Halloween fans eagerly waiting to see what the third and final installment in the new trilogy, Halloween Ends, will look like, might want to check out some of the three most successful sequences from horror franchises past. Although many fans are wary of horror series as they produce more iterations, some third entries prove that many movie franchises can find new and interesting stories to tell beyond their initial successes.
Series that reach their third movie and beyond often have room to expand their world, play with more creative ideas, and in some cases bring a grand finale to a trilogy. Which three horror movies do all of these things best?
10/10 Insidious 3 (6.1)
As one of the best fatherhood horror films, Insidious centers on Josh and his family. These later sequels focus entirely on Elise, the seer the family consults. Several years before the first film, Elise mourns the death of her beloved husband and intends to leave the paranormal investigation business. But when a girl trying to contact her dead mother accidentally summons something evil, Elise is the only one who can save her.
Although critics and fans were disappointed with Insidious 3 for its lack of tension and genuine scares, Lin Shaye’s performance as Elise is universally hailed as the film’s climax and emotional core. There’s a reason the third and fourth movies choose to spotlight her, after all.
9/10 Saw III (6.2)
The third film in the soon to be ten Saw franchise completes the franchise’s first story arc. A dying Jigsaw conscripts (read: has his most unhinged apprentice kidnapped) a surgeon to buy him more time. His deadly traps are still running around town, and investigators are noticing a disturbing new trend. Jigsaw’s traps have always had a narrow margin of survival, but his new victims have no way out.
Not to be confused with Saw 3D (the seventh installment, also known as Saw: The Final Chapter), Saw III was not well received by critics upon release, but remains the franchise’s highest-grossing film. . Fans love its heightened gore levels, creative trap designs, and ending that sends ripples through everything else in the series.
8/10 The conjuration: the devil made me do it (6.3)
The third and least beloved of The Conjuring’s main storyline episodes (lagging in ratings behind the first and second, rated 7.5 and 7.3 respectively) brings the franchise back to adapting the real-life exploits of Ed and Lorraine Warren. When a young man accused of murder pleads not guilty to demonic possession, the Warrens must uncover the demon behind it.
Its story is considered weaker than previous films, lacking energy and being too reliant on gore instead of atmosphere to scare. Still, some appreciate its introspective tone, and Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga turn in another string of powerful performances, ranking it among Vera Farmiga’s best horror films.
7/10 Alien 3 (6.4)
After escaping the xenomorph colony on LV-426, Ellen Ripley gets no respite from her fight. She crash-lands on a prison planet and must now deal with both the violent inmates and the loose xenomorphs that regularly infest the facility, all without hope of rescue or even weapons.
This trio is decried by many for not living up to its predecessors, who rate a comfortable 8.5 and 8.4 respectively. Fans hated the choices made in her storyline, such as the unceremonious deaths of Newt and Hicks after Ripley’s much-loved character arcs with them in Aliens. Nonetheless, there’s praise for its unique visuals and for another standout performance from Sigourney Weaver as Ripley.
6/10 The Exorcist III (6.4)
After the flat disappointment that was Exorcist II: The Heretic, this trio was a welcome surprise. Seventeen years after witnessing the Regan MacNeil case, Lt. Kinderman investigates a series of murders committed by a long-dead Gemini Killer impersonator, only to discover that their origins are supernatural… and possibly not from all the work of an imitator.
Fans appreciate this film for the gripping performances of George C. Scott and Brad Dourif, as well as the film’s ability to match the intensity of the original. In Bob McCabe’s book The Exorcist: Out of the Shadows, original author William Peter Blatty hailed it as “a scarier film than The Exorcist”, which is widely considered the scariest film of all time. .
5/10 A Nightmare On Elm Street Part 3: Dream Warriors (6.6)
The highest-rated Nightmare movie aside from the first (which sits at a respectable 7.4), Dream Warriors is beloved by fans for the return of original heroine Nancy Thompson, now a mentor to new Freddy Krueger targets, and the introduction of Elm Street. children harnessing the power of dreams to battle Freddy.
The children’s powers are unique and used creatively, and the film’s excellent visual and special effects lend themselves well to some of the series’ most iconic kills. Its plot being a direct sequel to the first movie earned points with fans, though for some, Nancy’s fateful death lost them again.
4/10 Son of Frankenstein (7.1)
The very first horror movie franchises came from the universal monster movies of the thirties and forties, like Frankenstein, the ongoing tragedy of Henry Frankenstein and the monster he created. Even after Henry’s death, the monster lives on, and through this trio, he has lost the benevolent nature of his youth and seeks only to spread the misery he feels.
Basil Rathbone, star of some of the best Sherlock Holmes films, plays Wolf von Frankenstein, Henry’s son who has come home to claim Castle Frankenstein as his inheritance. Little does he suspect that his father’s monster and former grave robber, Ygor, is still around as well, leading him to follow in Henry’s footsteps. This film’s entertaining story and memorable characters heavily inspired the plot of Mel Brooks’ hit comedy, Young Frankenstein.
3/10 Day of the Dead (7.1)
The third installment in George A. Romero’s legendary Dead trilogy, Day of the Dead is set after the zombie apocalypse has fully taken hold and the remnants of humanity are driven into hiding. Scientists trapped with increasingly unstable soldiers in an underground bunker struggle to survive not only the zombies outside, but their fellows inside as well.
While Day’s rating drops noticeably below Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead, which both sit at 7.8, it’s still a beloved entry in the franchise. Some complain that the action takes too long to start, but once it does, it doesn’t stop for a second. It’s a desperate struggle for survival on all sides in one of the darkest visions of the future.
2/10 Red Dragon (7.2)
The Silence of the Lambs holds an impressive 8.6 on IMDb, while its direct sequel Hannibal dropped to a more average 6.8. Will Graham’s hunt for vicious serial killer Francis Dolarhyde, with Hannibal Lecter’s attempts to destroy Will from his prison cell, an imminent background threat, builds up tension and boosts the show’s esteem.
Will is a very different protagonist from Clarice Starling. Clarice is an FBI intern meeting Lecter for the first time, and she’s someone Lecter really likes. Will is a seasoned profiler who has a history with Lecter, as he was the one who caught and imprisoned him, and Lecter hates his guts for it. Their scenes together are brief but shockingly effective. Coupled with Ralph Fiennes’ terrifying portrayal of Dolarhyde, Will and viewers face nightmares from all sides.
1/10 Army of Darkness (7.4)
Rated on par with the acclaimed original is the final entry in the original Evil Dead trilogy. Ash Williams never rests: This time he not only has to fight cackling demons, but do so after being thrown centuries into the past and forced to deal with a whole legion of things instead of just one. cabin. Even more difficult than the battle itself is forming a kingdom of medieval peasants to support it.
Perhaps the reason for Army of Darkness’ enduring popularity is that while the first two films were often dark and funny, this third film can comfortably be called a comedy-horror, making it more palatable to the audience, more spooky than bloody. Bruce Campbell’s performance as Ash is classic, delivering iconic lines with both dry sarcasm and macho enthusiasm.