Sequels are still a bit of a taboo in cinema. Sometimes, just saying the world “sequel” will earn you some sneers and maybe even a guffaw. The main problem people have with sequels is they feel they are ultimately not needed, which is true in many cases. Also, a sequel is often born from a need to bank on the first movie’s financial success. Some people find that to be tacky, but that’s show business.
For all the many sequels that exist within horror — a genre that collects a staggering amount of sequels, some of which have actually been stellar — there are plenty of movies that are standalone. So, let’s look at ten great horror movies that never got the sequel treatment (even though we might want them to).
10 The Guest (2014)
The Petersons are still reeling from the loss of Caleb, their oldest son. As Halloween rolls around, one of Caleb’s soldier friends, David, pays the family a visit. In the meantime, the Petersons invite David to stay with them and their two other children, Luke and Anna, both of whom become charmed by David. However, David’s hiding a secret, and it’s about to come out in the most explosive way.
Adam Wingard’s alluring actioner The Guest is one movie that doesn’t need a sequel, but that ending was too open-ended. Not to mention, Dan Stevens’ charismatic performance in the first movie is just begging for a follow-up.
9 Lake Mungo (2008)
The Palmers’ daughter Alice drowned in a lake in Ararat. As the family tries to grieve, they learn new information about Alice, which shocks them. Now, the Palmers struggle to move on, haunted by the idea that perhaps the spirit of Alice is still with them.
Lake Mungo is one faux documentary that feels so real it’s frightening. Truth be told, this Australian haunter is the slowest of slow burns. It has a leisurely pace that leaves viewers divisive. Those who do get absorbed into Lake Mungo will feel every bit of its sadness and encroaching eeriness, however. A sequel sounds unnecessary, but who wouldn’t want to learn whatever happened to the Palmers?
8 The Battery (2012)
In The Battery, a friendship between two former baseball players cracks under the pressure of a total zombie apocalypse. Anyone expecting an all-out humanity versus zombie affair will be sorely disappointed. Focusing on the relationship between the men, however, is far more interesting than a rehash of the same zombie carnage we’ve all seen before. These character studies during harrowing events offer a viable avenue that more low-budget genre movies should take.
The Battery is a case of lightning in a bottle. A sequel, or maybe a prequel, is feasible. At the same time, this gem should remain hidden as well as standalone.
7 Jug Face (2013)
A young woman named Ada lives in an isolated community where the people worship an unseen monster living in a pit. As part of their traditions, they sacrifice someone to the aforesaid monster. That someone is chosen based on a face that is carved into a clay jug by a local prophet.
Jug Face is folk horror at its finest. There is no monster running around killing people at random. Instead, the movie is a measured account of dour fatalism. Jug Face is amazing enough on its own; a sequel might take away some of that power.
6 Dog Soldiers (2002)
A team of British soldiers carries out a training mission against an SAS unit in the Scottish Highlands. To their surprise, they find their rivals have been murdered, with the exception of their captain. Soon, the squad is pitted against a pack of bloodthirsty werewolves roaming the Highlands.
For what feels like a long time, fans have been waiting to see a sequel to Dog Soldiers. With every passing year, it seems increasingly unlikely one will see the light of day. Nonetheless, Dog Soldiers is fantastic on its own.
5 The Skeleton Key (2005)
A New Jersey transport and hospice worker accepts a live-in job at a remote plantation house in the swamps of Louisiana. There, she suspects her patient is under some sort of supernatural influence. She also believes his wife might be using dark magic.
The Skeleton Key was a box office hit for Kate Hudson, and it’s become a favorite for fans of gothic horror. Is it worth a sequel, though? Stranger things have happened. Interestingly, for those who think there are already two sequels, those low-budget efforts are actually continuations of a totally different movie, also called Skeleton Key.
4 The House on Sorority Row (1983)
Several graduating seniors accidentally kill their sorority’s house mom in a prank gone awry. They hide the body on the grounds, not realizing they were being watched the whole time. Now, the witness is coming after them.
It feels like every slasher from the 1980s has a sequel. Upon closer inspection, that’s only true for a handful of them. One slasher that’s a party of one is the cult favorite The House on Sorority Row. Yes, there is a remake that came out in 2009, but that film feels so disparate in tone that it hardly feels like a remake.
3 10 to Midnight (1983)
A serial killer is hunting down women. One detective manages to catch the assailant, but the trial doesn’t go his way. As a result, the detective makes it his life’s mission to get the killer back into the system.
10 to Midnight was no critical darling, but it’s certainly entertaining. Charles Bronson keeps a straight face as he recites some rather questionable lines. The stalking sequences are more tense than expected. It’s quite a ride. Bronson having passed away back in 2003, though, it’s hard to say who would take on his role if a sequel ever did materialize.
2 Don’t Look Now (1973)
A couple moves to Italy after their daughter drowns. There, the wife meets a psychic who says she can communicate with her child’s spirit. The husband visits the same psychic, who in turn tells him he is in mortal danger.
Don’t Look Now is a hard-hitting look at grief. Some may question whether this film qualifies as horror, but there’s no denying that plenty of horrific things are happening here. Not only does a child die, another person’s fate is sealed in the most unwarranted way. A sequel is completely non-essential at this point. If anything, people should just seek out the first — and only — film.
1 Deep Rising (1998)
Unaware of his clients’ motives, a boat captain escorts a group of people to an ocean liner on its first cruise. Once there, the party reveals itself to be mercenaries looking to rob the passengers. However, that’s the least of everyone’s problems. A carnivorous aquatic creature has risen from the depths of the sea, and it’s looking to feed on human flesh.
Although Deep Rising was initially panned by critics, audiences have since turned it into a cult favorite. The ending of the movie sets up a sequel that could have been made, had the first film been successful.
NEXT: 10 Scariest Haunted House Movies To Never Watch Alone, Ranked