I am not the biggest fan of horror movie sequels. I often find that unneeded sequels take great movies and turn them into “meh” franchises. Still, despite my moaning and groaning every once in a while, there is a follow up to a horror movie that I just adore. Sometimes it’s because they are good, sometimes they manage to recapture what the original did, sometimes they are kind of awful, but I still love them. I thought it would be nice to look at some of the follow up to horror movies that I personally adore.
Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives
Now hold, before you completely abandon this entire blog post let me explain why. Friday the 13th as a franchise can be separated out. The first one was brilliant (in my opinion) because it took expectations and turned them on their head. 2-4 were kind middle ground. They were more “standard” slasher films but still brought enough suspense to stand out. 5 was an interesting experiment that people are mixed on. 6 of the series just gets goofy. Jason is brought back to life and becomes the overpowered insane killer that a lot of people associate him as. It was a marked downturn for the series where insane kills were really the only thing they were going for. Knowing this however, the series becomes just damn fun. For better or worse Jason Lives took Friday the 13th to a ridiculous place, and for me personally, a place I really enjoyed. They aren’t “good” movies exactly, but they are entertaining and scratch a specific slasher itch in me that no other franchise can.
I pick this because Scream 4 came the closest to recreating what happened in Scream. It is right that in the movie they call it not exactly a reboot but not exactly a sequel. It managed to bring the whole franchise into modern horror and really focus on redoing what Scream while still feeling fresh. It is also the best at doing “meta-horror” since the first.
The Devil’s Rejects
I am going to get this out of the way, I don’t like House of 1000 Corpses. I am not going to go into some long bashing thing, but I just don’t think it’s a well-done movie. It has a few moments, but I could leave it and be happy. So when Rob Zombie came along with a sequel to House, I wasn’t all that interested but still gave it a go. The Devil’s Rejects is a marked improvement over House and brings a lot of thrills and blood. It still suffers from some features that I don’t personally care for in Zombie’s movies, but I think it’s pretty dang good.
Dawn of the Dead
I think most people would say that Dawn of the Dead is the best movie in the franchise. I hate to agree because I think Night of the Living Dead was so important, but Dawn is just a damn good flick. It took what Romero had created and amped it up to 11 without ever feeling overdone or over the top.
Nightmare on Elm Street Dream Warriors
I went back and forth whether or not to include Dream Warriors or New Nightmare in this list. I didn’t want to do two from one franchise, but I like them both for different reasons. Since I already included a meta-horror movie from Wes Craven, I decided to go Dream Warriors. Dreams Warriors is much like another movie included on this list, in that it might not be the best horror film, but it is a fun film. Dream Warriors took the disturbing humor from the first movie and leaned into it with excellent results. There is still enough disturbing moments to make it horror, but with enough humor to make you feel a bit bad for what the movie gets you to laugh at.
Bride of Frankenstein
What I liked best about Frankenstein was it’s attempt to capture the fact that the real monster was Frankenstein and the creature was as much a victim as everyone else. It doesn’t do this perfectly, primarily due to the production code, but it gets pretty darn close. Bride attempts this same thing and in some ways more successfully. The creature’s relationship with the old man highlights how much the creature wants affection, is able to care, and with someone better as his creator could have turned out differently.
I’ve discussed my love for this movie before and its place in the Hellraiser franchise. As I said before Hellraiser is a bit odd in that a lot of the movies feel like stand-alone pieces that happen to have common threads (the Cenobites) rather than a fleshed out franchise. This is not necessarily a bad thing, it means that you have a lot of different places for the stories to go. Outside of I and II (which are entirely connected), Deader is my favorite. It is not a perfect film, but it is the one I enjoy the most. I think it walks the line between horror movie and mystery well, and I rather enjoyed the overall story. When I revisit horror movies this is one of my go to.
What do you think? What are some of your favorite horror movie sequels?
Also before anybody comments, yes I know I left Aliens out, and that was intentional. Aliens is a good film, but I don’t find it to be a horror film and rather an action flick with some horror moments. So I left it out because I don’t think it qualifies, and I actually don’t care for the tone shift at all.