Ken W. Hanley is the Managing Web Editor for FANGORIA and STARLOG, as well as the former Web Editor for Diabolique Magazine and a contributing writer to YouWonCannes.com. He’s a graduate from Montclair State University, where he received an award for Excellence in Screenwriting. He’s currently working on screenplays, his debut novel “THE I IN EVIL”, and various other projects, and can be followed on Twitter: @movieguyiguess.
The Dreadful Ten: Top 10 Horror Flicks That Deserve A Prequel!Fearful Features,Movies/TV,News Ken W. Hanley
In the past, FANGORIA has devoted Dreadful Tens for both hypothetical horror sequels and the best horror prequels out there. Yet after learning how truly few exceptional horror prequels there are out there, this write thought upon on all the premiere horror properties that could hypothetically make use of the format. Therefore, this week’s Dreadful Ten puts a spotlight on 10 fright flicks that could deliver a truly worthwhile prequel!
- AMERICAN PSYCHO
While Mary Harron’s adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis’ satirical horror comedy has become a staple of the subgenre, one could assume that much material could be pulled from the earlier years of Patrick Bateman. Whether it would be carving up the student body in Harvard or the genesis of his madness growing up in Long Island in the late ‘70s, this writer would love to see more splattery satire with a younger, less disciplined Bateman front-and-center.
- THE HUNGER
While THE HUNGER is a very specific and stylish vampire tale, the universe it begets is incredibly interesting and poses some fascinating concepts: if vampires are such an integral part of ‘80s counter-culture, where would they be in the ‘50s and ‘60s? How about among The Prohibition and Great Depression? Considering the timeless nature of vampires, a prequel to THE HUNGER could provide a creepy look into the darker areas of eras often not explored by film and TV.
While one could conceivably do another “backpackers go missing” tale, why not trade the formulaic route for something a little more interesting and risky? Imagine a HOSTEL prequel that could share the backstory of the Elite Hunting society; think closer to THE SOCIAL NETWORK for the horror crowd, with young businessmen who start a sinister flesh trade of their own.
- PSYCHO II
Now, you’re probably thinking: wouldn’t the prequel to PSYCHO II be PSYCHO? Well, of course, but at the same time, so much material could be explored in his years between films in the mental institution, his trial and the eventual rehabilitation of Norman Bates that could be fascinating and frightening in its own right.
HERBERT WEST, MEDICAL STUDENT? When we first meet West in Stuart Gordon’s RE-ANIMATOR, his revival of Dr. Gruber is less-than-successful, but assuming this was the culmination of years of research, perhaps more stories could be told about the young Herbert West and his guidance under Dr. Gruber’s controversial re-animation studies.
- THE EVIL DEAD
Before Ash Williams and friends made their way to the cabin, Professor Knowby and his wife Henrietta came under siege when his translation of the book unleashed its demonic power. And while Ash’s story continues on Starz, perhaps a prequel could pursue the mysterious fate of Professor Knowby and his battle against the possessed Henrietta and his own madness in the iconic cabin.
- ROSEMARY’S BABY
While we all know the tragic story of Rosemary Woodhouse, there could be many macabre stories about previous tenants of Bramford, not to mention the entire backstory of Minnie Castavet and Steven Marcato. How did the unassuming Minnie become a pawn of the devil? How did Marcato cope with taking on his father’s satanic mantle? These stories could make an interesting tale of terror in and of themselves.
- ANGEL HEART
Although the mystery of ANGEL HEART is what fuels the film’s more frightening aspects, the film’s ending more-or-less prevents it from ushering in any sequels. However, the tale of Johnny Favorite and how he sold his soul to the devil (and subsequently used voodoo in an attempt to void the deal) would make a pretty interesting horror story alone, especially if someone could depict the omnipresence of the devil coming to collect in the desperate, bloody vein of the original film.
While going into the origins of Beetlejuice could potentially ruin the character for some, his early years as a demon-for-hire could yield some undoubtedly fun results. Think BETTER CALL SAUL in the BEETLEJUICE universe and you could see how Michael McDowell, Warren Skaaren and Tim Burton’s unique undead haven could provide some interesting side stories worth exploring.
- AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON
Even if it comes at a cost of the “American” aspect, some earlier tales of lycanthropy surrounding the North York Moors could really be fantastic, especially considering how the less-advanced societies of the late 1800s or early 1900s would deal with having their undead victims haunting them perpetually. After all, I don’t think any fright fan would object to spending some more time exploring the history of the aptly-named Slaughtered Lamb.
And now here are some honorable mentions who didn’t quite make the cut…
Making A Massacre: THE SHINING
While there is currently an event series in development detailing the events before THE SHINING, there could be more madness to be explored in the history of the Overlook beyond just Delbert Grady’s evolution from caretaker to murderer.
Before The Box: HELLRAISER
Although the backstory of the Lament Configuration was revealed in HELLRAISER: BLOODLINES and slightly detailed the origins of Pinhead, the backstory of Captain Elliott Spencer and how he came upon the Box would be interesting to flesh out (pun definitely intended).
The Company of Wolves: DOG SOLDIERS
DOG SOLDIERS has always been a horror property that’s been ripe for a sequel, but a more domestic story following the inherent difficulties of running and protecting a family of werewolves could make for an interesting prequel as well.
Early Check-In: 1408
While much of 1408’s demented history is detailed in the story and film itself, some of the undocumented cases hinted at in King’s original story could filmmakers a reason to return to 1408.
Becoming Peachfuzz: CREEP
From the chilling ending to CREEP, one can only imagine that a CREEP prequel could have it’s choice of unsettling mindgames to choose from.