Predicting the next horror mainstream film trend is almost impossible. It is like trying to predict the team that will win the Super Bowl 5 seasons in advance, good luck with that. All you can really do is observe past trends and try to figure out a pattern for the future. With that said let me try to guess which entertainment phenomenon may take the lead in the near future like vampires, witches, ghosts and zombies have navigated mainstream films for the past two decades. Let see what trend could take hold in the next 5 years that isn’t vampires, witches, ghosts or zombies.
This is not a new concept as we have seen it in the past and it surfaces back up every once in a while. Some of the biggest franchise examples are; Terminator, Pacific Rim, Doctor Who and Edge of Tomorrow. The issue is that although these concepts have a dedicated fan base, they don’t stick with Mainstream films as the new trend setting genre. I know this is subjective and it can be argued the reason is that time/dimensional travel in half the cases only take up a small part of the storyline. With that in mind horror movies can mix with time travel when done correctly, Donnie Darko (2001) made it work, but I think this sub-genre will continue to produce one offs which may work but it will not lead the horror mainstream film pack.
The smash hits from the 80’s like Splash (1984) and the Little Mermaid (1989) are memorable in the fantasy genre. Let me also mention mermaids made cameo appearances later in several blockbuster brands like Hook, the Pirates of the Caribbean and Harry Potter but nowhere near anything that reflected their high point of the past. Several attempts to reboot the sub-genre have been tried over the decades since their time in the sun, the biggest one was Lady in the Water (2006) but it wasn’t enough to get the needed traction going. I have to mention that hope for this genre reaching a silver age is possible with the upcoming Aquaman film but I just don’t think this is going to happen. I have to say mermaids will always make cool secondary characters and could make awesome terrifying creatures, ala Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954), but the way things have been for the last decade I just can’t see them taking the lead of the pack.
If you remember the Jurassic Park (1993) era or have played any of the Dino-crisis games, then you know Dinosaurs have their place in horror mainstream film and gaming history. Dinosaurs can easily blend in with any horror story as they are hard to kill, deadly, stealthy and can hunt humans. But maybe it is not a question of how scary they can be but a question of dinosaurs being past their golden age, but they are definitely not extinct as a horror sub-genre. Of the sub-genre’s mentioned so far I see this as the more likely to make a comeback but production costs could hinder that effort. Time will tell but I see the chances of dinosaurs leading the pack as low.
Not the same kind of scary as dinosaurs but they are big scary creatures. Dragons have always been cool but it wasn’t until recently they have been making strides for a comeback. This sub-genre has been spread out and has taken part of both fantasy and horror films. Some of the most famous franchises where dragons became a large part of the story have been; DragonSlayer (1981), DragonHeart (1996), Reign of Fire (2002), Eragon (2006), the Hobbit: Smaug (2013) and Game of Thrones (2016). Dragons have all the scary qualities of dinosaurs plus high intelligence. What dragons need to take a strong lead in horror mainstream films is not an actual breakout film but a breakout series. The elements are there and what is needed is a groundbreaking franchise to lead the way, but with production costs similar to dinosaurs I see the same issue hindering it. I see the chances of dragons leading the pack a about a medium-low but I could be wrong.
A remake of ‘the Mummy’ is already under production but let me point out Mummies already had a Golden and Silver Age. The Golden Age was kicked off with the original horror great granddaddy The Mummy (1932) film and stayed throughout the golden age of Horror films. The Silver age for Mummies were a direct result of the franchise kicked off with Brendan Frasers smash hit The Mummy (1999), although this wasn’t a pure horror film it did give mummies new blood in films. Hopes for a Bronze Age rest in the hands of the remake, hopefully it will work out well. I see the chances of Mummies leading the pack of horror mainstream film trends at about a medium, but fans will ultimately decide if the possible bronze age will bring mummies back to horror or not.
This I think is the most probable right now based on the fact that mythology is being widely accepted by the new generation of fans in other genres. There are several examples such as Thor, Supernatural, Preacher, Game of Thrones and even Superman is considered a type of deity to a point. We haven’t seen any actual direct tie-in with horror, apart from a few episodes the show ‘Supernatural’. Hopefully the new show American Gods (2017) may show an element of horror directly related to the deity. If this happens I will put my money on this sub-genre to be the most likely to slowly lead the pack of horror mainstream film trends. I will place the chances at a Medium-High if Angels also fall into this sub-genre.
There are several other sub-genres I didn’t mention like Golems/Constructs, Giant Monsters/Kaiju, Werewolves or Artificial Intelligence to name a few. Which do you think will be the future of horror mainstream films? Say in the comments and don’t forget to smash that RSS feed button to get more articles like this one.