10 Horror Franchises That Need a Period Piece Sequel

Hellraiser Jamie Clayton Pinhead
Jamie Clayton as Pinhead in Spyglass Media Group's HELLRAISER, exclusively on Hulu. Photo courtesy of Spyglass Media Group. © 2022 Spyglass Media Group. All Rights Reserved.

Not all sequels need to move forward. Sometimes, they move backward, into the past. The success of Prey has proven that the horror community is ready to embrace sequels to legacy horror franchises that take place farther back into the past. And it’s not just the Predator that’s going back in time. Friday the 13th is getting a prequel set in the past, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre has had prequels, you get the picture. So what are some other franchises that can afford a follow-up that takes place further in the past?

The Evil Dead

Army of Darkness Evil Dead horror franchises

The Evil Dead has tons of potential for horror sequels set in the past. While Army of Darkness is arguably one of the best examples of a period piece sequel to an established horror franchise, the door is open for tons of sequels to explore the history of the three Books of the Dead.

The books were first bound in human flesh and inked in human blood in the days of Sumer, which leads all of human history open for Deadite invasions. We know that the Deadites had to have taken hold of Europe prior to the events of Army of Darkness. Why not explore that era?

We explored this potential in another article, where we outline where exactly period piece sequels for The Evil Dead can go. So if you want more of an exploration of this potential, take the time to read through that article.


Alien 3 horror franchises

Prometheus and Alien: Covenant established that the Xenomorphs materialized as a species in the future. However, Alien vs. Predator opened the door to the Xenomorphs existing in humanity’s distant past, which opens the door to plenty of period-piece sequels to this iconic franchise.

If Disney decides to ignore Alien: Covenant‘s origins for the Xenomorphs, it would be fun to see an Alien film set in the past. Either the 80s, in the immediate aftermath of the original film’s release, or in the distant past. Perhaps the Xenomorphs emerge during the height of the Mayan Empire. Or a face hugger latches onto the face of a Roman Emperor. There’s potential for something wild in the distant past.

Or…just a prequel to Alien vs. Predator.

Nightmare on Elm Street

Robert Englund horror franchises

Freddy’s Nightmares and Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare both offer origins for Freddy Krueger. But what about a whole film outlining Freddy’s capture, death, and re-emergence as a Dream Demon?

A whole Nightmare on Elm Street film set roughly fifteen to twenty years prior to the events of the original film—in the late-60s, early-70s—could be fantastic. Freddy is so heavily associated with 80s pop culture that it would be fascinating to see him removed from that era, emerging in an era where real-life serial killers terrified the nation.

It also would just be fun to see Freddy emerging as a force of horror.


pumpkinhead Horror Franchises

Pumpkinhead sets up a sprawling history for its titular villain. It emerges to enact revenge for those who summon it, for a heavy price. The monster has a history, so why not explore it?

With the film taking place in the country, it’s possible someone could make a Western sequel with Pumpkinhead that takes place during the old west. Combining the aesthetics of Spaghetti Westerns with this iconic Stan Winston monster might very well be what this franchise needs to return to life.


Hellraiser Horror Franchises

Hellraiser: Bloodlines illustrates that the Cenobites can exist in a different era of history with its first brief segment outlining the Lament Configuration’s origins. With the new Hellraiser reboot, however, there is an open book for how far back the Lament Configuration can go.

A future Hellraiser sequel can take place in the decadent era of France, drawing on the history of figures like Marquis de Sade, or it can go back even further. There’s no reason why a Hellraiser period film can’t take place during the Renaissance, dealing with the Puzzle Box floating around Italy’s corrupt Medici and Borgia Families.


The Leprechaun is an ancient creature with a long history, and while we’ve seen him everywhere from the Hood to Space to Las Vegas, we’ve never seen him during one of the numerous historical invasions of Ireland.

Granted, some might argue these eras might be too serious a historical event to put the Leprechaun in. But, there’s something fun about seeing the Leprechaun go up against Viking raiders, the Anglo-Normans, or arrogant Tudors. There’s something particularly wonderful about seeing colonists get theirs.

The Howling

The Howling Horror Franchises

There are many films in The Howling series, with each offering a contemporary spin on the gothic werewolf. Perhaps what they need to do is simply go back in time, to the early years of the werewolf.

A Howling film set in 1941, the same year the original Wolf Man with Lon Chaney Jr. came out, would be fascinating, especially given how frequently the original film references this gothic masterpiece.


As a franchise, Ju-On is unusual. The series has relied on haunting vignettes that lift heavily from Japanese folklore. While the series centers on Kayako and Toshio’s perpetual grudge, it’s possible to have a sequel that exists as a period piece.

With Japan’s long history of horror, it might be interesting to explore a different sort of curse, one that takes place in feudal Japan. It would be more akin to classic horror films like Onibaba or Kuroneko, but it could present a fascinating spin on this iconic franchise.


This is a difficult topic and would require a superbly talented crew to pull off. With the most recent Candyman film emphasizing the cyclical nature of violence faced by the Black community, there is a lot of room for a historical follow-up to the Candyman series.

It would need to be handled delicately, but with the Candyman story now spanning over a century of violence, there are many eras in history a new film can take place during. But of all of the concepts on this list, this is the one that would need to be handled most delicately.


Because why not? Why not have the Crites show up in Philadelphia in 1776? Or have the Crites roll into town during the Crusades? Why not have these monsters just mess up the 300 Spartans as they stood against the Persians?

The Critters franchise is definitely one of those versatile franchises that radiates so much chaotic energy that literally anything they do can fit the franchise. So just do something wild with it.



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