Most movies don't "need" sequels, but sometimes a sequel can surprise in a good way. The Godfather, Back to the Future, Raiders of the Lost Ark -- they would've been more than fine as standalone movies, but instead led to some fantastic (and some just OK) sequels.
Stanley Kubrick's The Shining is a fantastic horror movie on its own, but now it's getting a sequel, and a worthy one. The Doctor Sleep movie -- which is getting solid reviews -- is taking a thoughtful approach as a joint sequel. It's based on Stephen King's own Doctor Sleep book -- his sequel to his novel The Shining -- but it's also a sequel to Kubrick's The Shining movie.
It got me thinking about other classic horror movies that could use a well-thought-out continuation, not just Movie Title 2. Something to make them closer to Doctor Sleep and 2018's Halloween movie than, say, Exorcist II: The Heretic.
Some of these films have already gotten sequels, but not worthy ones. Too often, a movie gets a slapdash sequel just because the first made a lot of money. Or the film gets a remake like Gus Van Sant's ill-fated 1998 Psycho. Let's never do that again.
I doubt any of this will happen, but it's interesting to speculate about where thoughtful new sequels could go. Here are seven horror classics that created worlds I'd love to revisit in theaters.
This is the good sequel I want most. My little Alfred Hitchcock masterpiece collection is one of my most prized possessions. But as much as I loved The Birds, the 1963 film could definitely use the help of modern technology for those unintentionally funny moments. Birds are a lot easier to handle when they're CGI, and modern VFX could mix real and fake in a way that is completely seamless. A couple of years ago, the BBC announced it was working on a TV series more closely adapting Daphne du Maurier's U.K.-set story, which Hitchcock's film heavily diverged from. But today I'm not looking for a new adaptation, I'm curious about a sequel.
The Birds never explained why the birds started attacking, and maybe that should never be explained in a sequel. Up to the writers. There's a lot of room for creativity here, branching off from the original novel or Hitchcock's movie, or a combination. But we shouldn't leave the world with the 1994 made-for-TV movie The Birds II: Land's End as the definitive sequel. Come on.
What happened after the demon baby was born? It's open to interpretation. Sure, a 1976 TV movie with the rather cringe-worthy title Look What's Happened to Rosemary's Baby tried to answer that question. Nobody really liked liked that much, though, and NBC's Rosemary's Baby miniseries wasn't even an attempt at a sequel.
So the door is still open for a worthy continuation. Roman Polanski's 1968 classic horror film was based on the book by Ira Levin. He wrote a sequel novel in 1997 called Son of Rosemary, and a sequel movie could be based on that ... or not. This may call for a modern filmmaker's more creative vision. I wouldn't say no to Jordan Peele taking a stab at it, or Karyn Kusama or James Wan. Can you imagine if Guillermo del Toro decided what happened next? I'm game.
Here's another classic Stephen King adaptation with quite a different ending than the novel. A decent sequel -- don't talk to me about The Rage: Carrie 2 -- could pick up from the end of King's 1974 novel rather than Brian De Palma's 1976 movie, or do another combination ala Doctor Sleep. There have been other adaptations of King's Carrie, including a stage musical and a 2013 movie with Chloë Grace Moretz, but we've yet to see a worthy successor story.
Drag Me to Hell
I definitely consider Sam Raimi's 2009 horror film to be a modern classic. Unlike so many, it's an original work written by director Raimi and his brother Ivan. Every so often, Raimi gets asked why this movie never got a sequel. Since this year marks the 10th anniversary, Raimi answered Bloody Disgusting's question about it earlier in 2019. Here's what the Evil Dead creator said:
Oh, well, if somebody had a good story. I don’t have a story, because in my mind the character got killed, and worse. So I didn’t know how to proceed with the sequel. Usually, for me, I’m left with a character like Bruce Campbell, that I really am interested [in] or like, or a concept that really feels like it needs to continue. But this is such a definitive ending that in my mind I didn’t know where to start with a sequel.
Bloody Disgusting offered its own suggestion for a sequel: "Drag Me FROM Hell, in which we learn Justin Long’s character has spent the last ten years studying the occult, trying to figure out how to get the love of his life back, and comes up with his own, terrifying plan?" Honestly, I'm into it. And it sounds like Justin Long would love to come back for more too. If nothing else, he needs to go back for that beautiful blue coat. She just bought it!
Get Out And/Or Us
Jordan Peele has made a name for himself in the past couple of years as a high-quality original horror director. Both 2017's Get Out and 2019's Us were hugely profitable hits, and Get Out was nominated for Best Picture and won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. Both Get Out and Us left fans curious about the worlds they created, and Peele has left the door open for sequels to both. Here's what he said about a Get Out sequel:
I can tell you I will definitely seriously consider it. I love that universe and I feel like there is more story to tell. I don't know what it is now, but there are some loose ends.
And here's what he told Polygon about ever returning to the world of Us:
Sure! It’s a fun one. There’s a lot going on there. The ‘Us-verse’ ... I like that.
One Us actor said the movie doesn't need a sequel, which is fair. Most movies don't need sequels. But if Jordan Peele has an idea that works to continue the story, I certainly think we can trust his vision on that. Now we wait and see.
Shaun of the Dead
I'll take any excuse to spend more time with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. Shaun of the Dead was the first movie in the Cornetto trilogy -- followed by one of my all-time favorite movies, Hot Fuzz, and the fantastic The World's End. The movies are perfect as they are. That said, Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg have talked half-jokingly about sequel ideas for Shaun. Here's what Pegg said a couple of years ago:
I jokingly wrote a treatment for From Dusk Till Shaun, which was a sequel. Edgar thought it would be funny to do the film again, with vampires. It was all just pub talk.
Why haven't I already seen From Dusk Till Shaun? That is a perfect movie title just waiting to be made. Edgar Wright also shared an idea, then immediately discarded it (via IndieWire):
There was a brief idea we had, that we entertained for all of like 72 hours, where I thought you could do an alternate reality sequel. It basically starts with the same movie but then it becomes not about zombies. But these films, they take three years. So, it’s like, if you’re doing another movie, let’s do something completely different.
I think we need to send them back to the pub to keep talking this out. I'm game for a vampire sequel or some other twist like that. Their heads are in the right place, just let them get drunk enough to come up with something suitably wild and let's get this going!
Ari Aster's 2018 horror film was a polarizing hit. He followed with another polarizing hit in Midsommar, and told Fandango the 2019 movie was "a companion to Hereditary." I'd be OK with a companion as a worthy sequel cousin -- good enough for me -- but Aster did also tell Fandango he had "an idea for a Hereditary sequel that is extremely unorthodox." When he said it, he was waiting to see if Hereditary made the kind of money that would justify that, adding "It would be very weird and crazy." Well, no one would expect less!
Hereditary was made on a roughly $10 million production budget and made about $80 million, becoming A24's biggest movie to date. I'd say that justifies funding whatever sequel Aster had in mind. He's a true artist and when an artist has an organic idea to continue his or her own story, I say let 'er rip.
What worthy horror sequels would you like to see? I'm not really interested in another Psycho sequel, but a good script could possibly convince me otherwise. I'm also burnt out on The Exorcist movie sequels, although I did love the new Fox TV show ... so of course it was cancelled.