Descending Into Fear: 12 Scary Movie Franchises That Lost Their Way with Each Sequel

We all have our favorite horror movie franchises, and some of them start off really strong, but get worse and worse with each sequel. We all can think of a few right off the top of our heads. So here are a few franchises with bad sequels.

1. Psycho

Psycho (1960)
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

A lot of fans didn't even realize that Psycho had sequels until recently. The Alfred Hitchcock movie usually is looked at as a one-and-done for a series, but in 1983, Psycho was revived without Hitchcock for Psycho II. Then came Psycho III, then Bates Motel, then Psycho IV: The Beginning. And so on and so on. The last film in the series came out in 1998, 38 years after the first film came out.

2. Halloween

Halloween II Jamie Lee Curtis
Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

There are a lot of Halloween movies. Like a lot. Starting in 1978 and with the latest installment coming out in 2022, Halloween spans a number of decades. Of course with that many sequels, there are a number of movies that don't live up to the hype of the series. But that's okay! There are a number of other Michael Myers films to watch if you find one you don't like!


3. Jeepers Creepers

Jeepers Creepers: Reborn
Image Credit: Screen Media Films.

Let's get this straight before we get too deep into this series: the first movie in this series isn't all that great either. It's fine for a horror movie, but it's not a blockbuster, smash hit. But as the series went on, the films continued to get worse and worse, and even by the end, they were comically bad, with the latest installment, Jeepers Creepers: Reborn receiving the worst ratings in the franchise.

4. Saw

Image Credit: Lions Gate Films.

While there are a lot of good sequels in the Saw series, there are a few that fall short for sure. For one, Saw V is set after Jigsaw is dead and we lose our main villain to the story. While they try to create a new bad guy, he doesn't live up to the fear we felt with Jigsaw. The same goes for Saw 7: The Final Chapter with bad traps and a villain you just can't get behind.

5. Hellraiser

Image Credit: Entertainment Film Distributors.

The first Hellraiser was a pretty good movie when it came out in 1987, but as the franchise continued, the movies seemed to just tank in ratings. Some of the worst movies would be Hellraiser: Hellworld and Hellraiser: Revelations. Surprisingly, a lot of fans loved the 2022 reboot of the franchise!


6. Poltergeist

Poltergeist (1982)
Image Credit: Warner Bros.

This movie is often viewed as one of the best horror movies of all time, but when looking at the sequels, it's safe to say they don't live up to their predecessor. While Heather O'Rourke came back for the second and third films, there was nothing to them compared to the first movie.

7. Alien

Alien Movie
Photo Credit: 20th Century Studios.

The Alien franchise has made a lot of science fiction films that aren't all that bad. Of course, the first film blew people out of this world, but a lot of fans loved the seventh installment, Prometheus, as well! But a lot of the other movies… well they're just not as good as some of the others.

8. Final Destination

Final Destination 5, Emma Bell, Nicholas D'Agosto
Image Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures.

With a new Final Destination coming out soon, it'll be interesting to see how it stacks up compared to the others because you can't count the sequels of this franchise out right away. For example, a lot of fans love the second movie more than the original, and to be fair, we're still thinking about logging trucks since first watching this film.

9. Leprechaun

Image Credit: Trimark Pictures.

Here is another series where the first movie wasn't good and the sequels were even worse. The first film stars the talented Warwick Davis and Jennifer Aniston, but by the second movie, Aniston had dropped out of the series. The movies ended up being way funnier than they were scary, with a lot of fans loving the Leprechaun movies.

10. Insidious

Insidious (2010)
Image Credit: FilmDistrict.

With five Insidious movies out at the time of writing, a lot of fans have strong thoughts on which ones are worth watching and which ones you can skip. For example, a lot of people don't love Insidious: The Last Key, but Insidious: Chapter 3 is often seen as a pretty okay movie!

11. Fear Street

Fear Street Part One 1994
Image Credit: Netflix.

Fear Street was a three-part movie released on Netflix in 2021, and a lot of people loved the first one Fear Street Part One: 1994. But as the other ones came out in the following days, fans didn't see the series living up to the book from R.L. Stine. 

12. Jaws

Jaws (1975)
Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

The first Jaws movie is a masterpiece and is rightfully loved by so many. But when we move past that first movie and into the sequels, Jaws 2, Jaws 3-D, Jaws: The Revenge, and Cruel Jaws… well let's just say these movies don't live up to the scare quality, or the overall quality, of the first movie. To be fair, it just might be best if we forget any of the sequels existed.