6+ Horror Movies That Need a Sequel (And 4 That Never Needed One)

Horror movie sequels are abundant, but there are still plenty of great horror movies leaving their sequel potential untouched. Collected here are a few horror films that need a sequel, along with ideas for what those sequels would be about.

A sequel to Wes Craven’s New Nightmare (1994) would work as one last movie for Freddy and Nancy (in a very meta way), and it could lead to a new start to the Nightmare franchise.

Horror movie sequels come in many different forms. Some, like Blair Witch (2016), are natural progressions of the original story. Others, like Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 (2000), deviate wildly from the original. And many horror movies, like The Blair Witch Project (1999), never needed a sequel.

Everyone has their opinions on what a sequel should be and what it should do within the context of growing a film franchise. What is indisputable is that sequels are big business. With the rise in popularity of shared universes, requels, and legacy sequels, many horror movies are being mined for their sequel potential. Even with so many movies getting sequels, plenty of titles have been overlooked.

Quatermass 2 (1957)
Quatermass 2 (1957) is thought to be the first film sequel to use a numbering system, though the use of numbers in sequels started catching on in a big way starting in the 1970s.

Listed below are horror movies that are perfect for the sequel treatment. These movies need a sequel, and this article takes a stab at what those hypothetical sequels might look like. Further below is a section containing horror movies that did get a sequel, but their follow-ups didn’t add anything to the original. Or even worse, some of the sequels actually made the original movie less interesting in retrospect.

Beware of major spoilers for all movies listed. Also, to be clear, we have no inside knowledge about any upcoming sequels or potential sequels. This is all just fun speculation done as a fan of the movies listed.

Horror Movies That Need a Sequel

Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992)

Kristy Swanson as Buffy in Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992).
Talk about a reboot of the Buffy TV series has been circulating for years with no real movement, so why not make a sequel to the movie instead?
The Original Movie

If you’re familiar with the classic Buffy the Vampire Slayer television series starring Sarah Michelle Gellar, you’ll be familiar with the basic premise of the 1992 movie. Kristy Swanson plays Buffy, a high-school senior whose main concerns are fashion, shopping, and cheerleading. One day, a man named Merrick (Donald Sutherland) changes Buffy’s life by informing her that she is The Slayer, the latest in a long line of superpowered young women chosen to hunt and kill vampires. Buffy grudgingly accepts her fate and kills a powerful vampire, Lothos (Rutger Hauer), who was responsible for the deaths of many previous Slayers.

Kristy Swanson and Paul Reubens in Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992).
Despite certain ideas from the Buffy movie making their way into the TV series, the movie is still a separate, standalone work.
The Potential Sequel

In a sequel, Buffy would be nearly 50 years old. In the past three decades Buffy (still played by Kristy Swanson) traveled the world battling the forces of darkness, but now she’s brought back to her home in Los Angeles due to a death in her family. The death puts Buffy in a state of mental crisis where she feels like her own days are numbered. After all, Slayers tend to die young. While in town, Buffy meets the teenage daughter of her former boyfriend Pike (played by Luke Perry in the 1992 movie), and she tries to befriend the girl with little luck.

Meanwhile, a vampiric disciple of Lothos plans to magically steal Buffy’s powers, thereby cutting off the lineage of the Slayers forever. In the end, Buffy does have her power stolen by the vampire, but she still manages to kill the villain with the help of Pike’s daughter. Buffy expects her powers to be returned to her, but instead the powers go to the next Slayer in line: Pike’s daughter. Further sequels would focus on Pike’s daughter as the new Slayer with Buffy as her Watcher.

Wes Craven’s New Nightmare (1994)

Robert Englund and Tracy Middendorf in Wes Craven's New Nightmare (1994)
After A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010), the franchise went silent, creating the longest period of time without a Freddy Krueger movie since the character first appeared in 1984. (pictured: New Nightmare)
The Original Movie

New Nightmare was the seventh movie in the Nightmare on Elm Street Franchise, coming out three years after Freddy Krueger was “killed” in Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991). New Nightmare is set in a fictionalized version of the real world where A Nightmare on Elm Street is just a series of movies. We learn that Wes Craven actually trapped an ancient, evil entity in his story when he created Freddy Krueger. When the movies ended, the entity tried to cross over into the real world by taking the form of Freddy. It’s a bit complicated and very meta, but Heather Langenkamp, who plays Nancy in the movies, is forced to fight the entity to keep it from escaping. Essentially, New Nightmare is the movie that trapped the entity once again.

Heather Langenkamp as Nancy Thompson in Wes Craven's New Nightmare (1994)
Heather Langenkamp and Robert Englund have both suggested they might have one more Nightmare movie in them.
The Potential Sequel

With no new Nightmare movie since the 2010 remake, this is the perfect time for a New Nightmare sequel. Once again set in the “real” world, the movie could focus on Heather Langenkamp as she begins to notice that the entity may be starting to reemerge. Since she knows that the entity can be trapped if another movie is made, we follow her around Hollywood as she tries to pitch a new Nightmare on Elm Street sequel. Heather’s pitch is a direct sequel (requel) to A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987).

Heather is repeatedly rejected by studios, and, as she grows more frustrated, the entity grows stronger. Once again taking the form of Freddy, the entity goes after Heather and other members of the Dream Warriors cast (including Patricia Arquette, Laurence Fishburne, etc.). Robert Englund would, of course, appear as both himself and a new version of Freddy. This could also lead directly into a new beginning for the franchise, with the ending of New Nightmare 2 revealing that the studio decides to make a new series of Nightmare movies with a different killer invading people’s dreams. The next sequel could be that movie.

Demon Knight (1995)

Billy Zane as The Collector in Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight (1995)
Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight is is one of the most fun horror movies of the 1990s, and it could easily be brought back as a series of films.
The Original Movie

Demon Knight is about a sacred key that, if it falls into the hands of demons, would bring about untold darkness and destruction. The key was originally filled with the blood of Jesus Christ, and the blood inside the key holds the power to repel and defeat the demons. At any given time, the key is entrusted to one person as its guardian. The guardian doesn’t age, but they will inevitably fall in battle, refilling the key with their own blood and passing their power to someone else. At the end of Demon Knight, guardian Frank Brayker (William Sadler) passes his power to a woman named Jeryline (Jada Pinkett Smith).

William Sadler and Jada Pinkett Smith in Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight (1995)
Demon Knight could be turned into an anthology series with each movie focusing on a different guardian, like Frank Brayker and Jeryline seen here.
The Potential Sequel

The sequel would pick the story up in the present day with Jeryline (again played by Jada Pinkett Smith) still the guardian of the key. She moves from town to town, never settling down anywhere too long. One day she sees a man that looks strikingly similar to the demon known as The Collector (played once again by Billy Zane) whom she destroyed back in 1995 right before she became the new guardian. The man warns Jeryline about a new Collector, but Jeryline is understandably cautious. His warning is accurate though, and Jeryline becomes trapped inside a nearly empty mall (similar to Dawn of the Dead) along with a few other strangers and the mysterious man.

Jeryline and the man end up having to work together to stop a new, more powerful Collector, but the man’s true intentions remain unclear for most of the movie. It is later revealed that the man is the original Collector from the 1995 movie, and he’s trying to get the key for himself as leverage to work his way back into Hell after being disgraced in defeat so many years ago.

Tusk (2014)

Justin Long and Michael Parks in Tusk (2014)
Unfortunately Michael Parks (on the right) is no longer with us, but his brilliance as Howard Howe in Tusk could still be honored in a sequel.
The Original Movie

Kevin Smith’s Tusk is a dark and comedic body horror movie about a man, Howard Howe (Michael Parks), whose goal in life is to turn a man into a walrus. Wallace Bryton (Justin Long) is Howard’s latest victim and greatest achievement. When we last see Wallace, he has gone full walrus, shedding a tear as he lives his life in a wildlife sanctuary after his body and mind have been fully transformed.

Justin Long in Tusk (2014)
Kevin Smith has his own idea about a sequel to Tusk, so maybe our idea can round out a trilogy.
The Potential Sequel

In the sequel, we begin with Wallace’s former girlfriend Ally (Genesis Rodriguez) and his former friend Teddy (Haley Joel Osment). They tried helping Wallace recover, but they eventually gave up and moved on. Ally and Teddy grew closer, and they have a child together. However, their child is kidnapped as a toddler by a disturbed worker from the wildlife sanctuary. The bulk of the movie cuts between Ally and Teddy’s search for their kid, and the wildlife sanctuary where the walrus-obsessed worker tries to get Wallace to raise the child as a walrus. The movie ends with Wallace and the child each shedding a tear as they finally form a true familial bond.

Brightburn (2019)

Brandon murders with heat vision in Brightburn (2019)
James Gunn has his hands full with other superhero properties, but maybe he could return as an executive producer for a Brightburn sequel (James Gunn produced the original).
The Original Movie

Brightburn is basically the origin story of Superman, but much darker. Young Brandon Breyer (Jackson A. Dunn) is an alien who was adopted as a baby by Tori (Elizabeth Banks) and Kyle Breyer (David Denman) when his ship crash-landed on their farm. Twelve years later, Brandon discovers he has powers similar to Superman (flight, super strength, heat vision, near-invulnerability). Rather than using his powers for good, Brandon uses them to go on a murderous rampage.

Brightburn (2019)
For a sequel, a time jump may be necessary to show the lasting impact Brandon’s actions have had.
The Potential Sequel

The ending of Brightburn depicts Brandon causing destruction in various states. It also shows a video suggesting that other superhumans exist, including a “half man half sea creature,” a “witch woman,” and an alien in a cape. We even see a picture of Rainn Wilson’s character The Crimson Bolt from the movie Super (2010), though he is definitely not superhuman.

A Brightburn sequel could focus on any of these other characters, or it could follow Brandon as he encounters one of the other superhumans. Maybe Brandon isn’t the only being to come to Earth from his home planet. Perhaps he has a female cousin who makes herself known, kind of like an evil approximation of Supergirl. There is a ton of potential in the Brightburn universe, but whatever the story is, it should still stay within the horror genre to set itself apart from other superhero/villain movies.

Malignant (2021)

Annabelle Wallis as Madison in Malignant (2021)
James Wan has stated that there are “other stories to tell” in the world he and Akela Cooper created with Malignant.
The Original Movie

James Wan and Akela Cooper’s wild monster movie is about a woman, Madison Lake (Annabelle Wallis), who has a parasitic twin who periodically takes over Madison’s body. The twin, Gabriel, emerges from the back of Madison’s head and commits multiple murders before he is mentally locked away in Madison’s mind. The end of the movie hints that Gabriel will be back.

Gabriel in Malignant (2021).
It’d be a shame if Gabriel, one of the most interesting villains in modern horror, only had one movie.
The Potential Sequel

Maybe Gabriel isn’t the only parasitic twin with a mind of its own. A sequel could have Madison, who was in a horribly abusive relationship at the beginning of Malignant, finally start to form a new romantic relationship. Meanwhile, a new spate of unsolved murders loosely connected to Madison is occurring. Madison is happy with her new partner, but she starts to develop bouts of fear and anxiety. Is it because she is still feeling the effects of trauma, or is Gabriel back and committing murder without her knowledge? Or both?

It turns out Madison’s new partner also has a murderous parasitic twin. Madison unconsciously senses the danger of the new parasite, and that plus the paranoia induced by thinking Gabriel is back breaks down the mental walls she created to trap him. Gabriel emerges, and he is forced to fight Madison’s partner’s parasite. As a twist, Madison’s partner is fully aware of his parasitic twin, and they are actually working together to try to kill anyone who cares for Madison (confirming that Madison is once again in a horrifyingly abusive relationship). Madison and Gabriel form an uneasy truce so they can eliminate the partner and parasite. As another twist (and as an homage to Basket Case), the partner’s twin was surgically removed, but they still share a telepathic bond. Having a final battle with Madison and Gabriel back-to-back versus a man and a tiny, crazed parasite could rival any of the action scenes in the first movie.

Horror Movies That Didn’t Need a Sequel

Halloween (1978)

Halloween (1978)
Having Halloween be an anthology series of unrelated standalone stories was the best idea for any sequels in the franchise.

Despite some people misinterpreting the ending of the 1978 movie, John Carpenter never intended for Halloween to have a sequel. Carpenter has been candid about the fact that any Halloween sequel he’s been involved with was more about a paycheck rather than artistic inspiration. There’s a good reason for that. The original Halloween ends perfectly with Michael Myers being portrayed as a literal boogeyman. Michael is an unknowable force of evil, and the mysteries of his motives and of his true nature are integral parts of what makes the character so chilling.

Any sequel would inevitably have to explain more about Michael, and those explanations would slowly chip away at his mystique. For example, adding the idea that Michael and Laurie are siblings (established in Halloween II in 1981) makes the original movie less interesting in retrospect. It also derailed much of the franchise into trying to create new family members and new spins on why Michael is stalking his relatives. So, despite many of the Halloween sequels being entertaining, none of them improve on the original. As John Carpenter himself said, “I didn’t think there was any more story, and I didn’t want to do it again. All of my ideas were for the first Halloween – there shouldn’t have been any more!”

The Blair Witch Project (1999)

The Blair Witch Project (1999).
The ending of The Blair Witch Project is hauntingly perfect. Nothing more was needed.

The Blair Witch Project was an anomaly. It became a hit because it felt fresh and different, and it utilized a smart marketing campaign that hooked people before they ever even watched the movie. The Blair Witch Project also works so incredibly well because of the ambiguous nature of the story and because of the way it is told. Doing another found-footage movie about the same thing would feel uninspired, but changing the presentation too drastically wouldn’t feel like a Blair Witch movie. Both methods were attempted for the two Blair Witch sequels (in 2016 and 2000 respectively), and neither worked particularly well.

American Psycho (2000)

Chrisian Bale as Patrick Bateman in American Psycho (2000)
On the American Psycho ending, director Mary Harron said, “One thing I think is a failure on my part is people keep coming out of the film thinking that it’s all a dream, and I never intended that.”

American Psycho is a brilliant movie with a fantastic ending that leaves viewers wondering what actually happened. How many people did Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale) kill? Was most of what we witnessed just in his head? The debates will rage on. Direct sequels would likely kill any debates, so it’s good we never really got one. Instead, we got American Psycho 2: All American Girl (2002) starring Mila Kunis. To be fair, American Psycho 2 started out as a completely unrelated movie that got reedited as a sequel, but it still exists. Patrick Bateman is killed in the opening sequence, making this fascinating character nothing more than a plot point for a bad movie. It proves the point that American Psycho should have simply been left alone.

The Devil’s Rejects (2005)

Sheri Moon Zombie, Bill Moseley, and Sid Haig in The Devil's Rejects (2005)
Going down in a blaze of glory is the perfect ending for characters we grow to like, but who are very, very bad people.

The Devil’s Rejects is Rob Zombie’s finest work. It’s gritty, violent, funny, and heartbreaking. It’s a near-perfect sendoff for Captain Spaulding (Sid Haig), Baby (Sheri Moon Zombie), and Otis (Bill Moseley) who all progress extremely far as characters in this follow-up to House of 1000 Corpses (2003). If you’ve seen The Devil’s Rejects, you’ll remember how fitting and surprisingly moving the final scene is. Any sequel would ruin that moment. The sequel we got, 3 from Hell (2019), ruins that moment. Nothing more needed to be said about the characters.

More Horror Movies that Need Sequels

Underwater (2020)
Underwater (2020) has loads of untapped potential for being a fantastic anthology-style franchise with different monsters and different locations.
  • Event Horizon (1997) – Years after the events of the first movie, Starck (Joely Richardson) is still haunted by her experiences. Using a prototype based on Dr. Weir’s (Sam Niell) original gravity drive, Starck is compelled to intentionally reopen the portal to the hell dimension as she slowly goes mad. But this time, the portal is on a ship near Earth.
  • Slither (2006) – The first movie showed that not all of the aliens are dead, so the sequel could show a new invasion in the small town where Bill Pardy (Nathan Fillion) and Starla (Elizabeth Banks) decided to marry and settle down.
  • It Follows (2014) – The sequel could have Jay (Maika Monroe) become the target of the entity once more after it kills everyone who was in the line of succession after she passed the curse on.
  • Doctor Sleep (2019) – Rather than a sequel, Doctor Sleep needs a prequel. No, not a remake of The Shining. Instead, a movie focusing on the relationship between Rose the Hat (Rebecca Ferguson) and Crow Daddy (Zahn McClarnon) would be amazing.
  • Underwater (2020) – Inspired by the surprise at the end of Underwater, a sequel could take place in outer space within a mining facility on an asteroid. The facility is overrun with monsters, and only in the end is it revealed to be connected to Underwater when a gigantic Cthulhu-like eldritch beast emerges from the asteroid, showing that this universe is filled with cosmic horrors.

Further Reading

Meet The Author

Chris has a degree in film studies at Temple University’s campus in Tokyo, Japan. He is a renowned expert on horror cinema.