Here is part two of my 15 favorite horror sequels of all time. For part one, click here.
10) Land of the Dead (2005)
20 years after completing his legendary “Dead” trilogy, George A. Romero released this very fine fourth installment. In Land of the Dead, the remaining survivors have now rebuilt some semblance of a society, but the undead zombies are still near. In true Romero fashion, though, it is the humans that ultimately result in the downfall of their new “perfect” society. This film clearly was made with the largest budget of any of Romero’s “Dead” films, which is both a blessing and a curse. The production benefits from this grander scale as effects are better than ever, and the movie has a semi-epic feel to it, but major character development has been sacrificed resulting in something that feels less personal than the original trilogy. Even though I consider this to be the low point of this horror quadrilogy, Land of the Dead is still better than 80-90% of all other horror films.
9) 28 Weeks Later (2007)
28 Days Later redefined the “zombie” film by making the creatures stronger, faster, and more intelligent. In fact, they were not dead or undead but infected with a “rage virus” which took over a body in just a matter of seconds. The film benefited from an excellent score, amazing shots of a deserted London, and compelling Romero-like social commentary from director Danny Boyle. 28 Weeks Later is its predecessor’s equal for the first 2/3 to 3/4 of the film. The amazing alternative score and cinematography are still very much present, and many of the major characters are well developed. Unfortunately, without spoiling the ending, the last 20-30 minutes are a major letdown. [SPOILER] At least we know 28 Months Later will happen. [END SPOILER]
8) Alien 3 (1992)
When Alien³ arrived in theaters in the early 90’s, it was poorly received by both critics and audiences, and justifiably so. The studio-edited original cut of the film is not much better in quality than Alien vs. Predator. Fortunately, 20th Century Fox owned up on their mistake and recently released a re-cut version of the David Fincher film which adds over 30 minutes of footage. I’m usually not much of a film of Director’s or Extended Cuts since most of the material added back in is filler. With Alien 3, though, essential plot points and major character development are contained in most of these originally cut scenes, which creates a much more complete movie. Either way, Sigourney Weaver gave another great performance as the lead character Ripley, and the special effects were well above average for their time. Just don’t expect it to be on par with the first two Alien films.
7) Son of Frankenstein (1939)
This third installment of the popular franchise featured another iconic performance from Boris Karloff as the man-made monster. Son of Frankenstein also starred Bela Lugosi as a new puppeteer of the monster in a very campy yet effective role. This would be the last great film in the series as the Frankenstein franchise later became too ridiculous. This was also Karloff’s last film in which he would portray the monster, although he did appear in some later films as a different character.
6) Day of the Dead (1985)
George A. Romero’s third film in his “Dead” series falls in between his more recent Land of the Dead and 1979’s incredible Dawn of the Dead in terms of quality. Day of the Dead has more in common with Dawn as the setting is very intimate, and the number of human characters is relatively low when compared with Land. The characters, though, are not as multi-dimensional than in Dawn, and the social commentary is less effective. I also prefer the bleaker 70’s score of Dawn to the 80’s synthesizer infused music of Day. The character that steals the show is actually not human, but a zombie named “Bub” who learns to develop some human like traits taught from a borderline insane scientist. All in all, Day of the Dead still deserves a look for anyone who considers themselves a horror fan.
On Sunday, I will reveal my top 5 favorite horror sequels.
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