Conventional wisdom often assumes that a film franchise will become steadily more diluted with each subsequent installment. While sequels like Terminator 2: Judgment Day and The Empire Strikes Back are revolutionary masterworks that changed the face of the industry forever, the vast majority of follow-ups to hit films pales in comparison to the original releases that captured audiences’ collective imagination.
In the world of horror flicks, this generalization perhaps applies more strongly than it does to most other genres. Because horror centers on building suspense and crafting terrifying images that will haunt moviegoers long after the credits roll, most sequels within the genre offer increasingly diminishing returns with regards to memorable scares and compelling stories, content to simply regurgitate and repackage what worked initially. However, there are exceptions to every rule.
With Rings, Amityville: The Awakening and The Conjuring 2 headed to theaters this year, let’s look back at some of the most commonly overlooked horror sequels that actually serve as satisfying additions to their respective franchises. For the record, we’re not saying that these films are superior to their predecessors, just that they don’t deserve to be disregarded simply because they aren’t as strong as the films that started it all.
We’re also only including one entry per horror franchise. So don’t expect to see multiple installments of any long-running series here.