Was anyone else as shocked as I was when they heard Fantasy Island was getting a horror movie remake? I mean, kind and sweet Mr. Roarke is now turning people’s dreams into nightmares and killing them off?
Honestly, though, Fantasy Island–even when it was a series–had some pretty dark moments. Roddy McDowall (Fright Night) once appeared on the show as the Devil, himself, for an epic showdown Roarke (Ricardo Montalban).
Okay, it was a little cheesy, but still, it was a classic good versus evil scenario that added a touch of horror to a series that had otherwise mostly dealt with making all your dreams come true.
Ever since the trailer for Blumhouse’s horror infused Fantasy Island was released, though, I’ve been wondering what other classic TV shows could work with a horror twist and started compiling this list. Some of them might make total sense, others take a leap of faith, but they’ve all got potential so let’s get down to business.
#1 Small Wonder
In the mid-80s robots were all the rage, and 20th Century Fox Television jumped on the bandwagon with their first sitcom called Small Wonder which centered on the Lawson family. Ted Lawson (Richard Christie), the family patriarch, is a robotics engineer who creates VICI (Tiffany Brissette), an android child.
When his boss tries to steal credit for Ted’s work, he brings Vicki home and he and his wife (Marla Pennington) and son (Jerry Supiran) attempt to pass the android off as a member of the family.
Of course, Ted’s boss is his next door neighbor and his ultra-nosy wife–played by the fabulous Edie McClurg (Elvira, Mistress of the Dark)–and daughter (Emily Schulman) are forever almost stumbling onto the family secret.
VICI or Vicki as she comes to be known is super strong and can talk to the household appliances, and it wouldn’t be hard to shift this to a Child’s Play or Deadly Friend-type situation with her deciding to take out the nosy neighbors and anyone else who tries to destroy her family.
Another classic with a cult following from the late 80s, ALF told the story of the Tanner family who find themselves host to and unexpected and sometimes unwelcome extraterrestrial guest from a planet called Melmac. They decided to call him ALF (alien life form), and despite the fact that he was forever trying to eat their cat, he was soon a part of the family.
The series ran from 1986-1990 and spawned a cartoon series and a merchandising line that plastered the alien’s face on everything from t-shirts to lunchboxes.
This is another one of those shows that could easily have gone the horror route, however. What if ALF was actually leading an invasion and had duped the family into thinking he was cute and cuddly so they would take him in and he could learn about our world? We know he liked to eat cats, but what if humans were the real delicacy?
No matter how you spin it, aliens and horror go hand in hand and it would be no stretch of the imagination to turn this series into a horror show.
#3 The Love Boat
No one, including the cast and crew, expected The Love Boat to be a hit show that would run for ten seasons and spawn a spin-off or two in later years, but something about it just captivated audiences who tuned in to see who would fall in love on the high seas every Saturday night from 1977 to 1987.
The show had a solid central cast and like Fantasy Island somehow managed to bring on a host of classic TV and film stars and some whose stars were only beginning to shine.
I don’t know about you, but a cruise ship where everyone’s falling in love seems like the perfect setting for a slasher at sea. If there’s one thing that the genre has taught us, it’s that romance and murder can go hand in hand if the right screenwriter is attached.
I mean, how would Doc and Isaac and Gopher handle something like that? Can you imagine Captain Stubing facing down a killer? What if the whole thing was a set up by a crew with a taste for murder who lured passengers out to sea to torment and kill them?
It’s something to think about the next time you turn on TV Land and those reruns are playing.
#4 The Golden Girls
The Golden Girls was one of those shows that everyone was watching back in the day, and let’s face it, some still do. It had a dynamite cast with Bea Arthur, Betty White, Rue McClanahan, and Estelle Getty, and the humor was razor sharp.
It was also a bit of a game changer for its time. There really hadn’t been a show about retired women like it before, and audiences tuned in from 1985 to 1982 to see what the girls might get up to, next.
It was hilarious, but I think there’s potential here.
I mean, picture it…Florida…four retired women living together trying to make ends meet. Life’s not easy and social security and odd jobs just aren’t cutting it. In a bid for solvency, they hatch a plan to make some extra cash that’s one part Arsenic and Old Lace, one part Sweeney Todd.
Blanche goes out into the nightlife, hunting single lonely men. She lures them home where Dorothy and Rose lie in wait to take his life, and Sophia uses the body to create a line of Italian sausages and sauces that the local hipsters go nuts over.
It’s perfect! And if they do this thing quickly enough, Betty White could even make a cameo.
Taxi ran from 1978 to 1983 and was an unexpected hit sitcom featuring Danny DeVito, Marilu Henner, Judd Hirsch, Andy Kaufman, Carol Kane, Tony Danza, Christopher Lloyd, and Jeff Conway.
DeVito play Louie de Palma who manages a taxi company and does his best to wrangle his drivers as they follow their dreams outside the company. The show was hilarious, but also packed plenty of emotional punch as the various actors faced their fears and the fact that they might be stuck driving for Louie forever.
I don’t know about you, but I think this show could definitely work with a horror spin. The streets of New York City at night can be a dangerous and scary place and could easily become the setting for any number of horror subgenres. Maybe the drivers are being killed? Maybe they’re all suspects? Maybe there’s a monster prowling the streets and it’s up to the cab drivers to stop it?
Do you agree with these picks? What other shows would you like to see get the horror treatment? Let us know in the comments and get ready for Fantasy Island in theaters on February 14, 2020!