To celebrate the release of THE FIRST PURGE on Wednesday, July 4th we have compiled a list of some of the best horror prequels of recent years:
Beware contains spoilers!
1. Paranormal Activity 3
The original Paranormal Activity may have ushered in a new trend of found footage horror, but it was the third instalment that really gave us a story to care about. As we go back to 1988 to see young Katie and Kristi engage with an invisible friend who may or may not be the supernatural force that haunt these films. The roughness from the use of late 80s technology makes this film feel just that little bit more real and the final creepy twist will make you want to jump out of your twitching skin.
2. Final Destination 5
How do you improve a Final Destination movie? Simple, more of Tony Todd being creepy, that improves most horror movies. In fact, the acting in this prequel is the best its been since the very first film and this film is a very rare instance of filmmakers using the shlock of 3D to their advantage, as the gore of heads flying and knives impaling adds to the camp value in the best way.
3. Annabelle: Creation
Annabelle was the scene-stealing, pigtailed nightmare of the brilliant film The Conjuring, it only made sense to give her, her own film. And then another one. Annabelle: Creation is easily the better of the two; showing how the demonic doll was (as the title suggests) created by grieving dollmaking Samuel Mullins (Anthony LaPaglia) there is a real heart to this story and several orphans to terrify in the final tense and frantic 30 minutes.
4. Bates Motel
Proving that the small screen can do just fine producing horror, we have Bates Motel, a modern prequel to Alfred Hitchcock’s masterpiece. Updated technology and less strict censorship might make it more edgy, but the real standout here is Freddie Highmore as young Norman Bates, who is equal parts sweet and creepy as we watch his life and his mind unravel. Props also to Vera Farmiga, who might not be what we imagined Mrs Bates to be like, but who is one of the best screen narcissists of all-time.
5. Dominion: Prequel to The Exorcist
Sure, the main praise this 2005 film generally gets is that it’s better than Renny Harlin’s Exorcist: The Beginning, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing worthwhile about this horror prequel. In East Africa, Father Merrin (Stellan Skarsgård) is helping with the excavation of a church that dates from the fifth century. As the camp surrounding them falls into chaos, Merrin has his first encounter with the demon Pazuzu, rediscovering his faith in the process. For all this films faults, it oozes atmosphere in the same way as the brilliant original.
After the largely forgotten (and largely boring) Hannibal Rising, audiences finally got the Hannibal Lecter origin story they wanted. While Mads Mikkelsen’s Lecture is far removed from Anthony Hopkins iconic portrayal, his calm gentlemen like behaviour, hiding the calculating psychopath underneath, is very creepy, as is his relationship with empath detective Will Graham (Hugh Dancy). A final tip; watch an episode after eating, this series has a habit of making viewers feel awkwardly hungry with its gourmet servings of human flesh.
7. The Thing (2011)
Though many purists probably hated it on principle, the only honestly bad part of this movie is the CGI. You must admit plenty of questions are raised in the original film about what happened to the doomed Norwegian outpost and this film provides the answers, with some nice detailed call-backs including how the axe gets embedded in the wall. Not to mention there’s some gross, squishy, creative gore, which is what we all want from a John Carpenter’s The Thing prequel.
8. Cube Zero
Differing from the previous two instalments as the action is observed from both the interior and the exterior of the cube, this fact might be off-putting for fans of the first film. But if you do stick around, you will be presented with one of the most shocking twists in all of film prequel history (your jaw will hit the floor). Also, being able to put a face to the cube, whether it’s the corporate controllers or the operator who sympathizes with one of the victims, really gives a sense of scale and terror of the cubes power.
9. Insidious Chapter 3
Refocusing the Insidious franchise back on Lin Shaye’s traumatized psychic Elise Rainier was the right choice for this prequel. Set before the troubles of the Lambert family, this film follows Quinn Brenner and her father, who after a failed attempt to connect with her dead mother is terrorised by paranormal entities. While the Brenner’s are likeable characters, this is Elise’s show and her journey is what makes this film compelling.
10. Halloween (2007)
This may be a cheeky inclusion, but a large part of the running time is dedicated to Michael Myers before murdering his sister, so we’re counting it. Rob Zombie’s reimagining of John Carpenter’s classic slasher is not subtle – the scenes with Michael’s family are screaming fits, followed by more screaming fits. But showing Michael’s childhood, especially his complicated relationship with Loomis (Malcolm McDowell) is more than a little chilling. Also admit it, it’s in your top five favourite Halloween movies.
THE FIRST PURGE IS RELEASED IN UK CINEMAS ON JULY 4th 2018