Horror hounds reveled in Ghostface's return to theaters last year. Scream (2022) ushered in a new era for the slasher series under the directorial eye of filmmaking team Radio Silence. The legacy sequel delighted critics and fans alike, uniting a cast of franchise newbies including Jenna Ortega, Melissa Barrera, and Jasmin Savoy-Brown alongside regulars Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, and David Arquette. Thanks to its box office success, another chapter entered production and we're on the cusp of finding out what's next for Woodsboro's survivors as they confront Ghostface in New York City. With Scream 6 almost here, we thought we'd celebrate by looking back at 6 of the best horror movie sequels ever made. In no particular order…
Evil Dead 2 (1987)
Following the breakaway success of The Evil Dead in 1981, director Sam Raimi returned to the cabin in the woods for another adventure starring Bruce Campbell's sole survivor Ash Williams. Part-sequel and part-reboot, Evil Dead 2 recycles a handful of plot elements from the first film and injects them with a hefty dose of comedy. Ash whisks his girlfriend Linda away for a romantic weekend but winds up dealing with the awakened ancient evil once more. This slapstick splatterfest has become a cult classic thanks to its zany setpieces brought to life by Campbell's gonzo performance.
See Evil Dead Rise at Regal on April 21.
Dawn of the Dead (1978)
George Romero's Night of the Living Dead changed the zombie landscape in the late 1960s, and a decade later yet its sequel cranked things up. In the midst of an undead apocalypse, a group of survivors hole up in a mall, hoping to wait things out until rescue. Naturally, the mall is chock full of shambling corpses eager to feast and when one of the group is bitten amid the arrival of a biker gang, things go from bad to worse. Romero takes the opportunity to gut both his cast of characters and rampant consumerism in this classic zombie flick. Keep an eye out for the helicopter scene.
Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
Bride of Frankenstein's very existence at time of release was something of an anomaly. While today many movies seldom get greenlight unless they're packaged with sequel possibilities, in the 1930s a sequel was practically unheard of. Now widely deemed one of the best horror movies of all time, Bride of Frankenstein finds Boris Karloff back as the towering golem whose quest for connection results in Elsa Lancaster's most iconic role as the titular bride. Director James Whale secured complete creative control from the studio this time around, a well-calculated risk that delivered Universal a critical and financial smash hit.
Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987)
Scream's Casey Becker was off the mark when she said every Nightmare on Elm Street film after the original sucked. The second sequel stems from an original story idea by Wes Craven – who wrote and directed the first – that revolves around a group of teens headed up by Patricia Arquette's Kristen who unite to fight Freddy Krueger while institutionalized. Heather Langenkamp returns as Nancy Thompson, this time the veteran dream warrior who leads the kids into battle. The best sequel in the series boasts stellar effects work and Robert Englund's performance as the razor-tongued killer is Freddy at his quippiest.
After The Terminator's success, James Cameron landed Aliens and delivered one of the most beloved action horror sequels ever made. Veering away from the haunted house stylings of Ridley Scott's 1979 original, Aliens straps on the big guns — literally — for a breakneck tale of space marines hunting down the infamous xenomorphs. The top-notch ensemble cast bring heart and pathos to the marines' situation as they're picked off one-by-one by the creatures in a string of tense setpieces. Leading the charge is Sigourney Weaver as Ripley in an Oscar-nominated performance that remains one of her career-best.
Scream 2 (1997)
"The horror genre was destroyed by sequels!" cries Scream 2's Randy, outlining the stakes at play for Wes Craven's slasher follow-up. Released a year after Scream, the matter of Scream 2's lightning fast and bumpy production hints at a flop. And yet, it emerged as that rare exception in horror: a sequel on par with its predecessor. The story picks up several years after Sidney's brush with death in Woodsboro as Ghostface continues his stalk n slash tactics at college. Kevin Williamson's script eviscerates the rules of slasher sequels, ramping up the body count, the quotable dialogue, and the tense setpieces, all of which are beautifully executed by Craven's keen visual eye. One hell of a killer sequel.
See Scream 6 at Regal on March 10.