Horror sequels are everywhere. They always have been. When every other kind of horror movie comes and goes, they survive. If something is even remoltely successful, it will usually get a sequel. And that success is very often loosely defined. Sometimes it’s a huge theatrical hit or even a huge video hit and a sequel is guaranteed. Other times you’ll be browsing and see a sequel to something you can’t imagine sold more than a single copy.
For the purposes of this list, we won’t be specifically looking at bad sequels. Something like Exorcist II is a cheap shot because there was a sequel to the novel—which eventually became Exorcist III—and the first was the biggest horror movie of all time. Of course it is going to have a sequel, and there were probably interesting ways they could have gone instead of what happened. Some of the entries on this list will be sequels to seminal works in the genre. And with others, you might forget the first one even existed. Yet quality still has a part to play here as well. Sure, maybe nobody dreamed of a sequel to Prom Night, but that won’t be on this list because Hello, Mary Lou is just so much better than the first.
Whatever their reasons for coming into existence, these sequels are here. Most of them are probably best avoided, but we rabid horror fans never seem to take that route, do we? So if you want to watch them, at least share your misery with a group of friends.
976-EVIL II: The Astral Factor
There was a shift in the late ‘80s to move away from prototypical masked slashers to wise-cracking, supernatural-based killers. In the first half of the decade, everyone wanted to be like Halloween, in the second half they all wanted to emulate Nightmare on Elm Street. It’s a little ironic to think that Freddy Krueger himself, Robert Englund, was right at the forefront of this with his directorial debut 976-EVIL. It was not a particularly well received film, so it’s a bit of a mystery as to who was demanding a sequel. The original flick might be campy as hell, but it’s at least occasionally entertaining, and that is the part its sequel misses. The great goofball Stephen Geoffreys is replaced by a new villain who has none of the charisma or spastic glee that Geoffreys had and that is needed from a part like this. Generally speaking, when the monster looks bored to be there, you’re in trouble.
C.H.U.D. wasn’t a bad movie. In fact, it was kind of a neat movie, but it wasn’t a huge hit and it kind of came and went. People enjoyed the original without really needing a second helping. But they got one anyway. Except the cool, inventive creatures are replaced with traditional zombies. It’s a cross between Night of the Creeps and Weekend at Bernie’s, and it’s worse than both. This whole film is a mess from beginning to end, you can’t even tell when the humor is intentional and when it isn’t. I urge everyone to see it at least once.
Yes, The Blair Witch Project was one of the biggest horror movies of all time, but if anyone was really expecting a sequel to it, they played it pretty close to the vest. People were happy with the first film and, if anything, just wanted to see more like it. Which means that in just about every regard, Book of Shadows is the sequel nobody wanted. It’s nothing like the first. It should have at least been found footage. Instead, the whole thing looks like B-Roll from a Marilyn Manson video.
Jack Frost 2: Return of the Mutant Killer Snowman
It turns out there were enough fans of a Styrofoam snowman raping Shannon Elizabeth in a bathtub that this VHS pseudo-hit warranted a sequel. For those who haven’t seen the first, it’s one of the stupidest, most mind-boggling movies ever made. It reads like a supervillain origin story that even early Marvel comics would have rejected for making no sense. The fact that the sequel picks up with the detective in therapy to deal with his snowman encounter says everything it needs to about the film itself.
The Legend of Boggy Creek is a baffling movie because it keeps getting tossed around as a cult classic and yet not a whole lot of people have seen it and those who have kind of think it’s decent at best. It has an interesting faux-documentary style, but moves at an extremely slow pace. The sequel doesn’t fare any better. It will make you wish you were watching the first. It tries not to stray too far from the original, but tries to be more straightforward at the same time and has some truly embarrassing characterization to boot. Out of all the sequels on this list, this is the one that got a Mystery Science Theatre 3000 episode, which says a lot about its quality.
Underrated as Daveigh Chase may be as an actress, Donnie Darko did not need a sequel. If there is any movie that least needs a sequel, Donnie Darko is definitely in the running. The first one ended with nowhere left to go, but the sequel just keeps on going anyway. It’s pretty much a road trip to absolutely nowhere in particular, full of weird visions to try and invoke the nonsensical spirit of its predecessor. Except whereas that had a method behind all of its madness, the sequel serves up a heap of nonsense.
Part of the genius of American Psycho is the debate it sparked among viewers as to whether or not Patrick Bateman actually did any of the things he said he did. Plenty of people have good reason to suspect he did not, but this sequel puts those thoughts to rest as it is about a would-be victim of Bateman’s who picks up his horrific habits. Mila Kunis is an actress capable of great things, but she has to be given something to work with, in this case, she is not given much.
The 1996 sequel to Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer has some of the original creators involved, but it’s just really hard to get behind. Henry was not a franchise serial killer movie. There’s no element of fun to it. It’s a quiet, small, disturbing thriller. A sequel is almost destined to cheapen that and while it takes nothing away from the first, it certainly doesn’t add to it.
Another classic film by Alan Smithee. For those who don’t know, Alan Smithee is a name director’s use when they don’t want to be credited for the project they’ve just made. Rick Rosenthal, of Halloween II, made this decision with The Birds II, and it was a wise choice. This is like the bridge movie between Hitchcock’s original classic and Birdemic. This is the missing link. It does feature a cameo by Tippi Hedren, as a different character than she played in the first but that does nothing to save it from itself.