‘IT Chapter Two’ Proves Horror Sequels Can Be Scarier Than Their Predecessors
We’ve all been scared before, but no fear has ever compared to the discombobulating terror we’ve experienced as children who were afraid of the dark. The 2017 adaptation of Stephen King‘s popular novel, IT, reminded us of the dark via a sewer-dwelling shapeshifter that preyed on children. With IT Chapter Two, director Andy Muschietti attempts to turn the pants-pissing up a notch. After contemplating all the ways in which the film made us scream like a choir of schoolgirls, we thought it’d be worth taking a look at some other horror sequels that required the use of incontinence pads.
Cover Photo: Warner Bros.
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'Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter'
Although it doesn't take place on Friday the 13th and is not the final chapter, this sequel served as a boundary pusher for the franchise. By trying to create teenagers that are more empathetic than ones from the prior films, The Final Chapter succeeds in being a horrific highlight reel of Jason debauchery. A lot of people described this entry as downright deplorable; there's no denying the feeling of unease one has after watching it.
'28 Weeks Later'
Long before The Walking Dead hit AMC, there was Danny Boyle's 28 Days Later. The film changed the way audiences view zombies; no longer slow sacks of easily avoidable meat, these zombies are pissed off and fast. 28 Days showed us a fair amount of undead action and 28 Weeks showed us far more. An argument can be made that this pulse-pounding sequel is not only scarier, but superior, to its predecessor.
'Dawn of the Dead'
George Romero's 1978 cult classic Dawn of the Dead is a paragon of retro horror. A sequel to Night of the Living Dead (released almost a decade earlier), Dawn succeeded in character development where the former did not. With an emanating sense of dread (rather than cheap thrills) and a handful of characters you think are safe (but really are not), Dawn is slow-burn scary in the best way.
'The Silence of the Lambs'
Chronologically, when looking at the novels, The Silence of the Lambs (1991) is a sequel to Manhunter (1986). While the adaptations are independent, Manhunter is based on Thomas Harris' Red Dragon which takes place before The Silence of the Lambs. Whether or not you agree that Silence can be classified as a horror film does not take away from some of the film's truly terrifying moments, courtesy of Anthony Hopkins' iconic performance and a disturbing assortment of lamp shades.
'The Devil's Rejects'
For better or worse, The Devil's Rejects is infinitely more horrific than House of 1000 Corpses and this is exactly what Rob Zombie intended. Thanks to a clever perspective flip (the Firefly family being the protagonists this time around), Zombie was able to turn the horror movie concept on its head and actually get us to...root for the villains? Maybe not that, but you get what we're saying—scared all the same.
Ridley Scott's Alien (1979) was the epitome of simplistic brilliance. James Cameron took Scott's foundation of sci-fi horror and created something unexpected: an action-oriented masterpiece. In much the same way 28 Weeks Later expanded upon 28 Days Later, Aliens creates a fast-paced, entertaining nightmare with quotable dialogue, memorable characters, and engrossing set pieces. It's one thing to simply be scared. It's another to be satisfyingly on the edge of your seat.
'Evil Dead 2'
Perhaps not the scariest horror movie ever made, however one cannot tread on the topic of horror movie sequels without mentioning Evil Dead 2. Sami Rami's The Evil Dead had some humor, scares, and gore but Evil Dead 2 is like all of that on crack. The typical horror movie aims to elicit a feeling of discomfort, and Rami and Bruce Campbell accomplish the unexpected and produce a feeling of joy. Is this the most enjoyable horror movie ever made? Feel free to sound off.
'The Conjuring 2'
It may lack some of the mystery, tension and atmospheric trill (that comes from “based on real events”) of its predecessor, but The Conjuring 2 contains far more jump scares. This is not meant to take away from director James Wan's ability to feel out an audience, almost as if he is anticipating they ways in which they tense up while watching his film. It is in this way that Wan perfected his horror craft in The Conjuring 2.
'Wes Craven's New Nightmare'
This one doesn't just serve a love letter to the Freddy Krueger franchise and the horror genre, but to storytelling itself. This surprisingly meta tale takes place in the real world. New Nightmare follows Heather Langenkamp (the actress who played Nancy in the original film), who is haunted by the fictional Freddy Kreuger. Wes Craven even wrote himself into this scary and poignant film. New Nightmare begs the question: what happens to a character when we stop telling their story?