Horror movies have it hard. Whenever a movie breaks the mold and successfully gains a following, this almost always leads to a string of sequels that diminish in quality. This problematic case of the sequels has plagued horror movies for so long that it’s become a joke at this point, with genre fans eagerly anticipating the jokes they could derive from a series’ obligatory space-faring installment.
Each major horror franchise has its legendary dud, and the film review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes is more than happy to judge these stinkers with some choice quotes and a numerical grade. Whether you’ll watch these movies for fun or avoid them like the plague, here are the 10 best worst sequels of horror franchises according to Rotten Tomatoes.
10 Child’s Play 3 – Rotten Tomatoes Score: 29%
Though not as offensive as the rest of this list’s entries, Child’s Play 3 still pales in comparison to the previous installments, at times feeling phoned in and lazy. For what it’s worth, series creator Don Mancini agrees with the critics, denouncing Child’s Play 3 as the worst of the franchise.
9 Poltergeist III – Rotten Tomatoes Scores: 18%
The folks on Rotten Tomatoes noticed this all too well, pointing out that the only changes were the special effects that came at the expense of the story. It doesn’t help that Carol’s actress Heather O’Rourke passed away shortly before the movie opened in cinemas, which added to the film’s infamy.
8 A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010) – Rotten Tomatoes Score: 15%
While Jackie Earle Haley’s performance as the new Freddy Krueger was commended, everything else about the movie was not. Not only was it a generic bore but it was a dull retelling of the original movie as well, lacking any of the creative madness that made the franchise what it is today. At the very least, some of the set-pieces looked nice.
7 The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning – Rotten Tomatoes Score: 13%
The only noteworthy thing here is the abundance of gore and torture sequences, which critics say will satisfy the usual suspects and no one else. It was also unfavorably compared to Tobe Hopper’s original, with Rotten Tomatoes saying that The Beginning is a thinly disguised remake that’s just noisier and more annoying.
6 Exorcist: The Beginning – Rotten Tomatoes Score: 10%
The prequel’s critical response was not good, to say the least, with Rotten Tomatoes calling out how it lazily relied on modern horror clichés despite (canonically) preceding a movie that arguably reshaped the genre. Where The Exorcist was a masterclass of tension and atmosphere, The Beginning was just another gorefest from the 2000s.
5 Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan – Rotten Tomatoes Score: 8%
Unanimously regarded as the worst Jason movie by Rotten Tomatoes, Jason Takes Manhattan’s only redeeming factors are its moments of unintentional humor. Special mention goes to the time Jason punched a guy’s head off in a street boxing match. Even worse, the film was actually shot in Vancouver, not New York.
4 Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers – Rotten Tomatoes Score: 6%
The Curse of Michael Myers reveals that Michael – an indescribable force of evil – is an ancient cult’s executioner. This explanation disregards everything that made John Carpenter’s horror classic effective and iconic. Adding insult to injury was that this abysmal Halloween sequel was also one of Donald Pleasence’s final onscreen appearances before he passed in 1995.
3 Hellraiser: Hellseeker – Rotten Tomatoes Score: 0%
More TV-movie melodrama than Gothic horror, Hellseeker was panned by the few critics on Rotten Tomatoes who bothered to watch it. Not improving matters is that Barker only helped out with the third act, giving the writers some notes and suggestions at best. This was also the last time Barker would be involved with a Hellraiser movie in any capacity.
2 Jaws: The Revenge – Rotten Tomatoes Score: 0%
Better known as the Jaws movie with the roaring shark that exploded to death, Jaws: The Revenge is rightfully described online as an “illogical” and “sorry chapter in a once-proud franchise.” This is also the movie where the shark has vengeance on its mind and targets Chief Brody’s wife Ellen, because sharks are scientifically known to harbor vendettas.
1 Leprechaun 2, 3, 4, and Origins – Rotten Tomatoes Scores: 0%
For comparison’s sake, Leprechaun in the Hood and Leprechaun: Back 2 tha Hood have Rotten Tomatoes scores above 20%. If anything, Lep’s fanbase would consider these zeroes as points of pride that cements Leprechaun franchise’s cult status. The less said about the reboot Leprechaun: Origins, however, the better.