Horror movies have definitely seen a resurgence in the last few years. Movies such as Saw, Paranormal Activity and The Conjuring (to name a few) have become icons of the genre, proving that there is more to horror than just jump scares and gore. When combined with a great script and top-notch direction, horror can appeal to wider audiences, making for both terrifying and compelling cinema.
One such example was 2014's #TheBabadook, the stunning indie debut from Australian filmmaker Jennifer Kent. The Babadook follows a widowed mother and her troubled six-year-old son, who begin to be stalked after discovering a pop-up book about a creepy being called Mister Babadook. The movie's cast, tone and direction was spot on, and made it utterly terrifying from start to finish.
As with all popular movies — horror or otherwise — rumors of a sequel began to circulate shortly after release, but Kent quickly shut them down. She told IGN back in 2014 that a sequel would destroy movie's integrity. Kent has also had the foresight to keep hold of the rights to the film and the 'Babadook' character, meaning no other studio will be able to swoop in and leech off the movie's success:
It’s just not what the film’s about. It would destroy the integrity of everything we worked so hard to protect. So we are publishing a version of the book, and really that’s not about merchandising; it’s about creating a standalone, beautiful piece of art that goes with the film — a companion piece. But that’s as far as we’re going in the sense of sidelines or sequels.”
The Babadook will remain a standalone, and not go the was of say #Sinister or Insidious. But is this a good thing? Or does a great story, or character, deserve to be used regardless?
Of all the successful horror movies of the how ever many years, almost all have had at least one sequel — most of which, let's be honest, are a complete waste of time. Can you imagine how gold Paranormal Activity, Scream or Hellraiser would have been without its many sequels? It's hard to imagine. While classics like Halloween and Friday the 13th have kept their integrity intact thanks to a resurgence of nostalgia, it's hard to think of them as standalone movies, without the sub-par sequels that followed.
More like this?
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Kent is right, sequels can (and do) ruin movies, but now always. Ultimately, Saw 1 - 3 were great, as was the #Alien franchise, and more recently, The Conjuring 2 saw favorable box office returns and reviews. They had good scripts, good stories, and upheld the integrity of the original, rather than bring it down. In the next few years, we will see a resurgence in remakes over sequels, which are likely to do well at the box office, but it just makes one-off great horror like The Babadook all the more special.
Ultimately, what you love is subjective — I adore the #ResidentEvil movie franchise even though I know it's garbage — but when movies like The Babadook, It Follows, The Neon Demon, Lights Out, and The Witch breathe new life into the genre, and get moviegoers excited about horror again — that's totally worth preserving.
Which horror sequel did you hate the most? Let us know in the comments!