Next week you’ll have the chance to bring Escape Room 2: Tournament of Champions into your home with the Blu-ray, DVD and Digital release on Monday, the 18th of October. The sequel brings back Taylor Russell, Logan Miller, and Deborah Ann Woll, the survivors of the 2019 original, and introduces some new faces and new, even more diabolical Escape Rooms.
You can win a copy of the film on Blu-ray right here.
To celebrate the release, Ben Robins looks back at other classic follow ups from the very best horror series.
It’s safe to say that there are a lot of horror sequels, almost more than every other genre combined. And whilst it’s not unusual for some of the biggest franchises to run at least ten movies deep (with at least one seemingly always ‘in space’), that’s not to say the quality dips quite as much as you might expect.
Below are ten of the very best – the loudest, funnest, most invigorating – horror sequels ever made.
It wasn’t until this reformed second effort that the full-force of V/H/S’s tape-focussed creepiness really started to become clear. Boasting killer segments from Adam Wingard, Simon Barrett, Blair Witch’s Eduardo Sanchez and a joint nightmare from the dream team of Gareth Evans and Indonesian shock-jockey Timo Tjahjanto, V/H/S 2 ups the ante in almost every possible way, delivering some of the most twisted set pieces ever seen in the found-footage sub-genre.
Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (1986)
One of horror’s most iconic franchises, to date there are twelve Friday the 13th movies, including the 2009 remake (and the one in space). But away from all the soul-hopping, robo-upgrading chicanery Jason Voorhees eventually manages in the series’ dying moments, the very best of them is Tom McLoughlin’s sixth entry; a straight-up masterclass in 80s slasher horror packed with knowing humour and a fittingly gnarly bodycount. It’s Jason in his prime, hockey mask, machete and all – if you only ever watch one Friday, make it this one.
The Purge: Anarchy (2014)
Love them or hate them, there’s no denying that the Purge movies’ central gimmick – all crime being legal in the US for one night a year – is nothing short of genius. But it wasn’t until series creator James DeMonaco took to the streets with this John Carpenter-esque sequel that that gimmick really started to take off. The masks are creepier, the action tighter, and Frank Grillo is on fine form as a grizzled cop out for revenge; Anarchy is a massively underrated genre gem.
Scream 2 (1997)
Hot on the heels of what quickly became the defining horror movie of the 90s, Wes Craven’s second Scream is in many ways, the perfect sequel. Craven updates high school for college, and doesn’t shy away from the trauma left behind by the events of the first film. The whoddunit element stays fresh, and despite the original cast remaining front-and-centre, there’s still that unshakeable feeling that no one is safe, something which started to wear a little bit thinner with every passing entry.
Final Destination 5 (2011)
Having nailed such a killer formula in the very first entry, it’s no surprise that the Final Destination series often struggled to find new ground. But this Eric Heisserer-penned five-quel not only features the most cringe-inducing set pieces, it wraps things up in a wickedly clever time-turner of a finale too, that ultimately pits #5 as a bit of a victory lap for what has become one of horror’s most reliable franchises.
[Rec] 2 (2009)
Here, directing duo Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza seem devoted to topping their work on the first [Rec], a Spanish-language masterclass in found-footage. Not only do they flip the first on its head in the opening act, but go on to deliver even more ferocious action, and an incredibly neat third act twist that ensures this follow-up walks hand-in-hand with the original.
Children of the Corn III: Urban Harvest (1994)
Whilst the Children of the Corn movies aren’t exactly the most celebrated in the genre, horror fans have found a lot to love in the increasing silliness of their murderous child cults over the years, as what was once a mid-80s Stephen King cash-grab has since swollen to over eleven instalments (and counting).
Urban Harvest, which sees the action transported to the big city, is far and away the maddest of them, full of perfectly pitched, crowd-pleasing wackiness and a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameo from future Furiosa, Charlize Theron. Corn Monster, anyone?
A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987)
Of all the iconic slasher villains, Freddy Krueger has arguably the most interesting sequels, and we could’ve just as easily stumped for the ultra-meta New Nightmare, or the queer genius of Freddy’s Revenge. Chuck Russell’s Dream Warriors is in many ways the height of the series though, with some of the most imaginative visuals and action set pieces of the lot, and one hell of a central pitch. The title – Dream Warriors – says everything you need to know.
Return of the Living Dead III (1993)
It might be one of the loosest sequels here, but Brian Yuzna’s hijacking of the other Living Dead series is one of the most underrated zombie films perhaps ever. A terrified motorcycle punk uses the Trioxin gas from Dan O’Bannon’s 1985 original to reanimate his dead girlfriend, only for her to immediately develop a hunger for human brains. Yuzna deals mainly in heart, doing away with most of the humour of the first; Melinda Clarke is magnetic in the lead and there is just not enough love for this movie anywhere. Most likely because it’s called Return of the Living Dead III.
Evil Dead II (1987)
There’s no debating that the godfather of horror sequels remains this one though, Sam Raimi’s follow-up to his DIY masterwork, The Evil Dead. With Raimi using the fame and notoriety that followed to essentially remake his original with all sorts of extra groovy bells and whistles, Evil Dead II is the Mona Lisa of horror comedies; an ultra-screwy smorgasbord of splatter, with star Bruce Campbell dialled all the way up to eleven (where he’s since stayed for several decades now). Raimi and co. wrote the book on Cabin in the Woods horror, and it’s never been funner or funnier than it is here.