Home Horror Entertainment News Can ‘Scream 5’ Escape the Curse of the Fifth Franchise Film?

Can ‘Scream 5’ Escape the Curse of the Fifth Franchise Film?

by Chris Harper
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Scream 5

With Scream 5 on the horizon, we have to ask: Will it escape the seemingly cursed position of the fifth installment of a franchise?

There seems to be a trend in horror franchises. Typically, the fifth seems to be the one that is universally hated and usually the least financially successful. This is not entirely the fault of the film itself. By the time we’ve reached the fifth entry in a series people have gotten bored or moved on.

If there’s going to be a fifth film, it has to breathe life back into the franchise. It’s a new beginning essentially. It should bring something new to revitalize the game, but for some reason they all seem to be the worst. So, what makes these fifth installments so bad? Is there any hope for Scream 5 and others that might follow?

Friday the 13th: A New Beginning

Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter was supposed to be the end of Jason Voorhees, but fans were dying for more.  When The Final Chapter became a massive success, a sequel was rushed into production. But with Jason officially killed off; where do you go?

When Friday the 13th: A New Beginning (the fifth in the series) was announced, it was a chance to break new ground!

The film is set a few years after The Final Chapter. Tommy Jarvis (John Shepard) is a teenager, dealing with the trauma from the previous film. After years in psychiatric hospitals, he is sent to PineHurst Halfway House to start a new life. Unfortunately, as soon as he arrives, bodies begin to pile around him begging the question; has Jason returned from the dead or has someone taken Jason’s place?

When New Beginning was released, the film was a disappointment on many levels: Corey Feldman could only return for a cameo; gore and nudity replaced the story. There was excessive drug use, trashy characters, and a boring story.

The biggest disappointment-Spoiler Alert-Jason is not the killer. Removing Jason  infuriated fans. The idea might have been more successful if the killer had been Tommy. That twist was already set up at the end of Final Chapter.

Instead, we were given Roy (Dick Wieand), an EMT out for revenge on PineHurst after his son is murdered at the facility early on in the film. They tried to make Roy a Mrs. Voorhees type character, but the people wanted Jason Voorhees.

New Beginning was meant to restart the franchise, but it doesn’t even feel like a Friday the 13th film. Instead, it resembles a cheap rip-off rather than an actual sequel. The film tried to be bold and take chances but ended up being a gory, sleaze fest.

A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child

Can Scream 5 escape the curse of the fifth installment that nearly killed A Nightmare on Elm Street?

Between the summer and fall of 1989, A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child and Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers were both released and both fell under ‘the curse of the fifth film.’

By the time the film came out, its villain had already become a horror icon, and the franchise had found its groove with Dream Warriors and Dream Master launching the franchise to new heights.

Dream Child had to live up to the pressure of being as successful as the previous films, but it seemed set up for failure. The film was rushed into production without a finalized script and no clear direction.

In A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Dream Child, Freddy (Robert Englund) became a ‘father’. The film saw the return of ‘final girl’ Alice (Lisa Wilcox) from Dream Master who inadvertently allows Freddy to resurface through her unborn baby’s dreams. She then feeds the souls of her dead friends to her baby while also giving him strength. The plot is convoluted and confusing.

This is the film that took Freddy in more of a comedic direction. Even though Freddy has always been somewhat funny, he became over the top in Dream Child. Instead of waiting for the scare, we were waiting for one of Freddy’s one-liners.

Dream Child dealt with topics that were even too hot for the 80s: abortion, teen pregnancies, bulimia, sexual assault. Audiences weren’t ready for such controversial topics-especially for a Nightmare on Elm Street movie. These controversial sub-plots led to the demise of the film, the least successful in the franchise and some would say universally disliked by fans.

Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers

Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers was released less than a year after Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers. Like Dream Child, it was rushed into production with no clear direction, no final script, and was plagued with production problems.

The film picks up immediately after Halloween 4‘s cliffhanger ending with Jamie (Danielle Harris) stabbing her adopted mother. It set the film up perfectly for Jamie to become the next killer, taking over for her uncle. Instead, Halloween 5 finds Jamie as Michael’s prey. Further, she is now mute and is telepathically linked to her uncle, able to sense when he is going to kill next.

Halloween 5 lacked what made the previous films successful: suspense and tension, relatable characters and a simple but scary story.

Instead, it went the supernatural route and lacked any type of substance. The film is campy with cardboard characters, two goofy cops, and strange subplots-the introduction of the mysterious Man in Black-that wouldn’t be explained until Curse of Michael Myers.

One of the biggest complaints was the killing of fan-favorite Rachel Carruthers (Ellie Cornell). After Rachel’s death, we lost that sisterly bond between Jamie and Rachel that made Halloween 4 so special. It felt like a slap to the face for the fans. Even worse, after Rachel’s death we were left with an unredeemable replacement for her-Tina aka one of the most annoying characters in the entire franchise.

Danielle Harris was the only saving grace of that film, without her, Halloween 5 would’ve been a total disaster.

Seed of Chucky

In the 90’s, we saw a slew of sequels, many of which went straight-to-video. Leprechaun (Warwick Davis) went to the hood in his fifth outing. In Hellraiser: Inferno, Pinhead (Doug Bradley) became an afterthought. The horror genre was churning out dismal sequel after dismal sequel. The genre was seemingly dying out until Scream was released in 1996. Afterward, we saw a resurgence of the slasher genre, which also reintroduced icons from the past with the releases of Halloween: H20, Jason X, and Bride of Chucky.

Bride of Chucky was a fresh take on the franchise. Then, Seed of Chucky came along and killed everything that made the previous film so special and fun.

Seed of Chucky tried to capitalize on the chemistry between Chucky (Brad Douriff) and Tiffany (Jennifer Tilly). They became the main protagonist of the film, which played out like a family drama, focusing on the duo raising their child.

The story finds Chucky and Tiffany resurrected by their offspring Glen/Glenda (Billy Boyd). It plays on the concept of a movie within a movie as Seed of Chucky is set during the production of a film being made about Chucky and Tiffany, allowing Jennifer Tilly a chance to play herself and the killer doll.

Sadly, by the time Seed of Chucky was released, the meta concept-brought to the foreground in Scream-had been done to death. The film lacked originality. It felt tired and lazy and turned to humor instead of horror. It ultimately felt like you were watching a spoof with its weird and outlandish storylines.

The Child’s Play films have always had humor-it’s a killer doll movie-but with Seed of Chucky the humor replaced the horror entirely. We have Chucky masturbating, Jennifer Tilly getting pregnant with Chucky’s baby, Chucky murdering a Britney Spears parody, and a weird paparazzo played by John Waters. The whole film is just outrageous.

Through all of that, the film was really about coming to terms with who you are, focusing on the sub-plot of Glen/Glenda coming to terms with his/her identity. Before Seed of Chucky, such topics as being gay or transgender were very rarely discussed at all in horror. Even today, they are still sensitive subjects. Don Mancini, who is gay himself, took bold chances bringing these issues to the surface, but audiences weren’t ready.

Seed of Chucky definitely went off course with its humorous and outlandish plot, and it would be years before the franchise got back on track with Curse of Chucky and its sequel Cult of Chucky.

Saw V

Saw V Scream 5

The early 2000s saw another resurgence of horror moving in a different direction, this time, with Saw. The film created an entire sub-genre, “torture porn.” There was never a franchise quite like Saw. It was a horror movie that made you appreciate your life while trying to escape a torture device.

No matter how great Saw is, however, it is no exception when it comes to having a lousy fifth installment.

By the time we got to Saw V, the franchise was starting to lose steam. The film finds another group of people put through a series of deadly traps, and follows Jigsaw’s apprentice carrying on his deadly legacy.

The concept was played out. At some point you had to ask yourself: how many times can I watch someone get tortured before it gets old and stale?

Sadly, it brought nothing new to the story and there’s nothing that makes it stand out from the others. The film lacked the quality of the previous films in the franchise. Also, with most of the characters from the previous films dead-including Jigsaw himself- there was nowhere left to go.

The biggest flaw of Saw V came with the omission of Tobin Bell and having the story shift to his new apprentice, Detective Mark Hoffman (Costas Mandylor). Costas tried to capture the essence of what made Jigsaw scary and intriguing but there is only one true Jigsaw. Bell is the heart and soul of the Saw franchise. Not having him in Saw V was like not having Jason Voorhees in a Friday the 13th film- we all know how that goes.

The film is not technically the worst in the series. It had a decent cast, but it lacked originality and the absence of Tobin Bell made for one lackluster entry.

And now, we have Scream 5.

Set for release in January 2022, fans are eagerly waiting for the return of Ghostface in Scream 5. As far as we know, the new film is not a reboot or remake but a fifth entry in the franchise. Currently, the plot remains unknown but has the surviving characters from Scream 4 returning to battle a new killer behind the mask once again.

We will have to wait till 2022 to find out what happens but what do you think? Can Scream 5  break the curse?

 

Featured Image: Sidney Prescott and her aunt faceoff against Ghostface in Scream 4. Can she survive another round in Scream 5?