There are few lore as sacred to cinema as the horror movie sequel. The first movie is haunting, refreshing, and groundbreaking, and now that it’s made a lot of money, it’s time to try to repeat its success until the wheels fall off. In particularly long series, some of the elements that made them famous tend to come together a bit. Were they preinstalled from the start, or did they pop up somewhere along the way and audiences just accepted them as gospel?
What are the aspects of the original recipe, and which came later to spice things up? It’s time to dive into this question about the iconic bits of six long-running horror series – bits that might seem like they were foundational text but weren’t actually inserted until a bit later.
Frankenstein’s Iconic Monster Walk
The Frankenstein films were the bread and butter of the golden age of universal horror, with two fantastic films by James Whale (Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein,) an extremely solid ride with Basil Rathbone (Son of Frankenstein) and then a quick descent to cheaper and clumsier efforts. Boris Karloff, who played the titular monster in the first three films, delivers a thoughtful and tragic performance, so it’s a little odd that the iconography that remains is of a man with his arms raised, moving awkwardly through the sets. of the castle.
This characteristic image of the character was not defined until the last moments of the fourth film, Frankenstein’s Ghost. (Quick synopsis: The monster, played here by Lon Chaney Jr., has his brain replaced by that of his conniving sidekick Ygor, played with raucous malice by Bela Lugosi. This allows him to talk and plot, but thanks to an accident medical, he is fairly immediately blinded.) The monster spends the final minutes of the film groping and then, in the sequel, Frankenstein meets the Wolf Manhe presents himself with outstretched arms.
In subsequent films, no one ever mentions that he is now blind, either in his battle against Wolf Man or House of Frankenstein Where Abbott and Costello meet Frankenstein. So the Walk of Frankenstein that would come to define the time period not only didn’t happen until the end of the fourth movie, but is part of a plot point that no later movie could care to remember. .
Jason’s hockey mask
If there’s one item on this list that has gone down in horror history, it’s this one. First Friday 13, it’s Pamela, Jason’s mother who wears a sweater, who kills. In the second film, Jason finally shows up, but he puts on overalls and a burlap sack over his head. It’s only in the third film that he strips a comic character of his hockey mask and decides it is the look to keep. Since then, Jason has been irrevocably tied to this particular mask, one that has come to represent the slasher genre as a whole.
However, it’s still important to talk about it because this omnipresence diminishes how radiant Jason looks. Part 2. Lanky and unkempt, Jason looks a bit more like a guy hanging out in the woods outside of summer camp than the brand he’d be in. Also amusing is the relative lack of a machete in Part 2 – Jason’s general toolbox is quite diverse here, and the weapon he uses in the climax is a My dear love-esque pickaxe.
godzilla like a good guy
When Godzilla appears in the original 1954 film, it’s an atomic nightmare incarnate. It is death and the massive devastation of nuclear holocaust brought to life as an unstoppable creature, a creature that cannot be understood or reasoned as it threatens Japan with searing hellfire. And then, in 1955 Godzilla attacks again, it’s mostly about wrestling with another monster and knocking stuff over. This first sequel would set the template for the majority of Godzilla films in the future – Godzilla is the heavyweight champion of the kaiju division, and one who is ready to rumble with any challengers.
Even though Godzilla fought other monsters, that doesn’t mean there was a role reversal the minute something else wanted to overthrow. In the first four films, Godzilla is an unequivocal asshole, less a defender of Japan and more like the country’s horrible landlord who comes to evict any new monster tenant. In the third film, King Kong is granted unspoken moral height, and in the fourth, Mothra and her young symbolize the beauty of nature, while Godzilla symbolizes the beauty of what things look like when they’re on fire. .
It’s only in the fifth film, Ghidorah, the three-headed monster, that Godzilla, now forced to team up to take on an alien dragon, actually goes into hero mode. And change doesn’t come without prompting – one of the Mothra larvae from the last film has to beg Godzilla to be friendly for a change. In the future, the great lizard can only hope that Japan has forgotten the whole “I have become death” phase.
Freddy Krueger’s Oneliners
Freddy Krueger, the villainous dream invader from Nightmare on Elm Street series, has always been a little rascal. From the beginning, he loves tormenting people, and by Freddy’s Revenge, it is clear that he also has a strong sense of irony. Is a character interested in bicycles? Freddy will crush them with a wheel, shouting “BETTER PUMP THE BRAKES!” A character with a drinking problem? Freddy skewers them with a toothpick and swallows them in a giant martini while winking at the audience: “DRINK RESPONSIBLY!”
You had the idea.
It wasn’t always to this magnitude, however. Freddy’s embrace of puns only really became a defining part of his personality with dream warriors, the third film. It’s here that nearly every Freddy kill comes with some sort of pun or one-liner, turning him into equal parts slasher icon and late-night host. It’s a natural fit, with actor Robert Englund being one of the few horror stars to be skilled at every stage of his character’s evolution.
Pinhead is one of those hole-in-one horror designs – no rating needed. It’s instantly iconic, which makes it all the more interesting considering there was no real name attached to it when it joined the pantheon of Freddy, Jason, and Michael. He is anonymous in Clive Barker’s original novel, the infernal heart, and the first movie assigns him the name “Lead Cenobite”, a nickname that probably wouldn’t look good on posters. Barker later refers to him as the “Priest of Hell”, having really hated the name Pinhead.
So, where does “Pinhead” come from? He appears in the credits of the Severely Underrated Hell: Hellraiser II, but the first time someone calls him Pinhead happens in the third movie and the name is kind of a joke. But it stuck, and thankfully, in the 2022 reboot film, the character managed to regain some dignity. (They are now known as simply “the priest”.)
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2 is a wacky dark comedy and comically brutal slasher flick, taking everything that might have sounded subtle in the original and cranking up the volume to deafening levels. In short, it’s beautiful, and it recognizes that you can’t quite top the gruesome macabre of the original. Returning director Tobe Hooper doesn’t try, allowing his favorite clan of cannibals to turn into a freewheeling self-parody. He also gives them names: the Sawyers. To find?
If you’ve only seen the original, released 12 years ago Part 2, and that name doesn’t sound familiar, it’s for a good reason – nobody really has a name in the first movie. The sequel’s “Bubba Sawyer” is only referred to as “Leatherface”, and curiously, the “Cook” (or “Old Man”, as he is called in the script) asks Leatherface, “Why didn’t you- Aren’t you waiting for Bubba?” apparently referring to his hitchhiking brother. If you’ve never heard it, I don’t blame you – it’s barely audible over all the screams.
But that sibling is never referred to as “Bubba” again in the 1974 original, the name having passed on to Leatherface himself afterwards, along with the now-deceased sibling called “Nubbins” Sawyer. Now, the cook might call him “bubba” as in “your brother,” which is colloquial Southern language, but that’s funny in the context of the larger series. The Sawyer surname is carried in the third film, but by the fourth the family is now known by the equally explicit name of Slaughters. Listen, this is America’s most valuable chronicle of flesh-eating Texans. This kind of thing matters.
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