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Every Good Horror Movie Doesn’t Need a Sequel

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It Follows

Horror fans are funny because we often don’t practice what we preach. We constantly bemoan the fact that every new movie is a remake of an old one, for example; however, when it comes to supporting original horror, many of us fail to be there when the genre needs us. Similarly, we often roll our eyes at the large quantity of sequels we’re inundated with, begging for something new.

And yet, what’s the first reaction we typically have when we see a movie we really like? We demand, oddly enough, a sequel. We want those stories to continue so we can bear witness to the further exploits of a new icon or simply because we want to dig deeper into rich narrative mythologies. We love what we love, and we want more of it. And that’s great. There’s nothing wrong with that.

But sometimes, what we as fans fail to realize is that not every movie – no matter how good it is – warrants or even allows for a follow-up. One could say that all sequels are inherently unnecessary, and in most cases it’s hard to argue with that, but while some movies beg for continuations, others tell such singular stories that the very idea of asking for a sequel seems to entirely miss the point.

bubba

Hosting an Ask-Me-Anything session over on Reddit this week, Bruce Campbell was asked about the status of Bubba Ho-Tep 2, and his wonderful response really caught my eye. In so many words – you’ll find his full quote in the next paragraph – Campbell pointed out that Bubba Ho-Tep isn’t exactly a movie that needs a sequel, noting that the lack of a follow-up may actually be a good thing.

At the end of the day, too, it’s also okay to not make a sequel,” Campbell replied. “We’ve all gone a little sequel-crazy, a little remake-crazy, myself included. It’s okay for original ideas to get made and made once. That’s what they used to do. It’s gotten a little chronic now.”

Directed by Don Coscarelli and based on Joe R. Lansdale’s brilliant short story, Bubba Ho-Tep is a prime example of a movie that doesn’t have anything to gain by spawning either a prequel or a sequel – both have been brought up. The story is one with a definite beginning, middle, and end; and with both main characters dying in the finale, it’s hard to wonder why anyone is asking for more.

The reason fans want more is, of course, because they love the movie so much, but asking for more is asking Coscarelli, Lansdale, and Campbell to scramble to find a way to continue a story that shouldn’t be continued. As Campbell points out, not every movie we love needs to be turned into a franchise, and the beauty of a film like Bubba Ho-Tep is that it was done once and done well.

cabin in the woods

Another hit many have demanded a sequel to is The Cabin in the Woods, and despite the fact that Drew Goddard recently fanned those flames, I can’t imagine why anyone would want it. The meta horror masterpiece deconstructed the genre, said what it had to say, and left a mark that will never be forgotten; and it’s hard to fathom a sequel serving any purpose other than a monetary one.

More recently, gems like The Babadook and The Final Girls have been the subject of sequel talks, odd considering both seem almost sequel-proof. The two movies, two of the best in recent years, tell stories that are inextricably linked to the main characters within them, and to continue those stories or bring other characters into the mix would water down the power of what we’ve already seen.

it follows

This year’s It Follows is another example of a movie that’s better off without a sequel because the magic of the film lies within the fact that so much was left unanswered. It’s hard not to want those answers, I can’t deny that, but the reality is that It Follows is a movie that greatly benefits from all the mystery. After all, it’s because of that mystery that we still can’t stop talking about the film.

Sometimes, when we demand sequels, we force filmmakers to build upon stories that are better left as is, and countless films over the years have proven that just because a movie is well received, that doesn’t mean we need more of it. You can be sad that classics like Black Christmas and My Bloody Valentine never got sequels, but maybe, just maybe, they’re special because they didn’t.

So think before you demand. Do you really want a sequel to your new favorite horror movie?

Or are you just being greedy?

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