The dreaded horror sequel eh?. Often maligned for jumping on the success of a classic and running it into the ground, franchise horror became something of a parody of itself particularly in the 80s with yearly sequels being rushed out with diminishing budgets and scripts. That doesn’t mean they fall into the same trap and in fact some are fantastic and stand alone while others even surpass the originals. Like with all of my lists this is going to be a contentious one as hardcore horror fans can be craaaaaazy. As always though this is my opinion and my nostalgia often come into play and these are all movies I personally enjoy. I couldn’t care less about rotten tomatoes or metacritic scores, I couldn’t care less about what is on other lists and what is “supposed to be on these kinds of lists it’s all my opinion. With that said let’s do it to it…..horror that is.
Well…..Ghoulies was quite something but the silly horror comedy somehow managed to get several sequels and the first of those sequels improves on the original almost completely. This is definitely not for everyone as it’s an incredibly stupid and daft parody of movies like Gremlins with little monsters running rampant at a traveling fun fair. They take residence in a spook house and attack anyone who enters.
Best Bit-Here kitty kitty
55.Wishmaster 2:Evil Never Dies-1999
In my mid teens I rented the original Wishmaster with my buddy Steve and it’s kind of a goofy, fun movie that we still talk about to this day. The idea of an evil Djinn that grants wishes but distorts them in creative and despicable ways is genius and leads to any number of imaginative deaths for his victims. This sequel builds on the first with more of a wink to the audience (literally at one fourth wall breaking moment) and has fun with the concept.
Best Bit-Prison break
54.One Missed Call 2-2005
The sequel to Takashi Miike’s enjoyable but surprisingly generic (for him) J-horror came out at the tail end of the craze and went under the radar a fair bit but it definitely has it’s merits. It’s atmospheric, has some decent scares but without the slick direction of Miike.
Best Bit-3d phone screen
Much like the first movie, Insidious 2 has some beautiful shots and great ideas but can’t quite find it’s overall tone and tries to cram every style of horror into one movie. It’s still thoroughly enjoyable popcorn fare but they have the potential to be great. There’s this trend these days to absolutely shame any horror movie that has any jump scares which is just stupid because they can be used to great effect, these Blumhouse movies sometimes do deserve the criticism though as there is an overabundance of them. A couple here and there are fantastic to build the tension but let’s keep it to a minimum eh?
Time is a great healer of all wounds it would seem as the last few years has seen this movie’s reputation do a complete 180. Making a sequel to a game changing all time classic two decades after the fact is a huge risk and in all fairness is going to anger people more than anything. True to form it was not well received at the time and it’s understandable I suppose because if you’re looking for a genre defining, character building masterpiece like Alfred Hitchcock’s original then you’re out of luck. What you will get though is a very solid slasher that expands the Bates’ mythos further.
Best Bit-Bop on the head
Phantasm is the red headed stepchild of the franchise horror world in the sense that it’s far less known than it’s popular sports playing siblings like Elm Street and Friday 13th. That said it’s still managed to get 6 movies out of it, under the watchful eye of creator and director Don Coscarelli. It’s more for the arty crowd (the original anyway) and doesn’t quite have the mass appeal the others do. However, unlike most sequels, Phantasm 2 ups the gore and action which detracts from a lot of the strengths of the original but it’s still an enjoyable action horror.
Best Bit-The golden sphere
50.Battle Royale 2:Requiem-2003
I hate that I like this movie….it’s awful and the original is one of my favourite movies since the turn of the millennium. That said….I do despite it being overlong, vastly VASTLY inferior to the first and without the heart and likeable characters of the first one. What it does have is a crazy, fun plot where the kids turn against their adult captors and it’s all a thinly veiled anti American political statement about terrorism and it’s causes. So thinly veiled in fact that characters actually list all the countries America has bombed….it’s so up front and blatant in it’s damning that it’s kind of bold and somewhat brilliant in a world in which Western media constantly portrays America as the good guys. No Ko Shibasaki in this one though…..as her characterized in the first one. I’d still find a way to get her in there. Takeshi Kitano too….but for different reasons.
Best Bit-I’ve always wanted to play rugby with you
49.Haloween 4:The Return Of Michael Myers-1988
I’ve always felt this is a hugely underrated ….well until Peter Griffin declared it his favourite movie ever that is. It doesn’t pass one of my Halloween tests which is the mask….it’s not great but it’s a hell of a lot better than the following movie which was laughable and totally took you out of the tension….what little there was in part 5. Some exhilarating action scenes and a great performance from wee Danielle Harris who has turned into a scream queen sex symbol….which is disturbing as I’ll always see her as the wee lassie from Halloween 4 and 5.
Best Bit-Up on the roof
48. Maniac Cop 2-1990
Damn I love Maniac Cop, it’s one of those vhs tapes with awesome artwork and it sat on my next door neighbours shelf staring at me so I had to borrow it from him. It’s brilliant B-movie fun and this sequel ups the ante with more thrills and spills in lieu of the tension filled first one which had Bruce Campbell trying to piece together the clues. One of those mindless slasher movies with a sense of fun and action.
Best Bit-Police station massacre
47.Critters 2: The Main Course-1988
Mick Garris is wonderful spokesperson for all things horror and you should listen to his podcast Post Mortem and check out his interviews on youtube. He does brilliant interviews with the best in horror writing, directing and so on. He also created the excellent tv show Masters Of Horror in which legendary directors like John Carpenter, Tobe Hooper, Dario Argento, Takashi Miike and much more make hour long mini movies. When it comes to Garris as a film maker though he’s not quite as beloved in that field. Here we have his directorial debut though and it’s a blast. It’s goofy, silly and a hell of a lot of fun and even managed to get parodied by The Simpsons with the giant Critter ball.
Best Bit-Run rabbit run
46. Friday The 13th Part 8:Jason Takes Manhattan-1989
Ok ok hold on come back woah woah stay with me for a minute. Yes…this movie is famously bad, yes the gore is toned way down, yes he doesn’t actually get to New York until 30 minutes from the end, yes he somehow gets to Manhattan on a boat that was on lake, yes he gets covered in toxic waste and somehow turns into a child…..it’s awful. Buuuut it was the first in the series I saw and I had been desperate to see them as a kid. My dad let me stay up late one night and watch it with him. We spent the whole time laughing and chatting which was great as when I was young I was more of a Mummy’s boy and these were the rare times I won’t properly connect with dad (we’re best mates now) so it always has a special place in my heart. My dad still sometimes mentions the seen where one of the kids tries to box Jason…..great times.
Best Bit-I’ll knock your block off
45.Child’s Play 3-1991
Even as a kid I remember the hype about this movie being insane because of the ridiculous notion that it somehow caused the awful and tragic murder of little James Bulger and later it was also blamed for the torture and murder of Suzanne Capper, both here in the UK. Ridiculous as that is it was indicative of the time of the video nasties where our horrendous conservative government placed anything they didn’t understand or disliked on the nasties list. Of course this campaign, spearheaded by a crusty old coot that saw herself as the countries’ nanny whereas she was just generally a twat. Ahhhh the good old days of Mary Whitehouse. Anyway all this controversy over movies on the nasties list just made kids and teens even more eager to see the movies on the list. In terms of Child’s Play 3 it’s laughable it was every on the list as it’s a tongue in cheek humorous horror about a killer doll and in all honesty it’s really tame for an 18 rated horror movie. It got panned from critics as many films in the genre do but I’ve always really enjoyed it.
Best Bit-“Serious Like a heart attack”
44.The Exorcist 3:Legion-1990
Best Bit-Dancing on the ceiling
43. The Fly 2-1989
I don’t care what anyone says, I absolutely love this movie. It was one of those late night, lying in bed, let’s see what’s on channel four movies from my childhood and it totally engrossed me. Whenever there’s a dog heavily involved in the story I’m all aboard and there’s something that happens to said pup that actually had me in hysterical tears…not every movie has that effect so there’s something in that. It’s not nearly as good or taught as the astounding 1986 movie but it’s a very watchable slice of practical effects gore with a surprising amount of emotion.
Best Bit-Doggy revenge
42.Hellraiser 3:Hell On Earth-1992
Another movie that got destroyed by critics and even a lot of fans of the franchise. This mainly due to fans belief that this is where it jumped the shark…..in a movie about pleasure demons from hell and there was something of a disgruntled section of the fanbase that were annoyed about the focus of Pinhead as a main character. To be honest by the third movie it was pretty clear that he was the main event and if you can get past the more goofy and action orientated nature of the first two it’s a lot of fun. The new cenobites are a lot of fun too with cameramen fusing with their equipment and a DJ becoming a cd throwing ninja. It doesn’t have the Clive Barker signature disgusting beauty or hyper sexual undertones but it’s a fun, balls out action horror.
Best Bit-In da club
41.Whispering Corridors 2:Memonto Mori-1999
A somewhat important and boundary smashing effort from South Korea that was released a few years before Chan-Wook Park’s stunning revenge trilogy blasted open the international doors for South Korean cinema. The horror drama depicted a teenage lesbian relationship which restricted it’s release due to the backwards attitude the country had at the time. One of the girls struggles with the scrutiny put on the relationship by other students and commits suicide. Strange goings on then occur as the judgemental students begin to suffer hauntings.
Best Bit-Scary PDA
40.Wrong Turn 2:Dead eND-2007
The first Wrong Turn, starring Eliza Dushku was a decent Texas Chainsaw/The Hills Have Eyes kind of movie in which a bunch of hot people get lost and stumble upon cannibals. The sequel has a reality tv show presented by Henry Rollins unwittingly …..stumble upon cannibals. it’s basically a survivor/Fear Factor type show in which the contestants perform tasks in the woods and gory violence ensues. First time director Joe Lynch did a fine job.
Best Bit-Doing the splits
39.White Noise 2:The Light-2007
One of the rare sequels that surpasses the original in almost every way. Nathan Filion stars in this supernatural horror that looks at existentialism and near death experiences. It’s like a more serious Final Destination in the sense that it deals with what happens if you interfere with death’s plans. Strong performances and tight pacing.
Best Bit-The diner scene
This film and it’s predecessor The Collector flew under the radar which is a great shame as they are really good and I’d probably say that this is better than the first. It’s got a twisted humour to it and director Marcus Dunstan blends the tension and action together very well. Get this watched.
Best Bit-Final fight
37.The Conjuring 2-2016
This new breed of horror from the likes of James Wan and Blumhouse is very divisive and like every new generation of horror is embraced by the youth and scowled at bu older fans of the genre. “Pfft it’s got nothing on Elm Street or Friday 13th” they say, much like adults in the 80s would say “Pffft it’s got nothing on Psycho and Repulsion” without actually watching it. Like with everything there is a lot of guff in there but if you look around enough you’ll find some gems. The Conjuring 2 is one such gem, it can’t boast any innovation as it’s essentially a greatest hits record of horror tropes from over the years but you don’t need to bulldoze a street to erect a building.
Best Bit-That painting looks real
The most popular and talked about franchises of the last couple of decades and the one that popularised the torture porn sub genre for the masses. The first one was a sleeper indie hit from two Australian writers and directors that made the little doll Jigsaw the first recognisable franchise horror mascot since Ghostface. The sequel here expands the mythos of the elaborate trap loving villain before the further sequels tied itself in knots of increasing nonsensical tightness. The films always rely on the twist being clever and this one is a killer.
Best Bit-The Razor Box Trap
It’s funny, the original Scream should have absolutely been my dream movie. I was 12 when it came out and was hardcore into horror movies at the time (I was a strange child) but I preferred classic horror and 80s slasher more at the time,. I didn’t like seeing people from my era for some reason, I just recognised how much of twat most people in these movies were and recognised them from my life. So it wasn’t until a little while later that I got over the silliness and gave it a chance and of course I loved it, it’s a fantastic movie and series. This final entry into the series was also sadly the last film from one of my favourite directors Wes Craven who completely reinvented himself and the genre along with writer Kevin Williamson with the series. It was a great movie for him to leave us with and a reminder that even at his age he related to youngsters and loved to be part of what was going on in youth culture.
Best Bit-A Killer Reveal
34.Final Destination 3-2006
For a series that started in 2000 I’m struggling to think of a better modern age franchise horror series which I took a fair while to get to because I always wrote it off as dumb fun….then I realised the franchise horror of my day was just silly fun too when it got to the sequels. Granted the premise of the movies (trying to cheat death) just leads the viewer to see awesome and creative deaths that are often played for outrageous laughs rather than genuine scares but what a hell of a lot of fun they are. I went to the cinema with some friends to see this and the amount of laughter and disgusted screams that went on in the theatre was such a blast.
Best Bit-Thank You Drive Through
33.Friday The 13th Part 6:Jason Lives-1986
After the 5th movie ended with a twist that had fans of the time groaning the studio decided to bring Jason back for part 6. The series was becoming something of a joke in the mainstream world with the perception being that every movie was pretty much the same and they weren’t wrong in a broad sense (said twist aside). Director Tom McLoughlin recognised this and so injected far more humour into what had up until then been a rathe mean spirited series. From the retro monster movie aesthetics of lightning and gothic imagery to the brilliant opening Bond parody it winks to audience and knows exactly what it is. McLoughlin, a rock fan also got Alice Cooper to donate 3 songs, one of which featured a video featuring Jason himself.
Best Bit-Folded Over Laughing
32.Cold Prey 2-2008
A follow up to the surprise 2006 hit from Norway that was also a huge success in it’s native country. I love it when a horror movie comes out from a country whose movies don’t normally make it to a worldwide audience as the horror community (the good parts anyway) are much like the punk community I’m also involved in in the sense that we band together in support and embrace the filmakers who are breaking out of the shackles of their geographical constraints.
Best Bit-The Pickax Chase
31.The Eye 2-2004
Straight out of Hong Kong, the Pang brothers release the original in 2002 and scored a hit with what I think is a masterpiece. A wonderful supernatural horror with some absolutely terrifying set pieces. The sequel isn’t related plot wise but shares the theme of certain events triggering the ability to see ghosts. It never quite reaches the heights of the original but it’s a very tense and gripping sequel.
30.Friday The 13th:The Final Chapter-1984
Ahhh that poster, so many memories. Here guys….guys……The Final Chapter eh?….aye right no way hahahahahahaha. Try to find a review or article about this movie without a joke referencing it’s title. This is the one with a suitably erratic performance from Crispin Glover, a young Corey Feldman and it has some excellent Tom Savini gore effects as usual from the maestro of viscera.
Best Bit-Night swimming
The original is one of my favourite horror movies of all time so a sequel was never going to touch it and it doesn’t but I’m taking this at it’s own merit and not judging it in comparison to it’s lofty predecessor. There are a lot of problems with this movie and for hardcore fans of the franchise it messes with some lore as it doesn’t follow the story of the Koji Suzuki books.That said there is still plenty to like here but I feel it’s for hardcore Ring fans only…..I say this as my fiance met it with a decidedly “meh” response and I understand that. In terms of scares there are two bits in this movie that are brilliant and scared the crap out of me as I sat alone (well I had my dog) watching it in the dark all those years ago.
Best Bit-Fix the tracking!
Ok that’s part one done. Check back for the finale soon. Take care and throw any ideas for lists to me @swing_kinker