A good horror franchise can keep churning out sequels as fast as its villain piles up the body count, but few sequels live up to the promise of the original film. Occasionally, however, a sequel manages to equal or even surpass its original source material. These successful sequels gave moviegoers more scares and thrills while expanding the scope of the original film, constructing an expansive universe of fear.

Evil Dead 2

“Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn,” released in 1987, is a direct sequel to 1981’s cult classic, “Evil Dead.” The film, widely regarded as one of the greatest horror films of all time, treats its audience to overblown gore, slapstick humor and creepy visual effects. The film’s hero, Ash Williams, must survive a night in an abandoned cabin, tormented by demons, college students and his own demonically possessed right hand.

Aliens

When it was released in 1979, “Alien” gave audiences a fresh new take on the horror genre. In “Aliens,” Ripley, the hero of the first film, is asked to serve as a consultant for a Colonial Marine expedition, where she must confront her past. “Aliens” treated moviegoers to a world overrun with the monstrous aliens. In the first film, Ripley and the crew of the Nostromo were terrorized by a single alien; in “Aliens,” Ripley and her space marine companions must face off against an entire nest of the horrific creatures.

Friday the 13th Part 2

Although Jason Voorhees is unquestionably the star of the “Friday the 13th” franchise, he didn’t make his official debut until this film. After witnessing his mother’s beheading in the first film, Jason decides to kill those responsible. In the film’s opening scene, he kills the sole survivor from the first film. Over the course of the movie, Jason stalks the shores of Crystal Lake, slaying promiscuous camp counselors one by one before being defeated by the last counselor. Jason’s defeat would prove short-lived, however, as the killer would go on to star in more than 10 other films.

Dawn of the Dead

George A. Romero’s “Dawn of the Dead,” a sequel to “Night of the Living Dead,” established Romero as the unquestioned master of the zombie genre. “Dawn” follows a small group of survivors as the world is being overrun by a massive zombie epidemic. These desperate survivors try to eke out a living in an abandoned shopping mall, but their safety is brought to a crashing end thanks to interference from other survivors. “Dawn” has been hailed for its special effects and social commentary, operating as a critique of America’s rising consumer culture.

Silence of the Lambs

“Silence of the Lambs” is a rare film: It’s a sequel that outshines the original so much that few people realize that it actually is a sequel. “Silence” follows a little-known film called “Manhunter.” Hannibal Lecter, the frighteningly charming cannibal, made his debut in “Manhunter,” but few knew of the character until Anthony Hopkins took over the role in “Silence.” The film combines grisly visuals with chilling psychological manipulation as FBI trainee Clarice Starling interviews the eloquent cannibal. Starling hopes that Lecter’s insights can help her catch serial killer Buffalo Bill, a tailor who seeks to become a woman by making a suit from the skin of his dead victims.

BIO: Eddie Duncan is a Senior Editor for Direct2TV and loves to research and write about entertainment, horror, sports, and TV Topics.

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6 thoughts on “Guest Post: Top Horror Movie Sequels

  1. Awesome post and list. I have to admit I was expecting to see Friday the 13th Part 2 nowhere on here, as is the case most places. As a huge fan of the series, it’s good to see it get some due for being the start of a horror icon’s career.

  2. Great post. But I think Friday the 13th Part 2 was a sad effort. Jason or no. His brief appearance in the first movie, in my opinion, was better. And I think that was Tom Savini’s idea. You’re absolutely right about Evil Dead 2.

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