Sure, that title may be a little misleading because you might think I’m going to be discussing the Halloween franchise or just Michael Meyers himself? But oh no, this post is strictly about sequels, (get it? Cuz I stuck again in there?…I know, I’m lame).
Sequels, they’re made to be bigger and better …that’s what I look for in a sequel and what I need to make it good for me. I think for a successful sequel you need to up the stakes or at least change up the game a little to the point where it’s not the same as the first. Originally I was gonna just make a list of best horror sequels, but then I thought why not throw in the shitty ones too? There are just as many bad ones as there are good ones, probably more bad ones actually. So this is gonna be a first on this blog where I stick two lists into one post, just cuz! Let’s get started shall we?
6. Saw II (2005)
The Saw franchise really isn’t what I choose to watch when I think horror, the mega gore isn’t really my thing, but this sequel is my one exception. I think the first three are the best of the series and they kind of just became tropes after that, so I kind of like to think of the first three as their own trilogy and this one is my favorite. The original Saw was actually much more psychological than people like to remember and I think it was good for when it came out because it was something new and shocking (similar to how I feel about Blair Witch Project), but I definitely don’t see myself going back to rewatch it. But this followup is another story, it’s the beginning of the “torture porn” craze that gets brought up so much when these movies are mentioned, but this time the torture and the gore works with the story. You have this group of strangers stuck in an unknown space and they have to work their ways through these various torturous traps and deaths, you know how it goes at this point. The reason why this is the one I put above all the others is because of some of the deaths, there are so many chilling and toe curling deaths (one having to do with a bed of needles in particular), and it stays with you. So if you’re in the mood for a balls to the wall bloody horror movie that will keep you on your feet, Saw II is your forte.
5. Evil Dead II (1984)
A lot of people like to say that they like this movie better than the original Evil Dead but I have disagree. The original Evil Dead is a movie unlike anything I’ve seen in horror for it’s time and I don’t think it will ever be beat (I do enjoy the 2013 remake but still), that being said though, this is a damn good sequel. I can just see Sam Raimi thinking about making a follow up to the first movie and thinking “more blood, more over the top and more comedy!”. Evil Dead II basically hits the same beats of the first movie but with more heightened gore and a little more goofiness. So I think if you’re in the mood for a bloody horror movie but one that won’t completely make yo shit your pants, this is the one. I think really my only complaint is our side characters (basically everyone that isn’t Bruce Campbell), for some reason I really couldn’t get into them the way the movie wanted me to, but it’s nothing that ruined my experience, I would still suggest this as a great sequel for anyone into horror.
4. The Conjuring 2 (2016)
Seeing The Conjuring in theaters was one of my favorite horror movie experiences I’ve had. It was exactly what I wanted when I went to go see a scary movie, there were jumps, there were screams and there was a lot of freaky shit. So going into The Conjuring 2 I really wasn’t sure what I was going to get because I was excited in general but wasn’t completely sold on the movie. The trailers and ads for this movie just really didn’t get me excited for some reason, but much to my surprise this movie was just as good, if not even a little better, than the original. I know a lot of people disagree with that, but I really do think that this sequel has some distinct moments that are better than the original for me. I don’t know, maybe it’s the rainy setting of London that sucked me in or that creepy nun (those damn nuns). But I think really the thing that pulled me in the most was Vera Farmiga’s performance and her chemistry with Patrick Wilson, they really sold me on the fact that they were this happily married couple trying to do what they can to help this family that’s in need. I would say don’t listen to the people that say this isn’t good or that you shouldn’t go see it because I think that it deserves a chance.
3. Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981)
How about that picture, eeh? If that doesn’t make you want to watch this movie I don’t know what will! I’ve mentioned my fondness for this horror movie before in a past Halloween list, and I still feel the same way I did before …it’s better than the original. Yes you heard me, I don’t like the original Friday the 13th and I like it’s follow up more! It does exactly what I listed above; it ups the stakes, it differentiates itself from the original enough formula wise but still connects to the original perfectly, it’s got a better final girl and it’s far more exciting. I’ll be 100% honest, I have not seen every single film in this franchise, but from what I’ve read I don’t really need to because like many other horror franchises the charm dies off after a while, so I’m gonna stick to my opinion! I’m not going to say anything else other than go watch this movie for a good ole bloody time.
2. I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (1998)
I’ll just say this, this is one of many horror movies (and horror sequels), that I love because it’s just so stupid and ridiculous. I wanna say that this movie knows what it is and it has fun with it, but at the same time it feels like the makers could’ve taken this so seriously and it just turned out to be hilariously over the top. Here’s what you need to know, this is I Know What You Did Last Summer if you set it on an island and replaced Sarah Michelle Gellar with Brandy. For some reason I like this one more than it’s original. I guess I never really fell for the original the way some did because I love the Scream movies so much that it felt like a rehash in a way (probably helps that both movies were written by Kevin Williamson), but with a less interesting killer and a really weak “twist”. There’s something about horror movies on islands with lots of rain and dark rooms that really fascinate me for some reason, it’s just such a good setting for a horror movie and I like to see what the creators will do with it. And I would say that, for better or for worse, this one does a lot of fun stuff with that.
1. Scream 2 (1997)
If you’ve read this blog before then you know I really enjoy the Scream franchise (3 and 4 are significantly weaker than the first two, but they’re still fun). So when I say that this is in my top 3 of best sequels, I mean it. This is another one where the stakes are brought up to a level that is so crazy and fun to watch but it also has enough of a connection to the original that it feels like we’re still in a franchise of movies. You could argue that this is basically the first movie all over again but in college and with more deaths, and you I wouldn’t say you’re wrong, but in the case of this movie it works. Somehow, Kevin Williamson and Wes Craven were able pretty much recycle the plot of the original, twist things around a little and make it work. There are so many great thrills and scares in this one that it’s hard to try and figure out where to start. Really my only thing I don’t love is one scene in particular that has to do with singing and has nothing to do with moving the story of this movie forward, but other than that I’d say this is a pitch perfect follow up to 1996’s Scream.
6. Paranormal Activity 2 (2010)
I don’t know if I’ve mentioned before, but the “found footage” horror genre is most definitely my least favorite type of scary movie. Blair Witch Project is one of few times that I think it’s actually worked, but even that one I’ve only seen once. There’s just something about the kind of lost footage thing that I find sort of phony and just not scary, and good god is this movie not scary. It’s actually more boring than scary just due to the fact that a majority of the movie is taken up by shots of a baby’s crib. I will mention that I think the first Paranormal Activity movie was at least a tad interesting and definitely was treading new water when it came out but it’s a movie for me that is just not interesting when you know what’s going to happen because it feels like it’s built on that sort of iconic ending. So yeah, it’s clear that I really don’t like this movie and find it snooze worthy, so maybe just skip this one if you see if on Netflix or something, it’s not worth your time.
5. The Grudge 2 (2006)
The funniest thing about this movie is that it was my favorite thing in middle school. I must’ve watched this with my friends about 10 times and thought it was the coolest shit. Fast forward to about 10 years later, I watch this and am blown away by just how shitty it is ..and by how much hair is in it, seriously there’s so much hair in this movie. This is one of those mid 2000’s PG-13 horror movies that were constantly coming out for a while there. They were released to appeal to horror fans but at the same time a younger, teenage audience so they would make what would be a usually bloody or gory scene into a stupid CGI sequence. This movie does that but x10 and all with hair coming through people’s mouths. It’s funny because going back and watching it I realized that this actually has a relatively big cast, in terms of actors and actresses that we know now. I mean there’s Amber Tamblyn, Arielle Kebbel (also in The Uninvited, which is a fun little horror movie), and Teresa Palmer. I’ll also just admit that I really don’t enjoy the Grudge movies at all, or really just the asian ghost genre all that much. I think that The Ring is really my only exception, but other than that it’s not really my forte, just thought you should know that. But if you were, for some reason, thinking of turning this one on ..I’d say skip it.
4. The Hills Have Eyes II (2007)
How can a sequel to a pretty great remake be soooo boring? Yes everyone, this is another painfully boring sequel that had no business being made in the first place, especially due to the fact that it’s about something completely different (which is fine if you make it work), and has nothing going for it. This movie’s main scare and advertising tactic was of a mutant human (whatever they’re called), dragging someone in bag, also a lot of licking. I remember seeing the remake of the Wes Craven original and actually liking it a little more than it’s original and being kind of excited for the fact that there was another movie, but little did I know what I had to sit through. I’ll sum it up with the fact that probably no one remembers or even knows about this movie is for a reason.
3. A Nightmare On Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge (1985)
This is that movie in the Nightmare franchise that I always forget about. I remember 5, 6 and 7 but always forget about this one for some reason. The thing about Freddy’s Revenge is that it’s not hard to sit through or anything it’s just nowhere near as good when you compare to the original and some of it’s sequels (Dream Warriors especially). So I guess I could’ve cut this one some slack and put it at #6 or something but I’m going to keep this one where it is because it’s just such a weird movie that really doesn’t belong in this franchise. It’s more of a body dismorphia movie that has a lot of undertones (and some super on the nose moments), about coming out of the closet. When I first watched this sequel when I was younger I didn’t really catch the references to being gay or hiding yourself that the movie unsubtly makes by having Freddy be inside of our main character for a good bit of the movie. But now watching it again I caught on to everything and saw what they were kind of trying to do with the movie, and honestly I think that subtext is what brings the movie down a little? Look, I’m gay myself and think you should be able to love who you want but it just doesn’t work here. Aside from all that, I just don’t think it’s a very good movie when you look at it on it’s own, or at least a very good horror movie. As a sequel to what I would call Wes Craven’s iconic A Nightmare on Elm Street, this doesn’t work, so I would say skip over this one and just go straight to what I would consider the true sequel to the original, Dream Warriors.
2. Halloween II (2009)
I talked about the first Halloween remake from Rob Zombie in the last horror post where I discussed remakes, and it wasn’t my favorite. I think that version had some interesting ideas and a few scenes that I liked but overall it just was nothing when you compared it to John Carpenter’s original. The sequel from Zombie is a whole other story, it’s just so much worse and makes so much less sense. First of all, it’s a remake of the 1981 sequel but it also isn’t because it’s so different, we get a small chunk of the movie in a hospital but it’s not really like that original sequel at all. I’m not saying that this needed to be a direct remake of the ’81 sequel, it’s actually kind of nice that they went a different route (I did really enjoy the ’81 sequel so I like that they left that one alone), but how the final product turned out just isn’t good. The whole movie is preachy and has a lot of Sheri Moon Zombie walking around with a white horse telling Michael things, it’s a mess. I would suggest checking out the 1981 sequel to John Carpenter’s Halloween because it’s just so much better.
1. Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977)
Funny enough, that picture I chose is wildly misleading for this movie and doesn’t represent it at all because this is not really an exorcism movie. Sure, there are a few scenes where our characters are trying to communicate with certain forces but we don’t really get anything in relation to the first movie, the most we get is the return of Linda Blair. Another thing is that it’s just not very scary at all, it’s actually more silly than scary. I’ll just tell you that there’s a whole section of the movie where James Earl Jones walks around in a giant bug suit, and if that doesn’t give you an idea of what this movie is than I don’t know what will. Shit, the trailer for this movie is even scarier than the final product, the soundtrack is scarier!! (but also a tad annoying). The Heretic is horrible even just as a movie on it’s own, but when you compare it to the iconic 1973 original, it’s just a whole lot of bugs and Richard Burton running around and yelling …don’t waste your time with this one.
So there ya go! Those were my best and worst sequels, hope you liked it!