If we’ve learned anything from years of watching horror films, it’s that sequels are guaranteed if a film makes even scrapes a profit, or garners even the bare minimum of recognition. For the most part, sequels have never quite reached the heights of the franchise progenitor, but a lot of them go on to find success in their own right. The FRIDAY THE 13th, HELLRAISER and NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET franchises went on to develop a slew of moderately successful sequels – at least enough to keep their respective series’ alive and in the collective consciousness of horror fans. In recent years, the SAW series doesn’t look like it’s going to end any time soon either.
However, some known horror films have produced sequels that have faded into obscurity throughout the years – even if their predecessors are still popular among genre hounds. This list unearths some of the forgotten sequels to known horror flicks, and explores whether they have any right to be remembered.
SHOCK TREATMENT (1981)
Jim Sharman’s SHOCK TREATMENT is a loose sequel to his iconic comedy horror musical THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW (1973), and it would mark the directors final feature film before returning to his roots in stage productions.
Upon release, the film was a critical and commercial failure, but over the years it’s managed to garner a cult following. While nowhere near as influential as THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW, it’s most definitely a film of the same ilk and worth seeing if you’re a fan of Sharman’s previous pop culture phenomenon.
VAMPIRES: LOS MUERTOS (2002) & THE TURNING (2005)
Here’s two for the price of one. But I doubt you’ll want to waste a penny on either.
John Carpenter’s VAMPIRES is one of the director’s better latter offerings. Upon release, it was far from the box office hit his career badly needed, nor is it anywhere near his best work. However, it’s still a pretty damn enjoyable neo-western with bite.
The first sequel LOS MUERTOS doesn’t come anywhere close to recapturing the originals quality, but even though it’s a massive turkey, it isn’t devoid of any entertainment value either – if you can appreciate trash and crap anyway. It also stars Jon Bon Jovi in a rare appearance that makes him look macho. It’s safe to say it’s reception didn’t inspire him to give up his day job.
The following sequel THE TURNING is mostly a follow-up in name alone, but there are similarities and nods that connect it with the rest of the series. It completely abandons narrative continuity but adds martial arts, and it’s an entertaining slice of action-horror fluff.
NIGHT OF THE CREEPS 2: ZOMBIE TOWN (2007)
This title is very misleading, as it’s not an official sequel to Fred Dekker’s classic zombie romp NIGHT OF THE CREEPS. That being said, it warrants an inclusion on this list not for its audacity to cash-in on a cult favorite, but because it’s an entertaining little movie that deserves some attention.
The zombie sub-genre oversaturated horror more in the 2000s than Pitbull did R’N’B music, and this doesn’t even come close to being up there with the best of them. But if you’re in the mood for some mindless low-budget mayhem, it’s worth checking out if you can find it cheap. A rental of this probably costs more than it did to make.
FRIGHT NIGHT PART 2 (1988)
Tom Holland’s FRIGHT NIGHT is one of the ‘80s most beloved horror movies. In terms of vampire films of that era, it sits on the throne alongside THE LOST BOYS (1987) as genre royalty. The sequel is a more than decent follow-up, despite being poorly received initially.
The first movie was a perfect blend of comedy and horror. The sequel places more emphasis on the wacky and ridiculous, with roller skating vampires and a lot of madcap anarchy. It’s not as polished or finessed as the original, but it’s just as much fun in its own right.
LOOK WHAT’S HAPPENED TO ROSEMARY’S BABY (1976)
Roman Polanski’s ROSEMARY’S BABY is one of the best horror films of all time. To this very day, it’s a terrifying experience. It’s an intense gem, loaded with mystery, atmosphere and palpable tension; like a bear trap, constantly enclosing you, and ready to snap on you at any moment. The “sequel’’ on the other hand, is an abomination. If the original is the birth of the Antichrist, then the sequel is Satan’s baby momma’s unwanted miscarriage.
That being said, LOOK WHAT’S HAPPENED TO ROSEMARY’S BABY certainly isn’t boring to watch. If you don’t compare it to its masterpiece predecessor and view it as the piece of incoherent crap it is, then you might have some fun with it. Only watch if you’re a fan of bad movies, as it’s sacrilege that doesn’t deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as ROSEMARY’S BABY.
AMERICAN PSYCHO 2: ALL AMERICAN GIRL (2002)
AMERICAN PSYCHO 2: ALL AMERICAN GIRL is a standalone sequel. Originally penned as a thriller with no relation to AMERICAN PSYCHO, it was reworked to incorporate stems from the original. Much like the majority of the HELLRAISER series, it’s added the bare minimum to pass itself off as an inclusion to the franchise and it didn’t go down well at all. So much so, its lead star Mila Kunis (That ‘70s Show) even petitioned to prevent its release, claiming that she had no idea it would be released as a sequel and was under the impression it was a separate thing.
AMERICAN PSYCHO 2: ALL AMERICAN GIRL isn’t a good movie, but you might have some fun with it. There are worse movies out there to kill 90 minutes with, but as a sequel to one of the best satires of all time, it’s insulting.
THE HITCHER 2: I’VE BEEN WAITING (2003)
The original HITCHER movie, starring the awesome Rutger Hauer (Hobo With a Shotgun, Blade Runner), was a warning to all driver’s: BE CAREFUL WHO YOU LET INTO YOUR VEHICLE! It’s a chilling thriller to this day, and remains a cult favorite. The sequel is a re-hash starring Jake Busey (Starship Troopers, The Frightener’s), and it’s forgotten for a reason.
If you want to see a better film of a similar ilk, check out JOYRIDE, starring the late Paul Walker (Fast & The Furious).
HENRY 2: MASK OF SANITY (1996)
Michael Rooker (Slither) sent chills down people’s spines with his performance as the sadistic and detached murderer in HENRY: PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER. Unfortunately, he doesn’t reprise his role in the sequel. Nor does the film quite capture what made the original such a darkly comedic, yet ultimately harrowing experience. However, it’s a decent enough follow-up; a well-crafted sequel that’s creepy in places and executed effectively all round.
DAY OF THE DEAD 2: CONTAGIUM (2005)
This movie represents everything that’s wrong with name only sequels. To have the audacity to claim to be a sequel to one of the most iconic zombie films is one thing; at least try to be entertaining if you’re going to exploit franchise fans for their hard earned money. However, this is just an empty, soulless cash-in that’s as lifeless as a zombie with a bullet in its head. Watch paint dry before you give this turd a minute of your time.
STIR OF ECHOES: THE HOMECOMING (2007)
STIR OF ECHOES (1999) is a somewhat underappreciated gem. Despite its moderate box office success, it was left to dwell in the shadows of more successful supernatural films like THE SIXTH SENSE and THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT, also from that year. However, caused enough of a stir (pun not intended) to warrant a television sequel from the Sci-Fi Channel. That alone probably tells you all you need to know. Needless to say it didn’t cause a stir, nor was its echo heard.