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Monday, August 31, 2020

Stay Home, Watch Horror: 5 Standout Sequels to Stream This Week

It can be too easy to write off a sequel. Often considered a quick attempt to ride the wave of its predecessor’s success, the consensus is that sequels very rarely manage to reach the same heights of the movies they follow. Yet genre franchises consistently prove otherwise. For every weak sequel, countless others successfully improve upon the originals.

That begs the question of what makes a good horror sequel. The formula isn’t so straightforward and easy to duplicate, but a few key ingredients hold true in the genre’s best. A good follow-up won’t settle for merely replicating the exact same plot. In addition to a higher kill count, sequels expand upon the mythology in thrilling ways. They try something a little different to break the mold, whether it be tonal shifts, a fearlessness in dispatching character favorites, or merely playing with audience expectations.

This week is dedicated to the horror sequel, and these five remind us of what it was we loved about the original while forging new paths. As always, you can stream them right now.


Maniac Cop 2 – Shudder, Tubi, Prime Video, Vudu

From writer Larry Cohen and director William Lustig, this sequel wastes no time at all dispatching the protagonists of the previous entry. That means a new pair of heroes to battle undead maniac cop Matt Cordell (Robert Z’Dar), and this time he’s enlisted an ally in the form of a serial killer. Expanded mythology, new characters, and double the baddies are the tip of the entertaining iceberg here. It’s a sequel that manages to top the original, and in true ’90s style, Maniac Cop 2 even comes with its own rap theme song.


Ring 2 – Shudder

Picking up immediately after Ringu‘s events, also on Shudder, Reiko and Yoichi have gone missing. Investigating the death of her former boss, Mai Takano searches for Reiko for answers. Reiko’s hiding her son, who’s been displaying eerie new powers similar to Sadako. New truths are revealed about Sadako and her wrathful curse, and not all familiar characters make it out of this story alive. That shift in character perspectives has proven divisive, and some of the same story beats are retreaded. Still, the expanded mythos and effective scares make it easy to see why Sadako has become a horror icon.


Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers – Prime Video, Shudder

A reformed Angela has taken up a new surname and is now happily working at a summer camp. When campers start misbehaving, it becomes clear that Angela still harbors murderous tendencies. Pamela Springsteen takes over as Angela, fully embracing this sequel’s tongue-in-cheek humorous tone. As in, this camp-set movie goes full camp. Sleepaway Camp has become a slasher cult classic, but its sequels get far less love. It’s well past time to change that. A minor caveat: Sleepaway Camp II is leaving Shudder soon, so you have a minimal window to catch it there, but it’s currently not slated to leave Prime Video.


Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones – Crackle, Pluto TV

With a new Paranormal Activity movie on the way, now seems like a good time to revisit one of the strongest entries of the franchise. Written and directed by Christopher Landon (Happy Death Day series), The Marked Ones is a spinoff sequel that follows recent high school graduate Jesse (Andrew Jacobs) and his friends as they encounter a terrifying entity after attempting a ritual. As the malevolent presence targets Jesse, his friends race against the clock for answers to save him. It should go without saying that The Marked Ones nails it in the scares department. Even better is the creative way it ties itself to the central franchise storyline. Just when you thought the series had grown stale, this sidequel provided a refreshing jolt.


Return of the Living Dead 3 – Tubi, Prime Video

Dan O’Bannon’s The Return of the Living Dead is one of the most beloved horror comedies of the ’80s. Its immediate follow-up, for the most part, worked as a rehash. The humor was replaced with romance for its third outing, offering a gory Romeo and Juliet story only director Brian Yuzna could deliver. Curt Reynolds (J. Trevor Edmund) is madly in love with his girlfriend Julie (Melinda Clarke), and can’t bear to live without her. So much so that when a motorcycle accident claims her life, he takes her to his father’s military compound and exposes her to 2-4-5 Trioxin gas. Julie is successfully reanimated but finds herself battling an overwhelming hunger for human flesh. As the lovers flee from the military, Julie leaves a trail of devastation and undead corpses. This threequel shakes up the franchise in just about every way. Yuzna’s ability to balance extreme viscera with tender moments makes this entry soar.



source https://bloody-disgusting.com/editorials/3629694/stay-home-watch-horror-5-sequels-stream-week/

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