One of the big sources of excitement within the horror community these last couple weeks has been the persistent rumors of a long-awaited sequel to Beetlejuice, with both Michael Keaton and Winona Rider expressing their interest in being a part of the ghost with the most’s return to the big screen. Will it ever actually happen? Only time will tell. But if it does, it’ll be a follow-up over 25 years in the making – a long time to wait for a sequel, don’t ya think?!
Well, it wouldn’t be the first time us horror fans have had to wait a couple decades for a sequel. In fact, we’ve waited a whole lot longer than that. Just how long, you ask? Let’s take a look at the ten horror sequels that took longer than any others to find their way into our lives!
EMBODIMENT OF EVIL – 41 YEARS
The horror film that currently holds the record for the longest gap of time between sequels is 2008’s Embodiment of Evil, the third and final film of Brazilian director/star Jose Mojica Marins’ Coffin Joe trilogy. Marins first introduced the character of Coffin Joe to the world in 1963’s At Midnight I’ll Take Your Soul, a badass dude on a mission to find the perfect bride. Joe continued his search a few years later, in 1967’s This Night I’ll Possess Your Corpse. Just like Jason, Joe is seemingly killed at the end of every film but somehow returns for a sequel, and the character made his grand return 41 years later in 2008’s Embodiment of Evil. Though Marins had brought the character back for brief appearances in other movies he made, Embodiment of Evil was the true return of Coffin Joe, the end of a trilogy over four decades in the making. Amazingly, Marins himself again played Coffin Joe in the film, just as he did in the previous films in the trilogy.
TEXAS CHAINSAW 3D – 39 YEARS
Whether you liked Texas Chainsaw 3D or not – and many most definitely did not – my stance on the matter is that you have to at least appreciate the fact that an attempt was made to turn the latest adventure of Leatherface into a true sequel to Tobe Hooper’s original 1974 classic. Though Leatherface of course appeared in countless sequels and even a remake between 1974 and 2013, it wasn’t until Texas Chainsaw 3D was released at the beginning of this year that the story from the original was directly continued. Nearly four decades later, Chainsaw 3D picked up directly after the events of the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre, an opening sequence that is admittedly better than anything else that follows. Say what you want about the movie as a whole, but I thought the concept was pretty cool, and I for one appreciate the effort.
THE WICKER TREE - 38 YEARS
It was in 1973 that Robin Hardy directed the British film The Wicker Man, a beloved classic that spawned a not-so-beloved remake in 2006. Perhaps to wash the bad taste of bees out of our mouths, and take back the reigns, Hardy directed The Wicker Tree in 2011, a 38-years-later follow-up to the film he’s most known for. It’s hard to call The Wicker Tree a sequel to The Wicker Man, since it’s more a continuation of the themes present in Wicker Man rather than a true sequel, but I don’t think anyone will question its inclusion on this list. Earlier this year Hardy announced that he’s looking to turn The Wicker Man into a trilogy, with another ‘spiritual sequel’ called Wrath of the Gods currently in the works.
BLOOD FEAST 2: ALL U CAN EAT – 38 YEARS
After working on a series of erotic films in the early 1960s, Herschell Gordon Lewis found his true niche in 1963 with the release of Blood Feast, a flick that forever solidified his status as ‘The Godfather of Gore.’ After making a handful of splatter-filled films in the subsequent years, including Two Thousand Maniacs! and The Wizard of Gore, Lewis retired from filmmaking in the 70s, and it would be several decades before he found himself back behind the camera. Lewis spent his retirement writing books about advertising, and was bitten by the gore bug once more in 2002, when he made his triumphant return to filmmaking and revisited the film that made him a household name amongst genre fans. Blood Feast 2: All U Can Eat picked up many years after the events of Blood Feast, with the grandson of the killer from the original film following in his grandpa’s footsteps, collecting body parts in an attempt to resurrect an Egyptian goddess.
THE BIRDS 2: LAND’S END – 31 YEARS
Alfred Hitchcock was surely rolling over in his grave when his 1963 tale of avian terror was given a made-for-TV sequel in 1994. Armed with the tagline ‘History Has a Nasty Way of Repeating Itself,’ The Birds 2: Land’s End centered around a family being terrorized by birds on a remote island, one of the characters being played by none other than Tippi Hedren –a different character than the one she played in Hitchcock’s classic. It was a sequel most, including Hedren, have chosen to forget about. Director Rick Rosenthal (Halloween 2) was so embarrassed by the movie that he had his name taken off it and replaced with the name Alan Smithee, the go-to pseudonym for filmmakers who don’t want their name connected to a movie they’re ashamed to have made. Can’t say I blame ya, Rick!
RETURN TO SLEEPAWAY CAMP – 25 YEARS
As I wrote about in a recent post regarding planned sequels that were never made, a fourth Sleepaway Camp installment called The Survivor was in the works in the early 90s, a production that was shut down after the company in charge went under. 19 years after the release of Sleepaway Camp 3: Teenage Wasteland, Return to Sleepaway Camp went straight-to-DVD, a direct sequel to the original that ignored the events of the other sequels and picked up 25 years after the murders seen in 1983. Return to Sleepaway Camp was actually finished filming in 2003, and set for theatrical release sometime soon thereafter, but a lack of a distribution deal and issues with the CG effects kept it on the shelf until 2008.
PSYCHO 2 – 23 YEARS
Over 10 years before the abomination that was The Birds 2, another classic Hitchcock film was given a decades-later sequel, which thankfully turned out a whole lot better. I can’t think of a more daunting task than to try and continue such an iconic story as Psycho, but screenwriter Tom Holland and director Richard Franklin somehow managed to pull it off, crafting a sequel that accomplished the impossible by becoming an incredibly worthy follow-up to one of the best horror movies ever made. Picking up 22 years after the events of Psycho, 1983’s Psycho 2 once again stars Anthony Perkins as Norman Bates, finding himself released from a mental institution and returning to the infamous Bates Motel. What follows is an absolutely brilliant series of twists and turns, both Norman and the audience wondering if he’s truly been reformed, or if he’s still a mad killer. Though all of Hitchcock’s suspense is present in this first of three sequels, Psycho 2 infuses some memorable gore into the mix, showcasing the changes the genre went through during the 23 years between it and its predecessor.
THE RAGE: CARRIE 2 – 23 YEARS
How exactly do you make a sequel to a film like Brian De Palma’s Carrie, when nearly every character in it - including Carrie herself - was killed off in the finale? Somebody finally figured out a way to attempt to cash-in on the success of the film 23 years later, with The Rage: Carrie 2 being released in 1999. More of an updated version of the events from the original, rather than a sequel, The Rage focused on a brand new character with telekinetic abilities, who we find out is the daughter of Carrie’s father. Rachel Lang experiences much the same trauma that Carrie White did, being teased and bullied by the cool kids until she lashes out and unleashes the full power of her abilities. One of the more interesting things about the movie is that Amy Irving is in it, reprising her role of Sue Snell after 23 years.
LOST BOYS: THE TRIBE – 21 YEARS
Several attempts were made throughout the 1990s to bring a Lost Boys sequel to the screen, with director Joel Schumacher eager to return to the tale of California vampires. Unfortunately, none of those ideas ever came to fruition, and it would be 21 years before a Frog and a vampire would do battle again. 2008 saw the release of Lost Boys: The Tribe, a straight-to-DVD sequel which saw Corey Feldman reprising the role of Edgar Frog. It also starred Angus Sutherland as the lead vampire, who is the half-brother of Lost Boys’ Kiefer Sutherland. Lost Boys: The Thirst followed in 2010, which this time saw Edgar and Alan Frog reuniting to stake vamps, original star Jamison Newlander joining Feldman for the second sequel. There have been talks of a fourth film, though at the time of writing this there are no plans of continuing the franchising anytime soon.
DAY OF THE DEAD 2: CONTAGIUM - 20 YEARS
In 2005, the very same year that George Romero’s Land of the Dead chomped its way into theaters, a low-budget sequel called Day of the Dead 2: Contagium went straight-to-DVD, leaving many horrors fan incredibly confused. Beginning in 1968 and then picking up in the present day, Contagium is a zombie movie with absolutely no connection to Romero’s Day of the Dead, aside from sharing its title. Romero of course had no involvement in any aspect of the movie, begging the question of how the hell someone could go ahead and make a sequel to his movie, without his permission. How it happened is that Taurus Entertainment holds the rights to Day of the Dead, rather than Romero himself, so they were free to cash-in on the property and advertise their unofficial sequel as an official one. Same thing with Creepshow, which explains 2006’s godawful “Creepshow 3.”
Though these ten films represent the longest gaps between sequels the horror genre has ever seen, there are still many others that took an incredibly long time to find their way in front of cameras. Some others include The Hitcher 2: I’ve Been Waiting (17 years), An American Werewolf in Paris (16 years), Beware! The Blob (14 years), When a Stranger Calls Back (14 years), and The Exorcist 3 (13 years). Also must mention 2011’s The Thing, a prequel that came 29 years after the release of John Carpenter’s same-named masterpiece.
Can you think of any other sequels that fit the bill? Comment below and let us know!