Horror, Op-Ed

Horror Movie Sequels That Don’t Suck

Overall I would say I am not a fan of the never ending horror sequel. A lot of decent movies are undercut by their sequels, or even decent franchises get bogged down in too many movies. Despite this every once in awhile a horror sequel comes along and is truly worth it. While they aren’t generally as good as the original, they do manage to get close enough to be worth a watch or two.

Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors

a_nightmare_on_elm_street_3_dream_warriors

We are going to jump right over Nightmare 2 because it’s awful. Dream Warriors earns it’s spot not for being a great horror film, but rather for being a great comedy masquerading as a horror film. The first Nightmare movie had a strange balance of horror and making you laugh at situations that probably shouldn’t have been funny. 3 leans into that and leans hard. This is easily the funniest in the series, and does so unapologetically. It also manages to still be pretty brutal and horrifying at times.

Hellbound: Hellraiser II

Hellraiser quickly goes down as a series, in fact even this movie is pushing it. That being said Hellraiser is open ended enough that the sequel is nice. Kirsty’s entire family has been brutally murdered at the end of the first movie, and the Cenobites kind of leave, but in all honesty they still desperately want her. It’s sequel fodder to the max. Kirsty must once again fight against the Cenobites as well as the actual bad guys, people attempting to control them. This movie ramps up the gore, but doesn’t manage to have as solid of a story. It’s still creepy, and fairly horrifying. It’s also the only sequel in the series that I consider anything more than a joke that no one else is in on.

The Devil’s Rejects

devils_rejects_ver2

This movie gets the distinct honor of being much better than the first (in my opinion). The Devil’s Rejects is fairly stand alone, while it is a sequel to House of 1000 Corpses, you can skip that movie. Where I felt House of 1000 Corpses was an unfocused gore fest, Devil’s Rejects is well, a focused gore fest. The movie is still in your face, brutal, and can be a bit too much. It’s also entertaining, and those of us that love messed up horror movies will have more than a few moments to enjoy.

Jaws 2

Continuing the trend of the second movie being the only passable sequel, we come to Jaws. Jaws was a very clever movie, with a lot of different intense moments. It ends with the humans being completely trapped with just the shark, and that intensity is what Jaws 2 hopes to replicate. Skipping a lot of the build up, Jaws 2 jumps straight into a group of humans being stranded in the water with the shark hunting them. It’s effective, though not as entertaining. In fact that is the bottom line with this movie, everything about it is close to what Jaws was, but falls just a bit short. It’s not a horrible sequel, and it’s certainly better than anything else in the series.

Scream 4

I debated between Scream 2 and Scream 4. Ultimately I decided on Scream 4 because it manages to capture the feel that Scream had almost completely. In fact Scream 4 is arguably not a sequel, and if anything it helps the movie. It’s desire to be something wholly unique, one part sequel, on part reboot, one part new movie, manages to work well for it. It honors the first while still pushing forward to be it’s own thing. At the end of the day Scream 4 is really just Scream next generation, and that is a good thing.

Dawn of the Dead

dawn_of_the_dead

I debated whether or not to include this, based solely on the fact that I don’t know that it really counts as a sequel. The “of the Dead” series are more like stand alone movies centered around zombies than an actual series of sequels. That being said if you go on the loosest definition of sequels it is one, and it’s a great one. The movie does what a lot of horror sequels do and boosts the horror, gore, and action. However, it manages to do so without losing much. It’s still a clever, horrific, well told zombie movie. It wouldn’t call it better than Night of the Living Dead, but it’s darn close.

Horror

Best Horror Movie Taglines

Horror movie taglines are a bit of an art form in their own right. Just a quick line in order to intrigue the viewer into watching. It helps to build expectations, and are usually horrific themselves. Now not all movies live up to their tag lines, but here are a few of the best ones.

The Last House on the Left: “To Avoid fainting, keep repeating ‘It’s only a movie… It’s only a movie…’”

This tagline sets some pretty high expectations. Whether or not the movie lives up to it is debatable. However as a selling point, the idea that you would have to remind yourself it’s just a movie is very effective.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: “Who will survive and what will be left of them?”

TheTexasChainSawMassacre-poster

While the tagline does imply that at least one person will survive the movie, it promises that they won’t really be whole. Whether it’s physically or mentally, whoever comes out on the other side of this movie will never be complete. It’s rather blunt and shocking.

The Thing: “Man is the warmest place to hide”

I actually think this tagline loses a bit of it’s luster once you’ve seen the movie. However as a selling point it’s solid. The implication of man being the warmest place to hide lets you know that man will be reduced to a hiding place in this movie.

Dawn of the Dead: “When there’s no more room in Hell, the dead will walk the Earth.”

Dawn_of_the_dead

This tagline earns it’s place because it’s become synonymous with the zombie genre overall. Whether or not people know the source of this quote, most people have heard it at one point or another. When you hear it you instantly think zombies. It’s fitting that the movie series that invented modern zombies, as we know them, would have a tagline that has become ingrained in us as well.

Alien: “In space, no one can hear you scream.”

alien_movie_poster

One of the single most brilliant things about the original Alien is the isolation. It is a group of people, trapped, being hunted, with nowhere to go and hardly anything to do. The tagline speaks to that isolation. It doesn’t matter how much they “scream” they are alone.

Pet Sematary: “Sometimes dead is better”

The quote from the movie effectively sums up the experience. Without context you are left wondering about what option other than dead there is. Once you’ve seen it, you know indeed that sometimes dead is in fact better.

 

Halloween: “The night HE came home”

Halloween_cover

Who is HE? Why should we be worried about him coming home? What does HE plan to do? It grabs you and makes you curious. Once you’ve seen the movie it makes perfect sense with what you’ve just experienced.

A Nightmare on Elm Street: “If Nancy doesn’t wake up screaming, she won’t wake up at all…”

However you actually feel about the “fear factor” of the Nightmare on Elm Street movies, they do tap into a primal thing. The idea that nightmares can kill you is pretty horrific. The tagline speaks to the fact that the movie is about sleep and fear being the thing that will get you.

Ravenous: “You are who you eat”

Ravenous_ver1

Extremely effective way to let people know “hey you are going to see a movie about cannibalism”.

 

Hellraiser: “He’ll tear your soul apart”

There is something extremely effective about the use of “soul” in this tagline. It fits with the movie, and it gets at the fear of it. The idea of the soul being destroyed is an extra level of fear.