To clarify (again): this thread was intended to discuss our favorite films that launched a franchise. There have been many other threads in the past for "what's the best" or "what's your favorite", and I thought I'd mix it up this time around. Harvey_birdman and I have been going back and forth about the Friday the 13th films, and I just rewatched the original for the first time in about 20 years, so horror franchises have been on my mind.
The Thing (1982), while one of the absolute greatest horror films ever made, does not qualify as a franchise. A single (crappy) sequel does not a franchise make. I'm not even convinced that a trilogy qualifies. Nor do any of Cronenberg's early films, despite his qualifying as the Greatest Horror Director of All Time. I sure hope that he's gotten over his fear of female biology!
Mostly I just wanted to debate horror films with people who give a crap about them, so if you'd rather talk about The Thing and Salo, that's cool with me.