Sequels. Love them or hate them, they’re going to be served to us. As we all know, sequels are rarely better than their predecessors, and sometimes they’re just plain bad. But every now and then a second installment (or third or fourth) might rank right up there with the original. 

Since Rob Zombie’s “Halloween II and “The Final Destination both open this Friday, I’ve assembled my Top 10 Best Horror Sequels.

10. Phantasm II (1988). It’s weird. If you know anything about horror films, you’ll agree. It’s weird, but you can’t help but like the movie. The Tall Man returns to torment Mike and Reggie as they try to destroy him. Best death: Pall Bearer #2. After a chainsaw fight with the pall bearer, Reggie bisects the graver with his chainsaw from the groin up.

9. Final Destination 2 (2003). I’m not saying the “Final Destination” movies are good. But if you judge them for what they are, the second one is pretty good. The opening interstate pileup is a fantastic scene. Since there are no monsters or visible killers, there’s little to be afraid of. But the inventive death scenes and special effects make the movie work. Best death: Rory. An explosion sends a barbed wire fence through him, slicing him in three pieces. 


8. Halloween II (1981). Remaining subtle, “Halloween II” isn’t filled with gore or inventive kills, but it achieves one of most important parts: it’s scary. A quiet, close-to-empty hospital at night scares me just thinking about it. And the movie takes place the same night as the original. There’s even something fitting with the movie opening to the song “Mr. Sandman.” Best death: Nurse Jill. As I said before, the movie is subtle. We don’t see any blood when Nurse Jill is killed, but when Michael Myers stabs her in the back and lifts her off the ground, you’re reminded what a monster this guy is. And it’s kind of funny when her shoe falls off and he tosses her aside.

7. Evil Dead 2 (1987). Who needs to be scared when you can laugh? That’s what Sam Raimi gives us with his “Evil Dead” movies. The second one is mostly his experiment with shocking his audience. He knows just how to do it, too. Best death: Ash’s hand. After his possessed hand beats the hell out of him, he stabs it with a knife and cuts it off with a chainsaw. I always hoped it wasn’t the hand he uses to … well, you know… “Who’s laughing now!?”

6. Friday the 13th Part 4 (1984). The “Final Chapter” isn’t the final chapter, of course, but it’s one of the best. The fourth has one of the highest body counts, which actually includes Jason. Tommy Jarvis (Corey Feldman) actually kills Jason once and for all. Too bad he digs him up in Part VI and brings him back to life. Dumbass. Best death (it’s a tie): Axel  and Tina. Axel, the coroner gets it with a surgical saw in the neck. Jason then twists his head all the way around. One of the bloodiest scenes in the series. Tina, still sweaty from sex with Crispin Glover, is what happens when Jason doesn’t have time to plan. He bursts through the window she’s peering out, grabs her and tosses her two stories down on top of a car. 

5. Dawn of the Dead (1978).  Even though there are no characters from  George Romero’s “Night of the Living Dead,” “Dawn” is the second in his trilogy. This time around, the zombies are still hungry for human flesh, but we also see how social structures collapse in times of disaster and war. There’s always time for ignorance, creed and corruption even when there’s a zombie pounding on the door. Best death: Random zombie. His head explodes. Best exploding head scene in film history. Enough said. 


4. A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987). I’ve been known to geek out at a party and claim this one to be better than the original. I’ll never soberly confess if that’s what I believe though. Starring Patricia Arquette as Kristen, she joins other troubled teens in a hospital where they meet Nancy Thompson (Heather Langencamp) who fought off Freddy in the original. Each of the teens possess a special power that only shows up in their dreams. Hence the subtitle “Dream Warriors.” But even their special powers can’t stop Freddy. 
Best death: Jennifer. Freddy emerges from the TV informing her that he’s got her “big break in TV.” He grabs the girl and pulls her into the TV set. “F*** the prime time, bitch.”


3. Friday the 13th Part II (1981). The first one gave us Pamela Voorhees (Betsy Palmer) and the second gave us her son Jason, the name synonymous with the franchise. Jason was scarier back then. That bag over his head with the one eye hole was a sign that he should be taken seriously. Hockey masks just aren’t scary to me. Best death: Mark. In one of the most mean-spirited kills in cinema, he gets a machete to the head and his wheelchair tumbles down a flight of stairs right into the camera. Jason, you’re an a-hole.

2. 28 Weeks Later (2007). Six months after the first outbreak of the Rage virus was tamed, some idiot reignites the disease after kissing his infected, yet quarantined, wife. Once again zombies run amuck in Europe. The sequel is more complex as it deals with an asymptomatic carrier and the possibility of a vaccine. Side note: The score to both movies is phenomenal. Best death: Alice. Shortly after she infects her husband, he turns on her. He attacks her, sinks his teeth into her neck then gouges her eyes out with his thumbs. It’s a very disturbing and intense scene. 


1. Aliens (1986). Arguably less of a horror movie than the first, Aliens still take the top spot. Not only was it groundbreaking, but it broke barriers. Nominated for seven Academy Awards (winning two), it brought back respect to the science fiction/horror genre that the 1970s and 1980s was making more and more laughable. Best death: Bishop. The Alien queen’s tail impales him from behind. Before being lifted into the air with her tail, he spews all over Ripley. Pretty gross. 

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