Most of the time, sequels are never as good as the originals. In fact, most of the time they are much worse. But occasionally you’ll get a horror sequel that exceeds expectations, or at least lives up to the original’s quality. So here is Horror Fan Zine’s list of the top 10 horror sequels.
10. Army of Darkness (1992)
The third entry in Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead series picks up where Evil Dead II left off, with Ash (Bruce Campbell) stuck in 1300 AD. More of a fantasy/comedy than horror, this movie has Ash dealing with warring kingdoms, fair maidens, his own evil doppleganger, and legions of the “deadites.” When Ash treks to find the Necronomicon, he mispeaks the words he’s supposed to say (lifted from The Day the Earth Stood Still) and all hell breaks loose. Army of Darkness showcases Raimi’s talent for interesting camera movements and Bruce Campbell’s talent for comedy – a lot of it slapstick in the tradition of the Three Stooges. The movie unfolds like a cartoon – a funny one at that.
9. The Exorcist III (1990)
Exorcist III is a good horror sequel, but then Exorcist II: The Heretic was hated by so many that anything had to be a step up. (We’ll have to rewatch Exorcist II again to see if it’s “badness” holds up). Anyway, the third movie has some creepy and effective scenes, and good performances from George C Scott and Bard Dourif. A string of horrifying murders leads Scott’s Detective Kinderman to a man in an institution who claims to be the long-dead Gemini killer (Brad Dourif) but who looks a lot like Father Karras (Jason Miller, returning from the original film). The Scott/Dourif interaction is good, along with bizarre dream sequences and disturbing murders with a pair of shears.
8. Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988)
This horror sequel outdoes the original in terms of gore and bizarre imagery. After the carnage of the first movie, a crazy surgeon brings one of his crazy patients into a room, sits him down on the mattress that Julia originally died on, then gives him a razor. The result is not pleasant. After that extremely disturbing and bloody sequence, the doc and now-resurrected Julia get a mute girl (Imogen Boorman) to open up the box, and everybody goes to Hell to meet “Leviathan”, Lord of the Labryinth. Over the top and overflowing with multiple plot strands, this one must be seen to be believed and permanently established Pinhead as a horror icon alongside Freddy, Jason, and Michael Myers.
7. Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984)
Still arguably the best of the Friday sequels, because it has funny characters (like Crispin Glover), decent gore and makeup effects (Jason’s date with the machete at the end especially), and moves at a good pace thanks to Joseph Zito (he did Chuck Norris movies like Missing in Action and also The Prowler). It also introduces Tommy Jarvis into the mythology and has a decent performance from Kimberly Beck who plays the “final girl”. Famous for its closing shot of Tommy, suggesting he may be the next killer (touched upon in Part V but discarded in Part VI). Read our review here.
6. Blade II (2002)
Definitely among the best horror sequels, Blade 2 is not necessarily better than the first, but just as good – it’s a different style, thanks to Guillermo del Toro, who introduces us to the “Blood Pack”, a group of vampire assassins originally meant to kill Blade, but now he teams up with them to defeat an enemy of mutated vampires who have declared war on all “regular” vampires, not just humans. Good action scenes (including some wrestling moves), humor, and it’s nice to see the return of Whistler as well as the addition of Ron Perlman. The new breed of vampires – the Reapers – are nasty, nasty creatures. Norman Reedus plays Blade’s weasly assistant Scud – some nice interplay between him and Whistler.
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