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Top 10 Horror Movie Prequels

VO: Rebecca Brayton

Script written by Thomas O'Connor

Fear comes in many forms. From The Thing, to Red Dragon, to Ouija: Origin of Evil, these movies are the best of the best when it comes to horror movie prequels. WatchMojo ranks the top horror movie prequels.

Check out the voting page for this list and add your picks: https://www.WatchMojo.comsuggest/+Top+10+best+Horror+Movie+prequels Special thanks to our users Hayden, Sanderson Sister , and mac121mr0 for suggesting this idea!


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Script written by Thomas O'Connor

Top 10 Horror Movie Prequels

Sometimes you’ve got to go back to the beginning. Welcome to and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Horror Movie Prequels.

For this list, we’re looking at horror movies that take place before earlier installments of their franchises, usually in order to shed light on how the terrifying events of the previous film got started.

#10: “The Thing” (2011)

John Carpenter's 1982 horror opus is one of many people’s favorite horror films of all time, and it’s not an honor that’s bestowed lightly. This 2011 prequel takes place just days before the events of the first film kick off and tells the story of the Norwegian research team that first uncover the frozen body of the titular alien. If you’ve seen the original film, you’ll remember that things didn’t go so well for the Norwegian team, as their camp was later found burned to the ground and thoroughly abandoned. Despite the fact that most of the practical effects used on the film were later replaced with CGI, we’ve still got a soft spot for it.

#9: “Puppet Master III: Toulon’s Revenge” (1991)

The first two installments in this cult horror franchise saw a group of living puppets terrorizing the guests of a secluded hotel. But when it came time to tell the origin of the pint-sized terrors, they turned heroic when faced with an even greater evil: the Nazis. This installment in the franchise takes us back in time to Nazi Germany where André Toulon, the inventor of the living dolls, is being hounded by agents of the Third Reich bent on stealing his secrets. The puppets fight back to defend their master, turning their murderous habits to good. It’s a fun and inventive horror romp that’s well worth checking out.

#8: “Insidious: Chapter 3” (2015)

James Wan’s original “Insidious” from 2010 hit the horror scene like a bolt of lightning, kicking off a franchise that continued in a number of installments. The aptly named third chapter took audiences back to the beginning by showing how the demonic entity went on to terrorize the Lambert family in the previous films. The action begins when a teenager named Quinn recruits a retired medium Elise to try and contact the spirit of her dead mother. This proves to be a disastrous mistake, as the attempt to contact her mother instead brings a malevolent entity into our world. Talk about the road to hell being paved with good intentions.

#7: “Prometheus” (2012)

You’d be pretty hard-pressed to find a horror film more revered than Ridley Scott’s “Alien.” Decades after redefining the horror genre, Scott returned to the franchise by telling the story of how the terrifying Xenomorph came into being. Rather than the space truckers of the first installment, our heroes this time around are a team of researchers looking to find evidence of an alien civilization that may have created humanity itself. But when they arrive on a far-off planet, they discover something far more terrifying than they expected. “Prometheus,” remains a controversial entry in the “Alien” franchise, with some even disputing its being a prequel at all, but its elements of cosmic and body horror give it a special place in our hearts.

#6: “Amityville II: The Possession” (1982)

1979’s “The Amityville Horror” is the quintessential haunted house movie, telling the story of a family whose new home harbors some dark secrets that wind up sending them screaming into the night. The follow-up shows how the house’s previous owners had a similar encounter, although didn’t manage to escape. It’s hard to generate tension when you know that the characters of the film are fated to meet a grisly end, but this prequel to the critically acclaimed original doesn’t do half bad, weaving a suspenseful haunted house movie from the sad tale of the DeFeo family, a real-life family who died under tragic circumstances.

#5: “Red Dragon” (2002)

This follow-up to the acclaimed “Silence of the Lambs” took viewers back in time to just before the events of Jonathan Demme’s legendary film. Like in its predecessor, a brutal serial killer is leaving a trail of disfigured bodies in his wake, leading an FBI agent to consult Hannibal Lecter in an attempt to get inside the killer’s head. But rather than Clarice Starling, the agent this time is Will Graham, the very same person who put Lecter behind bars in the first place. With incredible performances by Edward Norton, Ralph Fiennes, and of course Sir Anthony Hopkins, this is a great companion piece to the original film.

#4: “Ouija: Origin of Evil” (2016)

The original film may not have gone down that well with critics and audiences, but pretty much everyone was surprised with how good the next installment was. Thanks to the hard work of director Mike Flanagan, the prequel to the original 2014 original turned out much more frightening and memorable than its predecessor, with atmosphere and frights to spare. Set in the 1960s, the film follows a family who make a living posing as mediums. But the act turns deadly when they bring the titular Ouija board into the mix, accidentally summoning a sinister presence into their lives. Board games have never been this scary.

#3: “Final Destination 5” (2011)

For a franchise with the word “Final” right there in the title, this one kept going for a while. A prequel to the first four films, the fifth installment capped off the franchise by going back to the very beginning. As usual, our protagonist is someone who had a vision of an imminent disaster and narrowly escaped death, putting them at the number one spot on the Grim Reaper’s list. What follows is a series of elaborate and memorable deaths as our hero and his friends get picked off one by one after escaping their pre-destined deaths at the start of the film. After all, you can only dodge death for so long.

#2: “Annabelle: Creation” (2017)

Dolls are creepy as all get-out at the best of times, but doubly so when they’re possessed by a malevolent demon. This entry in our list doubles down by being not just a prequel, but a prequel to a prequel. That’s right, it’s Prequel-ception! After appearing in 2013’s “The Conjuring,” the titular possessed doll had her first solo outing in a 2014 prequel. After that, another film went back even further to show the true origins of the terrifying toy. Set in the 1940s, the film tells the story of how a seemingly benign doll first became the evil entity we know today, and its very first terrifying rampage.

Before we reveal our number one pick, here are some of our honorable mentions.

“Cube Zero” (2004)

“Ginger Snaps Back: The Beginning” (2004)

#1: “Paranormal Activity 3” (2011)

The micro-budget horror phenomenon from 2007 had audience members terrified, and the third installment was no different. Taking us back first to 2005 and then to 1988, the film depicts the first time that strange events plagued the extended family that serve as our protagonists. Once again, the film is presented as footage captured by cameras installed throughout a normal suburban house plagued by terrifying phenomenon, giving us a front row seat for the terrifying ordeal the residents face. This isn’t the first time that the series has taken a trip back in time, as the 2010 follow-up to the trendsetting original also took place before the first film in the series.

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