Horror sequels always get a bad rap. It’s not always deserved. Some sequels are great (Bride of Frankenstein; Curse of the Cat People; Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors; Inferno; Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter; Hellbound: Hellraiser 2). However, even more sequels transcend good or bad and exist in the strange but beautiful realm of the insane. These movies may not scare you, but they will all certainly show you some kind of craziness that you haven’t seen before.
Every day this month we're bringing you a different Top 13 list from the world of horror. You can find them all here.
The Exorcist II: The Heretic
We had to include Exorcist II on this list, because Exorcist II might be the most insane sequel of all time. Rather than trying to recount the film’s incomprehensible plot, here are a list of its notable elements: Gorgeous Linda Blair walking on a roof and communing with doves to beautiful Ennio Morricone music; Regan freaking out during her tap dance number because she psychically senses that Richard Burton, playing a fallen priest, is having a hard time in Africa; Regan telling a little autistic girl (Dana Plato!) that she “used to be possessed by a demon. But don’t worry, he’s gone now!,” in a psychiatric office that looks like a glass beehive; James Earl Jones dressed as a giant locust; Linda Blair and Richard Burton riding on the back of a locust in Africa; good Regan confronting evil, possessed, yet sexy Regan at her house in Georgetown, which eventually breaks in two while locusts swarm everywhere (this movie is all about the locusts). Overall, it’s essential.
Howling II: Your Sister is a Werewolf (1985)
Advertised as “The rocking, shocking, new wave of horror!” The makers of Howling II decided that the natural follow-ups to the original’s kooky Northern California werewolves were new wave, European werewolves. At the funeral of Karen (The Howling’s protagonist), the mysterious Stefan Crosscoe (Christopher Lee!) approaches Karen’s brother, Ben. He informs him that Karen has become a werewolf, and that they must both go to Transylvania to conquer Stirba, the queen of all werewolves, before she dominates the world. The extremely glamorous Sybil Danning plays Stirba. The movie is worth it for her grandeur, her ability to shoot lasers from her fingers, and, for some, her frequent nudity. Look out for Christopher Lee’s tres-chic, new wave sunglasses.
Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth (1992)
The criminal owner of a New York nightclub buys the sculpture in which Pinhead and the Cenobites (that would actually be a good band name) were trapped at the end of Hellbound: Hellraiser II. Pinhead convinces his benefactor to bring him victims so that their blood will allow him to return to earth and destroy the puzzle box, so that he’ll never have to go back to hell again. Meanwhile, an investigative reporter tries to get to the bottom of the killing spree that’s taking place, while forming a moving relationship with a runaway teen. You’ll find lots of cheesy (but sort of sexy) sex and a fantasy sequence in which the reporter meets Pinhead’s human incarnation in a serene meadow. Also, since this was a big studio film, the movie contains a lot of glossy special effects, explosions, and Pinhead uttering a bunch of silly, Freddy Krueger-esque one-liners that really feel wrong. Most importantly, there’s a new Cenobite called CD-head, who kills people by throwing CDs at them! It’s not a masterpiece like its predecessors, but it’s a puzzle box full of goofy, dated fun.
Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers (1988)
Warning: Swears in the clip above!
After receiving a lot of therapy and sex reassignment surgery, Angela (now played by Pamela Springsteen, in perhaps the greatest horror-comedy performance of all time) gets a job as counselor at Camp Rolling Hills. She is deeply offended by all of the sex, drugs, rock and roll, and general bitchiness at the camp, so she can’t help going on a killing spree. Sleepaway Camp II outdoes the original when it comes to over the top, gory set pieces: We have death by barbecue, death by outhouse toilet full of leeches, and death by tongue-cutting. Of course, there are also the usual decapitations and strangulations. The film’s best characters, other than Angela, are a couple of sisters who comprise a team that has a name that cannot be printed here. They sing a song about how much they love to drink and fornicate. Their verse does not charm Angela, but it will charm you. Warning: The following clip has some profanity!
Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II (1986)
This sequel has nothing to do with the original Prom Night (1980), although both films are realistic social commentaries about the terror of school dances. In the 1950s, Mary Lou Maloney, the bad girl of Hamilton High, gets burned to death while accepting her prom queen crown. Her death is the result of a tragic accident involving a stink bomb and a jilted lover. In the mid-1980s, she possesses sweet, wholesome, blonde Vicky and turns her into a hussy who swears like a sailor, seduces her father, and kills. Even if it weren’t for this sublime plot and the film’s hilariously bitchy screenplay, the movie would be worth it for its outrageous mid-‘80s fashions and hair-dos.
Jaws 3D (1983)
Jaws attacks a Sea World-esque amusement park, in 3-D! If you’ve seen Blackfish, you may think that everybody at that amusement park deserves what they get.
Amityville II: The Possession (1982)
Here is a rare example of a sequel that far surpasses the original, is a genuinely disturbing and effective horror film, and is also completely insane. Based on the DeFeos, the family who was murdered in the Amityville house before the Lutzs moved in, The Possession (SPOILER ALERT) depicts the terrible last days of the Montelli family. As soon as they arrive in the house, one of their movers unleashes its ancient demon, and in no time, the family is living hell. Older son Sonny becomes possessed and forces himself on his sister, dad begins to abuse mom and the kids, bloody writing appears on a wall, and a priest’s bible is torn to shreds. It’s all more disturbing and chilling than fun. The film’s climax, in which Sonny shoots his entire family (including two young children) to death, is hard to shake.
Silent Night, Deadly Night Part II (1987)
Silent Night, Deadly Night Part II is insane because the filmmakers thought that they could get away with including 45 minutes of flashbacks from the original movie in its 88-minute sequel. It is insane because Eric Freeman, the actor who plays Ricky, the brother of Billy (killer Santa in the first film), is so wooden that his performance somehow seems over the top (he does 90% of his acting with his eyebrows). It’s insane because, while the original film’s murders were over the top but always somehow bleak and depressing, the murders in Part II are oddly gleeful (exhibit A: Ricky goes around shooting everybody on a quiet suburban street, and yells “Garbage day!” after offing a poor guy who was just taking out the trash). Finally, it is insane because, in spite of (or because of) all of this, and in spite of the fact that it has a 3.4 rating on IMDB, it’s still pretty great if you’re in the mood.
Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning (1985)
Fans everywhere hated A New Beginning, mainly because it has absolutely no gore, and because (SPOILER ALERT!) Jason isn’t the killer. Instead, the killer is—wait for the shock of your life!—an ambulance worker who happened to be the father of a teenager who got axed to death by one of his co-patients at a mental facility. The victim’s crime? Asking if anybody wanted a piece of his candy bar. As the aforementioned plot details should suggest, everything about this movie feels sort of out of left field, including a guy with a jheri curl who gets murdered while singing on the toilet, and one victim’s new wave dance of death. Certain parts (especially the random candy bar axe-ing) give one the impression that the makers of this film might have been nuts. It’s a film that is both worthy of hatred and oddly endearing.
Troll 2 (1990)
Troll 2 has nothing to do with the original Troll, but it is the best inept horror film about vegetarianism. If you find people turning into green goo and being eaten by trolls frightening, then you will love Troll II. If you are turned on by the notion of a witch seducing a bunch of teenage boys by dancing erotically and turning corn on the cob into popcorn with her teeth, then Troll II will titillate you. Given these truths, it’s a wonder that it wasn’t a bigger hit. If you want to know how all of this happened, we recommend Best Worst Movie, a documentary about Troll II, its makers, and its fans.
Look What's Happened to Rosemary's Baby (1976)
The recent NBC miniseries was not the first TV movie to tackle the legend of Rosemary and her Satanic spawn! After the events of the first film Rosemary (now played by Patty Duke), tries to instill goodness in young Adrian. When the Castavets (including Ruth Gordon, reprising her role) decide that it is time to begin to indoctrinate Adrian so that he can take his place as the Satanic messiah, Rosemary runs away with him to a southwestern brothel! Eventually, the Castavets and their clan catch up with Rosemary and send her to hell on a driverless bus, and Adrian is left to grapple with his identity. The Castavets host a psychadelic, Satanic ritual during which Adrian becomes a Kiss-esque rock star and has a hallucination of Jesus. He eventually ends up in a mental institution for allegedly killing his friend. Given the intense simplicity of the original Rosemary’s Baby (which clocked in at a bit under 2 ½ hours), it’s sort of surprising that its 90-minute sequel is so overflowing with plot, plot, plot! Hopefully there will be a remake of this film starring Zoe Saldana.
Slumber Party Massacre II (1987)
An all girl rock band goes to practice at their friend’s secluded weekend house, and find themselves stalked by a maniacal male chauvinist Elvis-type with a giant drill sticking out of his guitar. Despite the feminist pedigree of its filmmakers, the original Slumber Party Massacre (1982) was almost subdued in its loyal adherence to slasher film conventions. Part two goes completely off its rocker. It is nearly impossible to choose a favorite part: The film’s final girl hallucinating that her friend’s face is being taken over by a gigantic pimple? The MTV-style musical number/murder scenes? The dazzling acting talents of pre-Wings Crystal Bernard? Slumber Party Massacre 2 gives you everything. Be grateful.
Leprechaun in the Hood (2000)
Every Leprechaun sequel probably belongs on this list, but if you have to choose one… Three aspiring rappers in Compton, CA connect with a pimp (Ice-T) who promises that he’ll help them get enough music equipment to enter a contest in Las Vegas. When he changes his mind, they avenge themselves by stealing a lot of his booty, including—of course!—the Leprechaun’s gold! In this entry, the much worshiped and adored Leprechaun utters sparkling lines like “I’ll take it from you homie, you’ll see, cause you know the Leprechaun is the real O.G.,” and “A friend with weed is a friend indeed, but a friend with gold is the best I’m told.” In the clip above, he raps.