Sometimes sequels work and sometimes they don’t. In horror, there’s a whole lot of both because there are more sequels within the genre than anywhere else. Some sequels start out on a certain path that can go fairly well. Some bring a lot of new ideas to the table. But there’s a lot that can happen between the idea and the execution, and here are some movies that got lost along the way.
My top five misguided sequels in horror;
5. FRIDAY THE 13TH PART VIII: JASON TAKES MANHATTAN
Here’s the thing: Jason Takes Manhattan is not a terrible concept when taken on its own, but it needed certain things in order to work. One of them was Manhattan. Initially, the movie was going to have an opening at Crystal Lake and then the rest of the film was going to be set in New York. But they didn’t have the money to do that. And if you don’t have the money to do the only thing you set out to do, it’s usually time to restart things from the ground up. Maybe the movie would still have been bad if it was set at Crystal Lake, it’s very likely. The movie made a lot of weird decisions, but a movie titled Jason Takes Manhattan that has only fifteen minutes of city (with fourteen minutes in Vancouver) is just a bit of a mess.
4. HELLRAISER: HELLWORLD
Hellraiser tried to be the movie made to cater to the fans. It took a cue from Wes Craven’s New Nightmare (and naturally Scream) in that it is built on references to the mythology, and that really works in theory because the Hellraiser mythology is so expansive. It’s a neat idea, and it’s fun when all of the characters are aware of Hellraiser and what it is and who the Cenobites are and what the box does. Here’s the only problem: in this movie, Hellraiser is a video game. This change comes out of nowhere and doesn’t make any kind of sense whatsoever. It throws the whole concept out the window. It even serves to actually alienate the audience. Which it does completely. Because while the audience is aware of the references, they don’t fully understand them, because they are aware of Hellraiser the movies, not Hellraiser the video game.
3. A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 5: THE DREAM CHILD
Now, The Dream Child actually does have an interesting premise. Again, the problem is in the way that it’s handled. First of all, the movie’s about Freddy coming back through the dreams of protagonist Alice’s unborn baby, and nobody actually knows at what point the fetus even might begin to dream so this whole plotline needs to tread carefully, which it doesn’t do all that much. In a movie about a Freddy Krueger-haunted pregnancy, there’s only even one scene about abortion. The major issue, though, is a complete imbalance in tone. The movie has some great visuals and gothic architecture, and the characters are mostly sullen and depressed—but by this point Freddy has become a superstar. This was Freddy the jokester. Freddy the prankster, the guy spouting a witty remark or a pun every time he stepped on screen. That’s exactly how Freddy is portrayed here. His presence does not gel with the rest of the movie, either that or the movie doesn’t gel with him. Either way, Freddy should never feel out of place in his own movie.
2. HALLOWEEN: RESURRECTION
There have been some weird and interesting movies in the Halloween franchise and all have been the result of some new and interesting creative decisions. Except this one. Halloween: Resurrection doesn’t feel like a movie. It feels like a product. Most of the movie was designed around market research, and that’s been admitted. Busta Rhymes was cast because he was a popular name among people who watched these movies. The idea of the internet webcam show was added because the internet was becoming popular and they thought it would bring in a new audience. Michael Myers is added to the movie as an afterthought. It’s a movie where I almost find it hard to believe the words “story” or “character” ever came up during production.
1. TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE: THE NEXT GENERATION
One of the most unnerving things about this movie is that it seemed to be made the “fix” the original. Kim Henkel was the co-writer of the first film. In this film, much of it is remaking the events of the first but pushing them so over the top that the whole thing becomes almost unrecognizable. Leatherface is not just the character wearing a mask with occasional makeup on it. Now he’s sobbing and weeping with a high pitched voice to beat the audience over the head with how “effeminate” he is. He’s wearing makeup and an Elvira-like wig and black dress, he’s even wearing a woman’s breasts in addition to her face. The whole movie is just an absolute mess. Because the story of backwoods cannibals (which had been insisted upon since 1974 as a true story) was now deemed too unrealistic, it turns out that Leatherface and clan are part of an illuminati cult/organization that may possibly be of alien origin that is designed to keep he balance of good and evil in check. Much more realistic.