Rank and File finds us sorting through an exhaustive, comprehensive body of work or collection of pop-culture artifacts. This time, we sift through the slush pile of horror sequels and separate the terrible from the terrifying.
There’s perhaps nothing more pure than a stand-alone horror movie. Well, a good one. You know, something like They Live or The Craft. But, as is often the case in Hollywood and elsewhere, if it gets that cash, it’s gonna get a sequel. We’re all so enamored with The Babadook and It Follows right now, but where would we stand on the original films after four or six more entries in either franchise? Would we like the originals better? Worse? Would it be a Nightmare on Elm Street situation, the kind where we’d think of how revered that original film would be had they never made a sequel? We’ll never know.
But horror sequels sure are tempting, eh? Not just for studios, but audiences, too. No matter how blasphemous or unnecessary it might seem, we horrorhounds dutifully file into the theater to see if lightning can strike twice or, in one of those rare, rare instances, the sequel can actually surpass its predecessor. After all, there’s nothing that says Saw V has to be bad. It’s just that usually it is. But we keep going back, and as long as they keep making ‘em, we’ll keep going back. There’s something comforting about that.
To scorn the the latest unnecessary sequel to 2002’s The Ring, we decided to revisit not just our favorite horror sequels, but also our least favorite. That meant watching every horror sequel. And that, of course, meant ranking every horror sequel. Our major criteria was that the film had to have had, at least in some form, an American theatrical release. We also shaved off some years by ignoring the Universal Monsters/Hammer Films and focusing solely on every horror sequel that followed 1976’s The Omen. Again, they must have had an American theatrical release.
Did we forget any? Let us know and we’ll write a sequel to this article. Don’t act like you wouldn’t read it.
Artwork by Cap Blackard (Buy Prints + More)