If there’s one thing the horror genre is not afraid of, it’s sequels. We all have a love / hate relationship with sequels, we argue the merits of them and, in some cases, will claim that a sequel is superior to the original. Is the first FRIDAY THE 13TH anyone’s favorite? I know mine is FRIDAY THE 13th: THE FINAL CHAPTER, which was followed up by 6 more chapters.
Some movies get sequels when they may have been better left off as a single entity (I’m looking at you, JAWS sequels) and sadly, some movies never get the sequel they deserve. Here are, in my humble opinion, five horror movies that deserved a sequel.
BEHIND THE MASK: THE RISE OF LESLIE VERNON
BEHIND THE MASK: THE RISE OF LESLIE VERNON is a straight up masterpiece of horror cinema. A mix of mockumentary with serious horror moments, the movie is about a documentary crew that is following a wannabe serial killer in a world where Jason Voorhees and Freddy Krueger are real. Leslie Vernon wants nothing more than to follow in their footsteps and become one of the greats. He’s created a backstory, found his high school group that includes a perfect final girl and has been training for years to get to this moment – the moment Leslie Vernon becomes a killer. The movie does what every slasher movie pretty much does, it makes you root for the killer. The difference is, in BEHIND THE MASK, you root for Leslie Vernon not because you want to see lots of gore or because you don’t like the teens he’s going after, but because Leslie is so damn lovable. There is a scene that takes place a few hours before his big night. Leslie sits with Taylor, the woman in charge of the crew filming everything as they look out over the field of battle – the beat up house that Leslie has set up as the place where he will kill everyone. Leslie, with his makeup on but not his mask, starts to cry because he is so happy to finally see his dream coming true. Sure, his dream is to become a serial killer, but you can’t help but feel happy for the guy. Nathan Baesel, who plays Leslie, is so amazing in this movie, I dare you not to fall in love with him. I honestly don’t understand how there is not a sequel for this amazing movie. If you listen to Killer POV (and you should) you’ll hear the hosts, mostly Elric, lament the seeming stagnant nature of the slasher genre – that SCREAM was the last reinvention of the format and that reinvention ran its course with no replacement. I think BEHIND THE MASK was the new path for slasher movies, but no one picked up on it. There were moments where it looked like we would get a sequel to BEHIND THE MASK, but it never came about with everything seeming to come to a close with a failed Kickstarter campaign in 2012.
THE MONSTER SQUAD
People love GOONIES. I hate it. I hate it with a passion. The movie is nothing but a group of asshole kids running around screaming. When I was a kid, I hated GOONIES. I’ve always hated GOONIES. I was a MONSTER SQUAD kid because the kids in THE MONSTER SQUAD were smart, cool, funny and they didn’t just go around screaming. These kids found themselves having to fight off the classic Universal monsters and they did it without being jerks. Sadly, the movie was a gigantic bomb at the box office. I imagine anyone reading this can relate to the characters in THE MONSTER SQUAD. I can’t imagine I was the only kid who spent afternoons with his brother making latex skin and trying to recreate the monsters in Dick Smith’s Do-It-Yourself Monster Make-Up Handbook (which is how I learned I had a mild allergy to latex). I also imagine you all grew up, like me, waiting to see the MONSTER SQUAD sequel that never came. Maybe there was never a plan to make a sequel, but I sure as hell thought about it a bunch when I was a kid. Would Sean and the gang face off against Dracula again? Or maybe different monsters would show up! THE MONSTER SQUAD vs zombies! Or THE MONSTER SQUAD vs GODZILLA! Whatever it would be, I wanted it.
MY BLOODY VALENTINE 3D
I’ve never been a big 3D guy, but MY BLOODY VALENTINE 3D blew me away in the theater. The movie, a remake of a largely forgotten Canadian Slasher, is arguably the last great Slasher film with an awesome looking killer and a great concept. The movie was made for less than $20 million and went on to gross $100 million worldwide. How it is we never got a sequel, I don’t know. Director Patrick Lussier, along with writer Todd Farmer would follow it up with DRIVE ANGRY in 2011. Personally, I love DRIVE ANGRY, but audiences didn’t grab onto it. It hit at the tail end of the 3D craze, which I think is part of the problem. Still, MY BLOODY VALENTINE 3D ends with a little wink promising a sequel that we have yet to get. This is the only movie on the list that was domestically a financial success. In the US, it grossed over 2x its budget making the lack of a follow-up all the more confusing to me.
I’m likely going to get some flack on this one, but I love CONSTANTINE. Yes, I know that Keanu Reeves doesn’t look like the character in the comics. I know that in the comics, he looks like Sting circa 1984 and that he’s British. I don’t care. I love this movie. It is creepy and filled with cool looking monsters and Keanu does a good job. I even like Shia LaBeouf, so don’t try and use him against me on this one. Yes, INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL sucked, but that wasn’t his fault. Yes, he’s a kooky guy, but LaBeouf is a hell of an actor. You won’t talk me out of this. Add in Rachel Weisz, Tilda Swinton and Peter Storemare (as well as a pretty much wasted Djimon Hounsou) and you have an amazing cast in a well-made movie.
While CONSTANTINE was a huge success worldwide, the domestic gross was less than great, coming in at $75 million on a $100 million budget. This was 2005 and for whatever reason, Hollywood didn’t pay as much attention to foreign grosses back then. Keanu Reeves had wanted to do a sequel, as did director Francis Lawrence, but it never happened. A short lived TV series came out last year, pretty much squashing any hope for a theatrical sequel.
HALLOWEEN III: SEASON OF THE WITCH
Think about the ending of SEASON OF THE WITCH; Challis screaming into the phone as the Silver Shamrock commercial plays in the background. We know he has failed. We know that millions of children are dead, not to mention their parents or anyone else the insects and snakes get their hands on before being squished. Hell, Challis’ own children and ex-wife are likely dead too. His new love Ellie is certainly dead having been replaced with a robot earlier. What a stone cold bummer. The thing is, I want more.
I want to see how the world deals with the horrifying deaths of millions of children. I want to know if Cochran’s plan worked. Hell, I want to know what Cochran’s plan was. Would these sacrifices bring about some kind of evil god to rule the Earth? Or was he just looking to really ruin Halloween for everyone? What does the world look like in the aftermath of such a terrible night? What about Challis himself? As a functioning alcoholic, does his failure to save the world push him over the edge? Is he unable to function now or has he quit drinking and now leads the resistance against… whatever the hell happened next? We’ll never know.