News

13 Terrifying Tomatometer Stats About Horror's Most Beloved Franchises

Which is the Freshest franchise of all? Which is the Rottenest? And which sequels murdered their originals on the Tomatometer?

by | October 25, 2018 | Comments

Horror franchises

(Photo by ©New Line Cinema, @ Dimension Films)

Like the monsters that drive them forward, horror franchises simply refuse to die. The Conjuring franchise – sorry, universe — continues apace with Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson signing on for Annabelle 3, while, at the box office this month, the return of Michael Myers after 11 years away from the big screen is showing that even franchises thought to be down and out can still twitch a little, start to move their fingers, and stiffly rise from the seeming dead.

The success of the new Halloween, and the general creepiness of the season, got us thinking about horror franchises: Which is the best? Which is the worst? And what trends might we find if we took the most popular franchises and examined them through the lens of the Tomatometer. And so, we pulled together 34 horror franchises (a total of 196 movies), marked their scores, and got investigating.

For something to qualify as a franchise, it had to have at least four entries (sequels, prequels, remakes, spin-offs all counted), and the full series had to have Tomatometer scores, so we could do a deep dive into their expansive worlds. Those stipulations meant some favorites weren’t included in our data set: The Descent and Wolf Creek series only have two entries (sorry Commonwealthers), while Sleepaway Camp was not included because the most recent film in that series has too few reviews for a Tomatometer score.

Now, let’s get into the horror franchise data!


1. The Evil Dead franchise has the highest Tomatometer average of all the horror franchises.

Hail to the king, baby! Sam Raimi’s The Evil Dead (95%), Evil Dead 2 (98%), Army of Darkness (72%), and Fede Alvarez’s Evil Dead remake (61%) collectively have the highest Tomatometer average of all the horror franchises. The 82% average is stellar, and if we added in TV’s Ash vs. the Evil Deads 99% overall series score, the average would jump to 86%.


2. The Nightmare on Elm Street franchise Is the Slasher king, with a higher Tomatometer average than the Halloween, Friday the 13th, and the Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchises.

The 50% Tomatometer average of the The Nightmare on Elm Street (NOES) franchise isn’t Fresh, but it’s enough to make it the highest-rated of the four major slasher franchises, which have released a combined 37 films since 1974. (Note, we are not counting this month’s Halloween in the mix.) The NOES series’ 50% average outperforms The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (33.3%), Halloween (31%), and Friday the 13th (28.25%) franchises. Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees, and Leatherface must hate it when Freddy invades their dreams and gloats about his Tomatometer supremacy.


3. George Romero’s Dead franchise has the most Fresh films and remakes.

George Romero’s Dead franchise has stayed alive since 1968 with a combination of Fresh sequels like Dawn of the Dead (93%), Day of the Dead (83%), Land of the Dead (73%), and Diary of the Dead (61%), and remakes such as Night of the Living Dead (68%) and 2004’s Certified Fresh Dawn of the Dead (75%). If it weren’t for the subpar Survival of the Dead (29%) and two Day of the Dead “remakes” (14% and 0%), the Dead series would be challenging the Evil Dead series for franchise supremacy.


4. Some 70% of the 196 horror franchise films are Rotten.

That’s a total of 139 stinkers. To be fair, the creators of Jason X and Jaws: The Revenge weren’t thinking about Academy Awards when they sent Jason Voorhees to space or gave psychic abilities to a vengeful Great White. For every successful horror franchise launch (26 of the 34 first franchise entries in this set of movies have Fresh Tomatometer scores), there are up to 10 sequels and/or remakes that statistically decline in quality. The numbers are so bad that only 30 sequels, remakes, or prequels in our data set have Fresh Tomatometer scores.


5. Tomatometer averages for the franchise films drop rapidly after the original is released.

First films have a 73% Tomatometer average, which is not surprising considering the set includes classics like Jaws (97%), Alien (97%), Frankenstein (100%), and Night of the Living Dead (96%). However, after the first film, the Tomatometer scores fall faster than the decapitated head of the guy who tried to fistfight Jason Voorhees in Friday the 13th, Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan. With the second film, the Tomatometer average drops to an average of 47%; once franchises hit their fourth sequel, the Tomatometer average doesn’t go above 40%. This stat makes later-franchise movies like Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (52%), Alien: Covenant (67%), Land of the Dead (73%), and Final Destination 5 (62%) stand out.


6. Only seven franchises have overall Fresh Tomatometer averages.

Kudos to the Evil Dead (82%), Frankenstein (74%), [Rec] (69%), Scream (64%), the Hannibal Lecter movies (62%), Psycho (62%), and Dracula (60%) franchises for becoming the “final slashers” of the horror franchise world. These defiers of murderous mediocrity stayed strong and they stayed Fresh.


7. The Leprechaun franchise is Rottenest of all, with a 11.57% Tomatometer average.

The Leprechaun should’ve been hunting for better scripts instead of gold. As well as taking the title of overall Rottenest franchise, Leprechaun is also the only series to have four movies with a 0% Tomatometer score. The highest-rated entries are Leprechaun in the Hood and its follow-up, Leprechaun: Back 2 tha Hood, which both have 25% Tomatometer scores and feature an unhinged Warwick Davis at the zenith of his Leprechaun rhyming skills.


8. The Friday the 13th franchise has only ever had one Fresh movie – and it’s barelin the red.

The series just managed Freshness with Friday the 13th, which kickstarted the franchise in 1982 with a score of 61%. Since then, only Friday the 13th, Part V: Jason Lives (52%) and Freddy vs. Jason (41%) have accrued respectable Tomatometer averages, while the other nine entries – including the 2009 remake – have a 20.8% average. Maybe that’s why the franchise has been sitting in a penalty box for nearly a decade.


9. Remakes have much lower Tomatometer averages (42.5%) than their originals (82.2%).

Fresh horror remakes such as The Ring, Fright Night, Let Me In, The Thing, and Invasion of the Body Snatchers – none of which are part of our franchise data set – prove it’s possible to capture the magic of an original horror film. However, when remaking a long-running franchise starter, the odds of having a Fresh Tomatometer score are very low. Only the Evil Dead 2 (1987) – technically it’s a “requel” Evil Dead (2013), Night of the Living Dead (1990), and Dawn of the Dead (2004) boast fresh Tomatometer scores amongst the franchises included. The average for the Halloween, Psycho, Friday the 13th, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Poltergeist, The Omen, and The Nightmare on Elm Street remakes is a Rotten 28%.


10. There are 10 films with a 0% Tomatometer score and only three with a 100% score.

The reason we included this statistic is so we could honor a 0% film that is 100% amazing. Jaws: The Revenge tells the story of a vengeful shark battling Ellen Brody, the widow of Martin Brody, who killed its relatives in Jaws and Jaws 2. We don’t know why or how the shark is able to track Ellen from Amity Island to the Bahamas, but, we do know the movie is certifiably bonkers and it is one of the rare 0% movies worth watching. Also, we love how Jaws: The Revenge totally retconned Jaws 3D, which statistically is the better movie with an impressive-in-comparison 11% Tomatometer score.


11. Just seven second installments manage to equal or best their first films. 

Aliens (99%), The Bride of Frankenstein (100%), Evil Dead 2 (98%), and The Silence of the Lambs (95%) – a kind of sequel to Manhunter – are classics that managed to top their Fresh predecessors (you might also include The Wolf Man, at 94%, which followed on from Werewolf in London). However, we wanted to throw some special props towards Scream 2, with a Tomatometer of 81%, up 2% from Scream‘s 79%. It had the daunting task of going from script-to-screen in one year, and had to undergo rewrites and reshoots when the script was leaked to the public in 1997.


12. The Purge franchise is the only franchise in which all sequels have higher Tomatometer scores than the first film.

We’d become so disheartened with underwhelming sequels, that it was a breath of Fresh air when we realized all Purge sequels have a higher Tomatometer score than the first Purge movie, which has a 38% Tomatometer score. None of the sequels may be Fresh (56%, 54%, 53% in chronological order), but it’s nice to see a horror series get better and remain consistent.


13. Horror movies should leave “3D” out of their title.

The 20% Tomatometer average for Saw 3D, Jaws 3D, Amityville 3-D, Texas Chainsaw 3D, and Piranha 3D suggests that putting 3D in the title is rarely a successful gimmick. The Alexandre Aja-directed Piranha 3D is a beacon of light in the murky world of 3D. The movie, sitting at 73% on the Tomatometer, uses its three dimensions beautifully, gleefully showering the audience with blood, dead fish, and Jerry O’Connell’s body parts. Without its conclusion, the average for 3D franchise movies would be just 10.5%.


We hope you enjoyed this deep dive into horror franchises! Comment below and let us know which franchise is your favorite.

The franchises: Nightmare on Elm Street (9), Friday the 13th (12), Halloween (10), Evil Dead (4), Alien (8), Frankenstein (5), Dracula (7), Poltergeist (4), Amityville Horror (5), Jaws (4), Child’s Play (7), Purge (4), Leprechaun (7), Hatchet (4), [REC] (6), Scream (4), The Omen (4), Texas Chainsaw Massacre (8), Hannibal Lecter movies (5), Piranha (4), Psycho (4), Saw (8), Final Destination (5), Underworld (5), Resident Evil (6), Predator (5), Paranormal Activity (6), Exorcist (4), Insidious (4), Conjuring (5), The Hills Have Eyes (4), The Mummy (9), The Dead (10), Wolf Man and Werewolf in London (5)

All data/Tomatomer scores accurate as of October 10, 2018

* Featured image: The Evil Dead, 1981, @ New Line Cinema

Tag Cloud

royal family Columbia Pictures emmy awards marvel cinematic universe YouTube japan zero dark thirty batman films Super Bowl Musical laika marvel comics Stephen King Emmys CMT E3 Image Comics canceled justice league anime documentary Pirates witnail GIFs blockbuster live action lord of the rings Cartoon Network hispanic heritage month Crunchyroll crime drama Comics on TV Apple christmas movies Pet Sematary king arthur Fall TV Turner disaster Amazon Prime Video Reality SundanceTV Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Teen El Rey ratings GLAAD Nickelodeon game show YouTube Red USA Network renewed TV shows TBS adaptation Comedy biography know your critic Chernobyl Rock target 24 frames CBS All Access cults sequel monster movies spider-man finale archives YA Hallmark Christmas movies Film Festival parents Photos The Walt Disney Company based on movie Paramount BET Awards indie Disney streaming service 72 Emmy Awards binge First Reviews 73rd Emmy Awards dramedy cancelled television rotten Pacific Islander PaleyFest The Witch Anna Paquin scorecard 2021 Baby Yoda Thanksgiving transformers X-Men latino Best and Worst Dark Horse Comics Western A&E Alien 90s fresh japanese green book DirecTV Mystery thriller Legendary dc Warner Bros. name the review high school scary movies criterion E! game of thrones Wes Anderson PlayStation chucky TV renewals San Diego Comic-Con TIFF CW Seed adenture Opinion telelvision Nominations 2020 Trailer facebook BBC America Hear Us Out Discovery Channel romantic comedy dceu National Geographic 2018 AMC ID TV One children's TV rotten movies we love video on demand zombie Shondaland Esquire Amazon Studios golden globe awards Sundance Now Watching Series Summer USA harry potter LGBT rt labs comic travel jurassic park wonder woman CBS HBO Max spy thriller rt archives 007 movie The Purge south america ABC Musicals TLC 93rd Oscars social media Grammys 2019 Toys 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards mutant Star Trek sequels child's play Lucasfilm Mary poppins a nightmare on elm street canceled TV shows toronto docudrama series Family Horror Disney Channel debate Comic-Con@Home 2021 obituary cops worst movies Box Office Creative Arts Emmys diversity Comic Book RT History Netflix Christmas movies Endgame Trophy Talk Quiz Acorn TV American Society of Cinematographers biopic miniseries Elton John Vudu 1990s prank blaxploitation dark screen actors guild discovery science fiction Tumblr award winner PBS DC Universe classics ESPN Holiday DGA revenge Certified Fresh See It Skip It Awards Lifetime Christmas movies festivals comedies Paramount Plus Chilling Adventures of Sabrina medical drama richard e. Grant Biopics movies action-comedy new zealand OWN 20th Century Fox documentaries casting comic books Showtime Hallmark Cannes gangster stoner Ghostbusters Set visit Interview LGBTQ aliens BAFTA streaming Comedy Central olympics Drama Adult Swim HBO Go FX on Hulu football streaming movies political drama italian best rt labs critics edition 99% Sneak Peek posters new york Epix festival Classic Film independent Disney Plus kaiju Syfy ABC Signature remakes Captain marvel elevated horror The Arrangement docuseries hidden camera cars TV FOX indiana jones french twilight theme song versus worst Broadway breaking bad Ellie Kemper Television Critics Association Academy Awards cinemax ViacomCBS BBC singing competition Arrowverse zombies Pop The Academy Winners Crackle SDCC aapi women Lionsgate YouTube Premium Polls and Games Masterpiece doctor who GoT boxoffice Universal New York Comic Con Lifetime NBC Logo Emmy Nominations Action 45 TCA 2017 composers scene in color critic resources Exclusive Video Pride Month teaser IFC Films Turner Classic Movies unscripted TNT crime thriller reboot slasher Marvel Netflix History RT21 nbcuniversal suspense asian-american Trivia rom-coms Marvel Television Awards Tour crime serial killer Tarantino A24 Apple TV+ NYCC Binge Guide SXSW OneApp cancelled TV shows Film psycho Sundance 21st Century Fox venice ghosts Heroines Calendar Hulu halloween tv MSNBC deadpool TV movies sports IFC Writers Guild of America book jamie lee curtis Starz free movies Ovation Rocketman Mary Tyler Moore Premiere Dates VICE Music 2015 Year in Review The Walking Dead period drama ITV MTV halloween Valentine's Day sitcom FXX satire CNN Superheroe Sundance TV Video Games quibi international Brie Larson 2016 Britbox Television Academy Spectrum Originals king kong dragons comic book movie vampires cats foreign basketball new star wars movies kids technology feel good First Look VOD Cosplay BBC One Podcast sag awards police drama BET book adaptation critics Walt Disney Pictures Mary Poppins Returns concert Countdown Amazon Prime TCA Winter 2020 mission: impossible Tubi all-time 4/20 TCA spinoff Pixar godzilla blockbusters superhero Character Guide DC Comics superman Spring TV cartoon james bond Infographic Amazon Marvel Studios TV Land screenings WGN Women's History Month television ABC Family stop motion cooking fast and furious franchise Mindy Kaling werewolf Travel Channel The CW Oscars NBA legend what to watch Disney+ Disney Plus toy story popular Christmas Reality Competition war Holidays joker australia APB Red Carpet spanish language hollywood Schedule TruTV TCM psychological thriller strong female leads Winter TV Freeform comic book movies Election hist Fox Searchlight video Paramount Network spanish Tokyo Olympics Rom-Com dexter Fantasy dogs talk show heist movie Star Wars saw Country Sony Pictures Bravo HBO Fox News crossover President VH1 anthology Black Mirror Marathons reviews spain robots comiccon Sci-Fi supernatural Shudder Avengers boxing young adult mockumentary Spike Nat Geo Pop TV Apple TV Plus pirates of the caribbean die hard Mudbound politics romance Funimation FX nature Disney slashers historical drama razzies Song of Ice and Fire Martial Arts 2017 MCU animated Peacock tv talk TCA Awards trailers hispanic Black History Month Food Network golden globes cancelled TV series Rocky black universal monsters adventure comics DC streaming service stand-up comedy news true crime cancelled natural history Tomatazos Extras Kids & Family WarnerMedia Superheroes 71st Emmy Awards mcc Animation kong nfl directors space