In the horror film The Collection, a sequel to 2009's The Collector, Josh Stewart returns as Arkin—a thief who escapes his first encounter with the sadistic Collector only to face him again with a group of mercenaries. The Collection amps up the action—and the body count—by taking place at a rave from hell. What other sequels stepped up the intensity, gore, violence or whatever key element from the originals?
Ridley Scott's sci-fi masterpiece Alien featured exactly one Alien and one tenacious heroine, Ripley (Sigourney Weaver), who finally blew the monster out an airlock. Whereas Scott's horror film built an atmosphere of dread, James Cameron's sequel, Aliens, was a balls-to-the-wall action movie. Ripley returns with Marines (Vasquez!) to LV-426 and finds a nest of Aliens, including a giant egg-laying Queen--who is one angry mama.
John Carpenter's brilliantly crafted Halloween launched the slasher-film craze in 1978. A sequel was inevitable, but by the time Halloween II arrived in theaters in 1981, a slew of Halloween rip-offs had made green by increasing the red stuff. Although Halloween showed little blood, Halloween II director Rick Rosenthal filmed Michael Myers' hospital rampage in gory detail—from a nurse getting scalded to death in a hot tub to Michael getting his eyes shot out.
Dawn of the Dead (1978)
George A. Romero defined the zombie genre with his classic 1968 black-and-white film Night of the Living Dead. Ten years later—and in full color—Romero moved the action to a suburban Pittsburgh mall and turned the makeup effects up thanks to the debut of FX master Tom Savini. Heads explode and zombies feast on disemboweled victims as our heroes are forced to flee their temporary haven in Dawn of the Dead.
Saw, which introduced the sadistic Jigsaw killer who puts people in lethal traps to teach them a lesson, was hardly an exercise in subtlety. Yet whereas the first film focused on two men chained up in a single dingy room, Saw II had a bunch of strangers who are all unknowingly connected to each other wake up together in a booby-trapped house of horrors. More inventive traps, more victims, and more at stake led Saw II to the biggest box office of the series.
Rambo: First Blood Part II
We first met Vietnam vet/one-man army John Rambo (Sylvester Stallone) in 1982's First Blood, which was not overly graphic. In this 1985 sequel, Rambo is sent to investigate the existence of POWs in Vietnam. What the Vietnamese soldiers and Russian commandos that cross his path get is a whole lot of pain—and themselves splattered over the jungle. The bloody tradition continued in Rambo III and Rambo, the latter of which had so many exploding bodies that it made the others look like Disney flicks.
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
When Captain Kirk, Spock and the rest of the Enterprise crew leapt from TV to big screen in 1979's Star Trek: The Motion Picture, the film's slow pacing prompted some to disparagingly call it The Motionless Picture. All was forgiven in this thrilling 1982 sequel that featured the return of a favorite TV series villain, Khan (Ricardo Montalban), who takes over a Federation starship and plays a deadly game of chicken with the Enterprise. "Khaaaaaan!"
Best Picture Oscar winner The Silence of the Lambs was a crime thriller that introduced us to Anthony Hopkins' version of Hannibal "The Cannibal" Lecter. Director Ridley Scott turned up the Grand Guignol elements in this stylish and violent sequel in which Hannibal is loose in the world. Hannibal features such atrocities as a police detective getting disemboweled, a man's disfigured face being eaten by wild boars, and Ray Liotta eating his own brain. Bon appétit!
Terminator 2: Judgment Day
The success of Terminator in 1984 allowed director James Cameron to step it up exponentially for this 1991 sequel in which Arnold Schwarzenegger again played a cyborg from the future. Not only did Terminator 2 feature some groundbreaking FX like the liquid-metal shape-shifting T-1000 that is sent back in time to hunt John Connor (Eddie Furlong), it showcased some over-the-top action sequences, like the motorbike through the streets of L.A.
Critics praised TRON in 1982 for its visual style of depicting a computer world in which software engineer Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) is digitized. By the time the sequel, TRON: Legacy, made its way to theaters in 2010 with Flynn's son (Garrett Hedlund) tasked with finding his father inside the network, the movies looked like they were made on two different planets. The beautifully immersive, neon-lit Grid and the 3D effect of TRON: Legacy make the first movie look almost 8-bit.
Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn
Sam Raimi's 1981 horror classic The Evil Dead introduced icon Ash (Bruce Campbell) who fights demons unleashed from the Book of the Dead. This 1987 sequel is more like a remake in which Ash finds himself in the same situation and seems to have no recollection of the first film. Raimi steps up the creature effects (look at Henrietta locked in the basement) and the comedy as Campbell goes completely loony while armed with his "boomstick."
The Godfather Part II
The first Godfather won Best Picture for its depiction of the Corleone crime family. This sequel, which also won Best Picture, focuses on the new Don of the Corleone family, Michael (Al Pacino), and tells the back story of a young Vito (Robert De Niro) in flashback. Not only is it more violent than The Godfather, most would agree that Part II is the only film on this or any list that is superior to the original.
The Human Centipede 2 (Full Sequence)
The Human Centipede became infamous (and spoofed) for its mad scientist who stitches three people together mouth to anus. This 2011 sequel has a mentally challenged fan of the first film doing the same to 12 people. Although HC2 is black and white, all the gastrointestinal splatter that results is lovingly depicted on-screen with an occasional flash of brown, which director Tom Six called his "Schindler's List moment."
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
This prequel to Raiders of the Lost Ark has our favorite fedora-wearing, whip-cracking archaeologist, Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford), journeying to India to find a mystical stone. Indy stumbles upon a cult that practices child slavery, black magic and human sacrifice. It was this last element—particularly when a priest rips the beating heart out of a victim—that prompted the creation of the PG-13 rating by the MPAA.