Horror movie sequels usually end up not reaching the same level as your original movie, or the audience doesn’t tend to expect anything when sequels are released. And it might even be a good thing, because some of them could surprise us.
And this can happen, even in classic horror franchises where the original has even more fame than some sequel during the franchise. So we have “Friday the 13th” and “Child’s Play” as examples, which you can see in this list.
It’s also nice to note that great filmmakers with these sequences of their films felt free and wanted to innovate, even risking something quite different from their predecessor. This is about horror directors names like Wes Craven, George A. Romero and Joe Dante.
10. Halloween II (Rob Zombie, 2009)
Rob Zombie’s film is a continuation of the first movie in 2007 that is a remake of the ‘70s John Carpenter work. And if in the first one he showed more of Michael Myers’ dramatized origin, he then feels free and goes a different way here, going to a surrealistic side recalling David Lynch’s works.
“Halloween II” is a movie about post-traumatic stress from a sister who is still disturbed by the brutal events of her brother (Michael Myers) as a child. Yet Myers’ single life purpose is to rebuild this family again. A family composed of a mother who is dead and appears to him as an angel, a traumatized teenage sister, and a psychopathic brother with a child’s mindset. It’s a different character than the other Halloween movies; for example we see him in several scenes without the mask, and this is what makes this movie even more interesting.
And as every work of the filmmaker is brutally violent, it ends up with necessary explicit violence to expose all the pain and tragedy experienced by its characters, whether in the past or present. The first 20 minutes at the hospital are a good example of how Zombie can be uniquely brutal in murder scenes, and the Slasher thanks him for that.
9. Friday the 13th: Part III (Steve Miner, 1982)
The third movie of the Friday the 13th franchise doesn’t escape the premise of the previous, so it follows a group of young people who camp on Lake Crystal Lake and deal with iconic assassin Jason Voorhees.
What makes this one stand out more than the others is that Jason seems to have more presence here as an entity of his own, mainly because this is the first movie where he wears the famous hockey mask, making him more terrifying to both the characters and the public.
Steve Miner was creative with death scenes, perhaps because the film was shot with a 3D lens, making it more interesting. Even if one doesn’t watch in 3D, it’s noticeable how it works. The deaths are not only creative, but also more brutal than the previous ones, including Jason himself.
8. Unfriended: Dark Web (Stephen Susco, 2018)
A young man finds a laptop in the restaurant and takes it to his house, wanting to show his friends; they do a video chat and then browse the deepness of the dark web. They also realize that all their movements are being watched and still lead them to something even darker.
By its premise, it surpassed the first film, because Stephen Susco prefers something closer to reality (cybercrime) than following the idea of his predecessor to follow something more supernatural. By focusing on these dark web cybercrimes and this more realistic side, the film manages to scare and shock more, bringing even paranoia to the viewer. And just like the first one, it is entirely displayed on a laptop screen, so the observation on the laptop makes the experience even more interesting.
It is also interesting how the rhythm of the film perfectly matches the aesthetics of desktop. And along with the characters, you discover what’s on a stranger’s computer. In this also accompanies the deaths that are best done here, because they are performed by someone physical, and in some moments of the film we even see torture porn.
“Unfriended: Dark Web” can split the critics, but it’s undeniable that is better than the first movie.
7. Child’s Play 2 (John Lafia, 1990)
“Child’s Play 2” follows the same formula as its previous movie: it’s basically Chucky chasing Andy so that he can transfer his spirit into that of a human body. But in this one, his mother was traumatized by past events and he was put up for adoption. So he ends up in another home with another family, and meets Kyle, a young “rebel” who also has past trauma. With this, the trauma itself becomes a theme addressed in the movie. Maybe it’s post-traumatic stress on the part of Andy.
The film manages to be more violent than the first; the first death is a bit agonizing to watch, as Chucky chokes a man in the car with a bag. And Chucky also becomes a lot more sadistic; it sure is a movie with the most memorable deaths in the franchise. The female teacher’s death is a great example. And the death at the doll factory as well is probably the best scene in a Chucky movie.
And highlighting the ending itself, it’s interesting to see Chucky, physically a doll, basically in its place of origin: the doll factory. Around him are the nice guys, and he’s the only bad guy. In a moment he even loses one of his hands and replaces it with a knife, really making him the bad guy. And don’t forget that in one of the death scenes at the end, it even looks like a Cronenberg movie for all the body horror involved. It was the best possible ending for the best movie in Child’s Play franchise.
6. Scream Blacula Scream (Bob Kelljan, 1973)
“Blacula” was the first movie and the first iconic horror character of the American Blaxploitation movement that emerged in the 1970s. So the first “Blacula” seems to be something more formulaic, but it served as a good origin story for the character. In their second movie, they managed to bring something better, especially in the case of Blaxploitation, which also has the presence of the biggest star in the movement, Pam Grier.
This time, Blacula resurfaces after a voodoo ritual with his bones by a vengeful voodoo practitioner that his late mother, a voodoo priestess, did not want to inherit as his successor. Blacula turns him into a vampire as well, and his slave. And this transforms more people who appear in the mansion, thus forming a horde of vampires.
It was a great idea to introduce voodoo, the African and African-American cultures, and the fabulous Pam Grier. In addition to all the ambiance and soundtrack sounding more to the horror genre itself than that of the first movie, “Scream Blacula Scream” is definitely Blaxploitation’s horror movie and certainly one of the most underrated in the genre and the ‘70s.