THE BLIND DEAD (1972)

RETURN OF THE BLIND DEAD (1973)

THE GHOST GALLEON (1974)

NIGHT OF THE SEAGULLS (1976)

 

WITCHCRAFT (1988)

WITCHCRAFT II: THE TEMPTRESS (1990)

WITCHCRAFT III: THE KISS OF DEATH (1991)

WITCHCRAFT IV: THE VIRGIN HEART (1992)

WITCHCRAFT V: DANCE WITH THE DEVIL (1993)

WITCHCRAFT VI: THE DEVIL’S MISTRESS (1994)

WITCHCRAFT VII: JUDGEMENT HOUR (1995)

WITCHCRAFT VIII: SALEM’S GHOST (1996)

WITCHCRAFT IX: BITTER FLESH (1997)

WITCHCRAFT X: MISTRESS OF THE CRAFT (1998)

WITCHCRAFT XI: SISTERS IN BLOOD (2000)

WITCHCRAFT XII: IN THE LAIR OF THE SERPENT (2002)

WITCHCRAFT XIII: BLOOD OF THE CHOSEN (2008)

WITCHCRAFT XIV: ANGEL OF DEATH (2015)

WITCHCRAFT XV: BLOOD ROSE (2015)

WITCHCRAFT XVI: HOLLYWOOD COVEN (2015)

 

TOMIE (1999)

TOMIE: ANOTHER FACE (1999)

TOMIE: REPLAY (2000)

TOMIE: RE-BIRTH (2001)

TOMIE: FORBIDDEN FRUIT (2002)

TOMIE: BEGINNING (2005)

TOMIE: REVENGE (2005)

TOMIE VS. TOMIE (2007)

TOMIE UNLIMITED (2011)

 

WHISPERING CORRIDORS (1998)

MEMENTO MORI (1999)

WISHING STAIRS (2003)

VOICE (2005)

A BLOOD PLEDGE (2009)

 

SHAKE, RATTLE & ROLL (1984)

SHAKE, RATTLE & ROLL II (1990)

SHAKE, RATTLE & ROLL III (1991)

SHAKE, RATTLE & ROLL IV (1992)

SHAKE, RATTLE & ROLL V (1994)

SHAKE, RATTLE & ROLL VI (1997)

SHAKE, RATTLE & ROLL 2K5 (2005)

SHAKE, RATTLE & ROLL 8 (2006)

SHAKE, RATTLE & ROLL 9 (2007)

SHAKE, RATTLE & ROLL X (2008)

SHAKE, RATTLE & ROLL 11 (2009)

SHAKE, RATTLE & ROLL 12 (2010)

SHAKE, RATTLE & ROLL 13 (2011)

SHAKE, RATTLE & ROLL FOURTEEN: THE INVASION (2012)

SHAKE, RATTLE & ROLL XV (2014)

 

TROUBLESOME NIGHT (1997)

TROUBLESOME NIGHT 2 (1997)

TROUBLESOME NIGHT 3 (1998)

TROUBLESOME NIGHT 4 (1998)

TROUBLESOME NIGHT 5 (1999)

TROUBLESOME NIGHT 6 (1999)

TROUBLESOME NIGHT 7 (2000)

TROUBLESOME NIGHT 8 (2000
TROUBLESOME NIGHT 9 (2001)

TROUBLESOME NIGHT 10 (2001)

TROUBLESOME NIGHT 11 (2001)

TROUBLESOME NIGHT 12 (2001)

TROUBLESOME NIGHT 13 (2002)

TROUBLESOME NIGHT 14 (2002)

TROUBLESOME NIGHT 15 (2002)

TROUBLESOME NIGHT 16 (2002)

TROUBLESOME NIGHT 17 (2002)

TROUBLESOME NIGHT 18 (2003)

TROUBLESOME NIGHT 19 (2002)

 

1313: HAUNTED FRAT (2011)

1313: BOY CRAZIES (2011)

1313: WICKED STEPBROTHER (2011)

1313: GIANT KILLER BEES! (2011)

1313: ACTOR SLASH MODEL (2011)

1313: NIGHTMARE MANSION (2011)

1313: COUGAR CULT (2012)

1313: NIGHT OF THE WIDOW (2012)

1313: HERCULES UNBOUND! (2012)

1313: BERMUDA TRIANGLE (2012)

1313: FRANKENQUEEN (2012)

1313: BILLY THE KID (2012)

1313: UFO INVASION (2012)

1313: BIGFOOT ISLAND (2012)

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