Studios love to make horror movies because their low budgets make them a low risk/high reward proposition. The successful ones inevitably spawn sequels. Unfortunately, many of these follow ups prove to be disappointing. The movies on this list go beyond that. They are staggering in their ineptitude and should be avoided at all costs. In some cases, they killed their franchises. Read on, if you dare, and enter the realm of the truly awful horror movie sequel.
“Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning” and “Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan”
These two installments of the long-running slasher series have long been considered the weakest, and it’s not hard to see why. Part V commits the cardinal sin of replacing hockey masked maniac Jason Voorhees with a copycat killer. Tommy Jarvis, the kid who “killed” Jason at the end of the prior installment, is now a mentally unstable teenager living in a halfway house filled with boring, disgusting, and annoying people. He is tortured by recurring visions of Jason. Soon a mysterious man in a hockey mask begins killing everyone around him. Has Tommy snapped? Has Jason returned from the dead? Or is someone else behind the killings? The first four films in the series may not have had great acting or high production values, but they did feature a genuinely creepy atmosphere and contained loads of entertainment value. Part V is flat, dull, and boring. It has no redeeming value whatsoever. The “Friday the 13th” franchise never pretended to be high art, but it didn’t have to sink this low.
“Jason Takes Manhattan” at least features the real Jason. After being shocked back to life by a malfunctioning underwater electric cord (yes, really), Jason Voorhees inexplicably decides to board a cruise ship that is taking Crystal Lake’s graduating high school seniors to New York City. After killing several people, Jason reaches NYC, but the movie’s low budget keeps him from doing much once he gets there. The film ends with Jason transforming into a child after being drenched in raw sewage. That pretty much sums up this dreck.
“Halloween III: Season of the Witch”
After seemingly killing off superhuman serial killer Michael Myers at the end of the second film, the producers of the “Halloween” series decided to continue the franchise as an anthology. Each year, they would release a new film with a different plotline, all based on an aspect of the Halloween holiday season. This could have been interesting, but the idea that they came up with for “Season of the Witch” was putrid. Conal Cochran, an evil madman who heads an Irish mask making company, hatches a plot to murder millions of children on Halloween with killer Halloween masks. He then plans to replace the kids with androids. I know there was a lot of cocaine use in Hollywood in the ‘80s, but even that can’t explain how anyone could have thought that this storyline would work. “Halloween III” confused and disappointed fans of the first two films. Its critical and commercial failure led to the return of Michael Myers for “Halloween 4” and all subsequent installments of the series.
“Carol Anne! Carol Anne! Carol Anne!” This blog often features movie drinking games, and “Poltergeist III” would be a perfect candidate. Just take a drink every time a character says “Carol Anne” and try to avoid passing out before the movie is over. Carol Anne is, of course, played by the late Heather O’ Rourke, who became an ‘80s pop culture icon after her starring role in the original “Poltergeist.” She gives a pretty good performance here, especially considering her young age, but most of the actors phone it in. In this installment, Carol Anne is living with her aunt in a Chicago high rise skyscraper. Of course, the evil spirits from the first two films return to torment her once again. What was creepy in the first “Poltergeist” and familiar in “Poltergeist II” becomes downright boring here. Other than a change in setting, it has nothing new to offer. Heather O’ Rourke died suddenly before the film was released, casting an additional shadow over it. If there’s one thing that can be said about the earlier films on this list, it’s that they didn’t kill their franchises. This one did. Twenty-five years later, there has been absolutely nothing “Poltergeist” related, unless you count the ‘90s television series “Poltergeist: The Legacy”, which had virtually nothing to do with the films. The series’ complete disappearance is mind boggling for a horror franchise that was once so popular in the ‘80s.
The Exorcist II: The Heretic
This one is just insulting. Its one claim to fame is that it’s the only “Exorcist” follow up to feature Regan McNeil, played by Linda Blair. Set several years after the events of the original film, Regan is now in her late teens and somehow has gained psychic abilities. The demon from the first film returns, of course, and attempts to torment her and the people around her. The film features swarms of locusts, a pointless subplot involving demonic possession in Africa, and a completely suspense-less and bland conclusion. “The Exorcist II” was a colossal critical and commercial failure. It was eventually followed by “The Exorcist III”, starring the legendary George C Scott as a detective. Two prequels were later released as well, but “The Exorcist” never really took off as a franchise.
Sadly, this list only scratches the surface. A full list of all of the bad horror sequels out there would be difficult, but here are some that almost made this list.
Child’s Play 3
A Nightmare on Elm Street Parts 2: Freddy’s Revenge
Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers
Blair Witch 2: Book of Shadows
Paranormal Activity 4