Halloween and horror movies are a defining genre in cinema. In fact, they’re pretty much one of the earliest genres in cinema history with Le Manoir du Diable being considered the first horror movie over a century ago in 1896 during the silent film era. Some of the most popular movies in early cinema were movies such as Dracula and Frankenstein in the 1930s, to Psycho— the first slasher movie in 1960. Those who love Halloween and everything that comes with, seem to enjoy the thrill and excitement of movies meant to scare you beyond belief and the cultural icons that have come out of the genre, such as Jason Voorhees, Michael Myers, and Freddie Krueger.
However, a puzzling trend that I feel has come out of the horror genre more than any other genre of cinema seems to be the unoriginality of their sequels, taking the novelty of the first and possibly second films and turning the franchise into a cheap and less polished version of their predecessors for the sake of earning some cheap cash, tanking the reputation of the franchise.
Friday the 13th is a good example to start with.
The first film from 1980 revolves around a group of campers meticulously getting killed off one by one by an unknown assailant. Who? I won’t say in case it’s a movie you may want to see, which I highly recommend. While not the most critically received movie, what came after the original is what truly brought the franchise to stardom when Jason was introduced in “Friday the 13th Part II,” with the concept of the movie mirroring the original. They made a third film for the franchise in 1982, this time introducing Jason’s signature look we familiarize him with today, his hockey mask. Still, its part III, and the concepts of the movie are never changing which is just a group of teenagers going to Camp Crystal Lake to get killed off.
“Friday the 13th: The Last Chapter” was supposed to be the last film in the franchise and is considered by most to be the best film in the franchise and a good way of ending the movies once and for all, but of course, they chose to run the franchise on for another SIX MOVIES until they rebooted the franchise in 2009, with almost every movie retaining the same concepts from the first four– somehow getting worse film by film, completely tanking it’s reputation and forcing Paramount to sell the franchise after the 8th movie failed horribly at the box office. The Friday the 13th franchise is memorable and legendary because of its star slasher, but like most horror movie sequels, they choose to replicate the originals and make each movie that comes later just the same old mess, even worse.
The Halloween movies are another example of an elaborate and entertaining franchise, gone wrong.
The first two films revolve around Michael Myers escaping his Psychiatrist and stalking Laurie Strode, notably the most memorable films of the franchise, The Third Halloween movie isn’t even about Michael Myers, which was a huge letdown for a lot of the diehard fans excited to see him return for a new sequel. The rest of the movies after the third were about Michael, but failed to capture the essence and terror of the originals while turning it into something new. The franchise tried to be different unlike the “Friday the 13th” movies but still found ways to tarnish the reputation of the franchise with confusing and convoluted plotlines that don’t quite add up with the lore.
In 2007 they decided to reboot the franchise for two films to mixed results, returning to more chilling roots but still finding ways to not quite live up to the success of the original. Then recently once again, they rebooted the Franchise again for an unnecessary three sequels that failed to take its opportunity to do the franchise justice once and for all. Did I also mention they’re rebooting the franchise again? I think people would rather see someone take another crack at “Friday the 13th” than see them fail to do Michael justice.
These two franchises are some of the most beloved ever, and there have been tons of other franchises that have attempted and failed to replicate the success of its predecessors such as “JAWS,” “Nightmare on Elm Street,” and “Scream.”
The honest truth is most horror franchises cannot replicate their successes as other film genres find a way too, and the reputation of sequel horror movies still finds ways to prevent possible success at the box office as a result. There are however some franchises that do find ways to prevent themselves from tarnishing the original legacy and creating entertaining sequels, with the “Saw” franchise, “Chucky,” and even “Night of the Living Dead” having some good sequels.
Truth be told, some franchises should just be left for the dead.
For comments/questions about this story, DM us on Instagram @thewhitatrowan, or, email firstname.lastname@example.org.