5. Amityville 1992: It’s About Time (1992)
Starting with the 1989 NBC TV movie Amityville Horror: The Evil Escapes (featuring a possessed lamp carrying forth the titular evil from Long Island to California), producer Steve White shepherded the Amityville series through a line of TV and DTV sequels focused squarely on “possessed objects.” In It’s About Time, the possessed item is (what else) an evil clock, scooped up by a real estate developer while in Amityville and taken back to his family home in suburban California. Once inside, the clock affixes itself to their wall and begins waging supernatural mayhem on the family. Taking a note from the awkward insanity of Amityville II: The Possession, the film plays like a light pastiche on Tobe Hooper’s Poltergeist for the early 90s late-night cable crowd, which translates into one of the most entertaining entries in a franchise that you could argue has too many DTV sequels. (Jacob Trussell)
4. Critters 3 (1991)
Finally, we’re free of Brad. Although, we’re not quite given the action hero lead the franchise so desperately desires. Charlie McFadden (Don Opper), the town drunk-turned-alien-bounty-hunter, remains in the background as some new kids consume the plot. Of course, one of those new kids is Leonardo DiCaprio in a post-Growing Pains supporting role. Primarily, Critters 3 focuses on siblings Annie (Aimee Brooks) and Johnny (Christian Cousins and Joseph Cousins) as they settle into their new apartment building with their papa Clifford (John Calvin). Unfortunately for them, and fortunately for us, the Krites have also taken up residence. Critters 3 contains the nasty spirit of the previous films, refusing to let its slashed budget get in the way of a good time. These razor-toothed fuzzballs chew as much meat as ever. (Brad Gullickson)
3. Curse of Chucky (2013)
Three years ago, we awarded the Child’s Play franchise ninth place in our ranking of the most consistently rock-solid horror franchises. Now look: while the democratic process is “good” and “fair,” it does mean that losers who can’t stomach the brilliance of Seed of Chucky can keep everyone’s favorite possessed plaything from achieving top-tier status. But believe me, an adult woman who has watched the whole franchise twice in the last calendar year, every single Child’s Play film is a banger. And the strongest sign of the series’ ongoing mutability and perseverance is its two DTV sequels, both of which grace this list in quick succession.
Curse and Cult represents a striking gear shift in the Child’s Play franchise from unapologetic camp to something a little sneakier and straight-faced. Curse of Chucky follows Nica Pierce (Fiona Dourif, daughter of Brad), a young woman whose terrible sister comes calling after the mysterious death of their mother. Before Nica can process her sister’s intention to sell the house and put Nica, who uses a wheelchair, in an assisted living facility, the bodies start piling up. Brutal, intelligent, and grounded by a genuinely fantastic performance by Dourif the Younger, Curse edges out its successor by virtue of its tight, innovative storytelling and genuine commitment to keeping a straight face. (Meg Shields)
2. Bride of Re-Animator (1990)
Stuart Gordon’s Re-Animator remains one of the most audacious and unforgettable horror films of the 80s thanks to explosively gory practical effects and its anarchic sense of glee-filled madness. Two sequels followed, and while you won’t find me defending 2003’s Beyond Re-Animator, there’s more than enough to enjoy with this first sequel. Jeffrey Combs, Bruce Abbott, and David Gale all return — sadly, no Barbara Crampton here — with a story that follows the attempt to bring Abbott’s love back in a new body (Kathleen Kinmont). The expectedly gory carnage follows, in part because the two doctors are truly bad at their chosen professions. It can’t touch the original despite trying very hard to do just that but come on, Dr. Hill’s head flies around with bat wings. This shit is bonkers, with a finale that turns the flesh-strewn antics all the way to eleven. (Rob Hunter)
1. Maniac Cop 2 (1990)
William Lustig’s Maniac Cop 2 isn’t just a great DTV sequel, and it’s not even just a great sequel. It’s a great horror movie — one that even supersedes the original film. With an undead psychopathic rogue cop on the loose in New York City, where there’s already one serial killer stalking the streets, Maniac Cop 2 is gnarlier and even more fun than the first film. The kills are brutal, the cast is stellar, and even if you haven’t seen the first film (which we still recommend) you can find so much to enjoy in this iconic slasher sequel. Oh, and while we’re at it, the third one ain’t bad, either. (Anna Swanson)
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