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8 Horror Sequels That Are Actually Good



Remake. Biopic. Based on a true story. Starring Bruce Willis. These are all red flags when it comes to movies, but there may be no bigger red flag than the word “sequel.” Everyone knows it; even film producers and executives, though that’s never stopped them from bringing iconic monsters, aliens, killers, ghosts, and corpses back to life.

Occasionally, however, a horror series can produce a sequel that mines new territory, pushes its mythology to new places, and finds something new to say. They may be rare, but they are out there. You just have to know where to look…

Dawn of the Dead:

How do you follow up one of the most powerful, influential, and socially relevant horror films of all time? You add more: more scale, more gore, more character, more commentary, more humor, and certainly more zombies. Even though it was made on a shoestring budget, Romero managed to up the ante in this massive, ultra-violent bloodbath.

Set against the backdrop of empty cafeterias and clothing stores, four humans do their best Rambo-impressions as they mow down hundreds of zombies. Maybe the second installment isn’t as realistic as the first, but Dawn isn’t about realism. It’s about cranking up the volume to 11 and letting it rip.

Bride of Frankenstein:

Some of the Universal classics seem a bit underwhelming these days (sorry, Dracula) but such is not the case with James Whale’s 1935 sequel, which is every bit as haunting, beautiful, and hilarious as a blind date. As fate would have it, Frankenstein is set up with another monster. Too bad she shoots him down, a cold shoulder that doesn’t bode well for all involved.

Anyone who has been rejected can relate to Frankenstein’s reaction, and Whale gives Karloff all the material he needs to piece together a relatable monster. Friendship? Check. Loneliness? Check. Love interest? Check. All the elements are there to make The Bride of Frankenstein a humanistic masterpiece. All that’s missing are a few good scares.

Evil Dead 2:

Less is more? Pshhht. Tell that to Sam Raimi. The king of carnage, Raimi found perverse pleasure in throwing more monsters at the screen than there are hipsters in Brooklyn.

Don’t believe me? Check out Evil Dead 2. The film is constantly one-upping itself, starting with Ash lopping off the head of his possessed girlfriend and ending with Ash jamming a chainsaw into his arm. It’s sensory overload, in a good way.

The Silence of the Lambs:

Some would argue that it’s not a sequel. I would argue that it certainly is, at least in part, and that part dates back to Manhunter. Hannibal Lecter first appeared in Mann’s directorial debut, but he just didn’t have the same appeal as he did in the sequel. And how could he?

Anthony Hopkins gave us the best serial killer of all time. Period. He chews up the screen in every scene, montage, and monologue. He squints and stares and says stuff like, “I’m having an old friend for dinner.” He’s the reason we watch Silence of the Lambs, and the reason it’s on our list.

Paranormal Activity 3:

Scoff if you like (I can’t hear you), but I consider this one a low-budget masterpiece, one that not only revitalized a popular franchise but still stands as a masterclass on how to wring tension out of very limited resources. Much like The Blair Witch Project, Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman threw everything they had (financial and otherwise) into a found footage concept that they knew would work–and boy did it.

The filmmaking team executes a number of ingenious gags; the oscillating fan keeps you on edge every time, and the nanny cam feels like a stroke of genius. Plus, it has one of the best endings of 2011. Who knew death could be so cold?


Although generally listed in the science-fiction section, Ridley Scott’s follow-up to Alien easily qualifies as one of the most effective horror films of the 20th-century. The original is scary in its own right, but this version crams all sorts of creepy details into every scene, all but oozes with a sense of cool, and boasts a heroine who can definitely beat you in a fight. These factors, in addition to a fantastic ensemble, make it a must-watch.


You could spend an entire weekend picking through Dario Argento’s early work (Suspiria, Demons, Deep Red) but this slice of Giallo horror is one of the director’s finest. A follow-up to Suspiria, it’s yet another movie that is almost impossible to describe.

Dreamlike, incoherent, insanely beautiful, and absurdly strange, Inferno is about the Mother of Darkness, a witch who runs an apartment building in New York. Dozens of people enter the building, but few ever leave. There are cats, mice, snakes, shattered windows, blood-red hallways, and blood-soaked basements. Hey, it could be worse…it could be in New Jersey.

28 Weeks Later:

28 Days Later exploded onto the horror scene in 2002 and instantly found fans all over the world–and then we got a sequel that was, somehow, just as good. Set in the immediate aftermath of the original, 28 Weeks Later starts with Britain trying to get back on its feet and ends with the world on its knees. It’s the kind of pandemic film that would have been great three years ago but feels a little much now.

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Evil Tech Might Be Behind an Online Predator Ruse in ‘The Artifice Girl’



An evil A.I. program appears to be behind the fake abduction of a young girl in XYZ’s forthcoming thriller The Artifice Girl.

This movie was originally a festival contender where it garnered the Adam Yauch Hörnblowér Award at SXSW, and won Best International Feature at last year’s Fantasia Film Festival.

The teaser trailer is below (a full one will be released soon), and it feels like a twisted take on the cult fave Megan is Missing. Although, unlike Megan, The Artifice Girl isn’t a found footage film it employs third-person computer tech in its narrative.

The Artifice Girl is the directorial feature film debut of Franklin Ritch. The film stars Tatum Matthews (The Waltons: Homecoming), David Girard (short “Teardrop Goodbye with Mandatory Directorial Commentary by Remy Von Trout”), Sinda Nichols (That Abandoned Place, “Bubblegum Crisis”), Franklin Ritch and Lance Henriksen (Aliens, The Quick and the Dead)

XYZ Films will release The Artifice Girl in Theaters, On Digital, and On Demand on April 27, 2023.

The More:

A team of special agents discovers a revolutionary new computer program to bait and trap online predators. After teaming up with the program’s troubled developer, they soon find that the AI is rapidly advancing beyond its original purpose. 

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Latest Shark Movie ‘The Black Demon’ Swims Into Spring



The latest shark movie The Black Demon is preemptively striking audiences who are used to these types of films during the summer by heading to theaters this spring on April 28.

Billed as an “edge-of-your-seat action thriller,” which is what we hope for in a Jaws ripoff, er…oceanic creature feature. But it does have one thing going for it, director Adrian Grunberg whose overly-bloody Rambo: Last Blood wasn’t the worst in that series.

The combo here is Jaws meets Deepwater Horizon. The trailer looks pretty entertaining, but I don’t know about the VFX. Let us know what you think. Oh, and the animal in peril is a black and white Chihuahua.

The More

Oilman Paul Sturges’ idyllic family vacation turns into a nightmare when they encounter a ferocious megalodon shark that will stop at nothing to protect its territory. Stranded and under constant attack, Paul and his family must somehow find a way to get his family back to shore alive before it strikes again in this epic battle between humans and nature.’

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‘Scream VII’ Greenlit, But Should the Franchise Take a Decade-Long Rest Instead?



Bam! Bam! Bam! No that’s not a shotgun inside the bodega in Scream VI, it’s the sound of producer’s fists rapidly hitting the green light button to further franchise favorites (i.e. Scream VII).

With Scream VI barely out of the gate, and a sequel reportedly filming this year, it seems horror fans are the ultimate target audience to get ticket sales back at the box office and away from “press play” streaming culture. But maybe it’s too much too soon.

If we haven’t learned our lesson already, banging out cheap horror movies in quick succession isn’t exactly a fool-proof strategy to get butts in theater seats. Let’s pause in a moment of silence to remember the recent Halloween reboot/retcon. Although the news of David Gordon Green blowing off the gossamer and resurrecting the franchise in three installments was great news in 2018, his final chapter did nothing but put the tarnish back on the horror classic.

Universal Pictures

Possibly drunk on the moderate success of his first two films, Green advanced to a third one very quickly but failed to provide fan service. Criticisms of Halloween Ends mainly hinged on the lack of screen time given to both Michael Myers and Laurie Strode and instead on a new character that didn’t have anything to do with the first two films.

“Honestly, we never once considered making a Laurie and Michael movie,” the director told Moviemaker. “The concept that it should be a final showdown-type brawl never even crossed our minds.”

How’s that again?

Although this critic enjoyed the last film, many found it off-course and perhaps a stand-alone that should have never been connected to the redeveloped canon. Remember Halloween came out in 2018 with Kills releasing in 2021 (thanks to COVID) and finally Ends in 2022. As we know, the Blumhouse engine is fueled by brevity from script to screen, and although it can’t be proven, hammering out the last two films so quickly might have been integral to its critical undoing.

Which brings us to the Scream franchise. Will Scream VII get underbaked purely because Paramount wants to reduce its cooking time? Also, too much of a good thing can make you sick. Remember, everything in moderation. The first movie was released in 1996 with the next almost exactly a year later, then the third three years after that. The latter is considered the weaker of the franchise, but still solid.

Then we enter the decade release timeline. Scream 4 released in 2011, Scream (2022) 10 years after that. Some may say, “well hey, the difference in release times between the first two Scream movies was exactly that of the reboot.” And that is correct, but consider that Scream (’96) was a film that changed horror movies forever. It was an original recipe and ripe for back-to-back chapters, but we are now five sequels deep. Thankfully Wes Craven kept things sharp and entertaining even through all the parodies.

Conversely, that same recipe also survived because it took a decade-long hiatus, giving new trends time to develop before Craven attacked the newer tropes in another installment. Remember in Scream 3, they still used fax machines and flip phones. Fan theory, social media and online celebrity were developing fetuses at that time. Those trends would be incorporated into Craven’s fourth movie.

Fast-forward another eleven years and we get Radio Silence’s reboot (?) which made fun of the new terms “requel” and “legacy characters.” Scream was back and fresher than ever. Which leads us to Scream VI and a change of venue. No spoilers here, but this episode seemed oddly reminiscent of re-hashed past storylines, which may have been a satire in and of itself.

Now, it’s been announced that Scream VII is a go, but it leaves us to wonder how such a short hiatus is going to fare with nothing in the horror zeitgeist to channel. In all of this race to get the big bucks, some are saying Scream VII could only top its predecessor by bringing back Stu? Really? That, in my opinion, would be a cheap effort. Some also say, that sequels often bring in a supernatural element, but that would be out of place for Scream.

Could this franchise do with a 5-7 year hiatus before it ruins itself on principle? That break would allow time and new tropes to develop — the franchise’s life’s blood — and mostly the power behind its success. Or is Scream heading into the “thriller” category, where the characters are just going to face another killer(s) in a mask without the irony?

Perhaps that is what the new generation of horror fans want. It could work of course, but the spirit of the canon would be lost. True fans of the series will spot a bad apple if Radio Silence does anything uninspired with Scream VII. That’s a lot of pressure. Green took a chance in Halloween Ends and that didn’t pay off.

All that being said, Scream, if anything, is a masterclass at building hype. But hopefully, these movies don’t turn into the campy iterations they make fun of in Stab. There is still some life left in these films even if Ghostface doesn’t have time to catnap. But as they say, New York never sleeps.

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