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09.13.2013by: Alex Maidy

Top 10 Horror Sequels of All Time (Video Edition)

INSIDIOUS: CHAPTER 2 is hoping to do what most horror sequels are incapable of doing and not suck. The first film was a surprisingly effective horror offering from the guy who brought us SAW, a franchise that wore out it's welcome. Horror has always been the genre to churn out cheap sequels without regards to the quality of the product. But, there are a select few sequels that manage to be really great if not superior to the first movie in their respective series. Here are our picks for the best horror sequels. Feel free to post your choices in the Talk backs below.

Honorable Mention - POLTERGEIST II: THE OTHER SIDE

While not nearly as good as the original POLTERGEIST, the second film is a decent horror flick. I include it here simply because the Reverend Kane character is one of the single most terrifying characters from my childhood. I can watch the first film like a horror version of CLOSE ENCOUNTERS, but the second film scares me shitless. Thanks, Carol Anne.

#10 - THE DEVIL'S REJECTS

I despised HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES, so anything would have been an improvement, but THE DEVIL'S REJECTS manages to actually be a really good movie. Taking the majority of the horror out of the equation, Rob Zombie instead crafts a grindhouse revenge movie that relies more on being terrifying than disturbing. Sid Haig, Bill Moseley, and Sheri Moon Zombie reprise their roles in what is now a BONNIE & CLYDE-esque western full of blood and guns. A huge improvement over the original.

#9 - PHANTASM II

Don Coscarelli's PHANTASM series has always been an acquired taste. The first film was made with a very low budget and and cemented a dream-like world populated by The Tall Man and his deadly orbs. The sequel was given a bigger budget which allowed Coscarelli more toys to play with. The sequel increases the violence, the gore, and the surreal nature of the story which would continue for two more films. While the original wins for the creep factor, this film is definitely the better crafted movie.

#8 - EVIL DEAD 2: DEAD BY DAWN

Like PHANTASM, Sam Raimi reached cult status with EVIL DEAD. When the time came to make a sequel with a bigger budget, Raimi decided to essentially remake his first film with the additional effects he couldn't afford the first time. EVIL DEAD 2 is much funnier than the first movie and lives up to the splatstick sub-genre it helped to invent. It is hard to compare the first and second films because they are so different in tone. But, if I want to see a scary movie I go to EVIL DEAD. If I want to laugh, I go with EVIL DEAD 2.

#7 - HELLBOUND: HELLRAISER II

Clive Barker is one f*cked up dude. The original HELLRAISER is a bizarre movie and one that did not benefit from having the competing voices of director and writer since Barker served as both. The story is hard to follow and doesn't make a lot of sense. HELLRAISER II manages to keep Barker's visual style and crazy characters but put them into a much more logical film. I know it is hard to discuss logic when talking about Pinhead and the Cenobites coming from Hell wearing costumes from THE MATRIX, but if you cannot watch a movie without having to rewind it a half dozen times to know what is going on, that is a bad sign. HELLRAISER II solves that.

#6 - BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN

The classic example of a great sequel, BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN was James Whale's attempt to make a movie that was more fun than the original rather than better. The result is less restrained and surpasses FRANKENSTEIN by enhancing the story without watering it down. Forget the horror genre, BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN is one of the few examples of a truly great movie that happens to be a sequel. Boris Karloff manages to flesh out his performance as The Monster and the immortal image of Elsa Lanchester as The Bride will forever be a part of cinema history.

#5 - THE EXORCIST III

No other series of films can claim to have both one of the worst and one of the best sequels. The original EXORCIST is a masterpiece while EXORCIST II: THE HERETIC is a laughable failure. Fastforward thirteen years later and author William Peter Blatty directed his own novel LEGION as the third chapter in the series. Producers forced in an exorcism subplot to link the films more directly than just by the inclusion of Detective Kinderman, previously played by Lee J. Cobb, and here played by George C. Scott. What follows is a disturbing and effective serial killer movie. Even with the studio-imposed edits and subplot, THE EXORCIST III is still a great movie. Hopefully one day we will get to see the long-rumored director's cut.

#4 - DAWN OF THE DEAD

NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD is immortal, but DAWN OF THE DEAD is the true masterpiece of George Romero's career. Where NIGHT dissected the fear of the unknown rooted in the racism of the 1960s, DAWN uses the zombie as a metaphor for the consumerist society of the 1970s. That and the gore, scale, and quality of the film is bettered in every way. DAY OF THE DEAD is a good movie as well and increases the quality of the production, but it lacks the epic nature that DAWN OF THE DEAD pulls off so well.

#3 - ALIENS

Another case of a sequel carrying on the story of the first film but taking it in a completely different direction. While Ridley Scott's ALIEN is a claustrophobic haunted house movie in space, James Cameron's ALIENS is a war movie in a science fiction setting. While ALIENS is still rooted in the terror of what may be lurking around every corner, it amps up the action with big ass weapons and hand to hand combat with the Xenomorphs. It is hard to compare these two films as they are so markedly different and both brilliantly executed.

#2 - WES CRAVEN'S NEW NIGHTMARE

Hard to believe that after five sequels that Wes Craven found a way to make a great follow-up to NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, but he did. How? By completely flipping the series on it's ear and making a movie about making the Freddy Krueger franchise. By having the actors play themselves, including Craven, and bringing Freddy out of the nightmares and into the "real world", NEW NIGHTMARE became something more than a sequel. If you have never seen it, check it out. It exists outside of what we normally think about sequels and provides a rarely used template on how to impress audiences who think they have seen it all.

#1 - ARMY OF DARKNESS

Hail to the king, baby! ARMY OF DARKNESS deserves the top spot here by bridging the horror of EVIL DEAD and the humor the sequel while creating an entirely new world for itself. Continuing the comic elements of DEAD BY DAWN, ARMY OF DARKNESS manages to become a distinct movie all it's own and gave the world the hero version of Bruce Campbell's Ash that we have come to love. When you think of Ash battling Deadites in video games, comic books, or fan fiction, this is the version you are imagining. While the EVIL DEAD reboot was quite good, I am still holding out hope for the post-apocalyptic ARMY OF DARKNESS sequel we have been craving. Maybe then a third Raimi film will make this list.

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9:24PM on 09/15/2013
Best of the series besides the first. Always hated how pinhead went out like a b*tch though.
Best of the series besides the first. Always hated how pinhead went out like a b*tch though.
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6:01AM on 09/14/2013
Great movie, but miles removed from the series' horror movie roots. I mean, it's not still a scary or especially horrific movie, is it. A great genre film, though. Fun effects, well paced and Bruce Campbell at his incompetent best as Ash.
Great movie, but miles removed from the series' horror movie roots. I mean, it's not still a scary or especially horrific movie, is it. A great genre film, though. Fun effects, well paced and Bruce Campbell at his incompetent best as Ash.
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5:54AM on 09/14/2013
It was a decent attempt to revitalise a series that was pretty much played out and mired in self-parody by that point, but if you're calling it the number 2 horror sequel of all time I'm gonna agree to disagree.
It was a decent attempt to revitalise a series that was pretty much played out and mired in self-parody by that point, but if you're calling it the number 2 horror sequel of all time I'm gonna agree to disagree.
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5:45AM on 09/14/2013
With Dawn of the Dead, Romero created so many of the tropes we've come to associate with what makes a zombie film. Absolute classic and still a great watch.
With Dawn of the Dead, Romero created so many of the tropes we've come to associate with what makes a zombie film. Absolute classic and still a great watch.
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5:37AM on 09/14/2013
Hellraiser is one of the purest horror movies ever made. Straight up dark and sinister, and pretty smart too. Hellraiser 2 upped the ante, and is massively helped by the vision of hell - the labyrinthine expanse with the spinning torment obelisk - it's got del Toro and Gilliam levels of crazy production design. The third film fumbled the ball a bit and started the series' downward spiral into increasingly worthless sequels, but the first two movies are excellent.
Hellraiser is one of the purest horror movies ever made. Straight up dark and sinister, and pretty smart too. Hellraiser 2 upped the ante, and is massively helped by the vision of hell - the labyrinthine expanse with the spinning torment obelisk - it's got del Toro and Gilliam levels of crazy production design. The third film fumbled the ball a bit and started the series' downward spiral into increasingly worthless sequels, but the first two movies are excellent.
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5:30AM on 09/14/2013
Devil's Rejects is the better movie, but I still enjoy 1000 Corpses. A nicely messed-up film.
Devil's Rejects is the better movie, but I still enjoy 1000 Corpses. A nicely messed-up film.
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5:19AM on 09/14/2013
Didn't H R Giger do some concept design work for Poltergeist 2? Also, Reverend Kane and the last Pope - separated at birth?
Didn't H R Giger do some concept design work for Poltergeist 2? Also, Reverend Kane and the last Pope - separated at birth?
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1:23AM on 09/14/2013
i never had a hard time following hellraiser
i never had a hard time following hellraiser
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11:22PM on 09/14/2013
Had to reply and agree. It's one of my favorite horror films, and I can't understand why anyone would have to rewind it 10 times to understand.
Had to reply and agree. It's one of my favorite horror films, and I can't understand why anyone would have to rewind it 10 times to understand.
7:22AM on 09/14/2013
me neither, maybe he watched the tv censored version or something because the story is pretty straight forward.
me neither, maybe he watched the tv censored version or something because the story is pretty straight forward.
9:42PM on 09/13/2013
Hmm, personally I like Evil Dead 2 more than Army of Darkness but great list nonetheless. However, what about Demons 2? That was quite good too.
Hmm, personally I like Evil Dead 2 more than Army of Darkness but great list nonetheless. However, what about Demons 2? That was quite good too.
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9:40PM on 09/13/2013
I thought this would be number 1.
I thought this would be number 1.
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9:39PM on 09/13/2013
Aside from Patton, I think this is the greatest performance of George C. Scott.
Aside from Patton, I think this is the greatest performance of George C. Scott.
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5:24PM on 09/13/2013

Dear God Yes!

I love this movie so much! Glad to see it get some love!
I love this movie so much! Glad to see it get some love!
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+0
5:19PM on 09/13/2013

Wow, just no!

Army of Darkness....I remember my first foray into horror.
Sleepaway Camp 2 not being on this list is a joke. Same with Halloween 2 original
Army of Darkness....I remember my first foray into horror.
Sleepaway Camp 2 not being on this list is a joke. Same with Halloween 2 original
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3:39PM on 09/13/2013

Fun List

I enjoyed Night of the Demons 2. its a blast.
I enjoyed Night of the Demons 2. its a blast.
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5:00AM on 09/16/2013
@Herald yep that'd be the one!
@Herald yep that'd be the one!
4:02PM on 09/15/2013
@ violentcop5 this one? [link] ;)
@ violentcop5 this one? [link] ;)
7:25AM on 09/14/2013
Yep a fun horror sequel too plus that redhead in the lead was smoking.
Yep a fun horror sequel too plus that redhead in the lead was smoking.
1:44PM on 09/13/2013
no 28 Weeks later?? I thought that was a great sequel
no 28 Weeks later?? I thought that was a great sequel
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1:05PM on 09/13/2013
Good list until you totally fucked it up with 'New Nightmare' and 'Army of Darkness'. Two of the shittiest sequels ever.
Good list until you totally fucked it up with 'New Nightmare' and 'Army of Darkness'. Two of the shittiest sequels ever.
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12:38PM on 09/13/2013

AOD over Evil Dead 2?!!

Well everyone has there favorite, i guess you can tell my preference. Also want to mention that Final Destination 2 is the best out the series, shame not to see it here.
Well everyone has there favorite, i guess you can tell my preference. Also want to mention that Final Destination 2 is the best out the series, shame not to see it here.
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12:37PM on 09/13/2013

Overrated

Dug the concept but really felt it was 'meh' in its execution. Nightmare 3: Dream Warriors was the strongest sequel out the franchise, should be here instead.
Dug the concept but really felt it was 'meh' in its execution. Nightmare 3: Dream Warriors was the strongest sequel out the franchise, should be here instead.
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12:36PM on 09/13/2013

One of my favs

had to be here of course, wish Cameron would still crank them out like this.
had to be here of course, wish Cameron would still crank them out like this.
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12:34PM on 09/13/2013

Great and underrated flick

Real creepy movie although fairly unrelated to the first one, nice job on the shoutout Alex
Real creepy movie although fairly unrelated to the first one, nice job on the shoutout Alex
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12:32PM on 09/13/2013

Should be number one in my opinion

then again I love this movie so much i think it should number one on any film list!
then again I love this movie so much i think it should number one on any film list!
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12:07PM on 09/13/2013
Great list for sure. Having Phantasm 2 on that list makes it all that much better. Could have even put Phantasm 3 on that list that franchise is so good.
Great list for sure. Having Phantasm 2 on that list makes it all that much better. Could have even put Phantasm 3 on that list that franchise is so good.
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11:40AM on 09/13/2013

Uh...

Uh... Silence of the Lambs?
Uh... Silence of the Lambs?
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12:41PM on 09/13/2013
It wasn't an official sequel to Manhunter since that didnt do that well at the time, they decided to distance themselves from that flick and play up the novels success and start new; hence the cast being quite different.
It wasn't an official sequel to Manhunter since that didnt do that well at the time, they decided to distance themselves from that flick and play up the novels success and start new; hence the cast being quite different.
9:39AM on 09/13/2013
Hell YES!!! First film of the Evil Dead trilogy that I saw and it will always have a special place in my heart.
Hell YES!!! First film of the Evil Dead trilogy that I saw and it will always have a special place in my heart.
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9:03AM on 09/13/2013
Fuck no, I absolutely hated the original Dawn of the Dead, the remake is superior in every way. And Night of the Living Dead is the masterpiece of all the Dead flicks.
Fuck no, I absolutely hated the original Dawn of the Dead, the remake is superior in every way. And Night of the Living Dead is the masterpiece of all the Dead flicks.
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7:35AM on 09/13/2013
Great, fun list. Glad to see Exorcist III on the list. I like Nightmare 3 over New Nightmare though. Still great list.
Great, fun list. Glad to see Exorcist III on the list. I like Nightmare 3 over New Nightmare though. Still great list.
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