We're #2! Horror Movie Sequels (Arguably) Better Than the Originals

Sequels are rarely as good as the originals -- Dream Team II, New Coke, Jaden Smith -- but each of these horror movies avoided the sophomore slump by equaling, and in most cases, outdoing the first film. (Note: this list is restricted to "number twos" only, since the first is the standard by which all others are judged.)

Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981)

Friday the 13th Part 2
© Paramount

From the shocking opening scene, this sequel to the landmark slasher delivers everything we loved about the first -- big-time kills, big-time T&A -- but with an even scarier villain: a sack-headed Jason Vorhees making his homicidal debut in place of his vengeful mom.

Aliens (1986)

Aliens
© 20th Century Fox
As good as Alien is, everything about Aliens is bigger, badder and bolder: from multiple aliens to the in-your-face Marines with high-powered machine guns to the final epic battle with the alien queen. Game over, man!

Creepshow 2 (1987)

Creepshow 2
© New World
While not markedly superior to the original Creepshow, this second installment holds its own, with intriguing stories from Stephen King and George Romero, featuring a living statue, an undead hitchhiker and what appears to be the son of The Blob.

Evil Dead 2 (1987)

Evil Dead 2
© Renaissance

Evil Dead 2 touches a lot of the same plot points as the first film with a bigger budget and a bigger sense of humor, scoring on both counts and delivering a madcap splatter-fest that's won a whole new legion of fans.

Ghoulies II (1987)

Ghoulies II poster
© Empire
I have yet to find out what Ghoulies did to deserve a sequel, but the second film -- in which the diminutive demons take residence in a traveling carnival's haunted house ride -- improves on the original in every way. Not that Ghoulies II is anything great, but it provides some fun moments, like a straight razor-wielding ghoulie making cat noises to attract a woman looking for her lost kitty.

Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988)

Hellbound: Hellraiser II
© New World Pictures

While the original was confined largely to one house, Hellbound, as the title implies, takes us to the hellish domain of Pinhead and the Cenobites, the bigger scale providing an excuse for trippy, Nightmare on Elm Street-ish visuals in what could be the best installment of the series.

Phantasm II (1988)

Phantasm II poster
© Universal

This overlooked sequel came a full nine years after the first and pumped up the action, the acting, the budget and the coherence, making for not only a more accessible film but arguably a better one as well.

Return of the Killer Tomatoes (1988)

Return of the Killer Tomatoes
© New World Pictures
Whereas Attack of the Killer Tomatoes is corny and only sporadically funny, Return of the Killer Tomatoes is corny and semi-regularly funny. That's better, right?

Troll 2 (1990)

Troll 2
© Columbia TriStar

Troll 2 is the only sequel on this list that's better than the original because it's so much worse than the original. The list of things wrong with this now-infamous cult film is endless -- from the horrendous acting to the amateurish costumes to the nonsensical plot to the fact that there aren't even trolls in the movie! (That's because it wasn't made to be a sequel, but rather a separate movie called Goblins.) Bad-tastic!

The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

The Silence of the Lambs
© Orion

It might not be a direct sequel to the movie Manhunter so much as an adaptation of the book that's the sequel to the book that Manhunter was based on, Red Dragon -- not to be confused with the movie Red Dragon, which is either a remake of Manhunter or a prequel to the Silence of the Lamb and its sequels...Where was I? Oh yeah; it's, like, good and stuff.

Blade II (2002)

Blade II poster
© New Line
Like Aliens, Blade II took an injection of HGH after its initial outing and busted at the seams with over-the-top, video game-like action (aided by the magical touch of director Guillermo del Toro) and not only vampires, but also a new breed of mutant super-vampire-type thingees that feed on other vampires -- much better bad guys than Stephen Dorff.

Cube 2: Hypercube (2002)

Cube 2: Hypercube
© TriMark

This sequel to the cult favorite sci fi-horror flick about a mysterious series of interconnected, booby-trapped rooms basically recreates the original with a bigger budget, a better cast, a bit more insight into the ongoing, behind-the-scenes plot and the added dimension of time shifts from room to room -- meaning in one room, you might need Pampers; in another, Depends.

Bloody Murder 2 (2003)

Bloody Murder 2
© Artisan
In the long line of low-budget Friday the 13th knock-offs, Bloody Murder is one of them. Bloody Murder 2 is as well, but it also has a certain -- dare I say -- "competency" that the first film and so many films of this ilk lack.

Jeepers Creepers 2 (2003)

Jeepers Creepers 2
© United Artists
Whereas the original Jeepers Creepers started out strongly and ended in a head-scratching whimper, the sequel is a gas throughout, as a high school basketball team driving through the Creeper's territory falls victim to the real "bat man."

Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid (2004)

Anacondas: The Hunt For The Blood Orchid
© Screen Gems
Anacondas goes the Aliens route of multiplying the excitement by multiplying the number of monsters (in this case, giant snakes in the midst of mating season in a Borneo jungle), making for a more action-packed, satisfying film with better special effects. Jennifer Lopez fans, of course, might disagree.

The Devil's Rejects (2005)

The Devil's Rejects
© Lionsgate
House of 1000 Corpses is an ambitious but frenzied, all-over-the-place homage to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, but The Devil's Rejects is more focused with a more unique plot within the horror realm: a twisted outlaw road trip, like a demented Bonnie and Clyde or even...Thelma and Louise?

House of the Dead II (2005)

House of the Dead II
© Lionsgate

Granted, it's hard to make a worse movie than Uwe Boll's House of the Dead, but this SyFy movie is a surprisingly adequate zombie offering with none of those silly "bullet time" scenes that the first film was so fond of.

Underworld: Evolution (2006)

Underworld: Evolution
© Screen Gems
This sequel plays like an extension of the first Underworld, so if not better, it's at least as good. Plus it's got a vampire with wings.

Hostel: Part II (2007)

Hostel Part II
© Lionsgate
Hostel: Part II's plot is more accessible and intriguing than the original film, reaching beyond the standard "torture porn" scenario to give us a humanizing peek into the lives of the warped people who would want to torture random strangers.

White Noise 2: The Light (2008)

White Noise 2
© Rogue

This taut, unpredictable straight-to-video sequel has a surprisingly high production value (It was released in theaters internationally.) and an intriguing setup that adds further complexity to the original's plot. This time around, after the lead (Nathan Fillion) begins to save the lives of people whose deaths he foresees, he discovers that cheating death causes them to go crazy and kill innocent people. Oops, my bad.

The Woman (2011)

The Woman
© Bloody Disgusting Selects

This sequel to the 2009 cannibal film has only one cannibal -- the titular woman -- so there's less gory mayhem, but it's got better acting, better direction (with Lucky McKee jumping on board) and a better, deeper script that, in telling the story of a man who captures and tries to domesticate a feral woman, makes a sharp commentary on traditional gender roles.

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The Collection (2012)

The Collection
© LD Entertainment

The gleefully over-the-top sequel not only improves immeasurably upon its predecessor The Collector, but it functions as a refreshing throwback to '80s-styled slashers, delivering ridiculous kills, practical (read: no CGI) gore effects, a memorable masked villain and a simple, straightforward plot that barrels forward at a breakneck pace.

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V/H/S 2 (2013)

V/H/S 2 poster
© Magnet Releasing

Despite a lame finale, this found footage horror anthology sequel is imaginative and energetic, improving (albeit slightly) on this first film in almost every aspect.

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The Purge: Anarchy (2014)

'The Purge: Anarchy' movie poster.
© Universal

Whereas was all potential with little payoff, The Purge: Anarchy smartly opens up the possibilities for the overall Purge concept by expanding the scope beyond the limited single-home setting of the first movie, delivering a more adventurous, action-packed tale featuring more likable characters and a healthy dose of social commentary.

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