Friday, April 21, 2023

Four Times the Fifth Movie in a Horror Franchise Became One of the Best

For most horror franchises, a decent fifth film seems to be harder to find than a Necronomicon and usually about as dumb as the guy who’d read it out loud. According to those who have seen Evil Dead Rise (now playing in theaters!), however, it looks like the franchise is now home to the rare fifth entry that actually rules. Hail to the King, baby.

It shouldn’t come as a big surprise to Evil Dead fans because this franchise doesn’t miss. Introducing time travel? No problem. Remake? Kicks ass. Fifth sequel curse? Come get some.

Now, let’s take a look at a handful of other fifth entries that have enjoyed that same rarified air. Here are in no particular order some of my favorite fifth horror movies….


Nobody is accusing Final Destination 5 of being The Godfather II. But for this particular franchise, it was a welcome addition for many. Lots of franchises try to reinvent the wheel when they get to this point. Halloween 5 brought out a random “Man in Black” and had him shoot up the Haddonfield Police Station with a tommy gun. With absolutely no idea who the character was or what they planned to do with him next. Friday the 13th: A New Beginning replaced the iconic Jason Voorhees with a dude named Roy. Leprechaun went to the hood. Freddy turned into a damn baby! Please keep in mind I’m not comparing Final Destination 5 to any of these films on a film by film basis. I’m comparing them based on where they sit in the scope of the expectations of their respective franchises. And based on expectations? Final Destination 5 ripped.

I don’t have to Google to be sure this flick didn’t win any Oscars or anything but they knew their audience. They came in, played the hits and kept the explanation to a minimum. Hell, Tony Todd shows up mid-film as the Coroner and basically explains to everyone how this all works in about a paragraph or less. Perfect! We‘re here to see deaths so extreme and uncomfortable that we giggle like school children. All at the brisk pace of barely over an hour and a half; and it’s in 3D for those who really have that extra shiny kind of ADD. Me. I’m talking about myself.

You have to have a great opening to have a successful Final Destination film and the bridge-o-death was one of the best of the franchise. It taps into one of those all too natural fears the series is so good at exploiting (next time they should do taxes). The rest of the film is filled with one solid death scene after another; from the gymnast turning herself into a goddamn Reese’s Take 5 bar to the massage parlor of death… and who can forget that lady surviving a laser in the eyeball only to trip and fall out of the window of a building?!

Finally, everything wraps up with a nostalgic blood soaked cherry on top by taking us back to the beginning with a very unexpected and sharp witted twist. For God’s sake, they end the film playing AC/DC and showing us a highlight reel of the best franchise deaths! They knew their audience.


Many of these Michael Bay Platinum Dunes produced horror remakes (Friday the 13th, Amityville Horror, The Hitcher) may have smelled like cash-grab but were sometimes the perfect shiny and new update vehicle some of these franchises needed. Texas Chainsaw Massacre was the best example of all of them; and no, we don’t need to discuss A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010) right now. That’s for a very different list…

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre may have been the best candidate for a remake of them all, especially coming off the complete and total what the fuck that was The Next Generation (I liked it but I’m weird like that). This remake from 2003 was smart enough to realize that it was impossible to accurately replicate the original classic’s atmosphere of shocking realism. To this day, Tobe Hooper’s masterpiece still feels like it was bought from one of those underground flea markets that blue haired Joaquin Phoenix and Nicolas Cage investigate in 8MM. Instead, Director Marcus Nispel and company gave us a surprisingly stylish yet still gnarly remake.

Audiences were able to see a more physically intimidating version of Leatherface played by Andrew Bryniarski and it provided the same visceral shock as seeing the larger than life Tyler Mane playing the previously accountant sized Michael Myers. We can argue about which is actually scarier but it’s nice to have both to choose from. I think they each fit their respective movies perfectly.

Casting Jessica Biel and R. Lee Ermey proved to be twin strokes of genius and the film seemed to know which scenes were worth recreating and which scenes were best left back in 1974. Sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse; the massive success of the film spawned a slew of movies just like it. They went back to the basics, knew their audience and made themselves a massive success story. Especially for a film carrying the stigma of being both a remake and the fifth entry in a horror franchise.

SCREAM (2022)

You had to know I was going to talk about it, Sidney! I’ll also dare make the statement that Scream may be the best fifth entry in a horror franchise ever. And before you call me an obsessed and delusional psychopath? It does happen to carry the highest rated IMDB score of all the films mentioned today. Besides, movies don’t create psychos! Movies make psychos more creative!

Described by its writers Guy Busick and James Vanderbilt as an intentional “warm blanket” to Scream fans, Radio Silence and company again knew their audience. Because they were their audience. You could almost call Scream a re-centering more than a re-quel. It brought us back home for a moment before taking us forward with this year’s Scream VI. But they also did something more. They put Scream in a position to succeed in the future with the excellent casting and writing of the newly minted “core four”.

Perhaps my overall favorite thing that Scream did for the franchise was make it a living, breathing re-incarnation of Wes Craven’s classic. Because it takes place inside of that world currently. It’s the same High School. They take us back to Stu’s house. Hell, the characters even came back! It was all so integral to the current story that it didn’t even feel like fan service. They even had those little nuanced Wes Craven Scream touches. Like, when a new scene is introduced by the panning down of the camera onto our characters while another banger from the soundtrack blares out and cuts the tension.

Maybe by the time a fifth movie in a horror franchise rolls around, it’s time go back to what worked originally for just a little while. Remind everyone of who you are.


Hellraiser Inferno

Pinhead is back and this time…..he’s on home video. Forget everything I’ve said about the fifth franchise in a horror flick needing to go back to basics. I was starting to sound like a bad Randy from Scream rip off anyways. Hellraiser: Inferno was a much needed departure for a franchise coming off a trip to space in just its fourth film.

Scott Derrickson’s (The Black Phone, Sinister) first feature film departs vastly away from the convoluted direction the series was headed. Inferno strips things down and focuses on a Detective, played by Craig Sheffer (Nightbreed), whose neglect of his family in lieu of hookers, cocaine and crooked cop stuff make him the perfect plaything for Pinhead and the Cenobites (which is a sick band name). When the Detective finds the puzzle box while investigating a murder, he opens it up and begins a descent into a hell of his own making.

Amazingly, despite being clearly hampered by a tight straight to video Dimension budget, Inferno manages to bring some great special FX moments. Including some extremely gnarly moments involving some new twin Cenobites that find it sexual to team up and rub you down all over (underneath the skin) while this creature with no legs just flops around on the floor trying to lick your ankles. Not only do you get these fun family friendly moments but the focus of a new and simple story was just the ticket the franchise needed at that moment. Even if it feels like nobody saw it.

You know, come to think about it, they really did go back to basics after all! We’re still alive baby! Our theory. Not Randy. He’s totally dead. And so will I be if I don’t mention that the only reason I didn’t include Prometheus or Prey in this article is because it’s too hard to tell what counts as the fifth entry in the Alien or Predator franchises because of the crossovers between the franchises.

Evil Dead Rise is now playing in theaters nationwide.

The post Four Times the Fifth Movie in a Horror Franchise Became One of the Best appeared first on Bloody Disgusting!.


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