For this week’s streaming post I was tossing around words like Streamquel, Sequeaming, Strequeaming. You get idea. (That last one is one of the ickier sounding words.) We’re talking sequels with Joey Galda on this week’s episode, and I thought I’d supply a list of some sequels I find worth the time. Now, I’m not one to really dig into a franchise. Only a few times in my life have I ever thought, “Man, I could really go for another one of these.” Death Note and the Halloween franchise are the only movies I want to see more of. Other than that, I’m more a one-and-done sort of guy. But to each his own. If you love going down the Hellraiser or Children of the Corn rabbit, more power to you! So here are five sequels that receive a thumbs up from me…
Day of the Dead (1985, George A. Romero)
Some may not even consider this a sequel, but George A. Romero’s first three Dead films most definitely go hand-in-hand. Having not seen Dawn (gasp!) I feel like it has a pretty high bar to cross in order to be considered better that the final film of the original trilogy. Following a group of scientists and military men locked in an underground bunker, Day of the Dead once again explores humanity and how the death of it would affect the survivors. Oh, and John Harrison composed one of the greatest scores ever for this masterpiece. Watch for free on Vudu.
New Nightmare (1994, Wes Craven)
Believe it or not, this was my first Nightmare film. I distinctly remember pulling an all-nighter in middle school with my best friends Ricky and Matt in my basement. We had a stack of VHS tapes from the video store, but the only two I remember actually watching were Friday the 13th and Wes Craven’s New Nightmare. It was the first time I’d ever heard the infamous nursery rhyme. It was the first time I’d actually seen “the glove” on screen. And it was the first time I KNEW the horror genre was a genre I wanted to explore. Shortly after I watched the original Nightmare, and I’ve never looked back. For 1994 standards Wes Craven broke new ground (or at least refreshed it) again by taking a wonderful meta approach, and to top it all off, he brings back some of our old favorites. Watch for free on Netflix.
Phantasm III: Lord of the Dead (1994, Don Coscarelli)
As great as Phantasm II is, it’s just not the same with the character of Mike being played by someone other than A. Michael Baldwin. Phantasm III brings everyone back together again, though. Reggie, Mike, and Jody return to battle The Tall Man in what Coscarelli calls his zombie movie. And what a zombie movie it is! I still haven’t been able to bring myself to watch Ravager yet, but Lord of the Dead is (and probably will always be) my favorite of the Phantasm sequels. Nothing, of course, will ever touch the original, but Coscarelli manages to keep the bro-hymn tone, introduce new and incredibly fun characters (see Rocky), and provides a through-and-through storyline for the entirety of the the franchise. I can’t think of any other franchise in film history that did it as well as Phantasm. Stream on Shudder.
Poltergeist III (1988, Gary Sherman)
Tom Skerritt and Nancy Allen as the parental figures. That should be all I need to say. We don’t often get likable adults in horror films when children are involved, but the Poltergeist franchise went against that norm and gave four of the most likable adults ever put on screen (Craig T. Nelson, JoBeth Williams, Skerritt, and Allen). Not to mention Tangina (Zelda Rubinstein) who play one of the most iconic characters in cinema history. This time, Carol Anne is living with her aunt and uncle in a brand new, luxurious Chicago high-rise. That doesn’t mean Kane can’t still find her, though. I think Gary Sherman does a spectacular job at wrapping up this trilogy that oozes with 80s liquid gold. It doesn’t deserve the hate, and it definitely deserves a revisit if you haven’t seen it in a while. Stream for free on TubiTV.
Saw II (2005, Darren Lynn Bousman)
I’m not big into what is sometimes referred to as “torture porn.” I like fantastical violence and gore, but when it get as detailed as Saw II gets, it makes my skin crawl. That isn’t to say it’s a bad film or that I don’t like it. I actually love Saw II, but I’ve only seen it once because the pit of needles literally made my butthole turn inside out. It affected me so much that I haven’t been able to watch any of the subsequent movies (I will, fear not, even if I am). I think the original Saw is a masterpiece in its own right, and Bousman was the perfect person to take the reigns for the next couple. It’s visceral, grungy, touching (yes, touching), fun, gross, and all the other words that come to mind when you look at that fucking one sheet. Watch this and the rest of the franchise on either Amazon Prime or Hulu.