October 31, 2023
WRITTEN BY: PAIGE
While horror movie sequels are often guaranteed in this day and age, especially when a film is a box office success, what about those underrated and under-appreciated gems that fail to move past the initial offering? The fan favorites that never get the sequels (or prequels) they deserve to continue their stories and overall world building?
More so than any other genre, horror sequels come in all different shapes and sizes, be it through shared universes, legacy sequels, or requels. But even with so many horror movies getting sequels across a variety of approaches, plenty of titles have been overlooked. So, I’ve come up with a list of personal favorites that I feel deserve a second go ‘round, along with ideas of what I’d love to see happen with these particular titles.
Clive Barker’s Nightbreed, which is based on a novella he wrote titled Cabal, was initially planned as a trilogy, but unfortunately, the planned sequels never got to see the light of day. Yes, this film is a wee bit cheesy and is definitely a mess, but it’s got such killer creature designs that I’d love to see more of it. This horror fantasy may not have been critically loved, but you’ve got to admire the scope of what Barker tried to accomplish here. If nothing else, the story warrants more attention just from what it accomplished with its world building. Plus, it frustratingly ends on a cliffhanger.
With a film that is 33 years old, the obvious answer of what we need is a legacy sequel! Bring us back to the world of the Nightbreed, continuing what was started. With a proper fix to the overall story and a better script, it could be really fun to revisit these creatures and build on the lore. I actually think that by bringing this story back to the modern day, audiences would sympathize with the monsters a lot more this time around, which is what Barker wanted. If recent things like The Walking Dead and District 9 have taught us anything, it’s that audiences likely would better understand what Barker was getting at, mainly that mankind is the true monster. Plus, if you make it a story about “monster” outsiders simply trying to build a new home for themselves, there are some very obvious and timely parallels that could be made to immigration. Otherwise, just bring Danny Elfman back for the score and keep the title simple… Nightbreed 2.
FREDDY VS. JASON (2003)
It has been 20 years since we got to witness one of the most iconic face-offs in horror history, and while Freddy vs. Jason was not critically acclaimed, there is no denying that this campy horror flick was epic as hell and killed at the box office. We got to see a legendary showdown between two of the greatest slashers in movie history while also watching them do what they do best, which is, of course, haunting, slicing, and dicing their victims. However, could another mashup of the A Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th franchise work? Since the ending of Freddy vs. Jason is left open ended, the answer is…of course, it could work. We are left with so many possibilities for where the story could go next, and let’s be honest, it’s not like these franchises’ sequels ever rested on logic or necessity. Plus, I think I’ve got the perfect direction of where to take it…
Since both franchises have been in shambles for several years now, there has been no push for these characters to return on the big screen. Why not kill two birds with one stone? Give me the ultimate slasher movie, one-upping Freddy vs. Jason with a sequel where they team up to face off against some of the other classic horror villains. Yep, I’m talking about Pinhead and Michael Myers in the craziest ring of them all, HELL. Why not bring all these different fandoms together to create one of the most chaotic horror movies of all time, featuring a team of virtually unstoppable killers against another team of virtually unstoppable killers, all of them doing what they do best…killing! Now, the reality of it is that we’d need a studio willing to buy the rights to all these characters, or beg the studios to work together to make the nightmare Freddy and Jason vs. Pinhead and Michael come true. It seems worth the effort to try.
BEHIND THE MASK: THE RISE OF LESLIE VERNON (2006)
Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon is probably the most underrated flick on this list. As moviegoers and horror fans, we haven’t really gotten many great slasher villains in recent decades, so it was a pleasant surprise when we received this gem in 2006. Behind the Mask takes a unique approach to the slasher genre creating a mockumentary about an aspiring serial killer. Leslie Vernon (Nathan Baesel) allows a documentary crew to follow him as he plans to commit his first act as a serial killer, which is just mind boggling to me but also such a brilliant way to learn the ins and outs of what drives these people and their planning process.
Now, do we need a continuation of Leslie Vernon’s story? No, because if you’ve seen the film, you know our killer’s fate. What we do need, however, is a series of anthology films, each one following a different aspiring killer. Call me crazy, but I think this could really grab the slasher-loving audience, resulting in something that horror fans would look forward to every year. The title is already set up for it, anyway: Behind the Mask: [insert serial killer name].
TRICK ‘R TREAT (2007)
Trick ’r Treat was a little-seen hidden gem that has become a major staple during the Halloween season. While there have been rumors circling for many years that director Michael Dougherty would make a sequel to this anthology, there hasn’t been any movement except for a recent announcement from Dougherty that it is “inching along.” With that said, I’ve decided to take matters into my own hands, declaring that Sam, the trick-or-treating demon in orange footie pajamas and a burlap sack over his head, needs to return for another round of scares!
Since the anthology format allows for a wide variety of stories to be told, here is what I’m thinking to make a sequel really fascinating. We continue to have Sam as our connective tissue throughout the different stories being told, but each story focuses on a different holiday, such as Christmas, Easter, and Valentine’s Day. This approach also could bring out the possibility of introducing new terrifying characters that make up Sam’s gang, like a devilish elf, a creepy Easter Bunny, or a crazy Cupid. Just think of all the possibilities that this terrifying gang could get into in the sequel, Trick ’r Trick: Holidaze.
THE CABIN IN THE WOODS (2011)
The Cabin in the Woods has become a modern horror classic, so how the hell did we never get more of this story? The satirical horror flick was critically acclaimed, a commercial success, and it seems to be one of the most memorable horror comedies of all time; so, the question remains… does this story warrant more movies? The answer is YES! While some may think a second The Cabin in the Woods may not have the same impact as the original since we already know the twist, let’s not forget that said twist actually leads to more questions that need answering. With that in mind, my thought is that we don’t need a sequel, we need a prequel. (NOTE: mild spoilers ahead)
To me (and given the ending), a prequel makes the most logistical sense. Perhaps it depicts one of the first rituals? I’m only assuming that the rituals would have become more complicated as time went on, and showing how we figured out how to please the Gods would be an interesting way to see how the rituals have evolved over time. At the same time, it would allow us to dive deeper into “The Ancient Ones,” explaining why we need to satisfy them through sacrifice in the first place. Why do they need, or even want, this? The evolution of it all could be a very intriguing take in Knocking Down the Cabin. I’m so in.
IT FOLLOWS (2014)
It Follows is perhaps my favorite movie on this list, and one that I think deserves more love and appreciation. While this gem stands so tall on its own, I can’t help but want more because, man… I fucking love this movie. It leaves me begging for more. With The Entity being a metaphor for the paranoia around contracting an STD, there is so much more you can do to explore this idea. “Why did it all start? Why won’t it stop?” are just a couple of the questions I can’t get out of my head.
In an effort to get answers to these questions and more, the perfect approach to continuing the story of The Entity is to craft the flick as a movie that is both a prequel and sequel. What does that mean exactly? Let me explain… move the story forward by telling the story backwards. While that may sound confusing as hell, I promise you it’s a genius way of furthering this kind of story. Netflix’s Fear Street trilogy is a perfect example of what I’m talking about. This is the exact approach that film series took, and it was such a brilliant way to flesh out the history of the world the movies are set in while also furthering the story at the same time. So, in present day, Jay (the highly underrated Maika Monroe returning in the lead role) is trying to understand The Entity, tracking down how it started so that she can stop it from continuing. In the flashbacks, we get to witness how, why, and where The Entity came to be. Interweave these timelines to create additional depth and understanding as Jay transitions from victim to hero, with all the great commentary that comes with that. And I already have the perfect title: Follow It.
Photo Credits: Photo 1 - 20th Century Studios; Photo 2 - New Line Cinema; Photo 3 - Anchor Bay Entertainment; Photo 4 - Warner Bros. Pictures; Photo 5 - Lionsgate