The 411 Movies Top 5 02.01.12: Week 359 – Top 5 Horror Sequels
Welcome to Week 359 of the Movie Zone Top 5. My name is Shawn S. Lealos and you have entered my world.
The 411mania writers were given the following instructions: The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia hits theaters this week and that made me remember the days when I actually looked forward to horror sequels. Here is your chance to count down your favorite horror sequels of all time. This does not include reboots (like Rob Zombie’s first Halloween movie, although the second one would count).
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Honorable Mentions: A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987), The Devil’s Rejects (2005), Bride of Frankenstein (1935), Hatchet II (2010), Predator 2 (1990), Day of the Dead (1985)
5. Return of the Living Dead 3 (1993)
While I love Return of the Living Dead Part II (it has a goofy charm and is, at least to me, pretty funny), the Brian Yuzna directed part 3 takes the idea of the Trioxin zombie creating gas and creates a small, messed up love story around it. Basically, the rambunctious son of an Army colonel working on creating zombie soldiers ends up using the gas on his dead girlfriend because he just can’t bare living without her. As you’d expect, this decision leads to the son and his now zombie girlfriend engaging in some nasty stuff (the zombie girlfriend needs to feed). The special effects are incredibly disgusting (as they should be), the performances are all top notch, and the new Tar Man is goddamn terrifying (a naked zombie guy wearing a kind of harness who just won’t die). I’m getting the creeps just thinking about it. I know that it didn’t make much money at the box office, but I know a bunch of people saw it when it hit home video and TV so people know what it is. I think it needs a bigger following. Fearnet has it on every so often, on both TV and the internets. If you haven’t seen it, give it a shot. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed with it.
4. Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989)
I know I’m not supposed to like Halloween 5 and its director/co-writer, Dominique Othenin-Girard, because of the whole “man in black thing” (it allegedly screwed up the whole franchise because no one had a plan for it), but I like that idea. I also like how the movie is moodier than part 4 (another great sequel). The suspense that Othenin-Girard creates in the barn, in the laundry chute, and in the old Myers house overall is just insane (the “little girl being chased by maniac in a muscle car” scene is also awesome). And the ending is just so damn cool because it comes out of left field. I mean, there Myers is, chained up, ready to be picked up by the National Guard to be sent to a maximum security prison. Then a man in a trench coat and hat shows up, whips out a machine gun, and breaks Michael Myers out of jail? Why the hell would anyone do that? Why? The story should be over. Michael Myers should be going to prison to die. But he’s gone. And there’s Jamie Lloyd, crying, terrified, because the nightmare isn’t over. Man, I love this movie.
3. Maniac Cop 2 (1990)
Maniac Cop 2 takes the basic idea behind the first Maniac Cop (a dishonored cop comes back from the dead to get revenge on the cops that framed him and society in general) and just makes everything bigger. The stunts are bigger (the scene where Claudia Christian’s character is handcuffed to a runaway car is still one of the most amazing stunts I think I’ve ever seen in a movie), the lead character is more badass (Robert Davi!), the great Leo Rossi plays a wacked out serial killer who likes to kill strippers and ends up teaming up with the Maniac Cop, Matt Cordell (once again played by Robert Z’Dar), and the movie ends with the still most insane “man-on-fire” gag in movie history and one of the jumpiest jump scares ever (that sound of Cordell punching through the top of the coffin to grab the badge still gets me). Why doesn’t this movie have a special edition DVD yet? It just makes no sense.
2. Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (1986)
This is my favorite movie in the Friday the 13th franchise. It features the best Jason performance to date (yes, C.J. Graham, to me, is the best Jason, with Kane Hodder a very close second), some of the best kills in the series (triple decapitation, a man is bent in half, the camper massacre with nasty camper stunt, and the bloody cabin are just some of the great kills in this movie), and has a general fun tone, something you don’t see all that often in slasher movies. But best of all, it’s got Jason as a “classic” monster. Sure, I like the “he’s just a guy that’s hard to kill” Jason that we saw in parts 2-4, but the “zombie” Jason that’s brought back to life via a bolt of lightning is just unbelievably cool. It actually makes him scarier because he can’t possibly be real, can he? A zombie with a machete and a hockey mask? That’s bullshit. And yet there he is, walking through the woods, looking for something to kill. Still amazing stuff.
1. Dawn of the Dead (1978)
George A. Romero’s follow up to Night of the Living Dead is still, thirty-five years later, the zombie movie just about every zombie movie wants to be. From its social commentary to its characters to its action set pieces to its gore, Dawn has just about everything you want in a horror movie. Granted, it isn’t as slick as Romero’s Day of the Dead, but even with its rough edges Dawn is still a brilliant horror movie that just begs to be watched and rewatched again and again. It’s also a bold move for a sequel when you look at how Night is an unrelenting thriller and Dawn is slower, more contemplative. Romero hasn’t created a more impactful movie since. Man, I want to go watch this again. Right now.
5. Army of Darkness
I’ve touched on this in a previous Top 5 but what makes this sequel so epic can be summarized in two words… Bruce Campbell. Yeah okay, and Sam Raimi too. Although, quite different from the first two entries, Army of Darkness remains one of the most fun horror films ever. In this film, we get full fledge “Ash” in pure badass mode. The finale alone is just insanely hilarious as Ash is confronted by the evil spirits one last time.
Ash: Lady, I’m afraid I’m gonna have to ask you to leave the store.
Possessed woman: Who the hell are you?
Ash: Name’s Ash…[cocks rifle]…Housewares
The cinematic world needs more Bruce Campbell.
4. Scream 2
Back when it was released, Scream 2 was received with a ton of mixed reactions. For me, this was a worthy follow up to the original film. The Drew Barrymore intro from the first film is an arguably better kick-start, but the opening sequence with Jada Pinkett Smith and Omar Epps is still quite affective. I can’t imagine being in a situation like the one Scream 2 depicts from the first sequence. Scream 2 also succeeds in continuing making fun of its own self-aware genre.The established fun the first movie had with being satirical while delivering scares is still at play. Only in this entry, we learn the rules of surviving a horror sequel. For this reason, Scream 2 is a horror sequel that honors the original film.
3. 28 Weeks Later
It’s been awhile since I’ve watched it, but I remember this being a compelling follow-up to Danny Boyle’s, 28 Days Later. The film has an insanely intense opening sequence with a violent rabid zombie attack on a group of survivors in the middle of nowhere.The rage zombies are equally as scary as they were in the original. The film is again managed by a strong put together cast. One of the biggest highlights is Jeremy Renner before he ended up in The Hurt Locker. Overall, 28 Weeks Later is not only a terrific film, but also one of the most underrated horror sequels of the last decade. This movie deserves to be on more list.
2. Hostel: Part II
Now, before I get accused of praising a film that involves “torture porn,” let me be clear that I actually have zero respect for shock horror. In fact, I actually hated the original Hostel, even though I thought the idea was clever. So why did I watch this movie, when I hated the first one? Well guys, boredom makes you do crazy shit. After finishing Eli Roth’s second entry, astonishly I was impressed. What makes me love this sequel so much is the dual storylines Roth created. On one spectrum, we are following the inevitable female victims. On the other, we get to explore the two men who have decided to torture these young girls. What results is a unpredictable yet humorous switch up that I wasn’t expecting towards the finale. Hostel: Part II was a pleasant surprise despite it being a film revolving around torture.
It’s not a horror film on the same level as Ridley Scott’s original, but it damn sure is a prestigious sequel. James Cameron created a second entry in which raised the stakes while expanding the mythology. Instead of battling one xenomorph, here the characters have to take on dozens, including a vicious queen. Films such as these make me miss the old Hollywood that incorporated animatronics for creature effects. There is nothing quite as frightening than actually viewing the queen xenomorph walk out from a dark elevator snarling with practical embodiment. Aliens definitely has more action than the original, but still holds up as a true sci-fi horror classic.
5. Army of Darkness
“This is my boom stick.” Look, I know a lot of people will list Evil Dead 2 in this spot, but damn it, I liked the first Evil Dead movie because of the inventiveness that Sam Raimi had to use to make it. The second movie was really just a remake of the first with some new plot points added in. Because I consider it a remake, and not a sequel, and I loved the first movie so much, I’m not putting it here. However, Army of Darkness was not only a sequel to Evil Dead 2, but it was the continuation of the cliffhanger ending of that previous movie. This movie took Ash and made him and complete narcissistic jerk, and Bruce Campbell does that better than anyone. It was funny, it had some brilliant iconic moments (the mini Ash’s) and it was just a brilliant end to the franchise. And while I loved the supermarket scene (it was great), I still prefer the downer ending where he overslept and woke up in an apocalyptic future.
4. Bride of Frankenstein
The original Frankenstein was a great horror movie, but Bride of Frankenstein is one of the best horror movies ever made. It took a lot of what made the original great and added so much more. James Whale was a master and this movie remains one of the best sequels of all time, horror or otherwise.
3. Dawn of the Dead
Yeah, Night Living Dead was a groundbreaking movie, but it hasn’t really aged really gracefully over the years. Don’t let that make you think I am bashing it because it is the most important movie in zombie cinema. However, the sequel Dawn of the Dead remains the true masterpiece of George Romero’s zombie franchise. The movie takes a bite out of consumerism and once again makes the real monsters the humans who are left standing, more so than the zombies wandering around jonesing for brains. Without Dawn of the Dead, there would not be a Walking Dead. The movie was great.
The first Alien movie was a mixture between a haunted house movie in outer space and a slasher where the killer was a giant alien creature. When James Cameron took over the second movie, he chose to take it a bit out of the straight horror genre and give it a sci-fi bend as well, but don’t misunderstand – this is still a horror movie. And, honestly, it is more exciting than the original. While the first movie is spooky and scary as hell, this next movie is a slam-bam action ride from start to finish. The cast is great (Lance Henricksen, Bill Paxton, Michael Freaking Biehn) and the action is top-notch. It is one of the rare cases where a sequel actually creates something completely unique and still kicks ass.
1. Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors
My all-time favorite horror movie franchise is, without a doubt, Nightmare on Elm Street. I love Freddy Krueger and feel he might be the best movie monster of all time. However, while I really liked the first movie, and hated the second one, I did not fall in love with the franchise until this third effort. I feel that Dream Warriors is not just the best sequel of a horror movie, but one of the most re-watchable horror movies for me personally. I love everything about it. The kids actually find a way to fight back, which makes it better in my eyes than just waiting for the next kid to die. It creates more drama and tension and gives you someone to cheer for. Plus, it has “Larry” Fishburn and an Arquette gets her head shoved into a TV hanging from the ceiling. And Dokken. I could keep going, but this movie just kicked my ass and I still love it three decades later.
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