Happy Friday Every-bloody! I’m back from my mountain pilgrimage feeling revitalized and ready to get back into the swing of thangs. To celebrate my re-vigor, Saucy Josh brings you something completely new tonight: An original List. You heard me. Instead of ripping and slashing other people’s lists, I decided to put money where my mouth is.
The topic is The Top 10 Horror Sequels Ever. We all know that the vast majority of sequels are heinous compared to their predecessor, but there are those occasional gems that actually surpass the previous bar set. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom: Perfect example. But Horror Movies are especially hard to follow-up as the primary element of the genre is, usually, surprise. That’s why I decided to give props to some outstanding Horror follow-ups. Enjoy.
Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn: I love this movie. That being said, it almost shouldn’t make this list on account of technicality. Which is not to say that Evil Dead 2 isn’t vastly superior to the first chapter (it is) but rather it’s a stretch to truly consider this one a sequel. ED2 is basically a reshoot of the first Evil Dead, but with tons more money and 20-20 hindsight. Of course a first time filmmaker (Sam Rami) can outdo his first attempt with millions in mullah and experience under the belt. It’s like, duh! Still, ED is such a brilliant franchise, I gotta let this one slide. Also worthy of praise is part 3: Army of Darkness which is both a sequel and a brilliant stand-alone. Word at this week’s Comic-Con seems to confirm what die hard fans have been hoping for: Evil Dead 4 is in going into production. Curse you Necronomicon!
Dawn of the Dead: Probably the film most referenced by Saucy Josh. While Night of the Living Dead gets its place in history, defining the modern concept of the Zombie and cementing it into our collective psyche, Dawn of the Dead is what truly led to Zombie Mania. Some people will say this film is too long, or too nihilistic, or too crass. Screw that! DOTD goes beyond a really bad “Night (of the Living Dead)” presenting the first truly gripping Zombie Apocalypse. Not only is DOTD one of my favorite Horror Sequels, it’s also my absolute favorite remake. The 2004 version succeeds at every reinvention and innovation, and Sarah Polly kicks some serious ass. Hey, have you ever wondered what would happen to the baby if a woman turned into a Zombie while she was pregnant? (Sinister laugh…)
The Decent 2: TD2 is the only entry on my list that went straight to DVD. More accurately, it’s the only film on my list that went straight to DVD in America. Stupid mainstream Hollywood Nazis didn’t know what they were holding. Straight to DVD is a stigma that destroys a film’s credibility, so treating TD2 like some rushed piece of junk in effect killed what could have been a long and fruitful franchise. TD2 doesn’t surpass its predecessor, but it’s just as good. Best of all, as a fan I really wanted to return to those caves. The Decent was such a gripping, original, intense, adventurous, emotional movie—I craved more. That’s why I watched it 3 times before I even knew about the sequel. If you haven’t seen The Decent movies, you, my friend, don’t know jack about Horror.
Resident Evil: Apocalypse: And no, RE:A didn’t make the list simply because I want to fu… er, make love to Milla Jovovich. I actually thought the first film in the franchise was pretty boring, but what was I expecting from a movie based on a video game? Things certainly picked up in Part 2 when Alice made it out of the underground laboratory and into the decimated streets of Raccoon City, but it’s the third chapter, Apocalypse that really takes the prize. By this point, the disease has spread throughout the world. Alice is a lone wolf on the run before hooking up with a rag-tag band of scrappy survivors (forgive me if I ignore the reappearance of her lost love). The Umbrella Corp is on its last leg and the only hope is a fabled safe zone up in Alaska. Yeah, I know it’s not original, but it’s really well done, high on the gore, but still very accessible to non-Horror fanatics. And it doesn’t hurt that I want to make love to Milla Jovovich.
Hellraiser 2: Another that isn’t as good as the first, but, in my opinion, practically equal. I actually feel like H2 is a companion piece to the first. It’s a very natural progression of the storyline that could have been a respectable, tidy tie-up for the entire franchise. Love the Cenobites, love evil Julia, love crazy Dr. Chanard. I have mixed feelings about the 7 sequels that followed. On the one had, they all suck ass, but on the other hand, Pinhead is such an amazing bad guy that I’m always happy to see him. Part 3 isn’t a complete abomination, and Part 4 is interesting if you’re willing to go in a completely new direction. I’m actually sad to report that a new chapter in the Hellraiser saga, Revelations, is about to be released on DVD. Why sad? For the first time ever, Pinhead will not be played by Douglas Bradley. I’d love to see the reboot they’ve been talking about for over half a decade, but with 2012 rapidly approaching, I’m beginning to fear the day will never come.
Bride of Chucky: Okay, let the laughter fly and ready up your insults. I know some of you are thinking I’ve just trashed my reputation as an aficionado of grown up Horror movies. But you can’t deny that Chucky is a powerful member of the Horror elite, his influence and staying power is surprisingly fierce. But whereas the first few Chuckies took themselves a bit too seriously, Bride of Chucky is complete comedy. Jennifer Tilly is awesome as Miss. Chucky, and the sex scene is as funny as any movie is scary. Also features a great cameo by the cross-dressing Arquette brother. A different kind of scream flick, BOC is nonetheless surprisingly moody and very well shot. Gone are the trappings of its early 80’s conception, BOC is a black Horror Comedy of the highest caliber. An extremely guilty pleasure to be certain.
Blair Witch 2: Book of Shadows: While I’m throwing my reputation under a truck, I might as well drop this bombshell. BW2:BOS is probably one of the most loathed sequels in Horror history. To that I say: “Pish-aaaaaaaaaaaaaaahh!” First of all, the original Blair Witch is an overrated piece of crap. I give it credit for popularizing the “found-film” sub-genre and for making a mark on popular culture, but I just couldn’t wait for that weepy annoying Heather chick to die! The sequel is a real movie with a real script and, while it leaves behind that less-is-more approach that made its predecessor so chilling, its got great effects and a great story. Not only is the sequel better executed, it’s a better trip all together. If you’ve been on the hate-the-Blair-Witch-Sequel Bandwagon, give this one another watch. There’s some really good stuff here.
The Devil’s Rejects: More than any other film on the list, TDR leaves its predecessor in the dust. Truth of the matter is that the first chapter, House of 1,000 Corpses sucks (and not in a good way like Dracula). Demonic rocker Rob Zombie’s first stab at film-making was a dud, but TDR shows real growth and can stand on its own. Great characters, awesome acting, and an over-the-top shoot-em-up ending that plays like a modern Bonnie and Clyde, TDR is a great film to watch with a nice fresh bag of weed. Enjoy.
28 Weeks Later: The follow-up to the breakthrough 28 Days Later, this sequel knocked Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter off my list. While both are great sequels, in the end, I just had to ask myself: “Which film would I rather watch again?” No contest. I’ve been a mad fan of Robert Carlyle since I first met ultra-violent Begbie in Trainspotting. When the film opens, he’s a loving husband and father, but I knew Carlyle wasn’t hired to tug on heart-strings—he was there to scare the Jebus out of us. And he does! Another sequel that I love because the first movie left me wanting more, and I’m excited about the prospect of a trilogy. 28 Months Later anyone?
Aliens: And the winner is, the greatest sequel ever made in any genre: Aliens! No disrespect to the original, Alien is an amazing movie, but Aliens is superior in every way. I had a copy of Aliens on VHS when I was in Jr. High and I seriously must have watched that film 20-some times. I practically knew the movie line by line. So imagine my shock when, one night not too long ago, I was watching Aliens on some basic cable channel in the middle of the night—and there were all these scenes I’ve never seen before. I know I’ve smoked a lot of grass since Jr. High, sacrificing many a brain cell, but I’m certain I was seeing scenes that were not in the theatrical release. First, Ripley starts talking about having a daughter! Since she’s been lost in space in an ageless hibernation for so many decades, Ripley is crushed to learn that the daughter she left at age 11 has died of old age. Crazy! Later in the film, little Newt asked her if she ever had a daughter, to which Ripley replies: “Yes, but she died”. Then there was all this stuff about motion sensor gunneries that kept the Aliens at bay while the stranded crew of the Suvlako barricaded themselves in the science lab. It was like I was seeing the film again for the first time. Anyway, these days, Prometheus, an Alien prequel due to be released in June, is all the buzz. With original writer director Ridley Scott at the helm, we know it’s gunna be an amazing flick, but better then Aliens? Not possible.
Have a great weekend Every-bloody! See you next Friday.