Apr 21, 2017

13 Sequels That Did Justice to the Original

Article By: Tyler Doupe

It’s not often that a sequel lives up to or even outperforms its predecessor. Back in the day when I was a video store clerk, the shelves were lined with sequels that effectively tarnished the name of the features they followed. But every once in a while, a film franchise has an entry (or two) that lives up to or in rare cases outdoes the original. In this installment of The Friday 13, we aim to pay tribute to that rare occurrence. Read on for 13 instances of horror sequels that lived up to the original. And be sure to let us know your thoughts and tell us what you would have added on our Facebook page.

1. Aliens

The debate has raged on for decades as to whether Alien or Aliens is the better film. But the fact of the matter is that we’re not really comparing apples to apples. Alien is a beautifully crafted haunted house style movie set in space and Aliens is more of an action epic. For me, they are both brilliant in their own ways and I would be hard pressed to pick a favorite. With that said, Aliens certainly stands as a prime example of a sequel that lived up to its predecessor.

The debate has raged on for decades as to whether Alien or Aliens is the better film. But the fact of the matter is that we’re not really comparing apples to apples. Alien is a beautifully crafted haunted house style movie set in space and Aliens is more of an action epic. For me, they are both brilliant in their own ways and I would be hard pressed to pick a favorite. With that said, Aliens certainly stands as a prime example of a sequel that lived up to its predecessor.

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2. Scream 2

Although most wouldn’t say the same about the third and fourth installments in the series, Scream 2 was a brilliant follow up to the first film that evolved the mythology and served as a solid companion piece to its predecessor. It brought back several of the surviving characters we had met in the first film and introduced us to several new cast members. The film was well received by fans and critics alike. In fact, as of this posting, Scream 2 even has a slightly higher Rotten Tomatoes score than its predecessor.

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3. A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors

For many fans, A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge was largely seen as a misstep at the time of its release. But the third installment in the series served to get the franchise back on track and even re-introduced us to original final girl Nancy Thompson. The core cast was likable and Robert Englund was brilliant (as always) in his portrayal of Freddy Krueger. 

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4. Friday the 13th: Part II

I have often said that Friday the 13th: Part II is the most underrated entry in the entire series. And I haven’t wavered in that assessment. On some levels, I think it’s possibly even better than the original. It’s the first installment in the series to introduce us to Jason as the primary antagonist and it boasts an exceptional cast. Not to mention a legendary final girl in Amy Steel.

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5. The Devil’s Rejects

One of the few titles on this list that is virtually undisputed as superior to its predecessor, The Devil’s Rejects was well-received by both fans and critics. It even got two thumbs up from the notoriously horror-averse Ebert and Roeper. It seems that Rob Zombie has been attempting to recapture the lightning in a bottle that was The Devil’s Rejects with each subsequent effort since its release but I would argue that he has yet to deliver another feature on that level.

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6. Psycho II

While it could never top the original, Psycho II sure does work well as an enjoyable and frightening companion piece. Anthony Perkins returned and reprised the role of Norman Bates more than twenty-years after the release of the original film and he doesn’t miss a beat. Director Richard Franklin and screenwriter Tom Holland smartly knew that they could never outdo the original so he didn’t try. Instead, he made a sequel that pays tribute to its predecessor while standing firmly on its own two feet.

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7. Halloween II

Although John Carpenter did not return to direct the second installment in the Halloween franchise, he did return to co-write and produce the follow up effort. Though the sequel could never surpass the original, it certainly manages to hold its own and deliver ample scares and surprises throughout its runtime. I’ve always found that the way it picks up immediately after its predecessor to be a nice touch. It has long been my personal favorite of all the Halloween sequels.

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8. Hellbound: Hellraiser II

Many fans like Hellraiser II even more than the original. And I can see where they are coming from. Hellbound lets us see a lot more of Hell than the original and we get to spend a little more time with The Cenobites. Not only that, Kirsty comes into her own even more in this installment and we get to see her wear a Julia skin suit. What’s not to like about that?

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9. Evil Dead II

The Evil Dead franchise has yet to miss a beat. Both sequels, the remake, and the television series are all on point. Out of Army of Darkness and Evil Dead II, the second installment edges the third out but you can’t go wrong with any Evil Dead property. Part two melds comedy and horror deftly and delivers an audience experience that can be enjoyed over and over again. It picks up right where the first left off and tells its own highly engaging and entertaining story. 

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10. Cold Prey II

Much like Halloween II, the second installment in the Cold Prey series picks up directly after its predecessor. Ingrid Bolsø Berdal reprises her role as final girl Jannicke. And much like in Halloween II, she finds herself in a hospital where she must, once again, face down the psychopath that stalked her for the duration of the previous film. Cold Prey II maintains the nonstop action of its predecessor and introduces a new cast of likable characters combined with the smartly written heroine from the first film. 

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11. Wes Craven’s New Nightmare

It is difficult for me to even find words to describe how much I love New Nightmare. It takes everything that was great about the first film and adds a meta twist that makes it frightening in an all new way. Seeing Heather Langenkamp return to play Nancy one last time was the perfect way to bring the original franchise to a close. The late, great Wes Craven truly started and ended the Nightmare franchise with a bang.

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12. Friday the 13th Part IV: The Final Chapter

Lately, I am finding more and more fans that prefer Part IV to the original. And they certainly have a strong case. The Final Chapter has a solid, likable cast, a well-written script, and amazing effects. Not to mention, Tommy Jarvis is a great representation of exactly how most horror fans felt growing up.  The character was such a fan favorite that he even appeared in two additional sequels.

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13. Blade II

Blade kicked off the franchise and Blade Trinity ensured there would probably never be another film in the series. But Blade II seemed to be where it really found its footing. Guillermo del Toro assumed directorial duties on the project and treated audiences to a bloody good time. He brought the action and the violence to a new level and crafted visuals that you have to see to believe. 

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