We already wrote about how horror has dominated the 2022 box office. A good portion of that is because of original horror. However, some other equal portion of that is because of “legacy” horror films. We’ve had Hellraiser, Halloween Ends, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Prey, and Scream released this year and all had varying degrees of either box office success or streaming success. Ends and Scream both led the box office, with Scream knocking off Spider-Man: No Way Home at the top spot. Go take a look at any horror Facebook group, check the comments on Twitter posts, read articles, people want to see their favorite characters more than ever. They also want to see original films, it’s not an either-or situation.

So enter this article from Total Film/GamesRadar, that brings up that people are done with legacy horror and want new monsters to be scared of. With a cover image from Halloween Ends, it mentions how Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2022), Scream, and Halloween Ends all destroy the legacies of their characters. I don’t want to dogpile, but this is such a bad take when it comes to horror. They contradict themselves in the piece, mentioning how many original horror movies are doing incredibly well at the box office, making millions of dollars for studios on very small budgets. The Black Phone, Smile, X, Pearl, Barbarian, Terrifier 2, they’re all making gargantuan amounts of money off their minuscule budgets.

Halloween Ends, despite being “seen” as a failure by people who want the movie to fail, has made $80+ million at the box office. It all comes back to the perception that horror is only about these old titans and nothing else. If people only wanted to see Michael Myers, Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees, Leatherface, and Chucky, we’d only have those. Instead, we get a wide swath of movies, it’s just the titans that get written about by large outlets.

Horror movies have never been about the reviews, they’ve never been about the perception amongst the mainstream. Social media is awful for this, with negative voices being amplified because it gets the most engagement. If you post something purposefully inflammatory (LIKE THAT ARTICLE FROM ABOVE), you’re gonna get people reacting and that’s how you drive eyeballs to the article.

Making the case that because some people didn’t like Halloween Ends, Hellraiser, or Texas Chainsaw Massacre means that audiences in general don’t want legacy horror movies is asinine. You’re never going to satisfy everyone all the time. Even with worse review scores than the original movies, they still drove numbers to Netflix, Peacock, and Hulu. So let’s hammer home that these legacy sequels have worse review scores, but not hammer home the views and money they’re making off smaller budgets. You can’t have your cake and eat it too. Michael Myers might not be a critical darling, but he brings eyeballs to the genre, Halloween movies act as gateways for horror fans young and old.

Just because recency bias with Halloween Ends might blind some people, they can’t seem to remember that Halloween (2018) and Halloween Kills were very successful films critically and commercially. To lay the entire blame for “legacy horror movies not succeeding” on Halloween Ends and Texas Chainsaw Massacre is ridiculous.

Horror is built on sequels, it’s built on popular characters, the first film universe was from Horror with the Universal Monsters. Some of these original movies are just that, they’re slices of horror and nothing else, but we’re surely getting a Smile 2 and more sequels to X and Pearl. Terrifier 2 is definitely getting a sequel after this.

What about movies that haven’t had a sequel in a long time? Fans are going to go nuts whenever New Line Cinema announces a new Nightmare On Elm Street movie or if Sean Cunningham and Victor Miller can get their act together on the rights for Friday the 13th. What about Killer Klowns From Outer Space? That’s a movie that has zero sequels that would surely be a huge news piece for horror fans if it ever got a sequel announced.

Horror fans want fun movies. They want to be scared. It’s easy to nitpick and single out one movie in the longest-tenured horror franchise as the “movie that makes audiences want original horror finally”. It’s not just a numbers game of “well this made more money or this has better review scores”. Old horror icons returning mixed with new ones being created is how the genre grows. You don’t get Scream without slasher movies cannibalizing themselves in the late ’80s. Horror has cycles, it goes in waves, but the one thing that is constant is that those iconic characters are always part of it with new icons being created.

For more on Horror, make sure to check out Fright-A-Thon, the 61-day Halloween content marathon!

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