Lots of movies have sequels, but relatively few have prequels. Prequels are films that reveal the events that led up to the original motion picture, and they’re a tricky business, especially in the horror genre. Because as
proved, knowing more about the mysterious evils lurking in the shadows doesn’t make them scarier, it just makes them dull. Horror prequels have a tough job to do, staying scary even though the ending is a foregone conclusion, and answering questions that were quite probably better left unanswered. Annabelle
Most horror prequels suck.
, obviously, but also Annabelle The Thing, Alien vs. Predator, Hannibal Rising, Amityville II: The Possession, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning, The Exorcist: The Beginning and its counterpart Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist are all disappointing enough to deserve a mention. But these missed opportunities just make the good horror prequels that much easier to appreciate. The list of good horror prequels is very short, but we’ve got them for you.
So while you ponder the lameness of
and hope for the best from Annabelle , take a look at the Dracula Untold , and marvel at the filmmakers who rose to the challenge of make a solid, or even great horror movie with their hands tied behind their back. These movies turned foregone conclusions into exciting, scary motion pictures in their own right. 9 Horror Prequels That Don’t Suck
Slideshow: 9 Horror Prequels That Don’t Suck
William Bibbiani is the editor of and the host of CraveOnline’s Film Channel and The B-Movies Podcast . Follow him on Twitter at The Blue Movies Podcast . @WilliamBibbiani
9 Horror Prequels That Don't Suck
9. Hellraiser: Bloodline (1996)
Even though the fourth
Hellraiser movie was directed by the infamous "Alan Smithee" (a name the Director's Guild used to use when a filmmaker disowned their movie), Hellraiser: Bloodline is still a pretty interesting film. In it, the origin of the Lament Configuration - a puzzle box that, when solved, opens a gateway to hell - is revealed, along with the tragic destiny of the designer's family throughout the centuries. It's a messy production (changing directors will do that; Kevin Yagher was eventually replaced by Joe Chapelle), but nevertheless ambitious and full of great special effects.
8. Ginger Snaps Back: The Beginning (2004)
Ginger Snaps, one of the few great werewolf movies ever produced, spawned both a sequel and a prequel, shot back-to-back. Ginger Snaps Back: The Beginning snaps WAY back to the year 1815, where the ancestors of the sisters played by Katharine Isabelle and Emily Perkins (also played by Isabelle and Perkins) fall prey to to the same curse that will eventually befall their descendants. Ginger Snaps Back raises questions it never quite answers - why is history doomed to repeat itself, exactly? - but it works just fine on its own as a smart, spooky werewolf yarn.
7. Puppetmaster III: Toulon's Revenge (1991)
Puppetmaster films in which the living marionette creations of Andre Toulon were the villains, David DeCoteau's highly enjoyable prequel made them the heroes. When Nazis kill Toulon's wife, he sets his creations to work avenging her death. Killer puppets vs. Nazis. The Puppetmaster franchise never got any better than this.
6. Underworld: Rise of the Lycans (2009)
After two films about present day vampires and werewolves fighting a centuries-old war, the
Underworld movies finally got around to showing audiences what they were actually fighting about. Rhona Mitra plays a vampire princess and Michael Sheen plays a werewolf slave who falls in love with her. Their starcross'd romance leads to tragedy, violence and the vampire on werewolf action this franchise always promised, but rarely delivered.
5. Prometheus (2012)
Ridley Scott's obtuse prequel to the
Alien franchised he started doesn't answer too many of the audience's questions, and was only tangentially related to the alien xenomorphs we all knew and loved, but if you can get past that it's a stylish, moody and impressive sci-fi epic with some intriguing characters and an awful lot on its mind.
4. Final Destination 5 (2011)
Final Destination movie is one of the best, and introduces a new wrinkle to the series' mythology. When Nicholas D'Agosto has a vision about a bridge collapse and saves his co-workers from certain death, Death itself springs into action to kill them all through intricate, Rube Goldberg-inspired accidents. This time, however, the would-be victims discover that they can get their lives back by killing someone else. It all ties very neatly into the other Final Destination movies, which take place afterwards, but revealing exactly how would ruin the best part of the movie.
3. Wrong Turn 4: Bloody Beginnings (2011)
The first prequel to the unapologetically twisted
Wrong Turn movies, about an inbred family of sadistic cannibals, reveals their origin before unleashing them unto the world in an orgiastic killing spree. After breaking out of an insane asylum, leading to a shockingly violent riot, the brothers lay waste to a group of vacationers who take shelter in the asylum, with increasingly gruesome deaths and one hell of a morbid finale.
2. Saw III - Saw 3D (2006-2010)
Saw franchise isn't a series of movies, it's actually one giant mega-movie comprised of seven parts. From the third installment onwards, each of the films takes place before, during and after all the others, weaving a fascinating (albeit sometimes confusing) tapestry of criss-crossing timelines and unexpected revelations. Even the worst installments feature unforgettable kills, but taken as a whole, it's one big modern horror classic.
1. Paranormal Activity 3 (2011)
The third, and arguably the best installment of the
Paranormal Activity franchise takes the series all the way back to the VHS era, when the heroines of the first two installments were little sisters fighting off an invisible friend with malevolent intentions. The limitations of video technology in 1988 force filmmakers Henry Joost & Ariel Schulman to get even more creative than their predecessors with the found footage conceit, resulting in some of the best scares of the 21st Century so far, and the believable cast and eerie new elements of the Paranormal Activity mythos make the film's actual story just as terrifying.