15 Greatest Horror Sequels Ever #10-6

<< Part One: #15-11 <<

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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15 Greatest Horror Sequels Ever

Horror is often the most ridiculed of film genres and for good reason. Most of these movies are severely lacking in quality. The chances of finding some good sequels in this genre are even lower, but they’re still out there. In honor of the scariest month of the year, here are, IMO, the 15 greatest horror sequels.

15) Halloween H20 (1998)

The first post-Scream Michael Myers slasher is noteworthy for a number of reasons. In a very smart move, the makers disregarded all of the events that occurred between the third and sixth films in a franchise that had become increasingly stale. Jamie Lee Curtis returns for the first time since Halloween II, and H20 benefits greatly from her presence. This seventh installment also feels surprisingly fresh and is notable for its early career performances from Josh Hartnett and Michelle Williams.

14) Halloween II (1981)

Halloween II is a vastly underrated sequel. Sure, it may not be the landmark slasher that its predecessor was. Instead, it should be viewed as a solid continuation of the events from the first film. The suspense, score, and even the performances are nearly as effective in this sequel. Some of the death scenes were particularly inventive and even disturbing. I would even call the ending satisfying. But perhaps the biggest thing to come out of Halloween II was [SPOILER] the revelation that Michael Myers and Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis’ character) were in fact brother and sister. [END OF SPOILER]

13) The Devil’s Rejects (2005)

House of 1000 Corpses was largely just an experimental start by Rob Zombie, but The Devil’s Rejects represented a giant leap forward for the director. It’s not really suspenseful or scary, but the sub-genre of torture horror is supposed to be brutally shocking more than anything, and this film definitely succeeds in that respect. In addition, this sequel benefits from a great 1970’s feel and mood, which is also boosted by an excellent soundtrack.

12) Scream 2 (1997)

Scream started a whole new trend in horror films by making its characters horror savvy. Unfortunately, this formula has been often imitated but with less than satisfying results, except for its own first sequel. Nearly every cast member that survived Scream returned including veterans Neve Campbell, David Arquette, Courteney Cox, and Jamie Kennedy. Wes Craven also returned to direct. Fortunately, Scream 2 did not fall prey to the usual trappings of a horror sequel by keeping the series fresh and inventive. The film is still a pseudo-spoof of other horror movies but legitimately scary itself. There are several great scenes, but my favorite is a comedic one in which Jamie Kennedy’s and Timothy Olyphant’s characters debate whether or not it is possible for a sequel to ever be better than its original. Olyphant’s character keeps on coming up with some popular examples, but Kennedy wittingly strikes down every attempt. And while not officially on this list, Scream 3 was a decent and somewhat underrated finale to this horror trilogy.

11) The Exorcist III (1990)

The Exorcist is one of the finest horror films ever made, but Exorcist II: The Heretic was a disaster, to say the least. It’s worth a watch, though, if only to see how truly awful it actually was. Unfortunately, that meant most viewers gave up on the franchise, which is a shame because the series rebounded immensely with this third installment. While not directly linked to the first two films, The Exorcist III is still somewhat related because it was adapted from “Legion”, a book from William Peter Blatty who is the same author of “The Exorcist”. Blatty also directs this fright film, which proves to be a smart choice. The film may not be the easiest to follow, but Blatty provides us with some of the most frightening images I have ever seen on film. And because it is a sequel in name only, The Exorcist III feels quite unique and not in a bad way. (I’m looking at you Halloween III: Season of the Witch.) George C. Scott also gives a strong performance in one of his final on screen credits.

Check back soon when I will reveal my top ten favorite horror sequels.

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