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The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Horror Prequels

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Horror Prequels

Just in time for the Halloween season, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre series has returned with Leatherface. However, like it has once before, the series is jumping back in time to tell a story before the events of the original film. Then, in July 2018, The Purge series will be returning to the big screen, this time heading back to the very first Purge event. The art of the prequel is coming back into style in horror films, I suppose you could say.

So what’s the deal with prequels? Are they craven cash grabs, films living off nostalgia to squeeze one more entry in a franchise out of any good forward momentum? Or are they the clever tool of a smart filmmaker, intended to reveal secret surprises and reframe the histories of characters the audience thinks they understand?

Why not both? This is a list of prequels, split into the categories of Gems Cash-Ins, and a final category called Surprises, where we note some interesting prequels that are a little off the beaten path.


THE STANDOUT GEMS:


While Annabelle: Creation is an enormous theatrical hit, already earning over $300 million worldwide, this recent release is definitely more than a Cash-In. With origins in the universe of The Conjuring, producers improved on the original Annabelle film by bringing in Lights Out director David F. Sandberg, and it was a smart move. The question is, with that kind of profit, where does the series go now?



In similar fashion to the previously mentioned Annabelle: Creation, producers of the moderately successful but poorly received Ouija decided to make a prequel by bringing new talent to the project. Oculus director Mike Flanagan crafted Ouija: Origin of Evil, a smart, effective horror film with compelling characters that more than made up for the empty scares of the original. While there may be nothing interesting left to do with the franchise going forward, this second outing actually justified the series’ existence.



Who would have figured that travelling back into the VHS days of young Katie and Kristi, as well as focusing more on the never-before-seen parents, would revitalize the found footage horror series Paranormal Activity? Practical scare tactics and the brilliant use of an oscillating camera made Paranormal Activity 3, from Catfish directors Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman, almost universally the favorite film of the long-running series.



The elements that make the Final Destination series popular, from the bloody and chaotic opening action sequence to the Rube Goldberg machinations of Death as it collects the people who escaped their fate, are consistent from film to film. So why does Final Destination 5 stand out? Well, aside from expanding the mythology in an interesting way by adding the element of “borrowing” more time by giving Death other lives, the movie is (SPOILER ALERT) a secret prequel that only reveals its surprise at the very end! I won’t spoil it, but it’s worthwhile enough to justify it as a good prequel.



The Alien franchise started incredibly strong, and even though the immediate follow-up was a huge success, the series had diminishing returns throughout its run. It would take the return of the originator of the series, Ridley Scott, to bring wide interest and appreciation back to the series. Though both Prometheus and Alien: Covenant have their detractors, Ridley is clearly passionate about the series, and no one can argue that the prequels were effective big-budget horror storytelling.



After the first Insidious left with a huge cliffhanger, the sequel dove right back into the story of Josh Lambert and his family, concluding a thrilling story about the bonds of family. However, given it was a success, a new installment was necessary, and the Lambert family story was complete. The series nimbly decided to follow the (now dead) Elise in her past exploits for Insidious: Chapter Three, showing audiences the origin of her investigative team and business. The formula seems to be working, as the fourth entry in the series, also a prequel, is headed to theaters in January 2018.



With the huge critical and financial success of The Silence of the Lambs (not to mention all the Oscars), it was unlikely a follow-up film could capture the original’s magic. The next film, Hannibal, tried and failed, with a Gothically over the top storyline. Red Dragon, however, was a prequel that worked to a degree. Though not a perfect film, and by no means the equal to the Hannibal TV series, it is still a worthwhile journey into the past of a horror icon.


THE CASH-INS:


The first Ginger Snaps was a smart female take on the werewolf myth with complex roles for its three lead actresses. The film was a surprise hit, and the production company immediately greenlit two sequels to be shot back-to-back. The second film, though mostly unnecessary, is entertaining and hearkens back to the classic sequel The Curse of the Cat People with one of its protagonists a spectral presence. But the third film, Ginger Snaps Back: The Beginning, oddly leaps back to the early 1800s for a prequel that, while good, has the two lead characters from the previous films living in the past with the same names and no explanation as to why they are there or how the films connect.



The Exorcist is one of the most beloved horror films of all time. No one would expect a sequel to be its equal, but the second film was a huge critical and commercial failure. William Peter Blatty, the writer of the book and the original film, returned for a third film that returned the series to form in 1990. The series went dormant for fourteen years, and no one complained; then, someone decided to reactivate the property and make Exorcist: The Beginning, about young Father Merrin. The history of the troubled production that led to two vastly different cuts of the movie is well known, but neither film ended up being a film worthy of the franchise title.



The first Paranormal Activity was a bone fide horror smash hit, so it was no surprise that it would spawn a series. The third film found a clever way to use a prequel to deepen the mythology. However, Paranormal Activity 2 was the first prequel in the series, jumping back a short time before the first film and essentially retelling the same story with the sister of the character from the first. More cameras, more family members, but basically the same. Thankfully, the next film improved greatly.



The first Cabin Fever was a dark but humorous infection horror film that did well at the box office and put director Eli Roth on the map. It also created an easily reproduced template for a direct-to-video franchise, which is exactly what happened. The next film in the series was directed by Ti West (then re-edited by the producers), and it continued the “randy teens try to get it on while their flesh slowly dissolves” vibe of the first. The world is basically doomed at the end of the second, so for the third film, Cabin Fever Patient Zero, they go back to the origin of the disease, and somehow it is still about randy teens having sex and watching their skin melt.



Produced by Sam Raimi, directed by the talented Pang Brothers, and starring Twilight’s Kristen Stewart, the original The Messengers was poised to be a big hit film. It was not. That didn’t stop the owners of the rights from trying to continue the story. But, without a budget to afford Stewart (or even co-star Dylan McDermott) again, they made a nearly unrelated prequel called Messengers 2: The Scarecrow. Not even Daryl Dixon himself, Norman Reedus, could salvage this confused and unnecessary film.



Though 2007’s Vacancy was directed by Predators director Nimrod Antal and starred Luke Wilson and Kate Beckinsale, the movie wasn’t a highbrow film; it aimed to be a claustrophobic little gorefest about a couple marked for murder in a snuff film-producing motel, and it succeeded. Then in swooped the cash vultures to pick clean the bones of the film. A prequel, Vacancy 2: The First Cut, answered all the important questions, like: how did the lucrative snuff film business start? Well, see, they already had pervert cameras in the room, and then a serial killer showed up, so they hired him!



There is enormous love and good will for the Tremors franchise, primarily because the first film is a fantastically funny horror-comedy. In my interview book The Anatomy of Fear: Conversations with Cult Horror and Science Fiction Filmmakers, Tremors co-writer S.S. Wilson paraphrased Universal’s opinion on Tremors sequels: “Guys, we have to have another Tremors! We could sell an empty box called Tremors!” Well, the box wasn’t empty for Tremors 4: The Legend Begins, but the trip back to the old west to show the origin of the Graboids was light, and the narrative was barely connected to the others except for the return of Michael Gross as Burt Gummer’s ancestor, Hiram Gummer. Maybe it was because the creators were spread thin simultaneously writing Tremors: The Series for The Sci-Fi Channel.



What is it about the old west and horror franchises? Leprechaun went to the hood, but From Dusk Till Dawn 3: The Hangman’s Daughter went back to the early 1900s in Mexico. Imagine a movie with Michael Parks, Danny Trejo, and Orlando Jones that still isn’t as memorable as it would have been to watch those three actors just have a conversation at a table. This is it. Director P.J. Pesce is a direct-to-video repeat offender, also making Smokin’ Aces 2: Assassins’ Ball.



Don’t you wish you knew more about the previous owners of the Amityville house? No? Same here, but the producers gave it to you, anyway. Amityville II: The Possession is based on a nonfiction book purporting to tell the story of the original killer in the notorious house. It’s greatest sin is not that the film contradicts the opening of the original. It’s just that the movie is really bad; it was nominated for a Golden Raspberry Award in 1982. Spoiler alert: the house survives.



The Alien vs. Predator comic had prepared audiences for years for the inevitable film crossover, and there are defenders of Paul W.S. Anderson’s fairly tame and underwhelming film. What nearly no one defends is the one that came after it, Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem. Picking up after the events of Anderson’s film (but still taking place years before Prometheus or the rest of the Alien franchise), a Predator ship crashes in the Colorado woods, a Predator-Alien hybrid pops up, and the Alien vs. Predator franchise dies a slow, choking death.


THE SURPRISES:


Cube Zero isn’t that different from other interesting, high-concept series that had two entries and then went back in time after running out of new ideas (Ginger Snaps, another Canadian production, did exactly this). The quality of the film is higher than others, but the thing that makes it surprising is that this ever even became a franchise. How did a gory Canadian thriller that takes place in a single room become a series? All three entries are worth seeing, and the circular nature of the final entry concludes the trilogy well.



One of producer Val Lewton’s most effective low-budget horror films, The Seventh Victim is about a woman searching for her missing sister who stumbles across a Satanic cult. It’s also secretly a prequel to Cat People, perhaps Lewton’s most famous film. Cat People, about a woman who fears she turns into a cat monster, had its own official sequel, The Curse of the Cat People. But The Seventh Victim, released in 1943, has the supporting character of Dr. Louis Judd, who appeared and died in Cat People in 1942, a year earlier. The only explanation: The Seventh Victim is a secret prequel!



1961’s The Innocents, based on the novel The Turn of the Screw, is classic beautiful black and white psychological horror of the highest order, with a script from Truman Caopte. 1971’s The Nightcomers, on the other hand, is the prequel story to The Innocents, and it is violent, overtly sexual, and gleefully sadistic. Also, Marlon Brando is in it. Somehow, they both work; Brando’s appearance and the frank nature of the sexuality give it a Victorian Last Tango in Paris feel. A brilliant story told in two wildly different styles, both worth checking out.



Sure, they took out the great practical effects and replaced it with mediocre CGI. Sure, the suspense scenes in the film are just thinly veiled versions of the ones from Carpenter’s 1982 film. But you know what? The Thing from 2011 is actually kind of good. The script by Arrival writer Eric Heisserer is taut, and it was one of the first of the decent remake/sequel cycle that tried to have reverence for their predecessors, a cycle that included Dawn of the Dead and The Crazies. Plus, who doesn’t want another horror movie starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead?



Sometimes, sheer audacity will get you on a list of surprising prequels, and Hellraiser: Bloodline is certainly audacious. It is a sequel to the series that takes place in 1996. It is also a prequel that takes place in 1796, telling the story of the creator of the hell-opening puzzle box. Oh, yeah, and PINHEAD IS ON A SPACE STATION, the same year that Leprechaun also ventured into space. It was Clive Barker’s return to the franchise, it has an Alan Smithee directing credit, and it was the last Hellraiser film released to theaters. If you haven’t already seen it, aren’t you at least a little curious now?



Oh, boy. What a narrative mess the Puppetmaster franchise is. Chronologically, the first film is the fifth film, the third film is the first film, and the tenth film takes place between the prologue of the original film and the rest of the original film. There’s no way you followed the timeline in that last sentence, nor will you likely follow the chronology of this series. It makes the Surprises list because, in a franchise with thirteen entries, five of them are prequels to the original, and one of them takes place in an alternate dimension. This conversation makes me tired…



Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is on the Surprise list because it’s a horror sequel to a non-horror film. Okay, okay, I know the movie is actually just a very dark action-adventure movie based on the old Republic serials about evil cultists and witchcraft. But, I mean, come on. Eating monkey brains and live snakes cut from a mother snake’s belly, an army of hypnotized child slaves, a room covered floor to ceiling with bugs, and a dark magic practitioner wearing a skull helmet who removes people’s hearts while they’re alive to watch the hearts beating in his hand? Hmm, sounds pretty horrific…


THE VERDICT: Horror prequels, like any subgenre or style, have great and terrible entries. Horror fans shouldn’t want them to stop being made. We should just hope we get many more like Annabelle: Creation and a few less like Cabin Fever: Patient Zero.



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COMMENTS

101 Comments
  • Darren Kerr

    Gymnasts Do The Funniest Things

    • Saturn

      Only if you swap their anabolic steroids with lsd…….

  • Christian

    It’s not on the list here, but I quite like Final Destination 3… although now that I’ve mentioned it, that bloody ”Love Train” song is stuck in my head.

  • G.A. McGillivray

    Soon as I saw the title for this article i thought SPLIT!!!!

    • Saturn

      Yes, of course, with it being a secret Venom prequel!

      • J Jett

        LOL! 🙂

      • Christian

        McAvoy’s 24th personality, Topher Grace, was in the deleted scenes on the blu-ray.

        • Saturn

          I hear that his 25th personally, Johnathon Schaech, will be making a cameo in the next movie – if only he can find the time from filming his next 6 CLASSIC HORROR MASTERPIECES…..

          • HAHA as soon as I saw you commenting on split personalities I was secretly hoping for another Schaech gag

          • Saturn

            Well, the guy is legendary in horror circles.
            🙂

  • Khy

    Final Destination 5 was a SOLID entry and a wonderful example of the team behind it course correcting and learning from some of their past missteps. I enjoy the hell out of FD3 and FD4(Haha, yes, FD4 has grown on me over the years), but admittedly they aren’t much beyond “boobs and kills”- which is kinda disappointing considering the respective directors/writers behind both gave us the superior FD1 and FD2.

    FD5 was a wonderful wrap-around and the surprise prequel angle, although predicted by most of us “Reapers”, was still a lot of fun. And the film itself just felt like a respectful solute to the series. I suggest having a trilogy marathon of FD5, FD1, and FD2!

  • To be honest I HATED Ouija: Origin of Evil and Alien Covenant.
    Final Destination was nice in due of the surprising ending (however, I wanted to see someone surviving because it’s always the same, I mean everybody dies in almost all films).
    Paranormal Activity 3 was ruined by the horrible ending, in my opinion it’s one of the worsts endings I’ve seen. I remember when I saw it in the theater, the movie ended and I said to my my self “oh it’s just this? Where’s the third act? Where are the explanations? Why the grandmother have killed her daughter? Where are all the scenes from the trailers?”.
    Insidious 3 is good but less dark and scary than the first film, but Annabelle: Creation is my favorite in that list.

    Btw, I’m still waiting for a new Final Destination sequel with more great and funny deaths and with a ending where someone survives.

    • Rohan

      People survive part 2.

      • They all died in 3, 4 and 5…

        • Rohan

          Yeah, but, part 2 they survive, in pretty sure. They are the only ones.

          • scream4ever

            The survivors in 2 die during the events of 3 off-screen, as indicated in the newspaper article special feature.

            Regarding PA3, I assume you didn’t watch the later entries because it gets (mostly) explained.

          • Rohan

            They die in the non canon alternate ending of the third one.

  • ScaryLarryV

    For the record Alien Covenant sucked ass, what a horrible movie, totally just wiped out all the previous alien lore. Ridley Scott should give it a rest he lost his touch.

    • It didn’t wipe out or retcon anything. None of the comic books, video games, novels, AVP movies, or side material was ever canon to being with. As for the 1979 original, if you assumed that the Xenomorph was some naturally occurring creature or that the Derelict was thousands of years old, that’s on you. As far as the movies are concerned, that was never stated or implied.

      • Rick-Taylor

        1. The Space Jockey was an alien species, not a suit for tall albinos.
        2. The ship had been on the planet for quite some time due to the Jockey rotting away to its skeleton and congealing with the chair.

        • 1. That’s your assumption. None of that was confirmed or implied in the first film. And, none of the comics where they are giant green elephants were ever canon.
          2. Again, that’s just you jumping to conclusions. Covenant didn’t retcon anything.

      • ScaryLarryV

        I’m not including AVP or comics or video games , how bout the fact that David created the Xenomorphs, so that deletes the queen Alien from Aliens. Explain how that goes now? So is David going to Engineer a Queen? If so that’s incredibly stupid and ruins Alien storyline.

        • What makes you think he won’t engineer a Queen? The Queen was already hinted at on the Covenant poster. Again, it doesn’t “delete” anything. It might not be the origin you imagined in your head, but it’s hardly a retcon.

          • ScaryLarryV

            The poster? Get the fuck outta here! Besides asshat Ridley Scott already stated on the next installment of the movie isn’t gonna have Xenomorphs, and it will be about David. So your just speculating. Besides that scene where the chestbuster came out of that guy fully formed and completely unlike the chestbuster from Alien and reaching for David was completely stupid and unlike anything from the original.

          • “your just speculating”

            Speculation is jumping to the unfounded conclusion that the films won’t feature the Queen, just because they weren’t in Covenant (where the Xenomorphs were only just created). You literally have zero evidence that they have gotten rid of the Queen for good. None whatsoever.

            “Ridley Scott already stated on the next installment of the movie isn’t gonna have Xenomorphs.”

            Nope. He never said that. Ever. What he actually said was that the Xenomorph’s evolution is nearly complete and that the next film will feature the androids more prominently. You love jumping to conclusions based on nothing, don’t you?

            “scene where the chestbuster came out of that guy fully formed and completely unlike the chestbuster from Alien”

            That’s because these aren’t the ‘classic’ Xenomorphs from Alien. These are the first variation of the Xenomorphs. Also, the Xenomorph looks slightly different in EVERY Alien movie, including Aliens. The difference between Covenant and Aliens is that Aliens doesn’t actually have an in-universe explanation for why the Xenomorphs look different from the 1979 original (and no, the ‘Xenomorph caste’ thing is from the non-canon expanded universe).

            “reaching for David was completely stupid and unlike anything from the original”

            Yeah, because we clearly saw the Xenomorphs meet their evil android creator in the original.

            Also, here’s the poster and article right here. Prometheus and Covenant were only the beginning of a larger story, so perhaps you should stop bitching about non-existent retcons and them “thowing stuff out” that’s probably going to get explained regardless (we haven’t even seen the Xenomorphs come face-to-face with the Engineers yet, let alone the Engineer’s actual homeworld).

            https://i0.wp.com/media2.slashfilm.com/slashfilm/wp/wp-content/images/AlienCovenant.jpg

            http://bloody-disgusting.com/news/3429378/return-queen-teased-new-alien-covenant-poster/

          • ScaryLarryV

            There are alot of other people on this forum saying Covenant sucks go troll them, if you wanna watch Androids making out and horrible CGI trash go right ahead , while ur at it why don’t u punch yourself in the dick for liking this disgrace of a movie.

          • But they aren’t accusing the film for doing things it clearly didn’t do, and they aren’t telling other users to punch themselves in the dick. But you are right: this conversation isn’t going anywhere.

          • Saint of Killers

            I don’t think Xenomorphs really need Queen to propagate their species thanks to eggmorphing shown in deleted scene of Alien. It’s the perfect organism for a reason.
            Also there is tons of evidence to suggest that David has only recreated Xenos, there were hints of it Prometheus & Covenant and it is actually outright stated in novelization, DVD & interviews.
            Many purists disliked the Cameron & his Queen for demystifying a Lovecraftian horror into a space ant (he was inspired by Them! Watch Cinemasacre’s Aliens review) Maybe in-universe those experiments David was doing is responsible for that due to him wanting to improve their life cycle or something?
            Btw a kinda similar scene happened in the original like newborn Xeno reaching his hands for David, Watch Brett’s extended death scene on YouTube.

          • The novelisation is based on an earlier version of the script, and David’s entire character development in Prometheus and Covenant was about him being disappointed with his creators, him watching his creators get destroyed by their creators (the Engineers) and then him learning to create. It’s possible that the Xenomorphs had a different origin when Covenant was in the early stages, but I doubt that’s the case with the final film. We do know that Xenomorph-like beings existed before the classic Xenomorph due to various combinations of black goo, human DNA, and Engineer DNA (such as the Deacon and Neomorph). In the film itself, it was implied that he used all of those ingredients and various native organisms to create and perfect the Xenomorph. And more recently (after the film’s release), Ridley Scott outright said that David was his creator.

            For the Queen, I guess we’ll have to wait and see. I personally don’t see him getting rid of Aliens, but that’s certainly possible since he didn’t make that film (though he probably will erase most of Alien 3 and Resurrection, since Neil Blompkamp nearly did).

  • RipleyCroft

    I agree with most of the list except for Alien: Covenant. One of the many big mistakes he made was focusing on David and not the actual Alien. And it’s disappointing to find out the unnecessary 3 prequel-sequels are gonna be about David and A.I. The worst part of this was I felt scammed because he could’ve just called it the original Prometheus 2 title and not Alien and rob movie goers. Alien: Covenant is one of the biggest cash grabs I’ve ever seen imo.

    • ScaryLarryV

      Wow that was put well, couldn’t agree more

  • Saturn

    The one that suprised me most on the list is The Seventh Victim – never seen it – but now I know it’s a prequel to Cat People?
    Yeah, I’m all in to check it out.
    Nice one BD.

  • DaddyKo

    I like Temple of Doom, The Thing, Final Destination 5, Insidious 3. The AVP films were letdowns at the time and probably still the weakest of the bunch but I’d still like to see more. Covenant is a very mixed bag because it wasn’t even a real sequel to Prometheus & it was nothing new Alien wise, is like Scott to wrap up his storyline with a part 3 instead of 3 more movies of him wishing he was doing Blade Runner. Paranormal Activity I never cared for but I watched them with my ex I think I thought each one got better but from trash & 4 was the last one I watched. I only saw Tremors 4 & From Dusk TIL Dawn 3 once a while ago but I thought they were ok from what I remember, FDTD3 is better than 2 imo. Haven’t seen either so take this as you will but Origin of Evil & Creation I believe are just cases of the first installment being so garbage that anything would be considered quality in comparison.

  • DaddyKo

    Don’t care for Silence of the Lambs or Red Dragon but I liked Rising & the show is pretty good, I’m a Mads fan.

  • DaddyKo

    I rewatched TCM: Beginning on Netflix not too long ago and I didn’t mind it as much this time but I feel it def belongs in the cash grab category since it’s basically the remake re-released from what I remember of that.

    • Agreed. It’s not a disaster, but it was definitely dull and unnecessary (meant only to cash in on the 2003 remake).

  • Nefferson Taveira

    I’ve actually liked “Vacancy 2: The First Cut” more than the original. I would put it in the “Surprises” list.

  • Geno1987

    Alien Covenant does not belong on the gems list. It did what AVP-R could never do. Make the xenomorph boring. Where everyone in the movie including David had characters of cardboard, with the Alien barely showing up in the film except towards the end in a ho hum note.
    Also, The Thing prequel…really? You thought that was surprisingly good? What part about it was surprising in any way. It did the same beats of the first John Carpenter movie, but now with even less charismatic and interesting characters with no tension or build up to the monster as it spazzed out on screen in horrendous CGI like we all knew it would do.

    • I disagree. Not only did I like Covenant, but AVPR is infinitely worse. And I’d say a movie that you can’t see half of is more boring that a divisive prequel.

      • Geno1987

        Well when I go into an Alien movie I don’t want it to be the same old Chariots of the Gods rehash with two clones making out. Better a crappy darkly lit film that actually had Aliens being a consistent threat through the movie than an eye rolling arthouse feature with promise of an Alien being in it for 5 minutes.

        • It had to balance being an Alien film and continuing Prometheus. I’d say it did a great job. Let’s be honest – that movie was never going to please everyone.

        • ScaryLarryV

          Agree with everything you said.

  • jasonlives1986

    Writer should be fired for this.

  • Additionally, I’d list Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning on “The Cash-Ins”. Also, Hellraiser: Bloodline wasn’t good. All I hear is about “how audacious” and “how ambitious” it was. Yes, it had an amazing premise but the execution was botched. Execution is everything; it’s a shame they didn’t do it justice.

  • J Jett

    holy crap there’s some god awful films in this list (most of them)! LOL.

  • Blade

    AVP: is a pile of fecal matter but im not sure why it is on this list, I don’t think it was ever intended to be connected to Prometheus, Covenant or Alien.

    Idk, I always just thought the AVP series was like it’s own little non-canon universe. If Xeno’s were on Earth in the early 2000’s surely people on board Prometheus and the ships after would have known about these creatures. Then again they did nuke the place and cover it up…

    • Saturn

      Yup – the people behind AvP did state that they were non canon.

    • Rick-Taylor

      The AVP movies sure are non-canon. I just wanna interject that the Alien franchise has gone so wacky that anyone can make up their own canon line, now. For me, 1, 2, and 3 are all that is canon.

    • Will Ft. The Roots

      The idea of AvP came from the the Xenomorph skull in the Predator ship at the end of Predator 2. It started a bunch of fan talk that led to a line of comics(still going to this day), books and video games.

      • Blade

        Oh yeah I know where it came from, I was just saying I didn’t think Alien and Predator (not their crossovers) were actually canon to each series. I thought all AVP stuff was kind of it’s own, separate little universe/continuity.

  • Rohan

    Tremors 4 is a goddamn masterpiece, and is second only to the original tremors.

    • scream4ever

      Better than Tremors 2!?

      • Rohan

        Hell yeah better than Tremors 2! My tremors ain’t got no fuckin legs, that’s just stupid. And the flying ones? Don’t even start. My tremors are worms that live underground, not run and fly around.

        • Saturn

          You’re not looking forward to Tremors 8 : In Space, then?
          I hear the new Graboids are going to be hooked up to “the cloud” and will have robot chainsaw arms and eyes that can shoot lasers….

  • DoopGremlin

    I’m calling BS on some of this. Exorcist: Dominion is a pretty good film, and the only entryvworthy of the series next to 3.
    And Amittyville 2 is MUCH bettdr than the first. Its actually….entertaining.

  • MeeGhoulz

    ”Ginger Snaps Back: The Beginning, oddly leaps back to the early 1800s for a prequel that, while good, has the two lead characters from the previous films living in the past with the same names and no explanation as to why they are there or how the films connect.”
    They were the same actresses playing their ancestors that were cursed due to events presented on the movie… did you even watched it?

  • umaneo

    I liked The Thing 2011. Alien Covenant was a letdown. My hopes were so high but all Scott did was remake part of his original, steal from the second and cram an android who had a nervous breakdown down our throat. Love Fassbender though in other things.

  • Matt Miller

    I don’t know I don’t like most of those gems. I did enjoy Ginger Snaps 3 and Cube Zero.

  • Gabbi Cordero

    “The art of the prequel is coming back into style in horror films”. So since these shameless cash grabs are being made, the fact that they’re on trend should tell you all you need to know, but alas. It always amuses me how people especially on this site never give an objective analysis of where these trends got their start, not to mention the greed-fueled ambitions of their fad. Basically as horrendous as they were the Star Wars prequels raked in the box office which means EVERYTHING NEEDED A PREQUEL: after that star trek 3x, alien 2x, terminator, planet of the apes 3x. If this sounds like a over simplification, keep in mind, as I write this comment, you have 2 separates shared universes (Dark Universe and Monster Universe) trying to capitalize on the Avengers formula. So naturally, prequels bled over into horror: the thing, the exorcist, tcm, halloween

    In the Aliens section, the writer actually says “No one can argue that the prequels were effective big-budget horror storytelling”? Well the reception and box office argued it, not to mention the studio who cut Covenant’s budget and are questioning another prequel. Well done on journalistic integrity.

    Final Destination 5 has a twist ending doesn’t mean its good. The twist end doesn’t “justify” the prequel just like blood and guts don’t justify this series

    So Insdious has a winning formula, ay? Is that why the 3rd entry was the lowest grossing of the franichse, exposing Leigh Whannell’s ineptitude in the process? Careful Bloody Disgusting your James Wan/Blumhouse fanboy boner is showing

    Any praise for the Thing 2011 frankly speak for itself.

    Prequels are not a a subgenre sweetheart. Thanks for the cheap plug for your book. Considering your insights here I’ll take it as a hard pass.

  • Biscoito18

    “Underworld: Rise of the Lycans” is another example of a good prequel.

  • Saturn

    Amityville 2 is really bad?
    Just a couple of weeks back BD were claiming it was (and certainly is) the best of the bunch!

    One of the great prequel movies is of course ARMY OF DARKNESS.
    Well, sequel/prequel……

    • Rick-Taylor

      In my opinion, Amityville 2 is easily the best of every Amityville movie. It is still subpar, though. Major Spoilers: the incest subplot and killing off the main character are good twists that one wouldn’t expect to see.

  • Simon Allen

    Sorry but am I the only person who though Anabelle – Creation was pretty lame ?
    Yes it was directed very well and looked great but it was pretty boring and not very scary at all but at least it didn’t stink as much as Ouija – origin of evil which was just abysmal and made no sense at all .
    I quite enjoy the Renny Harlin version of Exorcist the beginning …it has some great performances and tries to do something different with the story .Its a interesting misfire in a plagued franchise .
    And are we Attacking Amityville 2 now ? I think it’s the best in the franchise especially after the recent abortion that was The Awakening .
    I have stood up for The Thing here before . It is actually one of my favourites and I encourage people to go back and take another look and see the good in it .

    • You’re speaking my mind haha, swap The Thing with Annabelle 2 and Ouija 2 and it makes more sense. The Thing was so underrated imo.

      I fell asleep watching Annabelle Creation and the only thing that woke me up was a really generic jump scare, I didn’t rate it at all. Ouija Origin of Evil was just the same, uninspired and flawed rubbish, though I did think it had some potential at the start. Glad I’m not the only one, seems that a lot of people rate Annabelle Creation and Origin of Evil and I just don’t get it.

      • Simon Allen

        After all the great reviews for both of them i expected so much more.
        The Thing is so well directed and looks amazing …..yes the effects let is down but aside from that its really good and i feel sorry for the director and the cast who did such a fine job .

    • Barry El Beardo

      I liked Annabelle creation but don’t think it was THAT good. But I did really like Ouija 2 (I think Mike Flangan did a great job to a shit original!)

      But I absolutely adore The Thing 2011. Most of the CGI is pretty terrible but it didn’t ruin the film for me. Good acting can override bad effects (The Mist is a good example of this). It is just such a shitty shame that we will never see the original cut with practical effects.

      • Simon Allen

        I think after seeing the reviews for the two of them i was expecting so much more especially as i have rated both directors ion the past ( i loved Lights Out and most of Flanagans stuff ) .
        I thought the performances in the Ouija prequel were just terrible and the last 15 minutes made no sense .
        I think in time people will come to look past the effects and enjoy The Thing and you are right …..to see it restored with the original effect would be beyond cool .

        • MODOK

          I thought both the Ouija and Annabelle prequels were far better than they had any right to be. They both fall into the “pleasant surprise” category for me, even if they’re far from perfect. Considering there are only a few truly great horror movies released in any given year and a whole lot of garbage, I’m just happy whenever one is in the decent-to-good range.

          You have to consider what the directors had to work with. The first Ouija was truly awful, and Annabelle was only a notch above that. It’s not like Flanagan or Sandberg were handed the keys to an awesome franchise…they basically had to make sense of (and improve) the shit that was handed to them.

          Maybe grading on a curve isn’t fair, but they deserve it.

          • Simon Allen

            Nope sorry no allowances . 🙂

    • Saturn

      Although the Thing premake is inferior to JC’s movie, I do find it to be quite entertaining. It’s a good movie, which I hope they make a sequel to.
      Called…..The Thing.

      It’s quite easy to do now – just set it a couple of days after the prequel, so the first movie can also be included, with Kate rescued and perhaps the team sent to investigate the American base, where they can find 2 freshly deceased, frozen, bodies…….
      But only one of them is truly dead……

  • The Night King

    George Lucas basically invented the prequel. When Francis Ford Coppola made The Godfather, the novel had a ton of backstory about Don Vito as a child and young man that had to be cut. Lucas later suggested to his then boss Coppola that he could make the sequel follow both Don Vito’s and his son Michael’s rise to power. Lucas later did the same with Star Wars. It worked brilliantly with The Godfather, now it’s just another cheap and lame stunt.

  • Barry El Beardo

    People dump on TCM: The Beginning a lot but I think its such a great TCM film. Its gritty, its gory and has a great downbeat ending

    • Khy

      And it goes so well with the remake! The TCM films were Platinum Dunes at their absolute greatest.

      • Simon Allen

        Really the only thing they got right in my opinion .

        • Barry El Beardo

          Jordana Brewster is always fun to watch.
          And while the TCM remake is great, after the first kill, its pretty tame. The Beginning keeps the gore going all the way through!

          • Simon Allen

            Nothing can take away my love for the remake as it confounded all of my expectations .
            I don’t hate the prequel but id just rather watch the remake again instead . In my opnion it is one of the most beautifully shot horror movies ever .
            I did like Jordana in the Dallas re-boot and was gutted when it got cancelled .

    • Igor

      Both the remake and the beginning of 2006 are incredible films, I do not know why the criticism did not like .. because the films are some of the best in the franchise, TCM: The Beginning and as good as the hostel and wolf creek!

    • MrX13

      TCM 2003 Remake and 2006 Beginning are great films! They made Leatherface scary again and the effects were simply amazing. The cinematography looked really good. I enjoy them very much!

      • Nick Botic

        And Texas Chainsaw 3D was such a wonderful, ama—yeah, I can’t. I agree with the 03′ and 06′ installments but goddamn was 3D just aaaawful.

        • MrX13

          It was decent enough because of the kills but yeah the story could have been a whole lot better

          • Nick Botic

            It has what I consider the most poorly delivered line in any movie, ever. When the main character tosses Leatherface the chainsaw and boldly exclaims “Do your thing, cuz!”, I threw up in my mouth a little while cringing harder than I’ve ever cringed before.

            I had flashbacks to 2 Fast 2 Furious, RIP Paul Walker. And having such flashbacks don’t indicate a positive experience.

          • MrX13

            Haha that was a corny line.

      • They both also brought Leatherface and the TCM clan back to theatrical screens,which THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE:THE NEXT GENERATION had a few limited theatrical screenings and a Straight-To-VHS video run and the new second prequel LEATHERFACE is basically a Straight-To-VOD/DVD/Blu ray affair.

        • MrX13

          Texas Chainsaw 3D was also in theaters as well. I don’t it made too much but it was a decent movie

  • Creepshow

    Everyone failed to point out the biggest atrocity of them all. And that is… the director of Vacancy and Predators was named Nimrod.

    That poor son-of-a-bitch.

    • MODOK

      Antal’s parents are Hungarian, and the Hungarian origin legend is that they are descended from Nimrod, a mighty hunter in the Bible.

      The only reason we consider Nimrod to be an insult is a misunderstanding of the famous Bugs Bunny cartoon we’ve all seen. Bugs refers to Elmer as “Nimrod” in the cartoon, but it’s sarcasm–unlike the biblical Nimrod, Fudd is incompetent. Unfortunately, kids who saw the cartoon wouldn’t have gotten the allusion and just thought it was another way to insult Fudd’s intelligence, like calling him a numbskull.

      Presumably, Hungary doesn’t share that same Bugs Bunny cultural history, so the name Nimrod still retains the original majestic meaning.

      • Creepshow

        Interesting. So it’s just like when dumb people are called “Einstein”. Now, do you have any back history on Nincompoop? XD

        • MODOK

          Of course! It all begins in Boston, where Ninco M. Poop was considered one of the greatest inventors of the 19th century…

          • Creepshow

            My guess for origination would be Boston as well. They’re a different breed up there.

    • Saturn

      It’s a great honour to be named after the Great One.

  • Jason Eugene Silvey

    Fun article, but man, Alien: Covenant suuuuuuucks.

    • WOLF

      Yeah I’m shocked it got fairly positive reviews. It looked pretty….but it really wasn’t a smart movie. And the xenomorph is some cgi screaming little science project of an Android.

  • WOLF

    Man… just saw Leatherface. Completely unconvincing birth of a horror icon. These origin stories are completely unnecessary. But if you are going to try and show us how somebody turns into Leatherface, you better have a damn good explanation. The producers of the last two films have zero respect or understanding of the original.

  • Rocky

    stupid motherfucker – Amytiville 2 is the best in the series – dumb fuck.

    • Hardcore F’n Mudd

      Jesus Rocky, relax will ya?

  • WOLF

    You really didn’t make a good argument for prequels. Annabelle and Ouija were sequels to lame movies. There was nothing to screw up. None of these are great movies. Alien covenant made me lose interest in any future Alien movies. Darth Vader, Michael Myers, Xenomorph, Leatherface etc are all weaker characters because of prequels.

  • my goodness, is this editorial fucked up.

  • Jérémy Kuprowski

    When even the “gems” are hot garbage, I think it really tells that prequels never works in horror.

  • Samuel Stephens

    I never understood the whole prequel angle to Cube Zero. The first movie was vague about the cube, but by the way the characters talked and acted, it seemed like they were living in normal times and were plucked from their lives. Only one of the characters had any knowledge of the cube. That was the scary part of the movie. We didn’t know what it was and one of the characters even suggests the thing has no purpose or its purpose was lost; rather terrifying. Cube 2 went the more predictable route with conspiracy. The cube is the product of a powerful weapons contractor and the victims were people connected to the it in some way. Cube Zero retcons all of this. Now the setting is in some kind of authoritarian theocratic version of America by way of Terry Gilliam’s Brazil and the cube is a means by which the government punishes and executes criminals and dissenters. Despite “coming full circle,” it doesn’t really fit with either the first movie or the second movie.

    • Harley Mitchel Dirk

      Plus its a complete mess.

  • Brett

    I liked PA 2 better than 3 for sure. And the all time greatest PA line, by the dad in the story – “Time to release the Kraken!”

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