Horror Movies That Redeemed Failing Franchises

Voting Rules

Vote up the spooky movies that totally redeemed the terrible sequels that came before them.

No matter how successful a horror franchise may be, it seems that sooner or later, at least one sequel completely bombs. In fact, there might be one that's considered the worst horror movie of all time (Exorcist II: The Heretic) or another that's completely misunderstood (Halloween III: Season of the Witch). However, longstanding franchises like Friday the 13th, A Nightmare on Elm Street, and Halloween have all been redeemed by the sequel that put the series back on track. 

In the list below, we've gathered sequels, prequels, and remakes that rebooted failing horror movie franchises. Whether it's the meta Wes Craven's New Nightmare or the chillingly fresh take on Hellraiser, these films managed to captivate audiences in ways their predecessors could not. 

  • 1
    81 VOTES

    Halloween (2018)

    In 2018's Halloween, Laurie Strode must face Michael Myers for the first time in 40 years. Although Halloween is the 11th film in the franchise, it was written as a direct sequel to the original 1978 film. That means all the plots, world-building, and disappointment of subsequent sequels played no part in this new film. The film introduces new characters, including Laurie's daughter Karen and granddaughter Allyson. None of Strode's kids from previous sequels exist in this timeline.

    In the world of Halloween 2018, Strode has become an alcoholic recluse who never recovered from the trauma she endured in the '70s. Meanwhile, Myers escapes from a mental hospital during a transfer to a maximum security prison. As Myers resumes his killing spree, there are a number of callbacks to the original film, including the infamous balcony scene.

    In the end, fans loved the freshness mixed with nostalgia for Halloween, leading to two sequels: Halloween Kills and Halloween Ends.

    81 votes
  • 2
    60 VOTES
    Photo: Hulu

    Released in 2022, Prey is the seventh film in the Predator franchise and a prequel to the first four films in the series. Prey tells the story of a young Comanche woman named Naru living in the Great Plains in the early 1700s. Naru is a healer with the goal of becoming a warrior, and she must hone her skills as an alien creature begins killing off members of her tribe.

    The previous film in the franchise, The Predator from 2018, received mixed reviews, but Prey was applauded by critics and fans. It was the most-watched movie across multiple streaming services the week it was released and is considered by many to be the strongest film in the franchise since the original Predator from 1987. Reviewers noted that, unlike other installments in the franchise, Prey had an equal mix of suspense and character development.

    60 votes
  • In 1994, Wes Craven created a standalone Freddy Krueger meta film entitled Wes Craven's New Nightmare. The seventh film in the series, New Nightmare was released three years after Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare, which received poor reviews upon its release. New Nightmare centered around actress Heather Langenkamp who portrayed Nancy Thompson in the original A Nightmare on Elm Street. As the film progresses, Langenkamp realizes that Freddy Krueger might be real after all, and she must journey into his dreamland to defeat him once and for all with the help of her son, Wes Craven, and Robert Englund, who also played Krueger. 

    Wes Craven's New Nightmare is still considered by critics and fans to be one of the best films in the franchise, second only to the original.

    64 votes
  • 4
    49 VOTES

    When Scream 3 came out in 2000, it was meant to be the third installment of a trilogy and the end of the franchise. The film had a lukewarm reception at the time of its release, furthering the belief that the franchise was done. However, a reboot finally happened when Scream 4 was released in 2011 bringing together Scream alum Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, and David Arquette. The film takes place 15 years after the original Woodsboro Murders as Sidney returns to her hometown to promote her memoir. No sooner has Sidney arrived back in town than a new Ghostface comes onto the scene, killing innocent teenagers before setting sights on Sidney, Gale, and Dewey.

    While Scream 4 received mixed reviews upon its release, it was considered to be a stronger film than Scream 3. The film grossed close to $96 million worldwide and paved the way for the franchise's second reboot in 2022.

    49 votes
  • Released in 1990, The Exorcist III was written and directed by William Peter Blatty who wrote both the book and screenplay versions of The Exorcist. Following the immense success of The Exorcist in 1973, Exorcist II: The Heretic was released in 1977 and is widely considered one of the worst horror movies of all time. Based on Blatty's 1983 novel Legion, The Exorcist III reintroduces audiences to Lieutenant William F. Kinderman from the original film, who is now investigating a series of murders similar to those of the Gemini Killer, a serial killer who supposedly died years earlier.

    Despite the fanfare and promotion surrounding The Exorcist III, it only earned about $25 million at the box office. However, certain scenes, such as the infamous white nun at the hospital, are considered as scary or even more so than the original film. Blatty later indicated that tying the film to the Exorcist franchise hurt rather than helped it.

    41 votes
  • Bride of Chucky departs from the original trilogy by being more of a dark comedy than a traditional horror film. This 1998 installment in the Child's Play franchise reunites the serial killer spirit trapped inside Chucky with his former lover Tiffany Valentine. After bringing Chucky back to life, he murders Tiffany and transfers her soul to another doll, and the two go on a murderous rampage as they attempt to possess the bodies of their next-door neighbors.

    Although Bride of Chucky received mixed reviews, it was a massive box office success, earning $32.4 million in the United States and making it one of the most commercially successful films in the franchise. Fans and critics considered the film too self-referential to previous installments and the comedic tone of the film too distracting. In the end, Bride of Chucky allowed the franchise to continue with subsequent sequels.

    76 votes