Like most things in life, horror sequels are a mixed bag; sometimes they are awful, sometimes they are great, and sometimes they are just OK. Sequels are often the greedy attempt of film studios to replicate the success (profits) of a well-received film. Oftentimes, these follow up efforts backfire and the picture ends up being a box office failure because the film didn’t warrant a sequel. But in some cases, the second installment in a series blows the audience away and does justice to the original. Unfortunately, some of the films that are most worthy of a follow up don’t ever get the chance to be produced. With that in mind, we are bringing you nine of our top picks for horror films that should have had sequels.
Bubba Ho-Tep was supposed to be followed up by Bubba Nosferatu-Tep but Bruce Campbell reportedly lost interest in the project, which left it dead in the water, as Campbell’s involvement would be a key ingredient for the film’s success. Don Coscarelli has said that there is a script written and he would be happy to make the movie if Campbell were to reconsider.
Shaun of the Dead
As one of the most critically acclaimed and brilliant zombie films ever made, it’s surprising that Shaun of the Dead has not spawned a sequel. The creative team behind the film reportedly gave consideration to producing a sequel that pitted the pair against a different kind of monster. However, they felt that too many of the characters were killed off in the first film to make a sequel feasible. Even with most of the cast being slaughtered in the first movie, it would still be great fun to see a sequel that had Nick Frost and Simon Pegg reprising their roles and battling any kind of monster.
Although Terror Train appeared to kill off its primary antagonist in the final scene of the film, that hasn’t stopped other horror killers from returning to finish what they started. Kenny Hampson is a dynamic and multifaceted character. He has an interesting backstory and a maniacal zeal. His almost chameleon-like quality that allowed him to fly under the radar made him particularly interesting. It was fun to watch Kenny in action. It would have been great to see him resurrected to kill another day. Unfortunately, that ship has sailed. The film is more than 30 years old and it’s much more likely that there will be a remake than a part two.
Disappointing box office results sealed Slither’s fate as a standalone effort as far as Universal Pictures is concerned. However, it’s not necessarily out of the question for an independently financed sequel to come together. Slither is a great movie. It just suffered from poor marketing and trailers that didn’t portray the film for what it actually is. The previews gave very little indication as to how wry the film’s comedic wit is or what great onscreen chemistry the cast had. From the trailer, Slither just looked like a run-of-the-mill monster movie with hideous, slug-like creatures terrorizing a town. The marketing hyped up the film as being one of the scariest movies ever made (which it isn’t) and didn’t really touch on just how funny it is. As a result, people didn’t get what they bargained for when they saw the film during its theatrical exhibition. Slither has certainly found its audience since its home video release and now has a large cult following that would jump all over a sequel. We would love to see a sequel that continued where the first film left off and saw some of the surviving characters reprising their roles.
My Bloody Valentine
My Bloody Valentine has a great backstory, an interesting killer, and a good holiday tie in. This is the kind of film that a studio could build a franchise around but unfortunately, all that audiences got was a remake several decades later. The ending was left open for a sequel but nothing ever transpired. It would have been nice to see a My Bloody Valentine film released every Valentine’s Day for a period of time, much in the same fashion that the Paranormal Activity series was releasing a new film every Halloween.
“Don’t say his name above a whisper.” While Madman is somewhat of a Friday the 13th knockoff, it isn’t without merit. Madman Marz is an interesting character with a backstory that could have been explored in a follow up film where he slices up more camp counselors. It would have been nice to see a sequel that had more of a budget to invest in getting recognizable talent and better effects, as Madman is not really known for the strength of its performances or the quality of its special makeup effects.
Seeing as how it is one of the best zombie films of all time, it’s baffling to me that Dead Alive hasn’t been given the sequel treatment. Lionel (Timothy Balme) is such an interesting and well-written character and his story is pretty inspiring to see unfold. Watching Lionel go from being a mild mannered man to a ferocious zombie slayer really made audiences fall in love with him. His story has plenty of mileage left that could be explored in a follow up effort. A sequel is extremely unlikely at this point but we can still hope.
Like Madman, The Burning is another Friday the 13th inspired summer camp slasher. But The Burning sets itself apart from other films of its kind by dropping in an antagonist that is based partially on an urban legend that may have some basis in reality. Cropsey’s garden shears are a somewhat imaginative and very effective weapon. It would have been a pleasure to see him take them on another killing spree in a sequel. The film also has a great cast with a lot of up and coming talent working in its favor: Jason Alexander, Holly Hunter, and Fisher Stevens all made appearances in the film. The Burning lives on as a tried and true classic amongst horror fans; it’s just too bad that viewers never got the chance to see a second installment in what could have been a promising franchise.
Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon
The sequel to Behind the Mask has been in development hell for years now. Director Scott Glosserman has tried preselling the DVDs to raise funds and also reached out to Anchor Bay (who distributed the first film) for funding. He has tried a variety of other methods to get the film made but all to no avail. The disappointing thing is that Behind the Mask is so clever and so refreshing that fans have been hoping for a sequel it was released on home video. There’s lots of territory for a sequel to explore. The original left a lot of unanswered questions about Leslie’s backstory. Many of the unanswered questions could be explored in a second film. Hopefully Behind the Mask will eventually find financing but until then, it remains one of our top picks for horror films that should have had sequels.