By Zakary McGaha
All horror fans, casual and diehard, know a couple standard, more mainstream but still classic franchises by heart: Halloween, Child’s Play, Friday the 13th and Texas Chainsaw Massacre. There are many more, of course, but I’m zeroing in on these four in particular because they each have their own infamous “black sheep” sequels which are universally hated by fans.
For Friday the 13th, it’s “Jason X.”
For Halloween, it’s “Halloween: Resurrection.”
For the Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise, it’s the fourth one: “Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation.”
And for Child’s Play, it’s “Seed of Chucky.” However, since I happen to love this one, I’m going to go ahead and remove it from the list, just to piss off people who loathe the film. 😊
Now, which of the sequels still on the list sucks the worst? Here’s my take (1st being the least bad, 3rd being the worst):
1: Jason X.
2: TCM: Next Generation.
3: Halloween: Resurrection (more like “rest the erection”!!!…okay, this joke sucks; editor, remove it, please).
[Editor’s Note: …Nope!]
Why this order? Simple: Jason X is the most watchable of the group. Sure, it was an awful movie with a stupid ass premise, and it killed the original F13th series; the next film, Freddy vs. Jason, was like a final, dying breath (and even said dying breath ignored Jason X), and it was followed by an out-and-out remake. I suppose even my boi Freddy couldn’t keep the series from being rebooted.
Anyway, let’s critique Jason X in detail. First off, it’s hard to accept as canon because a). it says Jason regenerates like Wolverine, b).it takes the franchise in too radical a direction, and c). it can easily be written off with comic book logic (as in, it’s in its own separate universe or something).
It also introduces my least favorite Jason look: Bulky, lumbering unzipped jacket-wearing Jason. How the hell it didn’t completely kill the franchise, I don’t know. Seems like audiences would’ve given up when they saw Jason stalking random assholes in space, but the movie was, as I’ve said, oddly watchable.
Despite its horrible premise which would have been fine, had it simply been a comic book or tie-in novel, it somehow managed to suck me in. It’s the classic case of a horrible premise that was saved only by clever execution…
…which isn’t the case with Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation.
“Watchable” is something most people don’t use to describe this movie. It’s downright painful to sit through, save for when the action revs up in the last quarter. Even then, the decisions made, from the script to the actors, are mindbogglingly weird. Why is there no blood? Why is Leatherface so fucking annoying? Why does everyone yell so much? Where the hell did that plane come from?
As for the first three quarters, everything’s too dark, the characters are stupid, and most of it is a spoof-like recreation of the same paces from the first film. Technically, this one’s a remake, but everyone groups it in with the original series because, in a roundabout way, it’s a soft remake, complete with references to the first film and the whole “Next Generation” part of its title, which make you suppose it’s the next generation of the Sawyer family even though it’s not.
Despite being hard to sit through, this one has something Jason X doesn’t: the premise is cool! This movie is so strange, surreal, and inventive (in terms of where the franchise would have headed had the actual remake not come along next) that it’s hard not to love, no matter how horribly executed it was.
Also, some of the horrible execution works toward making it memorable. In terms of “bad” horror movies, let’s be honest, you could do a lot worse than this one. However, as a Texas Chainsaw flick, it fell flat on its face and was pretty close to not being released at all as I understand it.
By the way, this movie gets bonus points for the character who’s reading a prop book that has the cover of an obscure horror novel published by Zebra Books, Caly by Sharon Combes. Looks like all they did was cross out the title and author’s name, and replaced it with some cheesy, melodramatic saying.
So, to recap: Jason X had a stupid premise, but it was executed well and is fairly watchable, while “TCM: Next Gen” has some cool ideas brewing under the surface, such as the Sawyer family being Illuminati members, but it fell flat on its execution. Plus the ideas didn’t mature fully enough to mean anything. That leaves us with Halloween: Resurrection, and let me tell you, this is one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen.
This one shouldn’t even exist by Halloween standards and by normal standards, it’s still pretty bad. The ideas are stupid, the execution horrible and it’s funny in all the wrong ways, in all the wrong moments.
To top it all off, it has the absolute worst explanation for reviving Michael after he was memorably decapitated by Laurie Strode in the last film: he put his mask on some random wanker at the last second…off-screen, of course…so Laurie killed the wrong dude…wow…
The biggest detriment is that the whole film tries overly hard to be new by focusing on everything except what makes a Halloween film good and, thus, loses its character. Also, it fails at all those totally hip and edgy things:
- It tries being funny and self-aware and fails.
- It tries pulling off the found footage thing and fails.
- It tries to do the whole “reality TV becomes REAL” thing…and fails.
- It tries having funny fight scenes in which Michael is a goofball, and actually succeeds…but why the fuck would they want to do that in the first place?!
Much like “Jason X”, Halloween: Resurrection was the last straw; the only option was an out-and-out remake, and, apparently, Rob Zombie was the best candidate. ☹☹☹ Judging straight off the Halloween franchise, the quality of living has increased exponentially in recent years, what with the new sequel and all (still, I’m a Thorn Trilogy fan at heart).
Anyway, there’s my take on four of the most hated, divisive sequels in horror history. It’s my opinion that three of the four are unappreciated oddities that still have some major flaws, but they are what they are. The final one, however, makes me actually glad remakes are a thing, because once you stoop that low, there’s no redemption.