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Top Ten Underrated Horror Sequels

Psycho 2 directed by Richard Franklin.
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Good or bad, horror sequels are plentiful. Some are almost universally embraced by fans, some are almost universally hated. And there are some that simply get a worse reputation than they deserve. Those are the ones we’ll be taking a look at now. These are Wicked Horror’s ten most underrated horror sequels.


It gets overlooked for not packing the same punch as the first, and for not having that great combined talent of George Romero, Stephen King and Tom Savini. But all three are still involved in some capacity. King wrote the second and third stories while Romero wrote the first, and Savini co-stars in the film as horror host “The Creep.” The stories are an eclectic mix, about a wooden Indian out for vengeance, a man-eating oil slick in the middle of a lake, and a hit-and-run hitchhiker who refuses to stay down. It’s the second story that most people seem to remember, with its unsettling premise and impressive FX work (even if the slick itself just looked like a tarp floating in the water.)


Hellraiser III has a great script and some great dialogue, but there are some terrible filmmaking choices that bog it down. The movie is weighted down by a yellow tone that doesn’t fit and the cinematography features some awkward and unnecessary angles. We’re treated to one of Doug Bradley’s best performances as Pinhead, though, as he plays the Cenobite freed from his human form (also played by Bradley) and therefore at his most evil, as he prepares to bring about Hell on Earth.


This sequel’s so underrated it doesn’t even have a proper release. The sequel to the surprising 1985 hit about a boy who discovers a vampire has moved in next door to him finds protagonists Charley Brewster and “Great Vampire Killer” Peter Vincent sharpening their stakes to ward off the sister of the vampire in the original, who is out for blood. Charley’s blood, to be exact. The best part, though, is how Charley and Peter go back and forth on convincing each other that their previous encounter never happened.


While Seed of Chucky is the most maligned entry in the Child’s Play series, Child’s Play 3 is definitely the most overlooked. This one sees a change of pace, with Chucky returning to collect on Andy Barclay’s soul… only now Andy is a teenager and in military school. The change of setting helps this one, It makes the most of its military school environment (a game of paintball replaced with live rounds still might be the cruelest thing Chucky’s ever done) and the finale set at a nearby carnival is terrific.


It may have gotten some good reviews when it was released in 1998, but these days Halloween H20 is not fondly remembered by the fans. Which is a shame, because there’s a lot to love. Jamie Lee Curtis returns to the franchise that made her famous and gives a great performance as a grownup Laurie Strode who has never gotten over that fateful Halloween night and realizes that the only way to truly put the past behind her will be to face her brother a final time.


Tonally, Return of the Living Dead 3 is completely different from the first two films, but this actually works in its favor. 2 was a straightforward re-hash of the original with many scenes even being exactly the same. This one adheres to the mythology created by the original, but instead decides to tell a violent, punk-rock love story. The leads are likeable and sincere, especially Melinda Clarke as Julie, a zombie who is smart and alert but has a growing hunger that can only be sated through self-mutilation… which causes a jaw-dropping third-act transformation. It’s also one of the best body modification horror movies outside Hellraiser.


Halloween III has gotten a lot of followers in recent years, and that’s why you find it at number four. Still, to the general public it’s the most cringe-worthy, simply for its absence of Michael Myers. But even if they don’t all gel together, there are a lot of great ideas at work in this one. Particularly about Halloween consumerism, and the TV takeover of the seventies and eighties. The plot, essentially, sees a Halloween mask tycoon who is actually a descendent of the ancient Celts attempting to kill every child in the world on Halloween night with booby-trapped masks.


Tobe Hooper’s self-aware satire of the original film does not get enough love. It’s goofier, it’s gorier, it’s everything the original wasn’t, but everything the critics said the original was, in order to prove a point. With great gore FX by Tom Savini and a great (and oh so weird) performance by Dennis Hopper, it is not a movie to miss.


This one has a fairly good reputation among people who have seen it, the difficulty is just getting anyone to see it. Psycho is such a classic that the idea of sequels seems somehow offensive, but it shouldn’t be. There’s a whole lot that works in this one. Even if it’s not as good as the original, that’s not the point. It has another stellar performance by Anthony Perkins who this time isn’t even sure whether he’s the killer or not. There are plenty of unexpected twists and turns too keep viewers interested in the second go-round.


This movie gets so much backlash and so much hate, seemingly only for having a homoerotic subtext. But the themes in this movie are not an accident and they are handled astonishingly well. It’s a different movie than the first film altogether, and while Dream Warriors is a much stronger sequel, that doesn’t make this one bad. Even taken on the surface, this is much more of a possession movie and in that, Freddy is at his scariest. He’s not only invading the protagonist’s spirit this time, he’s invading their mind and their body as well.


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Written by Nat Brehmer
In addition to contributing to Wicked Horror, Nathaniel Brehmer has also written for Horror Bid, HorrorDomain, Dread Central, Bloody Disgusting, We Got This Covered, and more. He has also had fiction published in Sanitarium Magazine, Hello Horror, Bloodbond and more. He currently lives in Florida with his wife and his black cat, Poe.
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