Thor’s Top 5: Superior Horror Sequels

Thor's Top 5: Superior Horror SequelsWith Halloween done and gone, I couldn’t shake the feeling of how the Holiday had always been synonymous with bad horror sequels.  Back in the 80’s, the studios churned out installments in their terror franchises like it was nobody’s business; horror icons like Freddy, Michael and Jason graced the celluloid screen annually on the Hollows Eve of yesteryears.  At present, our sole champion is Lionsgate’s cash-cow franchise Saw, having just released their sixth instalment!  Whatever your opinion is of the said series and its latest entry, there’s no denying that Hollywood has a habit of snatching up fresh concepts in the horror world and ringing it dry with an excessive amount of sequels.  And as usual, the quality diminishing the further they go.

Yet once in a good while, a sequel will hold up as satisfying and in some rare cases, even superior to its original.  I thought it would be fun to explore some of those rare occurrences in a Top 5 list, though keep in mind I only listed sequels that I felt superior to the original, making me exclude some personal favourites (Hellraiser 2, Exorcist III, Halloween 2, the list goes on…) cause although they were surprisingly awesome, they weren’t able to beat out their originator.

Hope you enjoy the discussion below and feel free to disagree in the comments…



A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors 


Wes Cravens 1984 A Nightmare on Elm Street stood out as imaginative and frightening to the extent of urinating in your pants.  Much of that credit goes to its villain, the crispy pederast Freddy Kruger; a supernatural figure that haunted teenager’s dreams and murdered them with chilling glee.  The film struck Box-Office gold and did for going to sleep what Jaws did for the open water (or if you’re a real wuss; swimming pools).

 A Nightmare on Elm Street's Freddy Krueger


Alright, alright, I hear the Freddy fans screaming; why not New Nightmare?  And then the ‘Movie Buffs’ screaming; why superior?

Firstly, New Nightmare was a cool idea that never paid off and secondly, like Aliens, this installment outshines its originator in the long run by stepping up the ante and taking the thrill ride route.  Yes, the first Nightmare is the overall better film, but on repeat viewings it just isn’t scary anymore.  Dream Warriors on the other hand, has never lacked for entertainment and took things from the original set-up (the Dream World) and pushed them in exciting and innovating ways its predecessor couldn’t have dreamed of (sorry…couldn’t resist the pun).  Add to that a group of young teenagers you actually care about, a clever script by Craven and the talented Frank Darabont, the return of Heather Langenkamp and John Saxon and the best Freddy make-up out of the franchise and you have something very special indeed.

No doubt the original is a classic but in terms of fun there’s no beating this installment and therefore in my personal opinion it’s the superior.



 Bride of Frankenstein


Riding on the coat tails of Universal’s success with Dracula, the studio head’s quickly green-lit Mary Shelly’s landmark story Frankenstein and gave reign to the able hands of director James Whale.  What resulted is a film to call ‘classic’ is a slight understatement.  Countessly spoofed and homaged over the decades, its easy to forget how timeless and haunting the film remains due to its strengths; its slick ‘expressionistic’ look, its simple but strong moral thematic and of course Boris Karloff’s famous take on the iconic monster.

 Bride of Frankenstein


Due to the break through success of the first film, Universal saw a welcome opportunity to “sequel-ize” Frankenstein even though Karloff’s monster had died dramatically in a flaming castle at tits conclusion.  Not deterred, the filmmakers pulled a move for Bride of Frankenstein repeated later by countless horror sequels; the monster somehow survived!  What follows is a film that several fancy pants scholars will agree is superior to the original, the major factor being the clout Whale had gained since the first.

In the original we were given slight hints at his off-beat filmmaking, yet in Bride, he was given complete creative control; the style is full blown gothic, the black humour and sexual innuendo more apparent and although the bizarreness of the plot almost spiral out of control, Whale never cheapens the moral and tragic elements of the story.  On top of that you have a scenery chewing supporting cast trying their best to out do each other and Karloff’s turn even more memorable (“Friend!”).  Bride doesn’t quite kick the crap out its predecessor (in fact they feel like two halves of a whole), but there’s no looking past it’s the closet to Whales’ intended vision and therefore superior.



 George Romero's Dawn of the Dead


George Romero’s grimy and cynical Night of the Living Dead shocked audiences back in 1968, though not all due to the visceral bloodshed on screen.  The flick dealt with hot potato topics like racism and human morality, creating something that was equally thought provoking, as it was horrifying.  Conclusively it proved that all horror flicks didn’t have to be shallow to scare.  Oh yeah, it also single-handedly created something called ‘Zombies.’  Maybe you heard of them?

 George Romero's Dawn of the Dead


During the late 70’s when mass consumerism reared its ugly head, Romero felt the need for the dead to roam the earth once again…  This time around the satire was sharper, the budget was bigger and the effects by FX Guru Tom Savini have become something of horror lore.   Romero used a simple premise (a group of survivors holed up in a shopping mall and their attempts to ignore the zombie horrors outside) and hit home a message about society, blinding them with materialism that becomes more relevant as the years go by.  But don’t misjudge all the deep ‘messages,’ this is a zombie flick after all!  And in those terms, it still remains relatively unbeatable with the awesome carnage not letting up from the tense opening where a SWAT team raids an infected apartment block, to the gruesome finale featuring our Heroes VS a sadistic Motorcycle Gang VS pissed off Zombies.

In terms of bloodshed, not to mention substance, its epic shadow has been cast over all those that followed.  This is the Citizen Kane of zombie films; Night of the Living Dead was just the warm up.



 Evil Dead 2


Director Sam Raimi bursted onto the scene with 1984’s Evil Dead.  Solely armed with a shoestring budget, him and his crew made up for the lack of funds by being scary, creative and completely outrageous (Tree Rape?), resulting in a film that made a big profit and is saluted as something of a Cult Classic.

 Evil Dead 2


After Raimi stumbled with his expensive sophomore effort Crimewave, he decided to play it safe and “sequel-ize” his former success, yet this time it would be playing something closer to his heart.  Admittedly a bigger fan of Three Stooges than Texas Chainsaw Massacre, he took the original’s simple premise, placed his tongue firmly in cheek, turned the Gore dial up to 11 and threw everything but the kitchen sink at his leading man Bruce Campbell.  What resulted was a completely fresh and unique experience, a film that was as laugh-out-loud hilarious as it was stomach churning.  Several have tried to achieve its bizarre blend of horror and comedy yet most have failed miserably (Shaun of the Dead and Brain Dead came close though).

Overall its superiority over the original couldn’t be any more apparent; Evil Dead is a rough-edged shocker, Evil Dead 2 is just plain awesome.  There’s no greater combo than watching this flick with your buddies, a cold crate and the right mindset.





In 1979, Ridley Scott took a silly B-movie premise  (a gooey alien haunts a space ship) and produced one of the most terrifying and strangely beautiful Horror films to date.  It’s a testament to the film that it still stands as a classic, 30 years later, and has lost little of its impact.



Scott’s original was always going to be a hard act to follow; yet James Cameron eagerly stepped to the plate and knocked this one out the park.  His secret you ask?  He didn’t waste time by repeating the original, tossing out its slow burn suspense and injecting it with pure adrenaline; he upped the ante in the plot (instead of a sole alien you get hundreds, instead of space truckers you get bad ass space marines), revealed more about the creatures (Alien Queen!) and most importantly didn’t neglect the heart of the series: reluctant heroine Ripley (Sigourney Weaver).  Toss in Cameron’s flawless gift for creating genre characters you give a damn about, and his slick handle with building tension then paying it off, you’ll be hard pressed to find everything that equals it; sequel or not. 

No doubt the first installment is a classic, yet over repeat viewings, once you know where the Alien is going to jump out the film loses some its creepy power.  That’s a flaw the sequel does not carry because it strives for pure entertainment and succeeds handsomely.


Thor's Top 5: Superior Horror Sequels


4 Responses to “Thor’s Top 5: Superior Horror Sequels”

  1. Till

    For once..i couldnt agree more…very solid argument and very good examples..ml

  2. anni dore


    Finally, Chick Horror Flicks,have been noted !

    All Alien Queens and Brides on a bad hair day , say,” Yooo!”

  3. Brian White

    As always…another thought provoked article of original content from the Mighty Thor! Great job!

    So what was your favorite horror film of 2009? Did you like the fan favorite Drag Me To Hell?

    I really treasure my Blu-ray of Trick ‘r Treat!
    Trick 'r Treat Blu-ray
    The more I watch it, the more I love that film! There’s a sequel I am looking forward to with much anticipation.

  4. Bob Ignizio

    Good post. Of course lists like this are always subjective, and there are a few on your list where I’d opt for the originals by a slight margin. Probably the one where my opinion is most in the minority is ‘Bride of Frankenstein’. Don’t get me wrong, I love the movie. But for me, some of the comic relief just doesn’t work, and I’m not a fan of the framing sequence, either. Love the scene in the cabin with the hermit, though, and the conclusion is undeniably great.