Halloween may have been on Tuesday, but it’s back from the dead for one more day for a rundown of the greatest horror sequels ever made. (To be fair, you could have watched this episode in October if you were an Alpha member, but I digress.) All October-long, we celebrated Nerdoween here at Nerdist, the sequel to last year’s tribute to all things spooky, scary, and downright creepy, which is fitting because few genres have more sequels–good, bad, and shockingly terrible–than horror. But on today’s episode of The Dan Cave, we’re celebrating the cream of the terrifying crop.
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Evil Dead 2
Image: Rosebud Releasing
If you grew up loving horror comedy, then you owe a debt of gratitude to the dynamite pairing of Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell. Sometimes bigger is better, and Evil Dead 2 blows out every aspect of the original to make a bloody, slapstick frightfest. Thanks to incredible makeup effects from The Walking Dead‘s Greg Nicotero, the cartoonish gore is both hysterical and stomach-churning in its execution. Most importantly, we get our favorite antihero Ash Williams attaching a freakin’ chainsaw to recently severed extremity, and using it to murder demons.
28 Weeks Later
Image: 20th Century Fox
As someone who hates doing cardio, this movie is my waking nightmare. 28 Days Later introduced the Rage Virus and its furious, sprinting zombies, and 28 Weeks Later brings them back with a vengeance. After a safe zone is finally established in London, two kids break the quarantine to go find their missing mom at their childhood home. What follows is a series of unfortunate events that leads to the deaths of nearly every person in London. This film just goes to show that maybe you shouldn’t feel so guilty about not visiting your mom more often.
Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter
Much like there is no final Final Fantasy, this was hardly the final chapter in Jason Voorhees’ saga. It was, however, one of the best, as the hockey mask-wearing murderer returned to Crystal Lake to slaughter horny teens and show us the deadly dangers of eating bananas, rafting, and being Crispin Glover. Poor guy. To be fair, it could have been worse: he could have had his wiener harpooned like another poor bastard in this movie, which is how I hope Aquaman defeats all of his enemies in Justice League.
Halloween III: Season of the Witch
Now, you might have been expecting me to put Halloween II on here instead, but John Carpenter and co.’s attempt to relaunch the Halloween franchise as a horror anthology series is a bit of bonkers, gonzo genius. Case in point: Michael Myers isn’t even in writer-director Tommy Lee Wallace’s weird, wild film. It’s about an inventor who makes Halloween masks powered by microchips containing chunks of Stonehenge that will unleash a swarm of insects to devour the wearer once a hidden frequency plays during the mask company’s TV commercial. Why, you ask? To sacrifice enough people to bring about a new age of witchcraft. To be fair, you should have known better than to wear a dangerous latex mask in the first place.
Image: 20th Century Fox
While not a direct sequel, Dario Argento’s thematic follow-up to 1977’s Suspiria is well deserving of a place on this list. The second film in Argento’s “Three Mothers Trilogy” takes us to a haunted apartment building in New York City where a young man searches for his missing sister. What he finds is an evil alchemist who is secretly working for a witch, which is actually par for the course at most NYC apartments. With a killer prog rock soundtrack, murderous hot dog vendors, and the scariest underwater scene this side of the zombie-vs.-shark battle of Zombi 2, Inferno is a chilling, underrated gem.
A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors
Image: New Line Cinema
Freddy Krueger has always had one-liners to spare, but the horrifically burned serial killer let loose some of his most horrific burns and razor-sharp quips yet in the series’ third installment. The Dream Warriors is basically a bunch of REM cycle X-Men who have to learn to harness their own dream powers in order to defeat this shapeshifting slasher on his own turf. It’s silly, it’s scary, and it’s easily one of the best horror sequels ever made.
Bride of Frankenstein
Did the disappearance of Bill Condon’s Bride of Frankenstein remake from Universal’s release schedule have you screaming like Tom Cruise in The Mummy? Well, turn that frown upside-down, Dark Universe fans, by watching the 1935 original. Director James Whale’s Bride of Frankenstein finds the not-so-good doctor building a female companion for his shambling undead namesake. It’s a genuinely impressive film that manages to both scare and awe the audience with the beauty of its message. And honestly, why remake something when it was perfect the first time?
The sequel to Ridley Scott’s 1979 Alien is just as intense, unnerving, and pulse-pounding as anything else on this list. The endlessly quotable story of Ellen Ripley and a bunch of space marines investigating the imperiled colony LV-426 is not only chock full of acid-spitting alien horrors, but the arguably more terrifying horrors of their fellow man. Namely the corporate goon played by Paul Reiser, who wants to impregnate Ripley with alien eggs so Weyland-Yutani can harvest them and use them as biological weapons. The only thing slimier might be the Alien Queen’s egg chamber. Emphasis on “might be.”Dawn of the Dead
Image: United Film Distribution Company
No list of greatest horror films would be complete without the greatest of them all, George A. Romero’s Dawn of the Dead. The 1978 follow-up to Night of the Living Dead stars a bunch of unknown actors and takes place within the confines of a Pennsylvania mall, and it will have you screaming and cheering for its entire two-hour runtime. With characters you genuinely want to see survive, incredibly gory and inventive zombie kills, and a scathing indictment of mindless American consumerism, Dawn of the Dead did it better than the rest and deserves a special place in horror history.
What are your favorite horror sequels? What would you add to this list? Let us know in the comments below.
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