ByMark Newton, writer at Creators.co
Movie Pilot Associate Editor. Email: [email protected]
Mark Newton

So Halloween is coming round and no doubt you'll soon be debating with your comrades-in-terror which horror movie to whack in the DVD (or, let's admit it, stream online) this All Hallow's Eve. I'm sure each attendee with have their personal horror champion, but I'm here to end this age old argument with that most exciting and interesting of things: statistics. Oh yeah! That's right, I bet I've grabbed your attention now.

For this article I have taken five of the biggest and best known horror franchises from throughout the years and scored each one based on their various critical and audience review scores. Through a little bit of, admittedly incredibly basic, maths I have created a scoring system which will hopefully rank each movie from the best to the worst. The five franchises to be scored are Halloween, Friday the 13th, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Scream and Paranormal Activity (just to shake things up a bit).

The Scoring System

Of course, a lot of different factors are in play when deciding how 'good' a movie is, and ultimately its completely subjective. However, to create a relatively objective playing field I have decided to aggregate individual scores in two categories: Critical Reception and Audience Reception. A lot more categories could have been used, such as box office and DVD sales, but figures on these are patchy and they're not really an indication of 'quality'.

Critical Reception: The average score of a movie's Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic ratings, which are based on professional critical reviews. In the case of critic reviews, the scores are out of 100. However, these have been divided by 10 so they are compatible with the Audience Reception. Not all the titles have Metacritic scores, often because they are too old, obscure or not released in theaters. Where this is the case, only the RT score was used.

Audience Reception: The average score of a movie's rating on the user voting sections of Rotten Tomatoes, Metacritic and IMDB. These are rated out of 10, hence the change to the Critical Reception Scores. Again, not all movies have MetaCritic audience review scores.

These are then combined into a total score, which is out of 20. Additional results, such as best overall franchise, are featured after the main results.

*= No MetaCritic data

The Results

1. Halloween (1978)

  • Audience Reception: 8.60
  • Critical Reception: 8.85

Total Reception Score: 17.45

2. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

  • Audience Reception: 8.27
  • Critical Reception: 8.60

Total Reception Score: 16.87

3. Scream (1996)

  • Audience Reception: 8.0
  • Critical Reception: 7.15

Total Reception Score: 15.15

4. Wes Craven's New Nightmare (1994) *

  • Audience Reception: 6.53
  • Critical Reception: 7.70

Total Reception Score: 14.23

5. Scream II (1997)

  • Audience Reception: 6.90
  • Critical Reception: 7.20

Total Reception Score: 14.10

6. A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987) *

  • Audience Reception: 6.63
  • Critical Reception: 7.40

Total Reception Score: 14.03

7. Paranormal Activity (2009)

  • Audience Reception: 5.91
  • Critical Reception: 7.55

Total Reception Score: 13.45

8. Paranormal Activity 3 (2011)

  • Audience Reception: 5.67
  • Critical Reception: 6.35

Total Reception Score: 12.02

9. Scream 4 (2011)

  • Audience Reception: 6.03
  • Critical Reception: 5.55

Total Reception Score: 11.58

10. Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998)

  • Audience Reception: 5.93
  • Critical Reception: 5.15

Total Reception Score: 11.58

11. Scream 3 (2000)

  • Audience Reception: 6.95
  • Critical Reception: 4.60

Total Reception Score: 11.55

12. Paranormal Activity 2 (2010)

  • Audience Reception: 5.70
  • Critical Reception: 5.55

Total Reception Score: 11.25

13. Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (1986) *

  • Audience Reception: 5.37
  • Critical Reception: 5.20

Total Reception Score: 10.57

14. Scream 3 (2000)

  • Audience Reception: 5.90
  • Critical Reception: 4.60

Total Reception Score: 10.50

15. Friday the 13th (1980)

  • Audience Reception: 5.80
  • Critical Reception: 4.65

Total Reception Score: 10.45

16. A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master (1988) *

  • Audience Reception: 4.80
  • Critical Reception: 5.60

Total Reception Score: 10.40

17. Freddy vs. Jason (2003)

  • Audience Reception: 6.33
  • Critical Reception: 3.85

Total Reception Score: 10.18

16. Halloween II (1981)

  • Audience Reception: 6.17
  • Critical Reception: 3.80

Total Reception Score: 9.97

17. Halloween (2007)

  • Audience Reception: 5.87
  • Critical Reception: 3.60

Total Reception Score: 9.47

18. Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988)

  • Audience Reception: 5.77
  • Critical Reception: 3.60

Total Reception Score: 9.37

19. Friday the 13th Part 2 * (1981)

  • Audience Reception: 5.27
  • Critical Reception: 3.20

Total Reception Score: 8.47

=20. Friday the 13th (2009)

  • Audience Reception: 5.50
  • Critical Reception: 2.95

Total Reception Score: 8.45

=20. Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones (2014)

  • Audience Reception: 4.50
  • Critical Reception: 3.95

Total Reception Score: 8.45

21. A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge (1985) *

  • Audience Reception: 3.97
  • Critical Reception: 4.20

Total Reception Score: 8.17

22. Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984) *

  • Audience Reception: 5.30
  • Critical Reception: 2.50

Total Reception Score: 7.80

23. Paranormal Activity 4 (2012)

  • Audience Reception: 4.23
  • Critical Reception: 3.20

Total Reception Score: 7.43

24. A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)

  • Audience Reception: 4.90
  • Critical Reception: 2.50

Total Reception Score: 7.40

25. A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child (1989) *

  • Audience Reception: 3.83
  • Critical Reception: 3.30

Total Reception Score: 7.13

26. Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988) *

  • Audience Reception: 4.27
  • Critical Reception: 2.60

Total Reception Score: 6.87

27. Jason X (2002)

  • Audience Reception: 4.27
  • Critical Reception: 2.20

Total Reception Score: 6.87

28. Halloween II (2009) *

  • Audience Reception: 4.63
  • Critical Reception: 1.90

Total Reception Score: 6.53

29. Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982) *

  • Audience Reception: 3.10
  • Critical Reception: 3.30

Total Reception Score: 6.40

30. Friday the 13th Part III (1982) *

  • Audience Reception: 4.77
  • Critical Reception: 1.20

Total Reception Score: 5.97

31. Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991) *

  • Audience Reception: 3.90
  • Critical Reception: 2.00

Total Reception Score: 5.90

32. Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989) *

  • Audience Reception: 4.33
  • Critical Reception: 1.40

Total Reception Score: 5.73

33. Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993) *

  • Audience Reception: 3.17
  • Critical Reception: 2.40

Total Reception Score: 5.57

34. Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995)

  • Audience Reception: 4.57
  • Critical Reception: 0.60

Total Reception Score: 5.17

35. Friday the 13th: A New Beginning (1985) *

  • Audience Reception: 3.37
  • Critical Reception: 1.60

Total Reception Score: 4.97

36. Halloween: Resurrection (2002)

  • Audience Reception: 3.27
  • Critical Reception: 1.55

Total Reception Score: 4.82

37. Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989) *

  • Audience Reception: 3.30
  • Critical Reception: 0.90

Total Reception Score: 4.20

So there we have it. From my rather basic scoring system, we can see that the original 1978 Halloween is the best horror movie of these franchises (perfect considering the time of year), while 1989's Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan is the worst.

Of course, when it comes to horror slashers a traditionally 'bad' movie does not necessarily mean you'll have a bad time watching it. After all, there are hordes of fans who love movies such as Troll 2.

Let's also take a look at some other results we can gleam from the list.

Which Is The Best Franchise Overall?

By adding all the results of each franchise together and then dividing by the number of movies in the franchise, we can get a bit of an idea about which overall franchise, has been best received by critics and audiences. The results for Freddy vs. Jason have been included in both the Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street franchise results.

1. Scream

Total Franchise Score from 4 movies: 12.83

2. A Nightmare on Elm Street

Total Franchise Score from 9 movies: 10.47

3. Paranormal Activity

Total Franchise Score from 5 movies: 10.47

4. Halloween

Total Franchise Score from 10 movies: 8.60

5. Friday the 13th

Total Franchise Score from 12 movies: 7.51

So, it seems Scream is the best consistently rated franchise, while Friday the 13th is the worst. Interestingly, Halloween also does not fair well, despite its original movie topping the individual scoring list.

Which Movie Was Liked By The Audience and Hated By The Critics?

Generally, audiences almost always rated movies higher than critics, with only 11 movies receiving higher critical ratings than audience ones - often only by a small margin. Interesting, the entire Friday the 13th franchise was rated higher by the audience than by critics. For the most part, audience and critical ratings were relatively close (often within 1-2 points difference), however there are some movies which received larger disparity. Here are the Top 3:

1. Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995)

  • Audience Score: 4.57
  • Critical Score: 0.6
  • Difference: 3.97

2. Friday the 13th Part III (1982)

  • Audience Score: 4.77
  • Critical Score: 1.2
  • Difference: 3.57

3. Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989)

  • Audience Score: 4.33
  • Critical Score: 1.4
  • Difference: 2.93

Did you favorite franchise not do well? Well, at the end of the day, anyone's appreciation for any horror movie is always completely subjective and unlikely to be based on anyone else's critical opinion. So, don't worry!

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