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5 Horror Franchises With Killer 3rd Installments!!!

Usually by the time the third installment of a series rolls around the quality of the franchise is in steep decline. The punch of the original idea has run dry, drive has turned to greed and the property is no longer being shepherded by people who really care about it.

But that’s not always the case! Sometimes the third film in an ongoing horror endeavor can equal or exceed the first! Usually this happens after a lackluster Part 2 forces people to either hustle creatively or abandon the cash cow permanently, but it’s always a nice surprise.

Head below for 5 Series With Killer 3rd Installments!!!

A Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors

I’ve gone on record many times declaring my love for this sequel but the fact remains that it will always be a towering example of what to do right when expanding your franchise. The world is opened up, the ideas are developed in new and interesting ways and it’s faithful to the characters. It brings something new to the table and, most importantly, isn’t lazy.

Psycho 3

When I revisited the Psycho series last year I found that it was actually pretty solid (I feel weird saying that given the fact that the original film is one of the best horror movies ever made) up until the 4th installment, where things fizzled out. In particular I was surprised by Psycho 3, which picked up where the “pretty okay” Psycho 2 left off but excelled by fixing that film’s turgid pacing, adding Jeff Fahey and upping the fun factor.

Halloween III: Season Of The Witch

This, along with Dream Warriors, this is another no-brainer. I know there are still a few holdouts that can’t get over the fact that Michael Myers isn’t in the film but it’s hard to ignore the fact that it’s a strong film on its own terms. It’s a fun, pulpy movie with something to say and the drive to get away from Myers is commendable. The popular consensus on this has come around in a major way.

The Exorcist III

BD alum Brian Collins recently hosted a screening of this in LA and I was pretty sad I couldn’t go because this is a movie that course corrects from the horrible Exorcist II: The Heretic in almost every conceivable way. Of course it’s nowhere near as good as Blatty’s original 1973 classic, but it’s at least a good movie with decent scares (including one all-timer), which is more than can be claimed of Boorman’s 1977 attempt.

Paranormal Activity 3

Some of you guys are going to fight me on this, but I think Paranormal Activity 3 is a legitimately good film. For starters, it’s way better than PA2. And while it doesn’t pack the original punch of PA1, I actually think its more cinematic nature lends itself to repeat viewings in a way that no other film in this franchise does.



  • Darkness69

    I am so glad Halloween III is on this list! I was always fond of this underrated movie. I agree with every entry on this list – Dream Warriors being the obvious one, of course.

  • doomas10

    I am defending you on this – PA3 was way way better even than the first one. It has legitimate scares and a nice homage to Poltergeist in my humble opinion. Having said that, there are not many treequels that are actually good besides of course that you mentioned. I am failing to find one – alien 3? Child’s play 3? rec genesis? blade trinity?

    • Doomas, I’m not a fan of the PA franchise overall, but I’ll admit I enjoyed 3 as the best! The ending was a complete shock (the grandmother was SO, and it was a nice change of pace from the first two films.

      • doomas10

        Absolutely – they tried to do something different and for most of the time, it worked. Although nowdays I am totally bored with the PA films. They have milked the franchise and the idea in my opinion

  • Palkotaz

    Great list, but Halloween 3, ” is another no brainer” for this list of films that “equal or exceed the first!”? It drowns in Halloween’s mighty shadow! Not even a contender.

    • mountain twin

      I love The Shape. I love Carpenter. Halloween three deserves to be on the list if for nothing else but balls. Carpenter took a chance and made a crazy concept come to life in a really awesome way. I love H3. Didn’t care for it as a kid but now man, I love it. It’s more a sequel to They Live and Escape From New York than anything else and THATS the Carpenter I dig.

      • Palkotaz

        Are we talking about the same H3, or typing from alternate dimensions, maybe I should rewatch it, cause I feel like I’m missing something here.

      • Dr.murder

        Carpenter was involved slightly in this, he did not direct or write this, it has no bearing on him.

  • Primeus

    PA3 is definitely the best film in the franchise IMO. It is scary/creepy, and it just takes the found footage gimmick to new heights. I really did enjoy the second film when I saw it in the theater but after seeing it twice recently I realize it’s actually really boring, and not very well done. It doesn’t break any new ground, and it’s pretty much the first film in a bigger house, and doesn’t have the punch that the original film had. However the third installment is prime with great characters, scares, and I think the best ending of all the PA films.

    Dream Warriors is obviously an amazing film and many would argue is superior to the original. I don’t think it’s a better film then the original in terms of “scary”, but I think it’s definitely more enjoyable when it comes to fun, and it transfered Freddy into the icon he is today. Without the third film he just wouldn’t have become the icon that is loved by millions.

    Halloween 3 is just not my cup of tea. Michael Myers is Halloween, and without him I feel cheated.

    I really wish this was best sequel in a franchise would have far more options to pick from.

    Halloween 4 is the best in the franchise when it comes to sequels. Same goes for The Final Chapter.

    • divisionbell

      As far as sequels go I have to go with Halloween 2 over 4. It continues the first film perfectly and the hospital setting is hard to beat.

  • juice1701

    Ok, I agree with you on Nightmare on Elm Street 3 and Paranormal Activity 3. They were both good, but Season of the Witch? Are you kidding me? That Sucked!!! And The Exorcist III? Come on Man. I did not see Psycho III and probably glad I didn’t after Psycho II. But I’m really surprised you did not include Friday the 13th part 3 in 3-D. That was the best one on imo and the excellent 3-D made it that much better. I had never seen 3-D that good before, and haven’t seen it again since. And what about Hellraiser 3: Hell on Earth? That was also really good. But to each his own I guess. Also missing is Day of the Dead, the third installment of George A Romero’s Night of the Living Dead series. That had the best Zombie Kill in Zombie movie history. Does anyone remember: Choke on them, Choke on them? Damn are you kidding me. Oh well, again I say: to each his own.

    • djblack1313

      @juice1701, um, EXORCIST III was awesome.

      • juice1701

        To you it was awesome, ok I can dig that. But to me it sucked.

      • divisionbell

        Exorcist 3 was indeed an excellent movie.

      • DreamWave

        I couldn’t stand Exorcist III, dare i say it, i thought II was even more enjoyable. Also, Paranomal Acitivty 3 gets an insta’ win for taking place in the 80’s. 😉 Miles better than the 2nd, yet it didn’t exactly have the punch or scare factor of the original. Anyhoo, Dream Warriors completely annihilates all of those other sequels combined. ANOES3 is quite possibly thee’ greatest horror sequel of all time, there’s no competition. I experienced it a few years after it’s release on VHS and it flat out blew me away. They just don’t make them like that anymore

  • djblack1313

    Evan YES YES YES YES YES YES YES!! i love you (platonically of course! LOL) for including THE EXORCIST III! it’s my favorite of the EXORCIST movies and it’s in my top 5 movies ever. i’m surprised you didn’t have F13 PART 3 in there but you will hear no complaints on this list since you included EXORCIST III! lol.

    and ELM ST. DREAM WARRIORS is my favorite ELM ST. movie!

    • DreamWave

      Friday the 13t, how could i forget! Most will agree it had the scariest Jason yet, with a semi-likable cast, with camptastic disco-fevre atmosphere. 😛 Then there’s Sleepaway camp 3. wink wink

  • The-Hitchhiking-Ghost

    Spot-on. Good to see Exorcist III getting some love here. I would add Friday the 13th Part III to this as well.

  • CTHL

    A fair list, even if I partially disagree (NoES and PA3, yuck, but fine!).

    A few more I liked but not quite as worthy of mention…
    Beyond Re-Animator
    Feast 3
    Grudge 3

  • divisionbell

    Pretty solid list. NOES 3, PA3 and Excorist 3 all stand out for me. Always loved the 3rd exorcist. However, I simply can’t agree with Halloween 3. It’s not even an issue of Michael not being in it, it’s just a fairly awful film.

  • Catastrophe

    I would actually swap NOES 3 for Friday the 13th Part 3. Psycho III is good but IMO is not near as good as Psycho II. Halloween III is an awesome halloween movie, but not a Halloween movie. The Exorcist III was better than I expected. PA3 is the best in the series. The only movie I would add would be Saw III since IMO it’s the best in the series (after the original), especially the director’s cut.

  • DreamWave

    Here are my picks of the silly sequel litter >

    ANOES 3
    FT13th Part 3
    Sleepaway Camp 3: Teenage WasteLand
    Halloween III: Season of the Witch
    Saw 3

  • Screamz

    NOES 3 and The Exorcist III I’ll agree on. Can’t say much about PA3, since I’ve loathed every one of them, though that kitchen scene was halfway decent.

    I love the idea of a different Halloween themed movie, but Season of the Witch just plain sucked. Horribly story (if you can call it that), terrible direction and one of the worst plans to kill children in the history of maniacal plans. Really? Kids are going to watch a television commerical on Halloween night instead of trick-or-treating? Congrats, you killed the ten kids across America that were grounded.

    Psycho III is a guilty pleasure, but comes up way short after the very good Psycho II…

  • mountain twin

    I like Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3. I know. I know.
    Phantasm 3
    Sleep Away Camp 3
    Jaws 3….haha. kidding.

  • From_Lilliths_Womb

    I agree that this list is spot-on! Exorcist III is typically over-looked so it’s great that you included it.

  • Joey

    PA3 & The Exorcist are some great 3 installments!One of my personal 3rd favorites would be Saw 3.

  • SuperKilla

    How can Friday the 13 part 3 not be on this list? First time Jason gets and wears his mask, best final girl in the series ,awesome 3D and well done kills.

    Day of the Dead

    Scream 3 ( Better than 2)

    Saw 3

    Underworld:Rise of the Lycans

    Son of Frankenstein

    Return of the living dead 3

    • monsterman96

      I agree scream was awesome and so was day of the dead and saw 3

      • SuperKilla

        Great minds think alike.

  • SuperKilla

    Poltergeist 3

  • ThrashKid

    Psycho 2 “Pretty okay”??? I hope that was facetious. Psycho 3 is “pretty okay” Psycho 2 is amazing.

    • SuperKilla

      Real talk.

  • monsterman96

    pyscho 3 and a nightmare on elm street 3 are my favorite on this list
    Halloween suckes where is hellraiser 3 and children of the corn 3

  • Saw III FTW.

    Shawnee Smith stole the show as Amanda, and 3 is the last Saw film I truly enjoyed. Five was utter shit, and Seven was disappointing.

  • joesey

    Finally some love for Exorcist III. I thought Underworld(3) Awakening was far better than the sequel. Resident Evil Extinction was definitely way better than Apocalypse. I really loved Return Of The Living Dead 3 that chic was badass piercing her entire body with metal junk. Alien 3 was amazingly done especially if you watch the director’s cut.

  • jtlovecraft

    I love Exorcist III. It’s one of horror’s most underrated films, period.

  • Francesco Falciani

    i’m almost ok with you. NOES part 3 is pretty good almost better than part 1. u forgot resident evil 3 and friday the 13th part 3. I disagree about halloween part 3 …it’s garbage!

    • Marla

      I don’t really care about whether or not you disagree about Halloween III dickwad. Lose the almightly hard on you’ve got for Myers. It was the best of all the shitty sequels. The only good one after the original was one, the rest are crap. So is Friday 3, which is also cash in on the 1980s 3-D phenomenon that was going on at the time.

      • Francesco Falciani

        yea…sure. Halloween 3 is so shitty that it’s not an Halloween movie at all. u can stick it up of your fatty ass! and yes Friday the 13th part 3…is far better than the original!

        • Wolf-man

          Considering John Carpenter originally intended Michael Myers to be a one-shot character and the Halloween films to be a different plot every movie, Halloween 3 is technically more of a Halloween movie than any of the other sequels.

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