Written by Patti Pauley
More often than not, when we as fans get an amazingly good horror movie and is well received, a sequel is almost imminent. That seems to be the trend these days with not just horror, but movies in general. The term “If ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” is arguably the definitive motto of the modern film industry. As a successful franchise is more than likely to conjure up the big bucks for the studios rather than taking a chance on an original idea. Let’s hear it for capitalization!
Although a lot of horror franchises such as Halloween and Friday The 13th have taken the sequel train up and around the bend more times than we can count, we have gotten some pretty amazing movies out of the sequel grinder. With the really bad follow-ups that can counteract the original’s epicness, sometimes the studios and writers give us something just as good, or dare I say, better than the original film. This may sound like a rare feat, but I’ve gathered up twelve brilliant examples of what a horror sequel should be, if we’re going to go there. Always remember, with the load of garbage of continuations that gets shoveled down our throats, there’s a shiny unicorn that stands out from the endless line of sequels in almost any franchise. So although numbered, in no particular order really (you try to rank these gems, I dare yah) I give you 13 horror movie sequels that match the original film!
13. The Devil’s Rejects
The Devil’s Rejects is the follow-up to Rob Zombie’s 2003 House Of 1000 Corpses, and many argue that this film actually surpasses the original and stands out as Zombie’s best work. Whether you disagree or not, it’s a no brainer that the film which focuses on the insane psychos that are the Firefly family, leaves you amazing one liners, gruesome death scenes and one of the best soundtracks hands down from a horror film. I mean, hey it’s Rob Zombie, so you already know the music will kick major ass (for those that are fans anyway). The flick centers on Captain Spaulding, Otis and Baby Firefly who continue their murderous shenanigans as authorities draw closer to shutting their spree of glee down permanently. Tutti fucken fruitti!
12. Hellbound: Hellraiser 2
The 1988 sequel to the Clive Barker phenomena dives deep into the pits of hell with the continuing story of Kristy Cotton and the Cenobites. Giving some background on Pinhead himself and how he became the demon, the film explores suffering like nothing you had seen prior to the release. With the return of the insufferable Frank ( in some form or another) and more Cenobite action, this one is clearly as good as the first, and in my humble opinion, even better. The visuals are breathtakingly haunting and Tony Randel‘s version of Hell is something that won’t soon be forgotten.
11.Friday The 13th: The Final Chapter
With respect to the first film, everyone clearly has a favorite installment from the Friday franchise. The Final Chapter was the third sequel in the series, and I think universally declared as the superior of the follow ups from the 1980 original. It could be the fact that it surpasses the prior films, is that it was intended to be the last. Jason seemed to come full circle in this film and fully matured into the stalker we know and love today without the paper bag, and or rapey wit about him as hinted in the third film. Sure, 2 and 3 had memorable and stand alone great moments, but 4 had it all. And an epic Crispin Glover dance, don’t ever forget that.
10. Evil Dead 2: Dead By Dawn
Evil Dead 2 gave us the Ash we all know and love today. Those hip one liners, the ridiculous battle scenes between him and the deadites, no one does slapstick horror comedy like the combination of Raimi and Campbell. The movie never took itself quite so seriously as it continues the saga of S-MART hardwares representative Ash Williams and his drama with the necrocomiccon. This cabin in the woods epic, is definitely better than the original in my own world. My own groovy little world.
9. The Exorcist 3
After the abomination of The Heretic, William Peter Blatty, who originally never wanted to do a sequel to the original masterpiece, came back to write Legion– From which the film is based on. Blatty expressed the desire to make this a motion picture with the original director William Friedkin to lead the reigns on the film. After departing from the project due to differ on opinions, Blatty eyed John Carpenter, but of course that didn’t come to fruition, leaving himself in the driver’s seat for the third installment. Which is how it should have been from the beginning. The film shines as a piece of fucken art. Brad Dourif‘s performance as The Gemini Killer alone, is just as unsettling as the demon from the first film. It’s a smart and beautifully shot horror film. Don’t miss the cameo from Samuel L. Jackson!
8. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2
The sequel to the 1974 classic went a complete 180 for this installment and was highly criticized at its initial release for focusing more on “black comedy” as stated by the director himself, Tobe Hooper. Because it is so different from the first film, makes it a fucken great movie all on its own. Leatherface on the road hacking up drunk teens is pure gold. If you can’t appreciate a good ol’ drive by chainsawing, I don’t want to know you. However, the real entertainment is Dennis Hopper vs. Leatherface. Do I really need to state anything beyond that?
Ridley Scott‘s epic space horror was expanded in 1986 by none other than James Cameron for round 2 with not one, but multiple aliens knocking around a desolate space station and killing everything in sight. Ripley once again faces the vicious outer space freak show resulting in an epic showdown that is widely better received than even the first film. It’s easy to see why and how future sequels failed to live up to the second installment. Game over man.
6. Psycho 2
23 years after the first film, Richard Franklin and screenwriter Tom Holland teamed up to bring us what seemed a very unnecessary sequel to the beloved Hitchcock thriller. Years after it’s release, when I was of sound mind and not shitting my diapers, I came across this film and had very low expectations with its predecessor in mind. However, I was pleasantly surprised at the outcome. It’s actually a great film! Catching up with Norman Bates as he struggles with his sanity 20 odd years after the murders is a big thumbs up.
5. Silence Of The Lambs
It has been argued for fuck knows how long, on whether Silence Of The Lambs is considered a sequel to the 1986 film Manhunter by Michael Mann. Manhunter was the motion picture inspiration derived from Thomas Harris‘ 1981 literary novel Red Dragon with the follow-up of Silence in 1988, with the movie in 1991, then the Hannibal film, with ending on another Red Dragon movie of the same name in later years.
Got all that?
Well, in any case, whether you consider this movie a sequel or not, and to be honest I can see the arguments on both sides, it’s a great fucken movie. Sequel or not. So for those who consider it as one, this pick is for you!
4. Halloween 2 (1981)
Directly following the events from the first iconic film, the night of terror continues as Michael continues his rampage in Haddonfield searching for Laurie and slashing through anyone in his way. Looking back at both 1 and 2 in general, I almost prefer the second to the first. It’s much darker being, the music and Myers is far more menacing as his rage grows to epic proportions in this follow-up to the original.
3. Nightmare On Elm Street 3: The Dream Warriors
Third time’s the charm when it came to this franchise! Not that I disregard part 2 on any level, hell I’m a fan of the second sequel. But hey, Dream Warriors blows every other follow-up from this series right out of the damn water. The third installment shows Freddy in his prime among all the sequels, with some of the damn best kills in the entire franchise; and what seemed to be the start of those quick-witted horrifying yet humorous one liners. Plus it also gave us that kick ass theme song by Dokken.
2. Dawn Of The Dead (1978)
George A. Romero‘s Night Of The Living Dead is one tried and true epic classic, and Dawn Of The Dead isn’t far behind it. Set in an American shopping mall full of zombies, Romero made a point to do this with an underlying hidden message, (which he does in all his films). Consumerism was on the rise in the brink of insanity in the 70’s and didn’t show any signs of slowing down. The zombies in the film, (metaphorically the american shopper) obsessed with material goods and corporate greed. Well, can’t disagree with that. However, more importantly is the film itself and stands out from even it’s predecessor as one of the greatest zombie films of all time.
1. The Bride Of Frankenstein
Ahh yes. The grand-daddy of all sequels. The Bride Of Frankenstein is an art in motion picture form. Pure and simple. Even with this supposed remake or re-imagining, whatever the hell you call it that is going to happen, it cannot ever live up to the beauty and majesty of this film. It’s perfect in every sense and when a character such as the Bride, only gets about 5 minutes of screen time and has a powerful impact in the world of horror, that’s saying it all. Long live Elsa Lanchester.
Other notable sequels worth mentioning are Hostel 2, Saw 3 and Phantasm 2.
What is your favorite horror sequel of all time? Sound off in the comments!