Folks are always so crabby about sequels but the darn things have given me more than they have taken away and therefore I will always defend them. In fact, any time somebody says they hate a person, place or thing, I always wish I could send them into an alternate “It’s a Wonderful Life!” type dimension where the source of their scorn does not exist and see how well they fare there. No, sequels are not always good but that bath water you just dumped out? There was a baby in there! Holy crap! You just killed a baby. As for me, if a magic meteor hit the planet and erased all sequels, here are the ten things that I would miss the most and immediately. Feel free to add what you would miss in the comments section!
THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1935)
I’m not alone in thinking I might like this sequel better than the film it sprung from. Doctor Preterious is a real hoot and if sequels didn’t exist, I’m afraid UNA O’CONNOR as Minnie would disappear too! That’s no good. And by the by, if you hate gay people then I must send you to a dimension where neither of the first two FRANKENSTEINs exist (as we know them) and guess what- there’s no HELLRAISER, CHUCKY or KRISTY MCNICHOL there either. It’s basically the lamest dimension ever.
PSYCHO II (1983)
PSYCHO is just the type of movie that nobody should be brave enough to wish a sequel for and yet sequels for it do exist and I think Part 2 is absolutely excellent. Some people think the less you know about a killer the more potent the horror but I, again, say hogwash to that. I’m grateful I got to see another side of Norman Bates (ANTHONY PERKINS). His relationship with Mary (MEG TILLY) who learns to have sympathy for the man she was raised to hate is one of my favorites in all of horror.
Everybody knows ALIENS is white-hot awesome but think of it this way; what if the character of Bishop never existed to prove that not all androids want to shove magazines down your throat? What if we never got to see Ripley’s maternal instinct make the lateral jump from cat lover to child saver? Yikes, I could have possibly ended up a PAUL REISER fan if this movie didn’t thoroughly convince me that he was a wretched person!
A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 3: DREAM WARRIORS (1987)
I’m sorry but the original ELM STREET only has its originality to boast over Part 3. Really can we just use this movie as a permanent template for what a sequel could and should be? What a great idea to get talented people with imaginations that actually like horror films to helm this project rather than just any available schlub! Hollywood write that concept down on a post-it and put it on your fridge. Say it after me, “There are no bad sequels, only bad filmmakers.”
HALLOWEEN II (2009)
Back up townspeople! I can wave a torch too! Allow me to momentarily pretend that I have respect for those who don’t get this movie. If you want to see the most tragic death ever presented in a slasher film, it’s here. I guess not everybody is comfortable with a director pushing the boundaries of what a slasher film can convey and that’s their prerogative. I’ve watched this every Halloween since it has come out and this year I found out- so does my niece! Hmmm, maybe you have to come from a weird family to fully appreciate this movie. I say that as a joke but I may be on to something. As long as I’m talking HALLOWEEN sequels, I should also add that HALLOWEEN III: SEASON OF THE WITCH (1982) is a vital part of my world.
FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 2 (1981)
Thank God the Internet as it is presently was not around when this came out! I can hear the gripes now, “How could they kill Alice?” “Jason can’t be alive!” “How come what I imagined in my head is not what is on the screen?!” If FRIDAY neglected to stomp forward into Part 2, I’d have never known Ginny Field! And if it didn’t go on even further, I would have lost my pals Shelly, Tommy Jarvis and Maddy! Good God, Tina’s mom would be dust in the wind! What a horrible concept! Why am I torturing myself with these nightmare visions!
EXORCIST III (1990)
This title surely produced instant snickers after EXORCIST II: THE HYSTERICAL but surprise it has one of the scariest scenes ever and it employed both BRAD DOURIF and VIVECA LINDFORS of CREEPSHOW, so that’s enough for me.
8 EVIL DEAD 2/DAWN OF THE DEAD (1987/1978)
Well this should hit the stock horror fan right where they live. Can you imagine a world where these two didn’t exist? T-shirt, poster and DVD companies would go belly up and countless basement bedrooms would flood with tears! Hell, if these two horror gateway drugs didn’t exist you could probably say goodbye to half the horror fans out there! Me, I’d miss the flying eyeball and that guy whose head gets shortened by a helicopter blade.
CURSE OF THE CAT PEOPLE (1944)
Aw, this is one of my favorite movies from my youth and it’s a perfect example that a sequel can be its own beast and doesn’t necessarily have to be a weak rehash of the original. This is another one that I like just as much as the first and it routinely gets short changed just for being inspired by something that previously existed. I ask you what movie out there can really claim to be wholly fresh and not influenced by anything that existed before it? I don’t know what sun you live under but there’s nothing new under the one above me. Although I have to say springtime in February is novel.
FINAL DESTINATION 5 (2011)
I think the most fun I had in an actual movie theater this year was seeing FINAL DESTINATION 5. For pure enjoyment value alone, it left most of the better-reviewed horror flicks looking pretty damn dingy to me. I have to give this movie some accolades for not only injecting pure adrenaline into a faultering franchise, but also for proving that the cynical ceiling built by negative naysayers is all in their minds. Truth is, it’s never too late to make something worthwhile and not everybody has to love something to validate its existence. Just one fan blindly smitten or one afternoon spent contentedly lost inside the movie screen is worth it. I’m not exaggerating when I say I think it’s a valuable life lesson to realize that even after the crappiest installment a stellar one can still follow.
So I say hug a sequel today and the next time you decide to rag on something imagine the poor world without it instead. Also don’t choke people with rolled up magazines…ever.