The horror genre is one of the most consistently-enjoyed in all of cinema, and for good reason. Horror movies excite, thrill, and terrify their audiences, and it’s also one of the genres that traditionally packs its movies with hidden messages and themes. But many of the best horror movies are those that exist as part of a larger story: we’re here to look at the best horror movie franchises of all time.

For this list, we’re not looking horror franchises as a whole, rather than speaking on individual films. The cumulative quality of a franchise is something that deserves to be judged separately to specific films and their review scores, so we’re examining those movie franchises with multiple strong or scary entries, or ones with a solid over-arcing narrative that enhances the overall experience. With that in mind, here are what we consider to be the 10 best horror movie franchises.

10. Hellraiser

Best horror movie franchises - Doug Bradley as Pinhead in Hellraiser

Perhaps the greatest strength of the Hellraiser franchise is the sheet depth of imagination that has gone into its continued existence. Pinhead may not be the most iconic horror movie villain out there, but he’s still a respected figure within the genre, mostly because he’s absolutely horrifying. The Hellraiser franchise’s exploration of the demonic Cenobites and their passion for inflicting pain on humanity is truly terrifying, and that’s why it finds itself on this list.

The quality of the franchise’s individual movies is varied and somewhat debatable. The first entry remains one of the most well-loved, with a liberal dose of body horror and existential dread packed into its relatively simple story. While other instalments have sought to expand upon Hellraiser’s lore, the central premise has largely remained the same.

Maybe there’s something about stories of lust and curiosity backfiring spectacularly that simply resonates with its audience, or maybe it’s the gleefully horrifying presentation of the Cenobites. Simply put, the combination of terrifying themes, visuals, and stories have made the Hellraiser movies a staple of horror cinema. It may not be the most beloved franchise, but its cult status proves its place among the best horror movie franchises of all time.