Top Ten Most Unnecessary Horror Sequels of the ‘90s

[31 December 1999]

By Rhonda Baughman

1. The Children of the Corn series:
For heaven’s sake, as if the first King adaptation wasn’t bad enough, with garbled and incoherent dialogue (such as “He must have already been dead when he stumbled out to the road”), here we have 5 — yes, count ‘em, 5! — sequels to an original that should have been left buried back in 1984. But, you gotta love those subtitles. Too bad that is the most interesting aspect of the movies themselves. If the movies are truly too insipid for you to watch, play a little game with yourself and see in which movie you can find the actor from the Arquette family. Hint: It’s not Patricia or David.
  • Children of the Corn II: The Final Sacrifice
  • Children of the Corn III: Urban Harvest
  • Children of the Corn IV: The Gathering
  • Children of the Corn V: Fields of Terror
  • Children of the Corn 666: Isaac’s Return (What in the hell was John Franklin thinking when he agreed to direct this one? He could have had one of the Witchcraft sequels. But we’ll talk about that later.)
2. The From Dusk Till Dawn series:
Upon meeting Tom Savini in Akron, OH, I asked him what he thought about the sequel to that Tarantino vampire extravaganza, and he cheerily replied, “It sucks, I have nothing to do with it.” On that note, I had to rent it, and see what Savini’s “disgruntled star” act was all about. Well, let me tell you, now I know, and now I am a disgruntled video rental customer. It goes to show that you should always listen to men who played characters named “Sex Machine.” On a side note, I have no idea what Rebecca Gayheart is doing in the second sequel, as she has done a number of more adequately-budgeted films (including Scream 2 and Urban Legend), and is a decent actress (even if she did star in the extremely short-lived and dismal Kevin Williamson TV series, Wasteland), but we’ll wait and see, I suppose. Wait for the movie to flop, that is.
  • From Dusk Till Dawn II: Texas Blood Money
  • From Dusk Till Dawn III: The Hangman’s Daughter

3. The Class of Nuke ‘Em High series:
In 1986, there was a campy little movie called Class of Nuke ‘Em High, written and directed by our fine friends at Troma. A little too much of a silly thing ensued, however, as three sequels were spawned that had less of a plot than the original. That’s not saying a whole hell of a lot, either. These sequels could only be rivaled by Troma’s other series, The Toxic Avenger, with respect to overkill. Why, oh why, can’t anyone leave a good thing alone? Troma itself has a small cult following, with plenty of fairly humorous movies, such as the above-mentioned Toxic Avenger, Tromeo & Juliet, and Killer Babes from the CIA, to name a few oldies but goodies.
  • Class of Nuke ‘Em High II: Subhumanoid Meltdown
  • Class of Nuke ‘Em High III: The Good, the Bad, and the Subhumanoid
  • Class of Nuke ‘Em High IV (in production)
4. The Ghoulies series:
Not to be confused with trolls, critters, or feebles. This horror/camp series was actually quite spooky when it was introduced in the mid-‘80s. However, when your average 4-year-old can watch this flick and succumb to the giggles, it’s clear that there are no more nightmares here, and you know it’s time to move on. I can even hypothesize what might come next: The Ghoulies V: Ghoulies Collect Social Security. The only good point here may be the artwork adorning the video box. This, at least, is worth a look.
  • The Ghoulies II
  • The Ghoulies III: Ghoulies Go To College
  • The Ghoulies IV
5. The Leprechaun series:
Again, not to be confused with gnomes, trolls, feebles, midgets, munchies or ghoulies, the original installment of this series was really quite good at one time, oh, say, in 1993 WHEN IT WAS INTRODUCED, BEFORE BEING BEATEN TO DEATH WITH A LARGE STICK! The first film was unique, tense, and unnerving. Warwick Davis — as the evil little man himself — gave me more scares than I want to admit: being ahem, older and all.
  • Leprechaun 2
  • Leprechaun 3
  • Leprechaun 4: In Space
  • Leprechaun 5: In the Hood (2000)
6. The Critters series:
There once was a boy named Scott Grimes, who started his career in slime, with a movie called Critters, attempting to fritter away the viewer’s time. (Consider that just a pretty little ditty about how I feel about furballs from space with gnashy teeth.) The original was introduced in 1986, with the complete lame, cash-mongering sequel-effort in 1988, called Critters 2: The Main Course. No one remembers that one except me, I am sure. In 1991, two direct-to-video, lower shelf, completely forgettable sequels followed, lacking even funny subtitles.
  • Critters 3
  • Critters 4

7. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre series:
Now, I love Tobe Hooper, I love Dennis Hopper, and I happen to know that Gunnar Hansen (the original Leatherface) is a really neat guy in real life. But, come on, one of the foremost rules in horror film making is that you just don’t make a sequel to a successful (or even an unsuccessful) film ten years after the fact. Especially when said sequel is so damn bad that even die-hard horror flick fans can not explain to themselves or anyone else how or why it someone thought the thing up. The original TXCM had that whole spooky-tense-you-know-you’re-gonna-die ambiance to it, a la The Blair Witch Project. You know, there’s no way out except by dying. That idea. (Sigh.) But I paid my $1.06 per, so I knew there was no way out of viewing the sequels. And for me, anyway, dying was not an option. On the worst case scenario tip: if at all possible, avoid the sequel with Renee Zellweger and Matthew McConaughey. I haven’t the faintest clue how high their rents were that month, but they must have been pretty steep. It was by far and away the most interminable movie (not just sequel) that I have ever had the misfortune of viewing.
  • The Texas Chainsaw Massacre II
  • Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III
  • The Texas Chainsaw Massacre IV: The Next Generation
  • TX25: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre- 25 Years Later (2000)

8. The Child’s Play series:
Again, a fresh idea slaughtered by overexposure, not unlike Freddy, Jason, and Michael (whose films are a bit too obvious to even make it to this top ten). Chucky, however, was one of a kind. Brad Dourif, of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Blue Velvet fame, managed to do the voice for Chucky so well, that even I was a bit worried that the man wasn’t just acting. Catherine Hicks and Chris Sarandon were the winners from the first installment, and after that two forgettable sequels followed, and the series remained dormant until 1998, where we were introduced to the surprisingly funny, Bride of Chucky (title doll played and then voiced by the inimitable Jennifer Tilly). Once again, however, history seems doomed to repeat itself with bad sequel ideas, and little Fangoria magazine snippets tell me there is a Son of Chucky in the works.
  • Child’s Play II
  • Child’s Play III
  • Bride of Chucky
  • Son of Chucky (2001)

9. The Puppet Master series:
The Puppets were initially kinda cute. Then they got a wee bit pissed off. Then they began their murderous rampage. Then came all of the sequels, kits, dolls, and other assorted Puppet-paraphernalia. Then the Puppets become good guys. Then… oh, who the hell cares? But, here’s an interesting tidbit about director Jeff Burr (who made numbers 4 and 5): he is also to blame for Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III, Pumpkinhead II: Blood Wings, and the truly icky Stepfather II: Make Room for Daddy. And even though this last was surely an unnecessary sequel, the original film — Joseph Ruben’s The Stepfather — was a decent slasher film with illuminating twists on “family values,” starring Jill Schoelen and Terry O’Quinn. Then again… I can’t think of one necessary cheesy horror sequel.
  • Puppet Master II
  • Puppet Master III: Toulon’s Revenge
  • Puppet Master IV
  • Puppet Master V: The Final Chapter
  • Puppet Master VI
  • Puppet Master VII: Retro Puppet Master
10. The Witchcraft series:
The 1988 original was even worse than you can imagine the sequels would be. ‘Nuff said.
  • Witchcraft II: The Temptress
  • Witchcraft III: The Kiss of Death
  • Witchcraft IV: The Virgin Heart
  • Witchcraft V: Dance with the Devil
  • Witchcraft VI: The Devil’s Mistress
  • Witchcraft VII: Judgement Hour
  • Witchcraft VIII: Salem’s Ghost
  • Witchcraft IX: Bitter Flesh
  • Witchcraft: X: Mistress of the Craft
  • Witchcraft XI: Weird Sisters

Published at: http://www.popmatters.com/pm/feature/bestof99-baughman/