Top 12 Worst Horror Movie Sequels

Movie franchises that should have quit while they were ahead.

As a counter to my recent list of the 12 Most Satisfying Horror Movie Sequels,  I present to you this list of the 12 Worst Horror Movie Sequels. Most will agree that there are way too many of these underwhelming follow-ups, but the films listed below represent the most egregious disappointments of the genre.

 

 

Jeepers Creepers 2 (2003)

Director: Victor Salva

Writers: Victor Salva (characters), Victor Salva

Stars: Jonathan BreckRay WiseNicki Aycox |

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Jeepers Creepers 2 isn’t a terrible horror movie, it’s just such a disappointment compared to its predecessor. In the first film, the Creeper’s wings and his ability to fly aren’t revealed until the climactic Third Act, ratcheting up the tension by introducing this deadly ability just when the beast seems nearly bested. Part 2 has the Creeper flying all around from the get-go. It’s cheesy! What happened to his souped-up pick-up truck? Now that was scary! The Creeper was absolutely chilling in the first film, but the scene in Part 2 where he licks the windows of the school bus is laughable—and not in a good way. If Part 3 (Jeepers Creepers: Cathedral) is every made, perhaps it can undo the damage done in Part 2.

 

The Last Exorcism 2 (2013)

Director: Ed Gass-Donnelly

Writers: Damien Chazelle (screenplay), Ed Gass-Donnelly(screenplay)

Stars: Ashley BellJulia GarnerSpencer Treat Clark |

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The conclusion of The Last Exorcism is gleefully violent and shocking: Nell is surrounded by cult members as she gives birth to a demon-baby on an outdoor altar. Reverend Cotton Marcus rushes in to her rescue as a bonfire explodes in satanic fury. In the chaos, the Reverend and his film crew are assassinated. It’s truly gripping horror. Which is why it’s such a colossal disappointment when Part 2 picks up months later, never even addressing the first film’s conclusion. As if this isn’t bad enough, the sequel features a scene where Nell’s demon is exercised into the body of a sacrificial chicken. This is a movie that should never have been made. Oh yeah, and let’s just take a moment to note the stupidity of a sequel to a film called The LAST Exorcism.

 

Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever (2009)

Director: Ti West

Writers: Joshua Malkin (screenplay), Randy Pearlstein(story), 1 more credit »

Stars: Rider StrongNoah SeganAlexi Wasser |

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The fact that Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever is a disgrace to the original is only half of the problem—it’s also a terrible film in it’s own right. The dark humor of Eli Roth’s first opus is replaced with juvenile slapstick. It’s a flippant mood that effectively destroys any real sense of tension or dread that the film attempts to produce. Poor Tie West: After being hand picked by Roth to direct Part 2, the film was hijacked by produces who pushed through copious rewrites and reshoots. West even petitioned to have his name removed from the film, but as he was not yet an official member of The Director’s Guild of America, his request was denied.

 

The Fly 2 (1989)

Director: Chris Walas

Writers: Mick Garris (screenplay), Jim Wheat(screenplay), 4 more credits »

Stars: Eric StoltzDaphne ZunigaLee Richardson |

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David Cronenberg’s 1986 remake of The Fly is one of the best examples of “Body Horror” ever made, and one of my personal favorites as a kid. I remember the excitement I had going to see Part 2 in the theater. But whereas the original was gothic, claustrophobic, disgusting, and unnerving, Part 2 was cheesy, melodramatic, and boring. The brilliant and effective FX of Part 1 are nowhere to be seen in Part 2, instead replaced by dry, lack-luster prosthetics. The script is terrible and even the considerable acting talents of Eric Stoltz couldn’t save it. In 2011 Cronenberg discussed the possibility of returning to The Fly to create a true sequel to his brilliant 1986 creation, but don’t hold your breath. Of the project, Cronenberg had this to say in 2012: Budget constraints and other things. I think maybe the script that I wrote was a little too radical for Fox, and they felt it really needed to be a very low-budget film at that point. However, what was in it that attracted them could not be done low-budget. So I think that was the problem.”

 

Halloween: Resurrection (2002)

Director: Rick Rosenthal

Writers: Debra Hill (characters), John Carpenter(characters), 3 more credits »

Stars: Jamie Lee CurtisBusta RhymesBrad Loree |

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John Carpenter’s Halloween franchise has a couple of great sequels (2&4) and a few absolute stinkers! But nothing was quite as odious as Resurrection, an obvious money grab that also sought to cap on the Reality TV craze of the late 1990’s and early 2000’s. Instead of going into all the major flaws and disappointments (of which there are many) I’ll simply highlight the biggest nail in the coffin: Michael Myers gets beat-up by Busta Rhymes—as if that would ever happen in a million fucking years!

 

Underworld: Awakening (2012)

Directors: Måns Mårlind (as Mårlind) , Björn Stein (as Stein)

Writers: Len Wiseman (screenplay), John Hlavin(screenplay), 7 more credits »

Stars: Kate BeckinsaleMichael EalyIndia Eisley |

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What a disappointment it was going from the ancient Gothic days of the prequel, Rise of the Lycan, into the unoriginal and bland version of the not-too-distant future portrayed in Awakening. I never minded the Matrix-esque approach to Vampires that’s at the crux of this franchise, but by 2012 the idea just feels worn out. We learn that Selene has been in a medically induced coma for the past 12 years (the exact opposite of exciting). When she awakens, we’re all surprised to discover she has a bratty 12 year-old vamp-Lycan hybrid daughter. Yeah, that what we want to see in an R-Rated horror movie: Pre-pubescents.

 

Friday the 13th Part IIIV: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989)

Director: Rob Hedden

Writers: Rob HeddenVictor Miller (characters)

Stars: Jensen DaggettKane HodderTodd Caldecott |

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This spot could just have easily gone to Part IX (Jason Goes to Hell) or Jason X (which sees Mr. Vorhees transported into outer space). The last three films in the original franchise are all complete travesties, but Jason Takes Manhattan was when everything took a turn for the worse. Perhaps attempting to take a cue from later A Nightmare on Elm Street sequels that incorporated comedic elements, this film turns Jason into a caricature of himself—a mere shadow of his former glory.

 

Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977)

Director: John Boorman

Writer: William Goodhart

Stars: Richard BurtonLinda BlairLouise Fletcher |

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One of the best horror movies of all time also produced one of the worst sequels in history. Part 2 of The Exorcist was laughable—literally. It was such a weak departure from the original that audience members couldn’t contain themselves. William Peter Blatty claims he couldn’t hold back his chuckling and those around him followed suite (“You’d think we were watching The Producers!”). Luckily, Part III gave as a decent return to some of the franchise’s core elements, but The Heretic will always be regarded as a complete failure.

 

Hellraiser: Hellworld (2005)

Director: Rick Bota

Writers: Clive Barker (characters), Joel Soisson (story), 1 more credit »

Stars: Lance HenriksenKatheryn WinnickChristopher Jacot |

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Everyone loves to hate Revelations, the most recent straight-to-DVD sequel in the Hellraiser franchise, simply because Doug Bradley doesn’t play Pinhead. But while I too was disappointed that Doug chose not to reprise his most famous role, I do not agree that Revelations is the worst of the bunch. No, that honor belongs to Hellworld, the meta-film sequel about an online Hellraiser role-playing game and a Hellraiser themed rave. Even having horror heavyweight Lance Henricksen as a major cast member can’t redeem Hellworld. For a more complete breakdown of Hellworld vs. Revelations, check out my recent Blood-Shed op-ed HERE.

 

Scream 4 (2011)

Director: Wes Craven

Writer: Kevin Williamson

Stars: Neve CampbellCourteney CoxDavid Arquette |

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Parts 2 & 3 weren’t perfect, but neither landed with such a resounding thud as Scream 4. Half cast-reunion, half reboot, the most recent film in the Scream franchise has none of its predecessors’ depth or wit. Even the final twist was ludicrous and laughable.

 

Jaws: The Revenge (1987)

Director: Joseph Sargent

Writers: Peter Benchley (characters), Michael De Guzman,1 more credit »

Stars: Lorraine GaryLance GuestMario Van Peebles |

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It’s not that the shark in Jaws: The Revenge is bent on vengeance that makes it such a ridiculous and disappointing sequel, it’s that said shark is somehow able to track his human foes to different locations throughout the East Coast and the Bahamas. It’s scientifically known that sharks (and many sea creatures) are blessed with internal navigation abilities, but I don’t think this includes being able to track humans on land, air, and sea. Unless he’s got some kind of under-water Bat-Cave with a NORAD style tracking system, the premise is plainly impossible. As if this plot-point isn’t fatal enough, the FX’s in Jaws: The Revenge are absolutely atrocious.

 

Alien: Resurrection (1997)

Director: Jean-Pierre Jeunet

Writers: Dan O’Bannon (characters), Ronald Shusett(characters), 1 more credit »

Stars: Sigourney WeaverWinona RyderDominique Pinon|

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Alien is the 2nd franchise to have a sequel on both my Best of and Worst of sequels lists (the first being Underworld). While Aliens is arguably one of the best sequels of any film in any genre, Alien: Resurrection is complete garbage. It moves away from the foreboding, near Gothic atmosphere of the first 3 films in favor of a campy comic-book style. Bringing Ripley back to life after she jumped into a huge vat of molting lead was a ridiculous jumping-off point, and the pseudo-genetics used to re-produce an “impregnated” version of our heroine is clearly flawed, apparent to even those with the most cursory knowledge of biology. Even the aliens have lost most of their bio-mechanical features and look cartoonish and bland. Wynona Ryder playing a cute android couldn’t make Alien: Resurrection redeemable. Must be something about films with Resurrection in the title!

What horror movie sequels did you hate the most? Sound off in the comments section!

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3 Comments on this post.

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  • Evan A. Baker
    24 November 2014 at 5:52 pm - Reply

    Once again, I have many individual point to add/address. I’ll start with one horror sequel I’d have included on the list myself:

    A Return to Salem’s Lot (1987). As with most Larry Cohen movies, some interesting ideas are present, but he just piles in concept after concept without following through with anything, his storytelling is clunky, and he couldn’t get a decent performance out of an actor to save his life. Compared to Tobe Hooper’s confident, chilling original, the sequel is an unforgivable mess.

    Choosing a worst Halloween sequel is not an easy game. I think I’d have gone with the muddled, careless mess of part VI rather than the workmanlike stupidity of Resurrection, but it’s pretty much a coin toss.

    I’m definitely down with your Jason Takes Manhattan hate, and I’m with you on the general terribleness of Jason Goes to Hell, but I’d like to say a word in defense of Jason X. Yes, it undercuts the character with broad comedy, but at least a lot of that comedy is actually funny and well-delivered, and the story is pretty tightly structured (unlike its two predecessors). It’s not a masterpiece of the series, but it’s a decent afternoon’s entertainment.

    And I’m afraid I’m not entirely on-board with your condemnation of Alien: Resurrection. I mean, yeah, it’s easily the weakest of the original four films, but I don’t find its overall stylistic departure as jarring as you do – each of the previous movies was pretty radically different from its fellows, and this was just the most extreme example of the trend. And the science by which Ripley is brought back may be wonky, but it provides an interesting basis for a type of body horror, and a set of psychological concerns, that the series hadn’t addressed before. It’s not a very good movie, it tries to marry some elements that just don’t work together, but in a series that also includes the execrable AvP, I just don’t see Resurrection as THAT bad an offense.

  • Josh Millican
    24 November 2014 at 6:01 pm - Reply

    Alien: Resurrection, like Jeepers Creepers 2, made the list for being terrible when compared to the original. In a vacuum, I’d probably be more lenient. To me, the first three Alien films were cohesive in creating a neo-gothic atmosphere based on dread and claustrophobia, whereas nothing about Resurrection felt even remotely tense to me. Good call on A Return to Salem’s Lot!

    • Evan A. Baker
      24 November 2014 at 6:40 pm - Reply

      I certainly won’t argue about Alien: Resurrection lacking the tension of the first three movies. It’s another one I classify as an “interesting failure,” and those interesting things it was attempting – both in terms of story and style – partially redeem it.

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