In the world of horror, sequels are almost guaranteed. Regardless of how closed-ended a story is, a successful horror film will receive a follow-up. Oftentimes, these sequels are unnecessary and only exist to cash in on the predecessor’s success. This doesn’t mean all sequels are bad, far from it. Many horror sequels are better than the original. A fair amount has also flown under the radar of horror fans. These underrated horror movies may be overlooked for several reasons, but they shouldn’t be. Today, we are looking at some underrated horror sequels that deserve another look.
10. Jason Goes To Hell
The Friday The 13th franchise ran heavily throughout the ’80s. Eight films were released throughout the decade, and fan reception seemed to drop as the years passed. Once Jason went to Manhattan in 1989, it was clear he didn’t have the star power he once had. New Line Cinema bought the franchise rights, and they released the ninth film, Jason Goes to Hell, in 1993. The movie is drastically different than the other films, and fans seemed to hate it for years.
Today, the film’s unique nature is what makes it stand out. Jason, as fans know him is absent for most of the runtime and instead possesses various bodies in an attempt to become whole again. The movie tried to deviate from the other horror sequels of the franchise, and it did just that. The film should be seen just to see the Friday the 13th formula be flipped on its head.
9. Halloween Kills
Fans were instantly split when the sequel to the 2018 Halloween reboot was released last year. For many reasons, a good portion was against the ultra-violent sequel. While the film does have issues, it is still a solid addition to the long-running franchise. Like Halloween II from 1981, Halloween Kills takes place the same night as the preceding film. This makes the film feel like the second part of a larger story. A major complaint is that the movie doesn’t do anything substantial in its plot. While this may be true to an extent, it still has everything a chilling Michael Myers movie needs. It may not be the perfect movie, but Halloween Kills is still a worthy addition to an underrated horror marathon.
8. Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare
Bringing a beloved franchise to a close is a tall order. While the supposed final entry of the Nightmare on Elm Street series tried its best, it fell flat in the eyes of many. The film fully embraced the silly side of Freddy Krueger, and many fans didn’t find it scary. Freddy’s Dead also joined in on the growing popularity of the 3-D gimmick, as the climax required audiences to wear 3-D glasses. While far from the scariest Nightmare film, there is still some fun to be had. From the ridiculous deaths to seeing Freddy’s backstory, this is one of those horror sequels that entertain despite its flaws.
7. Alien 3
Making a worthy follow-up to the smash-hit Aliens was an impossible task. The movie took what made Alien tremendous and multiplied it. Even today, it is known as one of the best sequels and best sci-fi movies of all time. The third entry, not so much. Alien 3 killed off most of the surviving characters from the previous movie off-screen and in the opening minutes. This put a bad taste in fans’ mouths right away, making the rest of the film harder to stomach.
This movie looked to go back to the horror roots of the first film, as opposed to the more action feel of Aliens. Alien 3 sees Ripley in a maximum-security prison where a lone Xenomorph stalks the inmates. While a poor rehash of the first movie, his underrated horror movie still has some enjoyable moments. There are some decent scares, and the isolated feel adds to the tension.
6. Jaws 2
If there was ever a movie that demanded a sequel, it certainly isn’t Jaws. The original blockbuster is as open and closed as a plot can get. Regardless, the series infamously received three sequels. Jaws 3-D and Jaws: The Revenge have practically entered so bad they’re good territory. The first sequel, Jaws 2, is actually a proper follow-up. This movie isn’t talked about as the other entries. It isn’t as good as the first, but not as insane as the following two. Chief Brody once more has his concerns swept under the rug as a shark lurks in the waters of Amity. While the plot is essentially a watered-down version of the first movie, there is still some fun to be had. Roy Scheider returns as Brody and leads a thrilling climax against the shark once more.
5. Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III
The original Texas Chain Saw Massacre has had several direct follow-ups, and most fell flat. The first sequel is a cult classic, and the fourth entry is laughably bad. There were even two sequels ignoring everything after the first, but these too fell to the wayside. The third entry is unique in a way. It doesn’t have the intentional comedy of part II, but it isn’t nearly as bad as the later horror sequels. Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III had the most significant budget the franchise had seen yet, which works against the movie. Many fans felt this made it look too polished as opposed to the gritty nature of the first. The film claims to be the third part, but it stands independently. Some solid kills and some fairly scary scenes make this an entertaining addition to Leatherface’s legacy.
Silence of the Lambs is a movie that is more than just a horror movie. It is one of the few horror films the Academy didn’t ignore, and it is beloved by filmgoers outside the horror community. The movie was a smash hit, and it was based on a series of books. With the first film’s success and several books to choose from, a sequel was a no-brainer. Unfortunately, Hannibal didn’t enjoy the success of the first film. In its defense, being a follow-up to Silence of the Lambs was an impossible task.
With all the cards stacked against it, Hannibal still manages to be an entertaining thriller. As the title suggests, Hannibal Lector is front and center this time around. Anthony Hopkins is stellar as always, and even Julliane Moore does a decent job as Clarice Starling. While there are some silly moments, including one featuring the late Ray Liotta, the movie is still a worthy underrated horror classic.
3. Freddy Vs. Jason
With over a decade of hype, there was no way Freddy Vs. Jason was to live up to expectations. There were rumors of the clash of the slashers for years, and it was finally confirmed during Jason Goes To Hell’s shock ending featuring a familiar glove. While that was in 1994, the film didn’t hit theatres until 2003. While most of the film was subpar at best, the titular showdown was worth the wait. There isn’t a ton to this movie other than seeing these two titans of horror go at it. The characters are uninteresting, but they do their job. The fight scenes make the entire movie worth it. Each killer is shown fighting on their home turf, and plenty of blood is shed. This movie is a fun time, even if it isn’t particularly scary.
2. Halloween III: Season Of The Witch
One of the most infamous horror sequels doesn’t deserve all the hate it got. Halloween III bombed and was hated for years for one simple reason, Michael Myers wasn’t present. While the title is misleading, it isn’t fair to hate the movie based on that fact alone. Over the years, the film is earning the status of a cult classic, and more and more fans are discovering what they have been missing. The plot follows an evil toymaker who plans on killing children as sacrifices to the evil roots of Halloween. The movie is beautiful ’80s cheese and has some solid scary moments. The film has even leaked into the main series, as the Silver Shamrock masks from this movie have been seen in David Gordon Green’s reboot series.
1. Psycho II
Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho is one of the most legendary films of all time. The film is constantly spoken alongside films such as Casablanca and Gone With the Wind as cinematic royalty. Making a sequel decades later almost seems like sacrilege. This did happen, however, and with a surprising outcome. Psycho II sees Anthony Perkins reprise his role as Norman Bates. Norman is declared sane and is released back into the world. Bates desperately wants to live a normal life and forget his troubled past, but Mother has other plans. The film is a worthy follow-up to the original movie and has slowly reached cult status. For fans of the original chiller, this is one underrated horror sequel that deserves a watch.