The Ten Worst Horror Sequels
By Heather Wixson
Hey there, horror fans! A few months ago we took a look at the best horror sequels so of course, we had to go ahead and pick apart some of the worst horror sequels ever made. I guarantee counting them down will be more fun than actually watching them!
10. A Return to Salem’s Lot: Inevitably, when a great TV miniseries is successful, it’s understandable that a sequel would follow. However, in A Return to Salem’s Lot what we end up with is a movie that is hollow, wooden, amateurish and lacking any characters that we should even care about. The original is still pretty creepy even after 30 years (the kid facing his best friend floating and scratching at his window? Still chilling.), but the sequel cannot even come close in the chill factor department. Director Larry Cohen, best known for his work with the It’s Alive film series as well as his 40 plus years as a screenwriter (most recently the torture porn flick Captivity), should have kept himself away from the camera on this because he mangled the spirit of one my favorite Stephen King masterpieces with this sequel.
9. Fright Night 2: This one for me is personal. Fright Night is my favorite vampire movie of all time and frankly, it’s a better representation of 80s vampire horror than The Lost Boys. I can remember seeing FN2 at the drive-in when I was a kid as a double-feature with Pet Cemetery and even back then, I knew what I was watching was a flimsy follow-up to the original. In the sequel, we find Charlie Brewster (William Ragsdale) at college and Peter Vincent (the late and GREAT Roddy McDowell) in an extremely supporting role (why couldn’t they do more with him? I just don’t know). Julie Carmen as Regine Dandridge pales in comparison (pun intended) to Chris Sarandon’s sexy and ferocious Jerry Dandridge from the original. There’s a lot of hokeyness too with the supporting characters that just plays out way too cartoonish for me. Bottom line is that it just misses certain warmth that the original film had.
8. Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2: I know a lot of horror fans are gonna be pissed at me on this one. I mean, in this TCM sequel you get performances from Dennis Hopper and Bill Moseley (who is still one of the coolest cats in horror you’ll ever meet! Trust me!), but seriously, this movie is just moronic. Whereas the original is one of the supremely terrifying classics of modern horror, this schlocky follow up is jarring, nonsensical, and just poorly executed. If you’ve seen this movie, you know I am telling the truth and while I still believe it’s a camp classic (which is another thing that is just so wrong if you even really think about it in terms of what the original did), I just don’t think it’s good. Sorry.
7. Jaws 3-D: Sigh. Really? 3-D? That immediately is a sign that a movie is “reaching.” And then it’s just sad to me that Dennis Quaid, in the midst of his 80s heyday, would actually make this crappy movie. I mean, Louis Gossett Jr. I understand since he was about done, but anyway, I digress…So, in this third installment we get to deal with an evil revenge-driven shark infiltrating Sea World (I somehow think this is just implausible anyway) who is hunting down the humans that she blames for the death of her baby shark who accidentally made it’s way into the park. Um…when will anyone figure out that if you don’t want to get eaten by a shark, just head for dry land and wait it out?
6. Halloween: Resurrection: So, I really could have gone with Halloween 3: Season of the Witch as my pick, since anyone who is familiar with the Halloween series knows that the third movie isn’t even about Michael Myers. For me though, Resurrection was far more of a travesty. First of all, Michael would be like in his late 40s, all those “deaths” he’s suffered throughout the years would have to slow him down (and copping out to his beheading in H2O is just lame) and then the screenwriters put the movie all within a crappy reality show context just seemed so vapid. Adding insult to injury is casting Tyra Banks in the movie and killing off one the best horror movie heroines, Laurie Strode, in such a quick and hollow way, made me realize that this movie was purely a vehicle for profit and had nothing to do with the fans…just disappointing all around.
5. Howling 2: Your Sister is a Werewolf: This movie is my inspiration for this countdown. I recently caught this flick on ENCORE and I just couldn’t believe my eyes…Poor Christopher Lee and his new wave sunglasses. He must have had some serious bills to get paid in 1986 because I just cannot imagine a legend such as himself reading this script and thinking “Wow! I HAVE to be in this movie!” This sequel supposedly picks up right after the first one ends when Dee Wallace dies on a nightly broadcast of the local news after she wolfs out in front of everyone. However, I guess the rights to the first movie were too expensive because the footage used isn’t even from the first. But now for this movie, Lee joins Karen White’s brother and his reporter lover on a trip to Transylvania to kill the ultimate werewolf coven and its leader, Stirba. Sounds not terrible but cut in some strange scenes in an underground new wave club and other scenes that could pass for wolf porn and what you have is one hot, hairy mess of a movie. It's no wonder Joe Dante wouldn’t come back for a sequel.
4. Exorcist II: The Heretic: This is probably the most boring horror movie I have ever seen. Seriously. I would actually think Catholics might find this movie more offensive than the original since this one suggests that demon possession can occur from hypnosis. Really? Screenwriter William Goodhart should have stuck to the Broadway productions he was known for and left this story alone. Linda Blair comes back for a lot of lab sessions and this time we meet Father Lamont (the ever brilliant Richard Burton that just could not have been happy to be in this movie) who decides to travel to Africa to figure out why demon Pazuzu would chose Reagan (Blair) as his possession victim. By the end of the movie, I didn’t even care. Supporting cast that wasted its talent includes Louise Fletcher, James Earl Jones, Max Von Sydow and Ned Beatty. Such a shame.
3. Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare: There are a few of the Freddy movies that could have made this list, so I went with the absolute worst one for me. It’s what I refer to as the “Will & Grace” installment- chock full of guest stars, but lacking substance. We have Alice Cooper, Johnny Depp (in a mini-cameo that I still can’t believe he would do), and even Roseanne and Tom Arnold. In this supposedly “final” installment, we find out that Freddy has a child and she has to come back to a now childless Springwood to face off with her father (no one EVER looked into Freddy being a daddy before this? Huh?). The best part? It’s in 3-D too! When will movie directors realize that just because your movie is in 3-D, it won’t make it a better movie?
2. Poltergeist II: This movie STILL pisses me off to this day. When I was a kid, I was insanely afraid of the original Poltergeist. In fact, I haven’t watched it in like 10 years because honestly, I want to believe at this age I won’t be afraid of a horror movie but I cannot guarantee it. And the Horror Chick doesn’t want to end up a sissy. However, in this sequel we follow what’s left of the Freeling Family (due to the untimely death of Dominique Dunne shortly after the first film finished filming) who is now being haunted by Reverend Kane, who seems to be an offshoot of the ghostly “Beast” apparition of the first movie. What is the ultimate “huh?” moment for me is that the first movie is essentially about the Freeling’s house being built on a holy place and those spirits fight back through “Beast.” But in this movie, what is the motive? They don’t move back to the same place or anything, so now it’s essentially about ghosts becoming a bit stalkerish of a young child. The only thing this movie has going for it is Julian Beck’s ultra creepy Kane (I actually worked at a nursing home where a guy who lived there was a spitting image of Beck and I purposely never walked near his room because it creeped me out) who demonstrates that he is an effective (albeit nonsensical) villain.
1. Friday the 13th Part Two: See, here’s the main thing behind me picking Ft13P2 as my number one bad sequel- IT NEVER SHOULD HAVE HAPPENED. The villain in the first is Mrs. Voorhees and it takes place 22 years after Jason dies. How you can resurrect a dead child after 22 years (with no supernatural theme either within that particular movie) and make him the villain (and a grown-up to boot) in the sequel is beyond me. They honestly should have left well enough alone. And in the beginning when Alice (Adrienne King) gets hunted down at her own home by Jason, I wonder how exactly a dead guy who hasn’t been in society for more than 25 years at that point knows how to find someone in the phone book and go stalk them and then actually get there without driving…for real. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still holds up as a horror movie, but honestly, if you sit down and think about it, it’s the sequel that should have just never happened in the first place.