It's Friday the 13th, everybody!
And hitting theaters to stoke the superstitious among us and scare up some more chills is Insidious: Chapter 2, director James Wan's follow up to his 2011 supernatural horror hit, which picks up with the Lambert family happily reunited after their young son fell prey to some pretty nasty demons that haunted them in the original.
Of course, a lot of gruesome things are supposed to happen on Friday the 13th, which is why studios love to use the occasion to launch their latest gorefests and what makes this grim day so special among paranormal, slasher, gothic and splatterpunk enthusiasts.
So to celebrate Friday the 13th and Insidious: Chapter 2's release, E! News offers up five horror sequels that rank as some of the greatest Hollywood has put out in the modern age:
1. Dawn of the Dead: After singlehandedly revolutionizing big-screen terror with his subversive and groundbreaking 1968 classic, Night of the Living Dead, and spawning countless imitators, filmmaker George Romero returned to the zombie genre for 1978's Dawn of the Dead. The story this time is set in a mall where a small band of survivors take shelter from the swarm of flesh-eating undead. In addition to its buckets of blood, the film earned a deluge of praise from critics who hailed it as one of that year's best for its satirical attacks on America's consumerist society.
2. Friday the 13th Part 3: Why not Part 2 you ask? It's simple. In the third installment in what is arguably one of the most enduring slasher franchises of all time, 1982's Friday the 13th Part 3 was the one where everyone's favorite teen stalker put on his trademark hockey mask. That act turned what was previously just an ordinary, reanimated teen—bent on revenge against the sex-crazed camp counselors who failed to save him from drowning—into the iconic big-screen killer we know today who's starred in 12 films. And Friday the 13th, the day, took on a whole new meaning.
3. Aliens: James Cameron's sequel to Ridley Scott's 1979 sci-fi horror hit, Alien, added a lot of big guns in the form of a marine unit charged with wiping out the nasty acid-for-blood E.T.'s that have infested a terraforming colony on LV-426. Returning to lead them is Sigourney Weaver as Ellen Ripley, who has to make the grunts realize that far from a bug hunt, as Hudson put it, this time it really is war. And thanks to such spine-tingling scenes as Ripley heading deep into the nest to rescue Newt, whereupon she meets the Alien Queen, Aliens went on to rack up seven Academy Award nominations while immortalizing the phrase "Game Over" in the pop culture lexicon.
4. Evil Dead 2: The second entry in Sam Raimi's hyperkinetic demon trilogy after 1981's Evil Dead is one of the best reviewed horror sequels of all time, scoring a 98 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. And it achieved that while offering up a hefty dollop of comedy that made a star out of Bruce Campbell who, as the lead character Ash Williams, had an uncanny ability to survive whatever horrors the evil forces of the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis (aka the Book of the Dead) threw at him. Sure, there's a fair amount of blood and guts and dismemberment, but for horror fans, 1987's Evil Dead 2 still to this day is one hell of a funny ride.
5. A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors: The same year Evil Dead 2 chainsawed its way into our consciousness came the third installment in the Nightmare on Elm Street series, which took fantasy horror to a whole new level. It also proved that Freddy Krueger—the hat and sweater-wearing, serial killer turned evil spirit with a razor glove for fingers who haunts teenagers in their dreams—cemented his place as one of horror's most beloved villains. This time around, Freddy is stalking young patients at a hospital, each of whom develop their own dream powers as protection. Wes Craven, who dreamed up the character and directed the original, returned to pen Dream Warriors after the negative reaction to A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge, and a slew of sequels, a TV show and comic books soon followed.