Ah, the slasher genre. Perhaps one of the most ingenious movie formulas ever perfected. Slashers are a great film genre because they’re usually very cheaply made and followed by ardent fans who’ll watch them no matter the cast or budget, in hopes, it will give them a good scare. And because they’re so cheap and popular, they’re produced to be never-ending, with multiple sequels churned out as long as they make money.
I don’t think there’s ever been a producer who felt “Michael Myers’ arc is done.” Nope, as long as these films are popular, there will always be more of them. With the release of the sequel Halloween Kills, it’s time to look back at all the films known as Halloween II as well as some other slasher movies that got another “stab” at the big screen.
8. Halloween II ( 2009)
Rob Zombie’s Halloween II is the second direct sequel to a movie called Halloween and it actually wouldn’t be the last. Zombie’s Halloween remake was a combination prequel and remake that explored more of the Myers/Strode sibling lore and was pretty well received by audiences for his unique take and visual style.
Zombie was brought back for a sequel that continued his style of constant X-rated violence and language throughout (not a frame of this film isn’t unadulterated). This time, Michael returns (with long hair), and he and Laurie experience visions of their mother and a “white horse.” This truly bizarre sequel did not fare as well as the first and a planned third entry was scrapped.
7. Friday The 13th Part 2
Serial killer Jason Voorhees is synonymous with the Friday The 13th series.However, people often forget that he wasn’t the actual killer in the original film — it was his mother. Jason didn’t follow in his mother’s footsteps until the sequel, and he’s been the star of the franchise ever since.
This sequel is a straight-up retread of the first film with Jason terrorizing camp counselors at Crystal Lake, only this time, in place of his mother. However, the character of Jason was still evolving as his first outing as the main killer featured him with a burlap sack around his head instead of his iconic hockey mask, which wouldn’t come into play until the next entry in the franchise, Friday The 13th Part III.
6. I Still Know What You Did Last Summer
Bolstered by Scream’s slasher movie revival success, I Know What You Did Last Summer took a teen novel by Lois Lowery and turned it into box office gold. The film concerns four friends whose past comes back to haunt them when a killer fisherman stalks them a year after they were all involved in a hit and run. The film was a hit among fans of the genre so naturally, a sequel was put into production with returning star, Jennifer Love Hewitt as Julie.
The first film ended with the killer, Ben Willis, attacking Julie in the shower, which we come to find out was only a dream. After winning a radio contest (with the wrong answer) Julie and her friends are given a vacation on a conveniently empty tropical island in the middle of a storm. However, Ben Willis still knows what she did last summer (err, two summers ago) and follows her to the island to finish her off.
It’s a pretty boilerplate sequel that uses the same beats but this time with a tropical locale. The dialogue isn’t a sharp as the Kevin Williamson-scripted original (the trailer lists Syriana’s Stephen Gaghan as a writer yet his credit is missing from the film) and seems to have been only made for the gratuitous shots of Hewitt in a bikini. Like the first film, this entry also ends on a cliffhanger that is never resolved in further films. Not even in the direct-to-video third entry, which has a new cast and storyline.
5. Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge
After the success of A Nightmare On Elm Street, a sequel was quickly commissioned, however, horror master Wes Craven decided to move on and direct the disastrous Deadly Friend instead. Producers proceeded without his involvement and the film centers around a new family who moves into the house previously inhabited by Nancy Thompson and, of course, Freddy returns.
Most critics felt the sequel paled in comparison to the original, however, in recent years it has been reassessed as a great subtextually gay horror movie — made during a time when homophobia was running rampant. However, that’s the most people talk about when it comes to this movie. Wes Craven would return to co-write the next Nightmare film subtitled The Dream Warriors, which is considered to be the best sequel in the franchise.
4. Halloween II (1981)
The original Halloween was a surprise hit and contained an open-ended finale with Michael Myers nowhere to be found after being shot 6 times by Dr. Loomis. Fans clamored for a sequel and they got it in the form of Halloween II, but without director John Carpenter at the helm.
The sequel takes place a mere hours later with action focused on Myers stalking Jamie Lee Curtis’ Laurie Strode in a hospital with Dr. Loomis in hot pursuit. While not directing, Carpenter still wrote the film and admittedly ran out of ideas when he inserted the idea that Myers was Laurie’s brother — a decision he would later regret. Despite the movie ending conclusively with Myers burning up, he would return a few years later in Halloween 4 after the attempt to turn the franchise into an anthology with Halloween III failed.
3. Psycho II
Many consider Alfred Hitchcock’s classic film Psycho to be the pre-cursor to the modern-day slasher film, with the genre coming into its own the following decade with Black Christmas and Halloween and then having its heyday in the 1980’s. So, what better film to revive during the slasher movie craze than the one that supposedly started it all – Psycho.
In the film, Norman Bates is released from prison after 30 years and returns to his former home and business. However, murders start happening and all fingers point to Norman as the culprit. The film is more nuanced than audiences might think as Norman isn’t really the killer, yet everyone in town wants/expects him to be. By making him not the killer, Psycho II subverts expectations and makes for a surprisingly worthy sequel to the original.
Interestingly, director Quentin Tarantino actually considers this film to be better than the original. Following the success of Psycho II, the series started to hew closer to the slasher films being produced around that time with Psycho III and the surprisingly good prequel Psycho IV: The Beginning.
2. Scream 2
Following the massive success of Scream, which revived the slasher genre and gave it a 90’s twist, a sequel was quickly put into development. The film saw the return of the main cast and director Wes Craven. Continuing on the meta-narrative of the first film, Scream 2 has new killers attempting to make a real-life sequel to the first film’s events.
While Scream 2 may not be as innovative as the first film, everything about it is high quality, making slasher movie sequels from the 80’s pale in comparison. The acting is great, the dialogue is sharp and the scares are terrific as well. Scream 2 is the rare high-quality slasher sequel that doesn’t feel like a cash grab.
One of the best scenes in the entire franchise is when the Ghostface killer commandeers a cop car which he then proceeds to crash and Sydney and her friend must climb over the unconscious killer’s body to get out of the car. Scream 2 ultimately led to Scream 3 which is also not a bad movie at all, in fact, the Scream franchise is the rare slasher movie series where all the films have been very high quality for a typically low-quality and thrown together genre.
1. Halloween (2018)
The Halloween series has an interesting timeline. After the original Halloween, the franchise has four different sequel timelines. There’s Halloween II, then 4, 5, 6 – the latter three sequels focusing on Laurie’s daughter Jamie Lloyd and the rune cult (Halloween III is a completely separate film). Then there are the sequels that skip this part of the franchise and go Halloween II, the underrated H20, and Resurrection (with Busta “trick or treat motherf-cker” Rhymes). Then there is the separate Rob Zombie Halloween I & II remake series. And, finally, there is the recent franchise that skips the original Halloween II and jumps from John Carpenter’s 1978 original to 2018’s Halloween, which is also called Halloween. The Halloween franchise can literally be used as a “choose your own adventure” movie series, and each part of this huge franchise has its own devoted fans.
The idea behind skipping the original Halloween II is to negate the fact that Michael Myers is Laurie Strode’s brother – something never hinted at in the original and regretfully injected into H2 by Carpenter. This idea has been such a huge part of the franchise that having a Jamie Lee Curtis-starring Halloween movie without them as siblings feels a bit strange. However, Halloween 2018 is in a class of its own and is easily the best sequel in the franchise, and probably the best sequel to any slasher film ever.
The film picks up 40 years after the original. Michael escapes and goes after Laurie Strode who has become somewhat of a survivalist after the trauma inflicted on her from the first film. Taking a different route, Halloween 2018 is about rising above trauma and abuse, and stands above all other generic slasher sequels. This is the true Halloween II. It’s scary, funny, and contains true value and meaning. This new version of the sequel timeline is followed by Halloween Kills and next year’s Halloween Ends. So, those are the real Halloween 3 and 4, right?
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