Rank My Ranks – Halloween Edition – 1 – Mike’s Top 10 Horror Movie Sequels!

One of the suggestions Mike came up to me with once he joined Motorbreath to help me with the page was suggesting ourselves posting our favorite horror movie lists and commenting on each other’s choices in a dialogue-esque manner. Hence we’re trying out the waters with this and hoping it sticks along and thankfully we have enough material to make these final weeks count as a worthy test of the idea.

You see, the horror fanatic in me ended up struggling to keep my list to ten and had it branch out to other list concepts simply so that I can name-drop a shitload more horror films than I ought to and thankfully Mike was game enough to match my enthusiasm and then some. So, over the final days of October we’ll be posting these lists and the commentary we had for each other.

In the meantime, here is the first one that Mike created (I didn’t participate) in

MIKE’S TEN BEST HORROR SEQUELS

STinG’s comments are in blue. Mike’s are in red.

Because Sequels Are Doomed for Failure and It’s Almost a Miracle When You Can Justify the Existence of One

I don’t have nearly enough horror sequels I love to actually make a list beyond it just being “the list of horror sequels I happen to like”. But for sure, the Dawn/Day Of the Dead, Evil Dead II, Devil’s Rejects, Nightmare 3 (and New Nightmare), and Hellbound would be on it. Bride of Frankenstein too. I guess maybe The Beyond could count as a sequel. 28 Weeks Later. Maybe I’d add Son of Frankenstein, Jeepers Creepers 2, Phantasm 2, Friday the 13th Part 2, or Dracula’s Daughter but like I said, by that point it’s just turning into movies I like rather than what I think exemplify the best. Really the moment I put a Friday the 13th movie on a list, I’m most likely just looking for entries to give that list.

10. The Exorcist III a.k.a. Legion (1990/dir. William Peter Blatty/USA)

Legion is a movie I can’t claim to like (since I’m also cool on The Exorcist series including the still good first), but unlike the other Exorcist sequels, I think it does what it needs to well enough. You won’t catch me calling it good – decent maybe, but good ain’t coming out of me. But it’s dark and its powerful at places where it matters to be powerfully dark in a horror movie that I could say it functions at what it has to. And really, when you have George C. Scott and Brad Dourif in your cast, you could have the shittiest picture ever, they could be in Foodfight! And they’ll elevate it with or without your bullshit.

I love George C. Scott’s character and I admired that they made an Exorcist movie that was a detective story. Great performances from Scott, Dourif and Jason Miller. Also, what the fuck was up with the Fabio and Larry King cameos?

9. Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988/dir. Tony Randel/UK & USA)

Hellbound is a movie for which I both hold high up (almost above the first) for going conceptually insane within its second half like only Clive Barker could – like what the fuck once they get inside the Configuration – and yet hold against the first movie at the same time for sort of watering-down the fearful elements of the mythology. Revealing the backstories of the Cenobites makes sense but it removes the mystique of them disappointingly. Granted, if we weren’t revealed that they were humans at one point, we wouldn’t have my favorite line of the franchise: When Dr. Channard exits as a newly created Cenobite and says “And to think… I hesitated”. Perfection.

I think Hellbound: Hellraiser 2 is actually an improvement on the original Hellraiser. It throws plot out of the window, but in all honestly, who the fuck watches a Hellraiser movie for the plot? This one had amazing visuals and some of the creepiest claymation I’ve ever seen.

8. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986/dir. Tobe Hooper/USA)

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise, one which the only movies I actually liked are the original (as we’ll see) and its remake and everything else just makes me sad. I didn’t find anything in Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 actually funny and of course when nothing in a comedy movie makes you laugh, you will have a bad time as I did. Especially as dizzying as Chainsaw 2 was, which would be expected out of a movie produced by Golan-Globus’ Cannon Films. A movie produced by Cannon in the 80s. Their decade of Xanadu and Electric Boogaloo. Your kid didn’t need shoes THAT bad, Dennis Hopper.

I love The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2. Tobe Hooper was tasked to make a sequel to Texas Chain Saw and instead of trying to make it creepier and scarier than the original he opted to make a ridiculous dark comedy. Ol’ Hoops got balls. It’s just such a shit show and something that could only exist in the 80s that I see it was a little treasure of sorts.

7. A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987/dir. Chuck Russell/USA)

As a child, I was obsessed with the Nightmare on Elm Street movies. I remember renting them on VHS from Blockbuster. I remember I saw 1, 2, 4, 5, 6 and New Nightmare first. The only one my local Blockbuster didn’t have was Part 3: The Dream Warriors. I became obsessed with seeing it and after much bitching, my mother took me to a Blockbuster like ten minutes from our house and I finally got to rent it. It was glorious, and at the time I liked it more than the original. I think it was because it has the most empathetic characters of any Nightmare film. “Welcome to Primetime, Bitch!” became my “I’ll be Back.”

6. Scream 2 (1997/dir. Wes Craven/USA)

I really just should bite my tongue in regards to Scream at all unless I continue reviewing the franchise. I’ve haven’t been fond of the franchise in a long while and I think I’m more willing to concede it’s me being a butthurt horror fanboy at how a movie that otherwise works exactly like a slasher film tries to turn its problems around by saying “haha, but we’re asposed ta be dumb”.  At the very least, I can say Scream 2 wields its commentary a lot more capably since this is the movie where the fictional Stab franchise gets involved allowing a whole lot of meta-narrative rather than just obscure references. And of course, the radio studio chase scene is one of the better moments in Craven’s career.

I love the first two Scream movies, and I think the second Scream might be as good as the first. I think they were very original at the time and displayed a perfect combination of being thrilling and funny/clever. I mean, that scene where Ghostface is chasing Courtney Cox through the sound studio — fantastic! Plus, Ray Donovan is in it.

5. Day of the Dead (1985/dir. George A. Romero/USA)

Poor Day of the Dead never gets love and deserves a lot of it so it’s great to see it here. It’s every bit as smart and fun as its predecessors (ok maybe not AS smart but very close) and the makeup has been evolving all throughout the franchise (even the recent ones – if Survival has nothing else going for it, those are the best damn looking zombies in the series).

4. The Devil’s Rejects (2005/dir. Rob Zombie/USA)

I’m an unabashed Rob Zombie fan simply for the sake of his aesthetic and energy, even if I think some of his movies aren’t good and some of his music isn’t that special. Thankfully The Devil’s Rejects is a very very very special and great movie in my eyes, like the Chainsaw family goes Easy Rider.

3. Evil Dead II (1987/dir. Sam Raimi/USA)

My thoughts about Evil Dead II are fully collected in my review.

2. Dawn of the Dead (1978/dir. George A. Romero/USA)

1. The Silence of the Lambs (1991/dir. Jonathan Demme/USA)

It’s pretty curious to see The Silence of the Lambs regarded as a sequel. While I don’t protest the choice, I never felt it lived in the same world as Manhunter (or really any other Hannibal film simply because it’s the one Lecter that Dino de Laurentiis wanted nothing to do with. Bad movie, Dino). For that reason, I always regarded The Silence of the Lambs as the initial while Hannibal the sequel and Red Dragon the prequel (and I guess, Hannibal Rising as… the pre-prequel?) Ayiyiyi, I really won’t make any case against putting it on the list though, just my regards to it beyond being a sequel.

Funny you should call out my classification of The Silence of the Lambs as a sequel. I wrestled with that last night when compiling the list but in the end I saw it as a sequel because it’s the second book in a trilogy.

All in all solid list and even if I don’t entirely agree, it’s better than anything I’d possibly be able to put together on the subject. Thanks for the concept, Mike, and here’s to all the other horror lists we have waiting in the wings!

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