It seems as though just about every horror movie that’s remotely successful gets a sequel. But the original was a self-contained story that didn’t lend itself to another movie? Doesn’t matter. Jaws, a horror classic that in no way required a sequel, produced three follow-ups. But your killer died at the end of the movie? Still doesn’t matter. Look no further than the Saw franchise. Technically, there’s more Saw movies without its titular villain than with Tobin Bell’s Jigsaw. But your original movie wasn’t that good? Well, that’s why we have direct-to-video. Leprechaun, Children of the Corn, The Puppet Master – those franchise are still churning out sequels. Occasionally, however, a decent horror movie never gets that follow-up. Whatever franchise potential that was teased never transpired. Below are five genuinely good horror movies that deserved a sequel.
Honourable Mentions: These movies aren’t so much honourable mentions as they are horror movies that many other writers have signalled out for sequels. Killer Klowns from Out Space was pure B-movie horror at its best – yet no sequel in sight. Though fans may be are divided on its quality, Freddy vs Jason promised a rematch. As remakes go, The Crazies exceeded expectations. And teased a sequel that never followed.
Does Not Need a Sequel: And before we continue with the list, here’s one that really doesn’t need another entry – It Follows. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely loved this creatively chilling 80’s throwback. Oftentimes sequels force an obligation to explain. We don’t need to know more about the entity from It Follows. That’s what made the first movie work so well.
5 – The Guest (2014)
Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett’s (You’re Next, Blair Witch) The Guest didn’t stay long at the box office. Regardless of its underwhelming financial performance, The Guest perfectly captured 80’s trash thrillers with its gratuitous violence and synth score. It was also another breakout performance for Dan Stevens, whose charismatic anti-hero ‘David Collins’ was the perfect enigma. Plenty of mystery around his character – and the program that created him – remains. If a sequel kept the ‘world’ small, and avoided the tendency to lean too much on exposition, another ‘stay-cation’ with The Guest would be very welcome among horror sequels.
4 – My Bloody Valentine (1981)
Yes, Hollywood gave this Canadian slasher the remake treatment. But it was better than a lot of B-grade slashers that somehow got sequels. Another 80’s Canadian slasher, Prom Night, produced not one but three sequels. And those sequels shared little with the original other than the ‘Prom Night’ title. In contrast, My Bloody Valentine clearly left the door open for another direct instalment. A great setting, excellent low-budget gore effects, and a distinct-looking killer – and in the sequel, ‘The Miner’ would only have one hand. Come on, the script writes itself. My Bloody Valentine was an incredibly effective, brutal little slasher movie that’s still very watchable. Though it’s unlike a sequel would have retained the quality, it deserved one if for no other reason than slasher movies almost inevitably get a sequel. Besides how many horror movies had their own folk ballad to go along with the closing credits?
3 – Trick ‘R Treat (2007)
Horror fans have been asking for a Trick ‘r Treat horror sequel for over a decade. Occasionally, director Michael Dougherty muses about making that follow-up. In recent years, however, Dougherty’s moved on to bigger things. Last year’s Godzilla: King of the Monsters may have underwhelmed, but it more than proved that Dougherty could helm big budget extravaganzas. Of course, Dougherty could take on less creative responsibilities in a producer’s role, letting young talent direct new segments. Other horror anthology series, including V/H/S and The ABCs of Death, have succeeded using multiple directors. And the burlap-wearing Sam is too good a horror figure to waste on just one movie.
2 – Big Trouble in Little China (1986)
No, we don’t necessarily need a sequel that puts us right back in John Carpenter’s bizarro version of San Francisco’s Chinatown. But wouldn’t we have all liked to see more adventures of Jack Burton. Same character, different setting. Prior to Big Trouble in Little China, Kurt Russell had already collaborated with Carpenter on cult classic Escape From New York. And while’s there’s lots to love about Carpenter’s colourful mashup of martial arts, comedy, and horror, Russell’s satirical take on the ‘tough guy’ was worth the price of admission alone. Imagine Burton in other traditional horror settings and the accompanying Western themes. Let’s be honest, a funnier version of Carpenter’s Vampires with Russell’s ‘Jack Burton’ replacing James Wood sounds like an improvement. Rumours are still swirling around a sequel or remake. But if it doesn’t have Kurt Russell, does it still have the same appeal?
1 – 28 Weeks Later (2007)
Okay, this one’s a ‘no-brainer’. First, there was 28 Days Later, then 28 Weeks Later … how can there not be a 28 Months Later? If for no other reason, symmetry demands a final sequel. To date, Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later remains one of the best zombie movies filmed. Its camera shots of empty London streets was eerily prescient of our current pandemic. Not quite on the same level, Juan Carlos Fresnadillo’s 28 Weeks Later is still an intensely worthy follow-up. The sequel’s opening scene rivals some of the best in horror. But 28 Weeks Later teased a sequel – a promise of an outbreak beyond England – in its final shot. Maybe a decent story was lacking at the time. Given our current socio-political climate, however, several possible directions are open for what would be a highly anticipated sequel.