Sequels in the movie industry are a fickle thing, they can add great plot points and depth to characters, or they can almost drag a franchise into the ground. Everyone can think of at least one or two sequels that might even be better than the originals (though this is really few and far between), but what about those additions to the franchise’s that make us yawn, stare at the movies’ run time slowly ticking away, or just making us raise our hands in frustration for having sat though what should have been another acceptable entry into a well established linage but seemed to fall flat on their face. This is my list of the top 10 horror sequels that would have been better off not being made. Now if I left it as open ended as that I would have to make a top 100 list, so I’m going to narrow it down to franchise’s that have more (in my opinion) good entries then bad ones and horror series that are established enough that they can be recognized by the everyday horror fan. So sorry but you’re not going to see anything like Creepshow 3, Day of the Dead 2 Contagium, or Silent Night Deadly Night Part 2, which are all so bad in their own right. So let’s dive in.
Yes Scream 4, some people are probably thinking why, that’s not a bad entry into the Scream legacy, and I fully agree it’s not a bad movie, but it was very unnecessary. I remember being stoked to go see this movie, and after the initial viewing and several more viewings after, the same thought continues to run through my mind, pointless. Not bad, not good either, but just pointless to the series. The first time I saw each of the Scream films independently I thought they were getting worse and worse as the run continued, but then one week I decided that I would sit down and re-watch Scream, after the movie finished I thought I might as well put in the second and something shocked me, watching them back to back I appreciated it more. So the only thing left was to watch the third installment, and surprisingly it wrapped up everything very nicely, and probably completed one of the tightest and best trilogies in horror history. Now comes along four which didn’t kill off any main characters, didn’t introduce any that would probably play a big part in any future movies, and really felt like it was only made to bring the franchise to the new “technological” generation. But the thing about great movies is that they transcend generational gaps and people can understand most of the outdated tendencies that occur throughout the films. So unless there is ever a fifth movie (which at one time was rumored) that somehow connects to this one, this film in my eyes will be the black sleep of the bunch.
Like a lot of little independent movies anymore, they surprise the heck out of you. They come up with original ideas that can make you sit a little close to the edge of your seat, or put you on nerve a little more. To me that’s what the first V/H/S film did, yes analogies have been around for decades in horror cinema, but some are done to a much better effect then others. And the one piece that can put you in the right mood is the bookends and little pieces of the story that happen in between the short stories that are taking place, and V/H/S seemed to have mastered this. The second also had a decent sub story between the shorts, but the shorts themselves weren’t as strong. Now comes V/H/S: Viral, and there was only two things that it had to do to make it fit in with the other entries; first the movies have to be of the “found footage” variety and second is the book ends have to have someone watching VHS tapes, and it didn’t do it. It’s in the title of the film, how could they not have a person or group of people find their way into a house and sit down to watch a bunch of VHS tapes? Instead once again it feels like they tried to get with the times and you watch a guy chasing an ambulance around with a camera trying to get back his girlfriend. This and the fact that without counting the chase segments there are only 3 shorts this time (the first movie had 5 and the second had 4) and although the first two are good, the length of the three make the chase scenes further apart and it doesn’t flow as well as the rest.
- Halloween The Curse of Michael Myers/ Halloween 666: The Producer’s Cut
What do you get after a move is made, seemingly hated and then some of the scenes reshot and the plot points taken out? The last installment of the Jamie Lloyd storyline in a Halloween film, and what a mess it ended up becoming, and that helped it land on the list. If you watch the official release, Halloween the Curse of Michael Myers, the movie is scattered and unimpressive compared to the rest the movies. Yes the death scenes are nice and it seems like a mindless splatter fest, but that’s not what the movie was supposed to be. In fact it delved into the real origin of Michael and how he became the seemingly unstoppable killing machine. And now thanks to Anchor Bay and Scream Factory the version that was never meant to be seen finally can be in the Halloween: The Complete Collection Limited Deluxe Edition. This is not to say that the Producers Cut is great, it seems more convoluted than any other installment, and the reasoning behind Michael’s motives are kind of underwhelming, but it at least explains something and brings the roots back to the Halloween holiday. If I had to choose between the two I would differently pop in the Producers Cut over the other, but that’s still not saying a whole lot.
This was a hard one to put on the list; I can’t fault them for trying to do something different as the first sequel to A Nightmare on Elm Street. But being sandwiched between the classic that is part one, and the best entry in part three; it doesn’t follow the same formula and really sticks out. The biggest difference is that Freddy uses a young boy, Jesse, as a conduit to commit his killings. And yes is it is people, not just teenagers this time, but it gets confusing when watching, not knowing if the people can see Freddy or if it’s just Jesse doing the killings while being possessed. As the movie moves along Jesse is being more and more possessed by Freddy, and is slowly changing into him, until the climax when Freddy breaks free and is once again set loose in the real world. As much as they change the movie to make it differ from the first it still uses the same ending, with the survivors getting into a vehicle that Freddy has taken control of and driving into the background. Like I said in the beginning, I’m not going to blast this movie for attempting something else, but it just didn’t work, so my advice skip part two and just move straight on to part three.
- Seed of Chucky
Let’s just start by saying that this movie did ruin the Child’s Play franchise to the point where it took nine years for the newest release to come out, and it dismissed anything that might have happened in the last movie. The movie centers on the son/daughter of Chucky and Tiffany, so you would think that their child, Glen or Glenda, would be just like them looking for a body to steal to become human and killing anyone that gets in the way, but instead it wants nothing to do with the “family business”. And both Chucky and Tiffany do fight over the sex of their child which is another bad story plot this movie takes on. The Child’s Play series was great at mixing humor and horror, but for the first three it focused more on the horror, and then with Bride of Chucky it flipped to more of a comedy with horror elements but it was done well so no one seemed to mind. Now Seed comes along with the same type of thought and it ended up being a disaster. This is only for the true completists that need to know what happens, but be warned stay away.
I want to just start out by saying that I’m a huge fan of Adam Green’s work and I truly believe that he will one day be talked about with the same respect that we as horror fans talk about the likes of Wes Craven, John Carpenter, and George Romero. Now with that said, everyone is due to make a bad movie, and for me this is it. I’m sure some people are looking upon this with disgust saying about how gory the movie was and the raised body count, and that’s what did it for me. It’s just blood and gore and not much substance, it feels rushed to come out to ride upon the first’s success and is just kind of there. There were stories that this movie was original supposed to be brought to theaters, but it would have to be toned down or receive an x rating. That’s something great to attach to your movie if that’s all you’re going for, but impressive it is not. If you want gore, blood, and bad acting this is a must watch, but looking for a good revival to the slasher legacy, stick to the first and the third films.
Now we are starting to scrap the bottom of the garbage pile. This pick was truly a tossup with Friday part eight and Jason Goes to Hell, but this one squeaks into last place with the help of a really bad plot, terrible acting, and characters that tell us hundreds of years into the future we truly are doomed. So the start of the movie is promising, even though like Jason Goes to Hell it too disregards anything that happens in the last movie. Jason has finally been captured and our government thinks that if we can’t kill Jason why can’t they uncover his secrets and weaponize him. After he breaks free an agent gets him into a cryogenics chamber that he happens to make malfunction, leaving them both frozen for 445 years into the future. As the Earth crumbles around them the facility stays perfectly in tacked leaving both able to be unfrozen and the killing spree ensues. Sounds great right, wrong, it’s the same terrible plot that’s been plaguing the series for years, but this time in space. So what are some of the problems with this movie; first in the opening sequence Jason is back to fully human form, all the great looking zombie Jason make up is gone. Second, for the second straight movie the government acknowledges that Jason is real and a serious threat, which downplays the whole scary “stalk your pray” killer that made this franchise what it was. Third, you truly root for Jason to just slaughter every living thing in sight, since all the characters are shallow and need to be killed off as quickly as possible. And lastly, Uber Jason, need I say more. You can argue for hours, days, weeks, which one of the three installments between part seven and Freddy vs. Jason is the worst but for me it’s always going to be Jason being carried off into space by a military astronaut.
The film that could have and probably should have ruined this franchise. How many times are they going to try the same thing, by the fourth film it was tired and repetitive. Now how did I choose this over The Marked Ones? Simple The Marked Ones at least tries to explain a little bit more about the rituals that cause all of this to happen, and the end scene that connects it to the first. But besides that it’s not really a prize winner either. I just want to go on to say that I love the first film, it was a breath of fresh air to both the low budget and found footage genres, and wasn’t over the top to the point where you knew it wasn’t real. The second film came and gave us a little more story to the sisters and what was going on, and the third shinned some light as to how they where chosen for this burden with the devil. Now came four, it was the next step as you follow the life of Katie and her now son, but it only partially focuses around them, but instead a new family and it’s the same thing over again. No new scares, not the same tension filled moments as before, just blah. If you would happen to miss this entry then you are not going to feel lost while watching the others, but hey they could turn it around with The Ghost Dimension. Right?
And here comes the hate from the readers, I can feel it now. Rob Zombie is a very talented musician, but as a film maker, not so much. This movie is the only reason that his remake of Halloween didn’t make the list (even though it really should have). In his first reboot he mostly followed the original with some of his own touch put into it, then his second movie picks up where is first leaves off with Laurie going to the hospital, and you think that he is going to follow the story plot to the original sequel, but he then skips ahead a year and picks up from there. Which is not a bad idea it gives time for all the characters to change personalities and further develop, and I’m not going to go into a whole recap of the movie, but here are the reasons this movie stunk. The first and worst thing about this movie was Sherri Moon Zombie in a white dress dragging a white horse around the whole movie. Yes it’s supposed to connect Michael to his mother but it feels too over the top. Next, Dr. Loomis has decided that Michael is dead and goes on the talk show circuit with his new book, this weakens the character considerably. He now comes off as only having done everything for the fame and not to try and help Michael or the Myers family at all. The killing is unnecessarily over the top, I remember when Michael would just put a knife through people and it was much scarier than this new mutilation method. And lastly, now Laurie and Michael are psychically linked together and Laurie starts to image that she is the killer, which makes you distance yourself from the character as she turns into the villain instead of the strong survivor. This whole movie feels more artsy then it needs to be, and this might by why we’ve gone six years without another entry.
Before we get to number 1 I would like to through in an honorable mention, I didn’t feel like it was a true sequel to the series or it would have been in the top three, and that gem would be Leprechaun Origins. This movie took a great horror comedy franchise and just stomped it into the ground. They changed the Leprechaun into a monster instead of the character that we fell in love with. Let me just say boo to this movie, why kill off a beloved horror icon to try and make the movie more frightening, and it even failed at that. So my advice is to stay away from this movie and rise up to demand that a new movie be made with Warwick Davis back in the Leprechaun make up.
- Return of the Living Dead: Rave to the Grave/ Necropolis
Yes my number one pick is in fact two number one picks, that’s not fair you might think, whelp it’s my list so live with it. The great thing about these two movies is that they were shot at the same time, using largely the same cast members, and only being released six months apart. They did this because it was cheaper to shoot both films back to back then it would have been to shoot them separately. But they forgot one thing, it’s better to make one good, or even decent movie then it is to make two abysmal ones. They disregard the early entries where the zombies can’t be killed by a simple shot to the head, but instead cremation or electrocution (depending on which movie you’re watching). Rave to the Grave features students taking the new drug, z, that has been taking the campus by storm, but it also turns them into incredibly weak zombies that are easy to kill and that you should not be afraid of. Then Necropolis, tells of teenagers that break into the most dominating corporation the world has ever seen and strolls through the masses of zombies that are there to kill them. Both these movies take away everything the original made famous and just spit all over it. The writer credited to both these movies, William Butler, as since dismissed both of them as the studio brought in another writer to rewrite them, changing most of his original work. Even if that’s not true it’s probably the best thing to say.
So that’s my list I’m sure not everyone’s going to agree, in fact some people might think that I’m off base on most of my picks, but it’s always great to see where others perspectives are. So if you don’t agree, make your own list to see how it stacks up.