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

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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

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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

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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

Favorite Horror Movie Monsters

I did an article about favorite horror movie villains, and included mostly human or human like enemies. In this I would like to talk about favorite horror movie monsters. Creatures that might be humanoid in some cases but feel like they are in a different category.

Xenomorphs (Alien)

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What gets me about the Xenomorphs is the motivation. They just want to hunt, and they are really good at it. The first Alien is terrifying. They are trapped with a killer that is far more effective in every way than they are. It takes losing the entire ship to take one of them down. That’s pretty amazing for this movie monster.

Trolls (Trollhunter)

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I think one of the biggest reasons the trolls stand out to me is that they are larger than life, and very unique. Trollhunter creates multiple trolls none exactly like the last. They are big, epic, and you won’t soon forget them. They are also scary and very effective in their areas. They are a great balance of monsters that just want to be left alone, but will protect themselves fiercely when they feel threatened.

The Shark (Jaws)

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Disclaimer: I hate what this movie did to real sharks. I love the ocean, and I specifically love sharks. They fascinate me. It bothers me that people reacted to this movie in such a way that it still negatively effects sharks and that people think that sharks are manhunters.

Aside from the disclaimer this is a really good movie monster. While the shark doesn’t have much of a kill count it’s hunt of the men after it is brilliant. It’s slow, builds well, and when that shark finally strikes it’s wonderful. If you are going to turn sharks into killing machines then you have to do it like this.

The Thing? (The Thing)

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An iffy choice since about 50% of the time in this movie it manifests as a human. However it’s still something inside of those people and not the people themselves. This movie plays on the fears of never knowing who you can trust. The creature, alien being, whatever it is, is scary in all it’s forms. It’s also effective because it makes people kill each other but also plants paranoia.

The Graboids

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To most people Tremors exists in the realm of comedy and not horror. It’s not that I don’t see the point, the movie makes me laugh as well. However the movie is also more than a little scary, and that is based entirely on the fact that the monster is more than a little scary. It’s not just that they are massive, live underground, and pull you down when you least expect it. They are also smart. They hunt the people in the movies, and do it rather effectively.

Zombies (Take your pick)

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Humanoid so it might seem like it doesn’t belong, but one of the most terrifying parts is how inhuman people become when they turn into zombies. Whether fast moving or slow moving what makes zombies effective is that there is just such a massive horde of them. Eventually it becomes overwhelming, and as a group they are killing machines. They take all that was once human, lose it, and become just a member of a killing group.