Movies & TV / Columns

A Bloody Good Time: 10 Unnecessary Horror Sequels

August 27, 2015 | Posted by Joseph Lee

Opening Logo courtesy of Benjamin J. Colón (Soul Exodus)

Sequels are hard, but they always happen. If a movie makes a lot of money, a sequel is all but guaranteed, no matter if the story requires another chapter or not. Take Sinister 2, which opened last Friday. I haven’t seen the movie yet, but I didn’t finish the first film and think, “I need another one of those”. It was a self-contained story. I had no desire to learn more about Baghuul or follow the adventures of minor character Deputy So-and-So, things that happen in the new movie. America agreed with me, as the film only received a 12% on RT (and dropped as low as a 4% prior to the film’s release) and came in at #3 this past weekend. Not only was it unnecessary to make a sequel to Sinister, but it doesn’t even seem like the movie was good enough to justify its own existence.

So this week’s ABGT is about unnecessary horror sequels. I know we did something like this earlier this year, but this is my take for my genre. These movies don’t necessarily have to be bad, it’s mostly for the films with self-contained stories that didn’t need to continue.

#10: Stepfather III (1992)

Time to make fun of Stepfather III again. If we’re being honest, the second film in the series was also necessary simply because Jerry Blake was believed to be dead at the end of the movie. But the concept was good enough that it could have been it’s own series, even if they had to do a little retconning. Some horror films are like that. The story is mostly self-contained but the concept is one that warrants a sequel. It’s kind of like Cube. That particular story was self-contained but the concept opened the door for two (admittedly horrible) sequels.

So anyway, why was Stepfather III unnecessary if the second film wasn’t? It’s simple. Terry O’Quinn wasn’t in it. The fact that they couldn’t get the star of the first two films back for the third immediately rendered the idea pointless. Stepfather III is also terrible, but that’s not the point. It didn’t need to exist if you couldn’t get the star back. They knew this, but they wrote in a story about him getting plastic surgery anyway.

#9: Jack Frost 2: Revenge of the Mutant Killer Snowman (2000)

The movie preceding it doesn’t necessarily have to be bad or even have a self-contained story for a sequel to be unnecessary. Sometimes a movie is so stupid that you can’t imagine why anyone would even want to see another one. Jack Frost is that movie. Was the first film really that successful? It was a straight-to-video release about a mutant killer snowman. I realize it’s A-Pix Entertainment so their standards for “hit” may be low, but I can’t imagine it sold enough rentals to warrant another one.

So someone thought it would be a good idea to make a sequel to the horror comedy that failed to scare or entertain. They decided the best way to go would be over the top and give Jack Frost babies. Naturally, they’re snowballs. You’d think that going in that direction would help things like Leprechaun but it somehow made it worse. It’s a horrible, horrible film that shouldn’t be a thing we’re talking about.

#8: The Birds II: Land’s End (1994)

Speaking of a movie that never needed a sequel, how about anything directed by Alfred Hitchcock? Most of his films are stories that don’t need an extra chapter. The Birds is a creepy story with no real answers that never needed to happen again. Birds went nuts, they attacked people, then they stopped as suddenly as they started. We didn’t need to know why and we didn’t need to see it again.

Universal disagreed. In 1994 they allowed a made-for-cable abomination that is known as one of the worst horror sequels ever made. I’m not sure what Universal had to gain in this. Home video sales, maybe? Ratings for early 90s Showtime? It came out to a lot of hatred and even Tippi Hedren, who returned for the sequel, was embarrassed to be associated with it. There’s really no reason for this movie to exist.

#7: Psycho II (1983)

I did say “anything directed by Alfred Hitchcock”. Psycho II is the first example of a unnecessary sequel that turned out to be really, really good, but that still doesn’t mean it ever needed to happen. If there was an internet in the early 1980s, everyone would be losing their minds at the announcement of something like this. Anthony Perkins or not, the sheer guts on Universal to attempt a sequel to one of the greatest horror films of all time is amazing.

As I said, at least Psycho II turned out to be good. Honestly, all of the Psycho sequels ended up being good, mostly because they still had Anthony Perkins as Norman Bates to tie everything together. It can’t really be overstated how good Perkins was as an actor, as he could make below-average material work. Luckily the Psycho sequels all had decent stories behind them and he just made it better.

#6: Everything after Hellraiser II

Hellraiser ended with the possibility of a sequel. The story was seemingly over for Kirsty, but the weird homeless man turned into a bone dragon and flew away. I’d say that makes sense in context, but it really doesn’t. Anyway, that meant that the cenobites, who weren’t killed, could come back and plague someone else. So Hellraiser II made perfect sense, as everyone probably expected it would be cenobite heavy.

Hellbound turned out to be another good entry and it worked as a grand finale for Kirsty’s story. She returned along with the cenobites and it upped the ante by taking us to Hell and showing us how cenobites (and Pinhead) are created. The problem is that the cenobites died at the end, the door to Hell was closed and there was no reason to believe the story should continue. It sort of makes all of the other films unnecessary since the story was told. The idea to make Pinhead a Freddy-like villain is one that sent the movies to DVD and obscurity.

#5: Poltergeist II: The Other Side (1986)

Speaking of movies that had a complete story, there’s Poltergeist. Not only did it end the story of the Freelings, it ended the possibility of a sequel. The house imploded! The ghosts had nothing to haunt and everyone knew there was something wrong with the area, so it was abandoned (as they showed at the start of the sequel). So how could you possibly carry things on, especially with one of the cast members tragically dying shortly after the film’s release?

To MGM’s credit, they got as many people back as possibly. Dominique Dunne had sadly passed away, but her character was written out by suggesting she’s in college. As far as the ghosts, they just decided they would follow Carol Anne. The movie itself turned out to be decent enough and gave us Reverend Kane, but there was seemingly no reason for it to happen.

#4: Omen IV: The Awakening (1991)

I wouldn’t exactly say that the Omen sequels are necessary, but the series works as a trilogy about the rise and fall of Damien Thorne, the Anti-Christ. The first film follows him as a child, the second when he’s older and unsure of wanting to accept his destiny and the third when he’s fully evil and plotting humanity’s downfall. As a trilogy, the Omen story works really well and results in one great movie and two decent sequels.

If Damien Thorne is dead, how could there possibly be a sequel? As it turns out, they just have the “evil” be reborn in another kid. Apparently that’s a thing that can happen, even though it ruins prophecies and craps all over the the concepts established by the preceding films. What’s worse, it was a made-for-TV movie, so it’s not like they could really get much money from making it. It’s easily the worst of a series that until this point, had no bad movies.

#3: Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977)

The Exorcist is one of the highest-grossing films of all time, so it made perfect since that there would be a sequel. Even the story seems to suggest that there could be more, because there’s no end to a series where evil can simply possess another person and wage another battle with the Church. So in a way, this sequel was necessary for Warner Bros, as it could have been a huge money-maker.

However, this exact movie was completely unnecessary. Regan’s story is over. She was clean of the evil (until this movie, anyway) and completely free. She was also relatively happy and healthy, leaving with her mother to enjoy life demon-free. So naturally the sequel had to retcon that to write out her mom and put her in a mental ward. The fact that this is the least of the movie’s problems says a lot about it’s quality. I fail to see how anyone who would see what John Boorman (who hated the original, by the way) was doing could deem that something that needs to happen.

#2: American Psycho II (2002)

American Psycho II shouldn’t exist because, technically, the first film doesn’t exist. It was revealed at the end of Patrick Bateman’s adventure that the entire movie was all in his head. He’s crazy, sure, but his insanity is limited to fantasy and he hasn’t actually killed anyone. There’s no reason to make another movie because the first movie is just the tale of someone’s disturbed daydreams. How can you make a sequel to that?

Lionsgate thought the best way to do that would be to completely ignore the end of the film and act like Patrick Bateman was a killer all along. Then they would kill him off early and focus on a college student who was disturbed by what he did and decided to start killing on her own. I’d like to think that whoever wrote the movie only saw a trailer for the first film and decided to make a terrible and generic sequel to what he thought was a standard slasher. I’d like to think that, because the idea that someone saw the original and thought any of this was a good idea is very, very depressing.

#1: Halloween II (1981)

Halloween II only exists because the first film was so successful and the slasher boom was in full force. John Carpenter never planned for a sequel and there was really no reason to make it happen. It’s hard to say a story where the killer escapes is self-contained, but it is. Michael Myers gets away because he’s played as a force of nature. He comes in, causes destruction and then vanishes, with only his carnage as proof he was ever there.

However, with masked killers becoming the norm in horror, thanks to Halloween, someone decided that it was time for Michael to come back and pick up where he left off. While I happen to enjoy Halloween II, it’s obvious that the originator became an imitator and ended up turning a series which set off the slasher boom into something that was indistinguishable from the films it inspired. Regardless of how you feel about the sequels, there was never any point for any more Michael Myers movies. In a perfect world, Halloween III was a hit and it became a very popular anthology series.

Ending Notes:

That’s it for me. Agree with my choices? Did I leave anything out? Leave some comments here, on my Twitter or my Facebook.

Closing Logo courtesy of Kyle Morton (get your own custom artwork and commissions at his Etsy account)

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