Rant of the Day: Horror Movie Sequels

After writing up my thoughts of Paranormal Activity 2 I realized something: absolutely no good horror movie should have a sequel.

It seems like a simple concept that Hollywood doesn’t seem to understand. Sequels can work for almost any other genre, but not horror. It just doesn’t work that way.

Case Studies: the Saw Series, A Nightmare on Elm Street series, Friday the Thirteenth series.

1. Saw Series

This would probably be the easiest example for anyone to make off the top of their head. Are the Saw movies actually frightening anymore? Absolutely not. I saw the first Saw movie at a midnight screening months before its wide release. Like Paranormal Activity, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Two scenes shocked me for weeks afterward: the flashback abduction sequence of Adam and the scene of a man hiding in a child’s closet. It was messed up.

Now, I go see a Saw movie just to see some of the traps (the main one being how the writers try to resolve the plots they churn out).

Shitty Sequel to Watch: Saw 4. Originally, Jigsaw isn’t supposed to be considered a serial killer. He’s just an uber-moral citizen who challenges individuals in deadly games to better their lives. Like get off of drugs. Stop cheating on the wife. Or don’t plant fake evidence at crime scenes. The victim’s lesson in this one? Stop trying to help people all the time. Wait, what?

2. A Nightmare on Elm Street

“1…2…Freddy’s coming for you…3…4….better lock the door…”

If you get a little bit uneasy reading those words (probably with the sound of a child’s voice saying them in your head), then you know that the first Nightmare was pretty terrifying. And then came the sequels, making Freddy a comedic killer with one-liners and punchlines that could come straight out of an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie.

Shitty Sequel to Watch: A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors. In this one the kids realize they can conjure up special powers while dreaming. Like the wheel-chair bound kid who becomes a wizard and can shoot lightning bolts out of his fingers…or something like that. I do vaguely remember his key line of dialogue being something like “I’m a warrior mage!” before being slashed in the face by Freddy. Warrior mage indeed.

3. Friday the 13th Series

After seeing the first one, camp really didn’t seem like that much fun anymore. Good thing they made the sequels or the youth of North America would’ve never recovered.

Shitty Sequel to Watch: Jason X. The best idea for a machete-wielding killer who’s died and been brought back to life five times? Send him to kill people in outer space! The scene to check out is the one where he puts his victim’s head in a vat of liquid nitrogen. I would spoil what happens next, suffice to say I’m sure some Hollywood exec thought it would’ve be just fantastic if Jason quipped “Ice cold” afterward.

There you have it. Three horror series that have countless sequels that have diluted the impact of the films that inspired them. Also, while the sequels are classified as “horror,” they aren’t actually scary or frightening. Go for the horror, and begrudgingly stay through the one-liners and poor writing because you paid $12 a ticket.

Is there any horror movie sequel that surpasses the chills of the original? No? Exactly.

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