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8 Horror Movie TV Series Adaptations That Didn’t Quite Work Out

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Rather than remakes, the big trend at the moment is turning popular horror movies into TV series, and shows based on The Evil Dead, The Omen, and possibly even Suspiria are soon going to join successful small screen adaptations like “Scream,” “From Dusk Till Dawn,” and “Bates Motel.”

While TV adaptations of beloved horror films are all the rage right now, the road to success for such projects hasn’t always been an easy one. Over the years we’ve seen many come and go, either failing to catch on with audiences or just plain never even finding their way in front of the cameras.

Today we take a look at eight of those horror TV series that didn’t quite work out as planned for one reason or another.

operation aliens

1) OPERATION: ALIENS

Believe it or not, 20th Century Fox actually tried to turn Aliens into a Saturday morning animated cartoon series for children, back in the early 1990s. Titled “Operation: Aliens,” the series was meant to tie in with the release of Alien 3, and though production did start on the show at a Korean studio, it never actually aired. It’s been rumored that a pilot episode was put together, though the footage has to this day never been seen. All that remains of the project are several production stills, which you can see above.

Interestingly enough, Kenner’s line of Aliens toys from the 1990s were actually based on the failed “Operation: Aliens” series, which would explain why the figures looked so different than the characters in the movies – and why Xenomorph creatures not even seen in the movies were turned into toys. Though many pieces of merchandise did make it to store shelves with the “Operation: Aliens” title attached to them, the Kenner toys were released under the title Aliens.

Bates Motel

2) BATES MOTEL

Though A&E’s “Bates Motel” has proven that fans are into the idea of a Psycho TV series, the same idea didn’t work out so well back in the late 1980s. After the release and box office failure of Psycho 3 in 1986, Universal thought it’d be best to stop with the movies and instead try to rejuvenate the classic story by turning it into a TV series. Anthony Perkins refused to be a part of the project, but production rolled on and a pilot episode was shot. Kurt Paul – who had previously doubled for Perkins on Psycho 2 and 3 – was brought in to play Norman Bates.

The series was to center around a new character named Alex West, who inherits the infamous Bates Motel when Norman dies, but it was never picked up by a network. With the pilot shot, Universal decided to air it as its own standalone movie, premiering the original “Bates Motel” on July 5th of 1987.  The 100-minute pilot garnered mostly negative reviews, and Universal got to work on the made-for-TV Psycho 4 shortly thereafter.

Blade TV

3) BLADE: THE SERIES

Despite the fact that badass vampire-killer Blade caught on with fans in the worlds of both comic books and feature films, the character wasn’t so lucky in the world of television. First up, Showtime had planned a spin-off series several years back, which was to see Wesley Snipes reprising the role. But the plug was pulled on that idea when Snipes dropped out, leaving Spike TV to pick up the ball and attempt to run with it.

Replacing Snipes with rapper “Sticky Fingaz,” “Blade: The Series” became Spike’s very first original scripted series, the 2-hour pilot premiering on June 28, 2006. Written by David S. Goyer – who wrote all three Blade films – and acclaimed comic book writer Geoff Johns, the pilot episode of the series pulled in big numbers for the network, and it seemed that they had a hit on their hands. Taking place after the events of 2004’s Blade: Trinity, the series saw Blade teaming up with a new character named Krista Starr, and a total of 12 episodes were aired on Spike.

Unfortunately, the ratings plummeted after the pilot, negative word of mouth delivering a death blow to the series that once showed promise. Spike announced shortly after the final episode of the season aired that they were not renewing the series.

Carrie Angela Bettis

4) CARRIE

Prior to the big screen remake we got in 2013, the 2002 made-for-TV adaptation of Carrie that starred Angela Bettis was actually intended to be the pilot episode for a spin-off TV series, which would see Carrie traveling around and helping out others with telekinetic abilities. According to Bettis, the plan was to have Carrie and Sue Snell embark on a Thelma and Louise-style road trip and to possibly delve into the town’s reaction to the prom night massacre.

The 2+-hour TV movie aired exactly 26 years and 1 day after the release of Brian De Palma’s film, premiering to low ratings on November 4, 2002. Due to the poor reception, the series was never picked up, and it left behind a pointless remake that did absolutely nothing to improve or expand upon the original film – or the novel. Its only saving grace was that the always impressive Bettis nailed the part of Carrie White – a role she was perhaps born to play.


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Fearsome Facts – Dracula: Prince of Darkness (1966)

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Sir Christopher Lee returned to portray the charismatic count of Transylvania in Hammer’s Dracula: Prince of Darkness (1966) for the first time since taking on the iconic role in 1958’s Horror of Dracula – an eight year absence. 

And while Lee endured a love/hate relationship playing the Carpathian Count over the years, the actor reluctantly tackled the role a total of 10 times for the Silver Screen. Three of those performances came outside of the purview of Hammer Horror, but this list is dedicated to the first Hammer Dracula sequel to feature the return of Christopher Lee in the lead role.

Now, here are 5 Things You May Not Know About Dracula: Prince of Darkness.

5. Dracula: Speechless

Dialogue never played a crucial part in Christopher Lee’s portrayals as Count Dracula, but this film is the epitome of that contentious notion. Lee doesn’t utter a single word during Dracula: Prince of Darkness’ 90 minutes of run time. In interviews over the years, Lee said that he was so unhappy with his lines that he protested and refused to say them during the filming process. “Because I had read the script and refused to say any of the lines,” Lee said in an interview at the University College of Dublin.

However, screenwriter Jimmy Sangster insisted that the original script was written without any dialogue for Dracula. There was even a theory that circulated for a time which postulated that Hammer could not afford Lee’s growing salary, so the studio decided to limit the Count’s screen time. Did this lead to the demise of Dracula’s dialogue? Regardless of whom you want to believe, Dracula is the strong, silent type in Prince of Darkness. 

4. Double Duty for Drac

Hammer Film Productions doubled down, so to speak, on the production and post-production aspects of Dracula: Prince of Darkness. First, the studio filmed the vampire flick back-to-back with another project titled Rasputin: The Mad Monk (1966). In doing so, Hammer used many of the same sets, actors – including Francis Matthews and Suzan Farmer – and crew members to shoot both motion pictures.

Second, Dracula: Prince of Darkness was featured in a double billing alongside the film The Plague of the Zombies (1966) when it screened in London. Insert cheesy cliche: “Double your pleasure, double your fun with Doublemint Gum.” 

3. Stunt Double Nearly Drowned

Dracula: Prince of Darkness introduced a new weakness in the wicked baddie, but it nearly cost a stuntman his life. During the film, it was revealed that running water could destroy Dracula. Wait, what? Apparently, leaving the faucets on at night not only prevents frozen pipes, but blood-sucking vampires, too.

All kidding aside, it was during the climactic battle scene in which Christopher Lee’s stunt double almost succumb to the icy waters on set. Stuntman Eddie Powell stepped in as the Count during that pivotal moment, as Dracula slipped into the watery grave, but Powell was trapped under the water himself and almost died.

2. Lee Loathed What Hammer Did to Stoker’s Character

Christopher Lee’s return to Hammer’s Dracula franchise was a stroke of genius on the part of producers, but Lee was more than a little reticent when it came to initially voicing his dislike for playing the iconic role. As mentioned above, a lot of speculation swirled around the lack of dialogue given to Lee in the Prince of Darkness script. And if you don’t count the opening flashback sequence, which revisits the ending of Horror of Dracula (1958), Count Dracula doesn’t appear on screen until the 45-minute mark of the film.

Dracula’s lack of character, and presence, began to affect Lee particularly when it came to signing on to play the character in the three films following Prince of Darkness. Indeed, the lack of meaningful character development led to Lee initially turning down Dracula Has Risen From the Grave (1968), Taste the Blood of Dracula (1970) and Scars of Dracula (1970). Lee said in countless interviews that he never got to play the real version of Count Dracula created by Bram Stoker, at least via Hammer Studios. This was a true disappointment to the late actor.

But Hammer guilt Lee into taking on the role over and over again, because the studio claimed to have already sold the aforementioned films to the United States with Lee’s name attached to the projects. Hammer informed Lee that if he didn’t return the company would have to lay off many of their workers. The tactic worked, since Lee was friends with many of the Dracula crew members. Fortunately for fans, Lee kept coming back for blood.

1. Faux Pas

Outside of the character of Dracula only appearing on screen for the last half of the movie, Dracula: Prince of Darkness had even more pressing issues that unfortunately survived all the way to the final cut of the film. One of the most appalling of these occurrences happens during the picture’s climatic confrontation. Watch the skies above Dracula and you will see the trail of a jet-engine plane staining the sky.

Another faux pas occurs in this same sequence when Dracula succumbs to the icy waters. Watch closely as the camera’s long shot clearly reveals the pivots holding the ice up underneath Chris Lee. Finally, watch the dead girl who is being carried during the opening funeral sequence. She is clearly breathing and quite heavily at that.

***

Which Dracula: Prince of Darkness moments did you find the most interesting? Were there any obscure facts you would have enjoyed seeing make our list? Sound off on social media!

 

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Carnivore: Werewolf of London Howls on VOD

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Joining the ranks of The Curse of the Werewolf, An American Werewolf in London, The Company of Wolves, and Dog Soldiers, Carnivore: Werewolf of London is the latest in a long series of fantastic British werewolf movies. Directed by Knights of the Damned’s Simon Wells, the film focuses on a couple trying to save their relationship by taking a vacation in a remote cottage, but rekindling their old flame soon proves to be the least of their worries as they learn that something with lots of fur and lots of teeth is waiting for them in the surrounding woods.

Carnivore: Werewolf of London stars Ben Loyd-Holmes, Atlanta Johnson, Gregory Cox, Molly Ruskin, and Ethan Ruskin, and is available to purchase now on Google Play, Amazon Video, iTunes, and Vudu, although it doesn’t appear to have received a physical release as of yet.

More information about Carnivore: Werewolf of London is available on the film’s official Facebook account, along with a ton of production photos.

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John Carpenter … NOT DEAD!

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We currently live in a world of false alarms. Within the last several days we’ve suffered everything from warnings of doomsday to Rotten Tomatoes accidentally celebrating the passing(!) and career of the very much still alive John Carpenter.

That’s right, kids; earlier today RT tweeted, “John Carpenter would have been 70 years old today! We celebrate his birthday by looking back at his five favorite films.” The tweet… has since been deleted.

We are here to tell you… John is very much alive! Alive and well, even. Carpenter himself responded on Twitter by alerting the site that “despite how it appears, I’m actually not dead.

This is great news indeed. One of horror’s best and brightest is still bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. Now then, let’s take this time to celebrate the man’s birthday PROPERLY by talking about our favorite films of his. Speaking personally for myself…

Prince of Darkness is a movie that both unnerves and scares the hell out of me. One of Carpenter’s most thought-provoking works is just as frightening now as it was when we first received that grainy transmission as a dream from the year…

Tell us your favorite Carpenter movie in our comments section below.

…and HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JOHN!

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