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If there's a genre that understands the value of a good sequel, it's the realm of the horror movie. We've seen this happen with Ouija: Origin of Evil, and more recently with Annabelle: Creation. Two promising ideas were turned into less interesting cash grabs, but were eventually revived with the right amount of vision and talent behind their sequels. And this got us to thinking, what other good concepts of horror could be saved with a second installment of better execution? Well, you're about to find out, as we're pitching seven movies that didn't do well the first time out, but could be redeemed by much better sequels.
Fade To Black
Let's start with a film so obscure that you've never heard of it, but it's so interesting that you ought to track it down: 1980's Fade To Black. A story about a young man obsessed with the movies, the film's horror aspect comes into play when he uses that obsession to inspire a series of murders. A misfit lashing out against those who did him wrong is already horror genius, but a soft reboot sequel could see a new killer inspired by classic Hollywood to rail against the modern blockbuster system. This murderous quest to make the movies great again would not only act as a proper sequel to honor the intent of the original Fade To Black, it would also be quite a meta horror film. If you don't think that concept is a winner, don't forget that Wes Craven's New Nightmare is another sequel that helped erase a franchise's troubled past.
Horror remakes aren't a bad idea, as a lot of the original versions of films like Poltergeist are steeped in the culture of their inception. Needless to say, the 2015 remake had no interest in such a concept, and instead barely remade the original film in a modern context. So imagine a second bite at the apple that took the one of the concepts that actually worked and went a little further with it. You'd have our idea for a new Poltergeist sequel where Dr. Powell and Carrigan Burke further embark on their reconciled adventures into ghost hunting, with a new family in peril and a new ghost to fight off. All the while, the charming performances of Jared Harris and Jane Adams will be front and center, delivering a new story in the realm of house exorcisms.
A machine that can manipulate the boundaries between ghosts and humans, the producers of the Tales from the Crypt series and a mixture of both hot young talent and established character actors should have made Thirteen Ghosts a solid base hit in the realm of horror. But considering how Dark Castle Productions also screwed this concept up with their infamous remake of House of Wax, it's no surprise that this film failed to land on its feet the first time around. So what could a second time out bring to the table? Well, take the Doctor Who episodes "Doomsday" and "Army of Ghosts", in which a government and/or corporate entity is being talked into weakening the realm between the living and the dead, but end up making it bloodier and more macabre, with a possibly darker ending. Cue Tony Shaloub and Shannon Elizabeth ready to save the day, as a massive invasion of the spirit realm is about to take place.
At this point, we should just earmark the entirety of the Dark Castle Productions canon and reevaluate them each for remake and sequel status, especially when a movie like Ghost Ship has such a teaser of an ending that it has to be fulfilled. Though another chance for improvement, via a fantastic follow-up to the original film, would be to take notes from the first draft of the film, where Ghost Ship was more of a psychological thriller rather than a supernatural gore fest. Would a sequel be able to properly balance the thrills of not being about to trust one's own mind, but with the visceral thrills and spills of a bloodier horror film, this could be the type of follow-up that realizes an original vision, while at the same time pushing the series into a brand new direction.
The Omen (2006)
Believe it or not, The Omen is a movie that we'd love to see more of, especially considering the story of the eventual rise of the Antichrist is something that never seems to run out of steam. In fact, the potential sequel to the remake of The Omen would probably best be suited by taking some notes from the second sequel to the original film: The Final Conflict. If you took the basic framework of Damien becoming president in order to bring upon the end times, you could go to some seriously dark, topical places that a more modern context would afford such an idea. Think House of Cards, but instead of merely being a ruthless powerbroker, the lead actually has supernatural pull to get their way.
In the original Jennifer's Body, the one big drawback to the film's execution was the "sly" dialogue and pacing of Diablo Cody's script. While that could make for an arguably effective comedy, the horror aspect of Jennifer's Body was a toothless mess. With Amanda Seyfried's Needy being left with some supernatural powers of her own, the focus of a potential sequel could be focused on our righteous lead from the original slowly turning dark. Surely those powers won't come without consequence, and there's even the potential for Megan Fox's Jennifer to return in disturbed visions. Even if this was just a straight-up story of Needy being a force for good fighting the demons of evil with her newfound powers, there's potential for a more grounded sequel that'd make for an exciting horror romp.
As Above So Below
Again, we're faced with a fantastic concept that drowns in a horrific execution, as As Above So Below was one of those found footage horror films that underperformed during its run. Considering there are demons, alchemy and supernatural elements in the original film, it's disheartening to see that such cool aspects were hampered by shaky-cam and underwritten story. So why not ditch the found footage angle and turn a sequel into a straightforward narrative? Even better, the loss of the previous aesthetic choices would mean that a return to the catacombs below Paris would stand to be a more visually lush experience, as the lack of camera limitations could lead to some beautiful and/or claustrophobic scares for its potential audience.