Exorcist II: The Heretic

Weekend Roundtable: Worst Horror Sequels

The sequel to the 2017 horror smash It arrives this weekend, and we can hope for the best that it will live up to the original. Sadly, many horror sequels don’t. In fact, a lot of them are just plain awful. Like some of these, for example…

Brian Hoss

Sifting through piles of terrible and unnecessary horror sequels, many of them from the same franchises, it’s hard to weigh a number 5 or higher sequel against a poorly conceived number 2. My off the cuff answer might be the American The Ring Two, but I think that American Psycho 2 is a better pick.

There are many things wrong that movie, but let me focus on the issues that bother me the most. First off, no matter how you slice it, it’s an awful horror movie that exudes notes of having been written via dictation during a jail visit. Secondly, but possibly more upsetting, is that I have actually bothered to watch this movie. It’s something along of the lines of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation, wherein I had been told not only that it’s bad but that you can’t believe how bad without watching it. Obviously, the forced, sad attempts to link the movie’s plot to the original American Psycho are without redeeming qualities, but even as a cable/direct-to-video horror cheapie, the bar is so missed by this mess that it hurts a little.

M. Enois Duarte

What other horror sequel could possibly top the dumbfounding awfulness of Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2? Picking up several years after the events of its predecessor with the younger brother now turned into a crazed, Santa-costumed serial killer, a quarter of this delightful guilty-pleasure is told in flashbacks, literally made up of scenes from the first movie. Part of its badness also comes from the filmmakers trying really hard to explain that Ricky’s motivations stems from mental trauma and being exposed to violence, almost as if knowingly satirizing what public figures and government officials at the time believed to be at the root of violent acts. You know, exposure to be violence in music, movies and other media, like video games, influences young people to violence. Today, Ricky’s killing spree in the streets can be a little unnerving to watch, given the current political climate and number of mass shootings of late, but the whole spectacle is so over the top and absurd that comes off too goofy and laughable to be taken seriously.

Adam Tyner (DVDTalk)

I’ve subjected myself to enough dreadful horror sequels over the years that I’ve built up a resistance. Oh, Michael Myers is duking it out against Kung Fu Busta Rhymes? Whatever. Everyone else in the sequel is flashing back to The Hills Have Eyes; why shouldn’t the family dog have his own flashbacks too?

As far as a horror sequel that truly, sincerely bothers me? Let’s talk about The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia. And it has nothing to do with the movie itself, which – forgettable and routine though it is – really isn’t all that painful to watch. It’s the worst title this side of Zombie 5: Killing Birds, which featured neither people killing birds nor birds killing people. The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia has no connection whatsoever to the first movie. None of the action is set in Connecticut. Its characters are new to the Peach State, sure, but they didn’t just high tail it out of Connecticut. Why not call the movie The Haunting in Georgia? Six years after it limped to home video, I’m still seething with anger typing all this.

Now you know what sorts of things keep me up at night.

Josh Zyber

I find the entire Exorcist franchise fascinating, even though more than half the movies in it are kind of lousy. Honestly, the only truly great movie in the series is the Oscar-nominated original, while The Exorcist III is a very underrated, worthy follow-up. The others, though…

Many fans will instinctively call John Boorman’s Exorcist II: The Heretic the worst sequel of all time, if not one of the worst films of all time, period. A lot of those complaints are overstated. It’s not actually that bad, though its biggest crime is simply being boring as sin.

Renny Harlin’s fourth film, Exorcist: The Beginning, is a cheesy gross-out schlock-fest that also compares very poorly to the original, but at least it has no pretentions of being great art and is kind of dopey fun. The biggest turkey in this franchise, in my opinion, is Paul Schrader’s contemplative and spiritual but utterly tedious Dominion: Prequel to The Exorcist. After watching that, I can totally understand why the studio fired Schrader and brought in Harlin to reshoot 90% of the movie.

Your Turn

I feel like there are a million possibilities for this subject. What are the worst horror sequels you’ve sat through?


  1. Plissken99

    Truly doesn’t get worse than The Hills Have Eyes 2 by Wes Craven. Craven was going through a nasty divorce at the time, and was willing to direct any steaming pile of shit with a paycheck involved. Deadly Blessing and Deadly Friend were awful enough, but this is absolutely the worst movie in Cravens career.

  2. There are some whopper pants dragging piles of sequel poo out there, it’s hard to find “The Worst” – Rob Zombie’s “Halloween II” would be on my list. “The Birds II: Lands End” would certainly make the grade. I think my favorite entertainingly terrible sequel would have to be “Book of Shadows: Blair Witch II” – for what practically amounts to a live-action Scooby-Doo movie complete with Blair Witch Wagon, it’s a miracle anyone associated with that movie went on to have anything resembling a career.

      • I’m with you thought it was solid remake material with its own spin, I didn’t care for his Unrated Cut of #1 though – that “rape escape” was brutally unnecessary. I even got to see the original workprint cut as part of a test audience about two months before it opened with the original ending where Michael dies and thought that was especially great. But man, that sequel, outside of some compelling imagery, there’s nothing redeemable about it.

  3. Rick Bergmann

    Didn’t mind the sequel to The Hills Have Eyes remake, it wasn’t great but entertaining. I have to go with Pumpkinhead 2. Love the original and like the 3rd and 4th ones, but 2 is terrible.

  4. theHDphantom

    While I’ve come to tolerate (and even enjoy at times) Rob Zombie’s Halloween after a few viewings (MUCH preferably the theatrical cut), Halloween 2 was just brutally bad. I would say that is the one that’s at the top of my list for worst horror sequels. Halloween: Resurrection and Friday the 13th Part 7: The New Blood are right up there too.

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