It’s Not Often Sequels Outdo The Original
It’s not often that sequels outdo the original. More than anything, they make us cringe. But sometimes there are sequels that we can’t help but love because they’re even better than the original.
We can’t talk about good sequels without talking about one of the most popular American slasher films of the 90s. Wes Craven’s Scream (1996). The modern horror classic tells the story of Sydney Prescott, who a year after the murder of her mother is stalked and terrorized by a masked serial killer. Using horror films as a part of the killer’s game, Sydney’s friends are picked off and killed one by one with the big question: Who is the killer? Slasher films scare and excite us and the best ones make us want to watch it over and over again. Scream not only made us love the first one, it also produced two more films, creating a classic trilogy. Of course we watch for the blood and the kills, but what we really want to know is who is under the mask? And as we learned in the first one, it’s always someone you know.
While Scream is considered a trilogy, there are four films to date, with a fifth one being released in 2022. Scream gave us characters to care about and an unforgettable masked killer. It’s why we kept watching and it’s why we’ll continue to follow the franchise.
As we talk about unforgettable on screen serial killers, Tom Holland’s 1998 film Child’s Play, gave us a new kind of serial killer. The American horror film begins with a dying murder named Charles Lee Ray, played by Brad Dourif. Using black magic, he uses his last moments alive to transfer his soul into a doll named Chucky. The doll is bought by Karen Barclay, who gifts it to her son Andy for his birthday. Chucky then begins to terrorize Andy and his mom, killing everyone around them.
While Child’s Play gave us Chucky, the films that followed did not leave a lasting impression. That is until we got Bride of Chucky in 1998. In the film Chucky not only has a new, more mangled look, he also has a love interest. This is the first time we are introduced to Tiffany. After a lovers quarrel, Chucky kills Tiffany and transfers her soul into the body of a doll. The two then go on a murder spree looking for a magical amulet that can transform them back into human form.
Bride of Chucky is not only a horror movie, it’s also a comedy. Chucky the killer doll is already sort of humorous in a scary kind of way. Making the movie as funny as it is gory keeps us an audience always willing to watch.
When we talk about iconic characters, we can’t forget to mention the infamous hotel owner and manager, Norman Bates. We first met him in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 movie, Psycho. It seems that such an unforgettable and complex character like Norman Bates could never be portrayed by anyone other than Anthony Perkins. So when director Richard Franklin and writer Tom Holland decided to make a sequel to the horror classic Psycho, bringing back Anthony Perkins to reprise his role seemed like a no brainer.
Psycho II (1983) takes place many years after we last saw Norman Bates. Let back into society after being in a mental institution, he finds himself possibly slipping back into old patterns. Unsure if what he’s seeing and hearing are actually in his head or not, it seems that we as an audience actually root for Norman to be sane.
Typically a sequel to such a classic like Psycho would never be considered a good film. However, the storyline for Psycho ll adds a new element to the original while also keeping it’s classic feel. Of course without the return of Anthony Perkins, Psycho ll may not have been the success that it is.
Finally, we have Sam Raimi’s classic The Evil Dead (1981). The original film gave us a cult trilogy that spawned one of the best modern horror remakes as well as a TV series in 2015. Evil Dead ll (1987) being a horror comedy begins its story as if the first movie never happened. It seems that the movie has come to a conclusion within a few minutes of the opening scene. But knowing what we know about the original film, we can only guess that there are much more bloody scenes to come. And that is exactly what we get.
Like with Bride of Chucky, making a horror film also a comedy helps to create a lasting fan base and a classic movie. I mean, who can forget a possessed hand? It’s as funny as it is horrifying.
Not very many sequels can say that they don’t suck but every so often we get those films that make us love the main character and keep us wanting to watch more. In horror especially, sequels can almost be better than the original.
Scream (2022) Official Trailer