It seems like every horror film at one point in its life gets a sequel. Even if facing minor success – such as PIRANHA 3D – a sequel still somehow comes to light. Mostly met with open arms and excitement, sequels are a fantastic concept in so many ways – continuing a story we love, with the characters we love in a new set of circumstances, what’s not to flip your wig over? Okay so not all sequels carry that tradition, but think of this – without the sequel, we would have no Jason Voorhees as a hockey mask wearing psychopath, no zombies ransacking a shopping mall, no Chop Top, and Laurie Strode would have forever been just some girl Michael Myers went after.
Of course not all sequels are created equal or even close to what their original counterparts are made of – which therein lays a problem with some fans when a sequel is announced. There are disasters such as RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD 4 & 5, the unofficial sequel DAY OF THE DEAD 2: CONTAGIUM, the dreaded HILLS HAVE EYES PART 2 – original and remake – and so on. So it’s understandable when a sequel is announced, fans might have reservations – but most of us squeal in delight at the prospect of seeing the return of whatever franchise we’re pining for.
There are some sequels though, neither good nor bad, that are just made to completely out do the original film. They amp up the gore, craziness, humor, whatever made the first one work – they turn it up to “11” and add a few slices of cheese on top. This list compiles five of the most over the top sequels made to date. Everything from glorified cameos to dangerous lipstick – these sequels pack a punch that leaves little to the imagination.
5) NIGHT OF THE DEMONS 2
This sequel takes place years later after the events of the first film, the kids at St. Rita’s Academy swap stories about the dreaded Hull House and the events that unfolded there on Halloween night. Bad girl Shirley decides it’s the perfect place to throw her Halloween bash and of course, the teens start dropping faster than a rocket full of monkeys. What the first one did with special effects, sex and gore, this one seems to just fly off with; bodies are melted, breasts morph into hands and mutilate – try copping a feel with those – heads are chopped off, a nun wields a yardstick matched with skills that would make the Ninja Turtles blush, a demon snake attacks a group of teens, puke, bugs, demon sex, it’s all here really.
So that begs the question; is this sequel better than the original? In this guy’s opinion, no, I always felt NOTD 2 went a little TOO far with its antics and sort of took out what made the original such a classic film. Suspense is all but absent, building any sort of tension is really gone, this flick is solely about delivering the showcase gore pieces and over the top comedy. With that said – this isn’t a bad film by any means, it’s one hell of a roller coaster ride and does have a good sense of fun about it. As good as the original? By no means. A good follow up on a late night horror binge with the original? Absolutely.
4) PIRANHA 3DD
The remake of the Roger Corman cult classic, PIRANHA, had many fans rolling their eyes – a fan favorite was being remade and once again. What fans didn’t expect was to enjoy the bloodbath that Alexander Aja had helmed and that they did in spades. While it wasn’t successful at the box office, a sequel was planned and took a few years to float before finally being released direct to home video.
The sequel helmed by John Gulugar – who will be mentioned twice in this list, gotta be some kind of record – takes place in a water park where the deadly piranha have invaded to feast on the populace. The film is over the top in just about every aspect, the nudity that was littered throughout the first one is tame in comparison, the gore is outlandish, the comedy lays itself on thick and the cameos from stars David Hasselhoff and Ving Rhames will leave you in stitches – literally. The biggest issue with this film however is the delicate balance of horror and comedy that it just can’t seem to level. It feels like a satire film, then it tries to be serious, and flips back to being funny again. The film spends a lot of time poking fun at itself, then tries to lay on a solid gore effect or scare – and it just doesn’t work. Characters are mostly useless and beyond the stupidity of most characters in a horror film, I mean really – who stands on the top of a sinking van while vicious piranha swarm the waters below when you’re 5 feet from the damn shore?? Leap woman, leap! The film is bad in almost every way imaginable; but somehow manages to be fun, and out does every punch the first film dealt – if only it was a KO.
3) THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE PART 2
The original film, THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE, became a drive in hit in the 70s, and a film that set the bar for exploitation and horror films alike. Tobe Hooper went on to direct other horror films, some notable – POLTERGEIST – others, not so much, EATEN ALIVE. But the ever burning question kept coming up; when would we see Leatherface and co. again? In 1986, the buzz came back with a vengeance.
Taking place 12 years after the original film, the Sawyer clan has moved on to bigger and better things – living in an abandoned amusement park and winning awards with their famous chili. A radio disc jockey proves to be quite the thorn in their side when she comes up with evidence that could lead to their discovery. This is the sequel that truly defines going over the top; everything from the acting to the script itself is just amplified to the point of hearing loss. I mean this sucker is like watching a demented “Looney Tunes” cartoon where gore is plentiful and violence runs rampant. Initially a failure upon its original release, the film has grown a rabid cult following that swears it’s actually better than the first film(!) and while that’s not something I can agree with; it’s hard to deny this film’s charm. It’s fun, wild, and crazy in all the right ways, it’s also not the kind of film that doesn’t know what it’s trying to do. Gross you out, it does it, tickles your funny bone, that’s there too – just don’t be surprised when it rips it out!
2) FEAST II/III
Okay so it’s technically cheating have two sequels placed for one, but these films were made back to back and are basically one big epic. Watching them side by side leads to one of the most over the top experiences one could ask for. The first FEAST film was gory, violent, sleazy and funny all in what you could call all the “right” ways. The sequels however – just take anything and everything they can to make them as outlandish and wild as possible.
The sequels follow a rag tag group of people in a small town who are besieged by the vicious monsters in the first film. They spend a majority of both films fleeing for their lives and trying to escape the claws of the man-eating creatures. A few select members of the original film return in both sequels, along with new additions that include; a lesbian biker gang, Mexican wrestling midgets, and a used car salesman. In these sequels, the gore and gags fly all over the screen, the monsters let loose one nasty trick after another along with the cast itself. A baby is tossed over a man’s shoulder to save his own skin, a grandmother is catapulted from a rooftop, zombies, slime, maggots, and giant robots set these films so far over the top – it almost becomes ludicrous. When you go back and watch the first film followed by the sequels; it’s amazing how far they strayed from the original film. For some fans – it was a welcome change, and one they embraced, for others; they were less loving. I am on the fence as I do find parts of them enjoyable but at the same time – I can’t help but have fun with both of these flicks. They’re not great by any means – but a good, nasty time is almost guaranteed to be had by all when they grace the screen.
1) DAY OF THE DEAD (1985)
In 1968, George Romero and company made a film that would set the stage for what became the modern zombie and change the face of horror forever. In 1978, Mr. Romero returned to the scene with a sequel to the original film but this time trapping helpless survivors in a shopping mall. DAWN OF THE DEAD became an instant classic, praised by fans and critics alike. It was only a manner of time before another sequel was expected and eventually was born.
The year was 1985, and the most eagerly awaited film in horror history was released. DAY OF THE DEAD came out mostly to deaf ears on its initial release, displeasing fans and critics – the film failed to garner and success at the box office but thanks to home video; it spawned a ravenous barrage of fans. The film featured a tense script, actors that yell and scream in almost every scene, gore that made everyone reach for their vomit bags, and enough zombies to satisfy even the most distinguished of fans. This film takes anything that would otherwise be subtle and makes sure it’s anything but that in almost every degree. While it took some time to garner steam, DAY has become a fan favorite that ranks with some fans next to the beloved DAWN OF THE DEAD and in some opinions – even a better film! It’s my personal favorite of the original trilogy and I’m proud to say the director himself shares the same sentiment. Now who’s gonna try and tell the maestro he’s wrong? That’s what I thought!
So there you have it. My personal picks for the Top 5 Over the Top sequels ever made. Did I miss a fan favorite? Perhaps there’s another sequel out there that raises the bar that didn’t make the cut? Feel free to comment and post below if you know of one! Until then, pleasant screams.