The premise: A monstrous undertaker from another dimension called The Tall Man squishes dead people down into hooded slaves for work on his home world. He also keeps terrorizing a young boy and his ice cream salesman friend with a deadly silver ball.
The key to longevity: True, there are only four movies, but the release of those four movies was stretched over a nearly 30 years, in spite of a total lack of some huge cultural resurgence like the Exorcist movies got a couple years ago. The Phantasm series was outright willed into existence from the 1979 first film up to the surprisingly good fourth entry in 1998 by director Don Coscarelli. This is despite the fact that the third movie is terrible. Okay, maybe this technically isn't a series that won't die, but I love these movies, so I'm going to mention them anyway. Try to stop me. Also of note: The Tall Man is played by Angus Scrimm, also known as music critic and Grammy winner Rory Guy. That's badass.
Signs of an idea drought: The fourth Phantasm movie featured two horror movie clichÃ©s that are a sure sign of writers trying to spice things up: 1) A generically ominous subtitle (Oblivion) and 2) time travel.
Up next: A prequel to Coscarelli's superb film Bubba Ho-Tep, entitled Bubba Nosferatu and the Curse of the She-Vampires, is in pre-production. More Bruce Campbell as Elvis? Sign me up.
GEORGE ROMERO ZOMBIE FILMS
The premise: The dead come up out of the ground and eat people. Said people try to avoid said zombies, often unsuccessfully.
The key to longevity: Well, inventing a whole genre helps. If I included all the movies that were rip-offs of or that were influenced by the series in question, the number up there would be in the hundreds for this one. It also helps that the creator of the franchise is a horror god who can create movies as mediocre as