Horror has been thriving on the small screen, and it’s only getting bigger. This has been the case for the last several years, at least, but the expansion rate is huge. Some that come along are limited or miniseries—like Dracula or Rosemary’s Baby—while others just don’t click with the mainstream audience enough to survive, as was the case with Hannibal. But for the most part, horror TV is booming. We talk about it a lot here at Wicked Horror. Yet the simplest reason for this boom is because of the huge shift in quality on television as a whole that we’ve witnessed in recent years.
All storytelling is doing well on TV, because it’s finally restructured itself as the place where you can tell a serious, long-format story. The budget for TV is only getting bigger while film budgets get smaller and smaller and that is definitely helping to turn people’s attention to the small screen.
I think it’s no coincidence that a lot of great horror TV series began life on the big screen, either. TV is the new remake and, in some cases, it doesn’t even have to be a reboot necessarily, just a way to continue on the story.
Of all the numerous reinterpretations of classic horror movies on TV these days, Bates Motel easily works the best for me. The bulk of the storylines, more often than not, having nothing to do with the legacy of Psycho. Norma and Norman happened to move to a town where they kind of fit right in, which is genius because it’s the only place where Norman’s murderous habits could go unnoticed for the duration of a series. The evolution of these characters still marks the core of the show and the acting is exceptional across the board, especially in the two lead performances by Vera Farmiga and Freddie Highmore.
Who ever thought we would actually get this? For the most part, everyone clamoring for an Evil Dead 4 never actually thought it would ever happen. Still, fans begged for one more round and then Sam Raimi went and did us one better. He gave us ten episodes, catching up with this character after twenty years, thirty since the original Evil Dead. And the series has already been renewed for a season two. It’s astonishing that this happened, and even more astonishing that it hit the nail on the head in terms of this character and where he would be. This is what happens when the people who created these franchises and these characters keep control and come back and do it their way.
Scream: The Series
I would have watched this had there been no redeeming value whatsoever, but there’s a pop-art sensibility to Scream that makes it work much more than it should. Not every episode is a winner. In fact, it’s almost like the show has a misstep one week and redeems itself the next on a rotating basis, but it made me care about the characters and it only has room to grow. The show is its own thing, but at the same time, it’s inherently Scream. All of the humor, witticism and structure is there. Everything unique to that franchise is embedded into the DNA of this show, but gives it room enough to tell its own story. It worked better in some places than others, but I’m really excited to see where it goes.
I didn’t expect much from this one at all. It wasn’t because it strays so far from the comic, because I wasn’t actually familiar with the comic. It was the concept that sold me, really, because a zombie procedural makes so much sense. These are the two most popular genres on television, and they’ve finally crossed over. I couldn’t believe it took them that long to do it. But it’s really the sense of humor and the sense of whimsy that sells it. That’s what makes it worth sticking around to watch. It’s very funny, extremely charming and totally heartfelt.
Guillermo Del Toro & Chuck Hogan’s The Strain was a book series that I devoured in a very quick span. I loved it. The show is a bit different and that pisses a lot of the fans of the novels off to no end. But I don’t want to simply rehash those books, I want a story fit for television that reminds me why I read the series to begin with and maybe gives me some of those bigger moments in a live action format. It also impresses the hell out of me how involved del Toro is, despite all of the things he’s doing at the moment. He serves, of all things, as a color correctionist in every single episode because he knows that visual style and use of color is what people expect in something with his name attached.