Last year I asked what horror sequels you remember as being the biggest disappointments. But this year I’m trying to increase my positivity levels (though I’m sure I’ll break down and get petty every once in a while) and I thought it would feel better to ask which horror sequels exceeded your expectations? Which ones were better than they had a right to be? That were better than the original (or better than a dud sequel that diminished your expectations for the franchise)?
One of mine is A Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors. I was too young to see this in the theaters, but when I caught up with it on VHS I remember it blowing me away. While I currently hold it neck and neck with the original Elm Street (Dream Warriors may have expanded the world; but the original film is wildly inventive for even thinking of the central concept in the first place – and it’s scarier), back then it took very little time for it to catapult to being my franchise favorite.
I think part of it was that I felt like it “legitimized” my fandom. I watched the movie with my Dad and when he remarked that he thought the opening was “inventive”, it felt something like a tacit acknowledgement that he was open to enjoying the film. In hindsight, I’m sure that he didn’t like it all that much – but it felt like the door was open for me to experience the film without shame. When Freddy made a marionette out of Phillip and walked him down the halls with his own tendons, I thought that was the most mindblowingly original thing I had ever seen. When Will became the Wizard Master, it actually felt kind of empowering (especially since my best friend at the time was wheelchair bound). When Taryn involuntarily succumbed to her addiction, it actually felt tragic.
Aside from the obvious answer of Aliens (which I shouldn’t have to explain), I also remember Final Destination 2 as an experience that took the idea of the original but more fully fleshed out its Rube Goldberg machinations. And of course, stepping somewhat outside the genre established by the original, there’s the masterpiece that is Gremlins 2: The New Batch. I saw that one theatrically and oddly enough the break in tone didn’t even really register with me – I just knew what I was anything but let down.
What sequels blew you away?