6. "Jason Lives: Friday the 13th Part VI" (1986)
The culmination of the Tommy Jarvis saga is one of the best entries in the series. Jarvis (Thom Mathews), first played by Corey Feldman in the fourth film in the series, has seen his life ruined by his continued run-ins with the Crystal Lake slasher. So to get a little payback, he decides to escape from the mental institution where he's been holed up, and violate Jason's body. Unfortunately, a stray lightning strike brings Jason back to "life," making the hockey mask-wearing murderer a rampaging, electricity-powered zombie. It's the best sequel in the series for one, paying off Tommy's three-movie arc--he's a genuinely likeable character. And two, "Jason Lives" allows Jason a host of clever, tongue-in-cheek kills which gave this entry a distinct tone from others in the series.
5. "Inferno" (1980)
While not a direct sequel to his "Suspria," Dario Argento's second film in his planned "Three Mothers" trilogy nevertheless explores the hidden world of the three witches who rule all of the world's misery. This time out, the action moves from a dance school in the alps to a spooky apartment building in New York where music student Mark (Leigh McCloskey) attempts to find out what happened to his younger sister, and what connection her disappearance might have on the strange building where she was living. Whereas "Suspiria" was a dark fairy tale, "Inferno" was a story of urban horror with brief flashes of the supernatural thrown in for good measure--and it's got a hell of a final scene.
4."Evil Dead II" (1987)
Sam Raimi's sequel/quasi-remake is, arguably, the greatest splatter picture ever made, and at the time, the culmination of the Michigan-born filmmaker's craft. This time out, we learn what happens to Ash after he survives his first encounter with the Deadites, and, well, it's not good. Partially possessed and terrified, he's not only got to deal with the Book of the Dead's missing pages, but his own killer hand in a movie that would be funny if it didn't shred your nerves so effectively.
3. "Dawn of the Dead" (1978)
Director George Romero returned to the zed word, offering up biting social commentary and tons of zombies in this mall-set horror film. Its three survivors figure that making a mall safe will allow them to avoid the spread of the zombie outbreak, but the daily grind, and later, marauders prove to be the biggest challenges to survival. In contrast to the stark black and white of the first film, which was in large part about class and race in the late 60's, the luridly bright and colorful "Dawn" touched on race and delved more into our obsession with consumerism and having the newest and shiniest things.
2. "A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: The Dream Warriors" (1987)
The second "Elm Street" sequel is remarkable for how it determined the direction for the rest of the franchise, creating some of the "rules" for killer Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund) and more importantly, making the dreams of its protagonists ever-escalating setpieces for the series. Here, the teen residents of a mental institution learn from first "Elm Street heroine Nancy (Heather Langenkamp) how to control their dreams, granting themselves abilities to fight Freddy on his own turf. Visually inventive, it's also the first entry that sees the franchise make a hard turn into black comedy, with Freddy becoming the quip-happy killer we all know and fear.
1. "The Bride of Frankenstein" (1935)
James Whale returns in what is possibly one of the greatest sequels of all time, edging away from the pure horror/thriller territory of the first film into dark comedy (that happens a lot with sequels, you'll find). Boris Karloff is back as we learn that the monster didn't, in fact die, as we thought in the first film, getting a bride in the process. Unfortunately, it's not love at first sight, and the lovelorn creature is sent on another rampage.
Pages: 1 2