If you want to know how a writer’s mind formed, all you need to do is look at their influences.
While I was never a monster kid as a kid, I’ve become a form of one as an adult. But my taste has a definite theme. I’m a comedy guy first, so my favorites in the world of horror, with a few exceptions, tend towards the funny. Some intentional, some night.
I’m not going to list a bunch of titles. We’re gonna keep this simple. I’ll give you my favorite franchises, TV series, and my favorite one offs. Perhaps it’ll inspire you to check out – or avoid – something in particular.
Favorite Horror Franchises
Happy Death Day – I told Rob Mello at the Lexington Scarefest this was my favorite horror franchise. He called me a liar. But it’s the absolute truth. I could watch these movies over and over, and I have.
The Babysitter (Netflix) – I adore these movies. Samara Weaving is terrific, and the father-son dynamic between Cole and the always-shirtless-for-no-reason Max delights me to no end. And hey, that IS Jenna Ortega in the sequel. I may or may not own a blu-ray bootleg.
Scream – One, Four, and Six are my favorites, but I pretty much love them all… well, except Five.
Blair Witch – Nothing got me into true horror more than the original. I like the surprise sequel from a few years ago. I even liked Book of Shadows.
The William Castle Movies – I adore William Castle, so I’m lumping all his works into one franchise. I loved the gimmicks he used to promote the movies town to town. House on Haunted Hill is my absolute favorite of the bunch. The remake was total crap, but I will say the remake of 13 Ghosts had a real flair.
Evil Dead – It took me a while to watch that reboot, but I didn’t regret it. It was great. So was Evil Dead Lives. But the original 3, including Army of Darkness, cannot be touched.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer – I hopped on the bandwagon in season 2 and never looked back. I studied every angle of this series, could name the entire writing staff at one time. Hush, Lover’s Walk, Band Candy, Earshot, Restless, and I Only Have Eyes For You are episodes I’ve watched dozens of times.
Wednesday – I’m a huge Addams Family fan in every form, and I’ve watched beginning to end numerous times. I may or may not own a DVD bootleg of this one too.
Twin Peaks – Not directly horror, but it’ll give you sleepless nights. Especially that shot of Bob coming over the couch. Trust me. It’s scarier than it sounds.
Ready or Not – Brutal and funny. The more grisly stories in the Dead Park books owe a lot to this one.
The Hunt – Saw this alone in the theater right before the Covid lockdown. I hate politics, but this was soooooo fun.
Overtime – A small indie produced in Louisville starring wrestler Al Snow and a bunch of friends of fine. A tale of hitmen, family strife, and alien zombies. It’s gory, bonkers, and incredibly funny. “HOW DO YOU HATE CAKE??”
Attack of the Killer Tomatoes – One of the few horror flicks I’d watch beginning to end as a child. There’s not a lousy scene in the movie. It’s outrageously funny.
Plan 9 from Outer Space – As funny today as the day Ed Wood first screened it.
It Came from Hollywood – Not a horror movie, but a comedic look a b-movies hosted by Gilda Radner, Dan Aykroyd, Cheech and Chong, and John Candy. A perfect gateway to the world of monsters, gorillas, aliens, troubled youth, and the man, Ed Wood himself. Just watch out for that section on musicals. Some seriously disturbing and outdated stuff highlighted there!
They Live! – Or John Carpenter presents Roddy Piper vs. Aliens. Maybe the greatest paranoia film ever.
Cabin in the Woods – This film was a gateway into watching more horror when it came out.