The Expendables of Horror Ensembles That Never Were

Harrison B. Smith’s Death House has become a highly-anticipated flick around these parts. Undoubtedly, one of the film’s most notable aspects (aside from having been penned by the late Gunnar Hansen) is its stellar line-up of genre veterans, coming together for a film that has been dubbed “The Expendables of horror.” When that film, with its impressive roster of action icons, was released back in 2010, many fans yearned for the horror genre to receive the same treatment.

While Death House will be the first film released to have sported this moniker, the concept isn’t entirely new — Adam Green’s Hatchet series has certainly featured its fair share of slasher icons. But in light of the film’s release we thought we’d take a look back at some of the horror ensembles that never were!

In truth, the popular use of the “Expendables of horror” phrase seemed to originate around eight years ago when The Evil Dead‘s Bruce Campbell announced his plans to write, direct, and star in a sequel to his 2007 horror comedy My Name is Bruce. Titled Bruce vs. Frankenstein, the film would see the deadite killer going up against the iconic monster… and as per an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Campbell had intended to flesh out the cast with a few familiar faces.

I want to get so many horror movie stars that people can’t possibly not see the movie. I want to give them other stuff to do. I want to have Kane Hodder be very particular about what he eats. I want Robert Englund to be a tough guy, like he knows tae-kwon-do or something. I want to find out the hidden sides of all these people. Some will play themselves, some will play alternate characters as well. I may approach Kane Hodder to play Frankenstein. He could be Kane Hodder himself fighting himself as Frankenstein. It could be crazy. It’s a silly concocted story that we hope to do maybe in a year or so.

As of 2015, Campbell was still developing the project — but with the success of Ash vs. Evil Dead, it may be years before his Abbott and Costello-esque take on Frankenstein comes to fruition. However, in the midst of all this, William Butler (Friday the 13th Part VII) had come forward, revealing his plans to his own take on the Expendables concept albeit with a roster of scream queens.

Written by Patrick J. Doody, The Survivors (as it was called) would revolve around “a multi-generational group of strong female survivors who decide to get revenge as they ban to together and turn the tables on a legendary murderer who, during their youth, pursued them all. After the killer resurfaces, the women make a pact to track him down and end his twenty-five year killing spree.

More than a handful of familiar female foes were slated to appear, including Heather Langenkamp (A Nightmare on Elm Street), Adrienne King (Friday the 13th), Jordan Ladd (Cabin Fever), P.J. Soles (Halloween), and Lisa Wilcox (A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master). Filming was set to begin in late 2015, but it seems the project has fallen into development hell.

survivors - The Expendables of Horror Ensembles That Never Were
Fan concept poster

But before these projects — before The Expendables, even — another film in the works would’ve also been notable for its all-star cast. Back in 1989, Robert Englund mentioned to Fangoria that he was attached to star in The Hunchback of Sunset Strip — a genre pic that would’ve also featured Donald Pleasence (Halloween), Roddy McDowall (Fright Night), and the “Merchant of Menace” himself Vincent Price.

For whatever reason, the project never made it off the ground. While details are slim to none, it would’ve been a real treat to have seen these Fangoria Hall of Fame Inductees sharing screen time together!

Death House will hit VOD, Redbox, Netflix, and foreign markets on April 20th. 


Two federal agents fight their way through nine levels of Hell inside a secret prison known as the Death House. A facility-wide prison break turns their flight into a tour of horrors as they push toward the ultimate evil housed in the lowest depths of the earth.

Written by Travis Mullins

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