Teen Horror Movies That Never Got A Sequel

Franchising is basically the bread and butter of the horror genre. It doesn't matter what critics think. It doesn't even matter if the iconic central villain is killed at the end of the movie. Where there's a will, there's a way — and writers can always be persuaded to come up with new explanations for why their characters are put back in similarly horrific scenarios. 

Within the genre, you could make the argument that sequels are the rule rather than the exception, and even subpar horror films often end up becoming franchises, whether their follow-up films are given a theatrical release or not. (Direct-to-video sequels are also a long-term staple for scary movies.) This is especially true for teen horror movies, since younger audiences have always been a target demographic for these types of films.

But every once in a while, you get a teen horror flick that's one-and-done, without a sequel on the horizon. Whether it's a result of poor box office numbers, unavailable actors, or lack of interest, there are a million different reasons why they might not merit a second film — and interestingly, it often has nothing to do with its quality. After we take a second to investigate that creepy noise in the basement, we'll delve into the teen horror films that bucked the genre trend and never generated a sequel.

Idle Hands

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Devon Sawa was no stranger to the teen horror genre — after all, he headlined 2000's "Final Destination," which was massively popular and launched a six-film series. A few years earlier, he'd starred in a horror film that went much more under the radar. "Idle Hands" featured Sawa as Anton Tobias, a perpetually stoned teenager who gets in over his head when he realizes that one of his hands has gone on an impromptu murder spree, killing his parents as well as his two best friends (Seth Green and Elden Hensen).

Despite a cast headlined by several rising stars (including a young Jessica Alba as Sawa's love interest) and an edgy sense of humor that perfectly suited the late '90s, "Idle Hands" was far from a success. It earned under $5 million upon its theatrical release, which was widely considered to be hindered by the fact that it was a hyper-violent teen film with the bad luck to come out just 10 days after the Columbine High School massacre. 

In the aftermath of the school shooting, the premiere of "Idle Hands" was canceled and a number of theaters — especially in Colorado — chose not to screen it. Although it has since gone on to win over viewers, its disrupted release schedule meant that it was seen by barely anyone, which made it more difficult for it to gain the kind of traction that would earn it a sequel.

The Burning

In the late '70s and early '80s, the summer camp slasher was all the rage — which, in retrospect, might have spelled doom for "The Burning." This 1981 horror film revolves around a camp caretaker who was savagely (if accidentally) burned by some of his campers during a prank. Years later, he returns to the lake where the incident occurred, determined to take revenge on any campers he meets while wielding a pair of giant scissors. Predictably, chaos and murder ensues.

On the face of it, "The Burning" feels like a "Friday the 13th" ripoff, and that's likely part of the reason it wasn't able to translate into a wider franchise. It certainly couldn't have helped that it was released opposite "Friday the 13th Part 2," a scheduling choice that serves as a metaphor for the slasher fatigue facing audiences of the time. Adding to its woes was the fact that it was the victim of a censorship campaign in the aftermath of John Lennon's murder, leaving many of its more gruesome (and to horror audiences, appealing) scenes on the cutting room floor in order to get it an R rating. Still, "The Burning" and its memorable villain Cropsy are interesting enough to merit a follow-up film. After all, how can you overlook a film that offered us the big-screen debuts of Jason Alexander, Fisher Stevens, and Holly Hunter?

The Faculty

In many ways, "The Faculty" is a throwback to classic '50s horror-tinged sci-fi, as an alien race begins to take over the faculty and students at an American high school. It's up to a group of misfits to not only avoid being turned into pod people, but kill the aliens before they have a chance to spread to the larger community. 

How is it even possible that "The Faculty" didn't end up spawning a franchise? It was released in the late '90s, what can only be described as a golden age of teen horror, and possessed a cast of young actors whose respective stars were rapidly on the rise, including Elijah Wood, Josh Hartnett, Clea Duvall, and Salma Hayek. And yet "The Faculty" was a one-and-done film, despite its development into a cult classic. 

So what went wrong? It certainly wasn't at the box office — "The Faculty" ultimately earned over $40 million on a modest $15 million budget, making it far from a financial failure. It wasn't critically adored, but on the whole, it was received relatively positively. It's possible that "The Faculty" was simply overshadowed by the teen slashers that were popular at the time, especially since this sort of science-fiction horror hybrid wasn't necessarily in vogue when it was released.

Night of the Comet

Against a landscape of dark and grimy zombie movies, "Night of the Comet" arrived in 1984 to offer something new. It tells the story of two teenage sisters (Kelli Maroney and Catherine Mary Stewart) who, by random happenstance, survive a comet whose passing near Earth vaporizes the vast majority of people and turns most of the rest into bloodthirsty zombies. To stay alive, they have to avoid not just the zombies, but a secret government research group with nefarious intentions. Many consider the characters of Reggie and Sam to be precursors to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, who was brought to the big screen by Kristy Swanson eight years later.

But despite the horror comedy's strong box office performance (it cost just $700,000 to make and earned $14 million) and generally positive reviews, a sequel was never greenlit. All that might change, though. Recently, Orion Pictures has reported that they are working on a remake of the film, bringing on Roxanne Benjamin — director of 2023's "There's Something Wrong With the Children" — to pen the screenplay. Although it has been in the pipeline for years now, Benjamin confirmed in an early 2023 interview with /Film that the project had gone through a few different iterations, but wasn't completely dead.

Chopping Mall

If there's anything we've learned from "RoboCop," it's that putting a bunch of robots armed to the teeth in charge of security is unlikely to end well. That's the central premise of the delightfully ridiculous "Chopping Mall," though: A mall brings on a team of security robots — ominously called "Protectors" — to patrol its hallowed halls, and things go predictably awry pretty much immediately. A group of teen employees end up having to face off against the robots, who are armed with deadly tasers and guns. This is the kind of horror comedy that luxuriates in its goofiness, and although it did just OK in theaters, it took off on the video rental market.

Still, the world has yet to be graced with a "Chopping Mall 2." There were rumblings back in 2011 that there was going to be a remake of the film — one that was less techno-horror and more supernatural, with celebrated special effects makeup artist Robert Hall slated to direct. But nothing came of it, and when Hall died in 2021, the project appeared to be abandoned for good.

Night of the Creeps

Who doesn't love a good sci-fi teen horror with alien slugs from outer space? That's what you get in "Night of the Creeps," a 1950s-inspired horror comedy about college student Chris (Jason Lively, older brother to Blake Lively) and his best friend J.C. (Steve Marshall), who have to face off against aliens who incubate in the brains of their victims, effectively turning them into zombies. 

With a collection of classic one-liners and a love for B movies, "Night of the Creeps" pretty much has cult classic written all over it. Director Fred Dekker certainly stands by it, telling The Flashback Files, "It's an odd movie. Nobody ever sets out to make a cult movie, but there are movies a wide audience will immediately take to, and there's 'Night of the Creeps,' which is a strange mish-mash of detective story, horror movie, romance, science fiction and comedy. But that's what special about it. At the end of the day I'm pleased with it. I pulled it off."

The film has a lot of different genres in it, but the one thing it doesn't have is a sequel. Well ... officially, anyway. In 2007, a film called "Zombie Town" was released, which bears some similarities to "Night of the Creeps" — essentially the concept of parasitic organisms turning people into zombies — and was even given the title "Night of the Creeps 2: Zombie Town" in Germany, there is no official link between the two films.


Eat your heart out, David Cronenberg. "Society" is the simple story of an adopted teenager (Billy Warlock) raised in an upper-class household, who begins to notice that his parents (Connie Danese and Charles Lucia) and sister (Patrice Jennings) are a little bit ... peculiar. But even he probably wouldn't have expected that their high society community — secretly members of an entirely different species — would take part in a bizarre body-melding orgy (it's called "shunting" in the film, which doesn't make it any more appealing) in which they literally consume some poor sap to suck up all his nutrients. Subtle about class politics, it is not.

Although "Society" is a gruesomely unique body horror film, it didn't quite catch on, at least in the United States (it performed better in Europe, for some reason). It eventually generated a sequel of sorts, when Rough Cut Comics released a comic book series based on the film, but a big-screen follow-up was not to be. The closest we ever got was back in 2013, when Empire reported that director Brian Yuzna had "Society 2: Body Modification" in development. Since then, crickets.


What do you get when you cross "The Hot Chick" with a classic serial killer slasher film? The answer is "Freaky." Kathryn Newton plays Millie, a timid high schooler who has the bad luck to switch bodies with a local serial killer called "The Butcher" (Vince Vaughn). The two only have 24 hours to change back before the body swap is permanent, but frankly that's the least of Millie's problems, as a murderer is currently walking around in her skin killing people. A fun little throwback to vintage slashers, "Freaky" won over audiences and critics alike.

There are two likely reasons why "Freaky" hasn't gotten a sequel yet. One of them is that everyone needs to calm down, it's only been three years since the original came out, and sometimes horror films need a little bit of time to organically grow their audience before they warrant another movie. But the other reason is that "Freaky" had the bad luck to be theatrically released in October 2020, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, when people weren't exactly flocking to cinemas en masse. Although it hit streaming months later, the fact that it didn't have the opportunity to connect with audiences in theaters as part of a communal experience couldn't have helped matters.

All hope isn't lost, though. By all accounts, director Christopher Landon and writer Michael Kennedy are both eager to make a sequel, possibly even a crossover with "Happy Death Day." Kennedy told ComicBook.com, "But my pipe dream, forever I will always be trumpeting 'Freaky Death Day' 'til I die. Kathryn Newton wants to make the movie, so does Jessica Rothe. I know Chris [Landon] is interested."


Oh, "Ma" — the horror film that launched a thousand memes. Normally when a movie goes viral the way that this Octavia Spencer-led production did, a sequel is all but assured. And yet it doesn't seem like there's anything in the pipeline for "Ma."

Spencer stars as Sue-Ann "Ma" Ellington, a vet tech who starts off buying teenagers alcohol and ends up torturing them in her basement when they start to get weirded out by the way she latches onto them. It doesn't feel like a normal thing to do, but Ma's working through some unresolved issues regarding her own high school experiences, and the classmates who humiliated and abused her back then just happen to be the parents of these teens.

The most obvious reason "Ma" doesn't have a sequel is that, well ... Ma seems to die at the end of it. But since when has that ever stopped a horror movie from building a franchise? Although there's no official activity surrounding a sequel, Melissa McCarthy said in an interview with Deadline that she would be down to act alongside Spencer in "Ma 2," while director Tate Taylor discussed his vision with Entertainment Weekly back in 2021. "My idea is that she's moved to another town, and she has open houses in another city and kills people in the open house," he explained. "I think she'd be a real estate agent in the Pacific Northwest, and just murder white people looking at McMansions. That's as far as I've gotten!"

Jennifer's Body

When it comes to 21st century horror, there's probably no film with a bigger gulf between its original reception and its critical reappraisal than "Jennifer's Body." Starring Megan Fox as a teen who gets a taste for human flesh and takes it out on the boys who lust after her, it wasn't taken seriously back in 2009 because of Fox's status as a sex symbol. It was only years later that people began to appreciate "Jennifer's Body" for the subversive, feminist film that it actually is.

Screenwriter Diablo Cody expressed disappointment with the film's marketing, telling Vox in 2019 that the studio chose "to market this to boys who like Megan Fox. That's who's going to see it. And I was like. No! This is a movie for girls too! That audience, they did not attempt to reach." It underperformed at the box office, partially because of the marketing issues and partially because the film's R rating limited the teen audiences who would be able to see it in theaters.

With an ending that finds Needy (Amanda Seyfried) heading out on the road to finish what Jennifer started, it seems poised for a follow-up. But whether or not Seyfried, Fox, or their director Karyn Kusama would return for a sequel is another question entirely.

Cutting Class

Let's get real for a second. There's exactly one reason why anyone even remembers "Cutting Class" today, and it's the fact that a young Brad Pitt plays one of the lead characters in his first major film role. It's a fairly generic high school slasher movie that isn't the most enlightened when it comes to mental health issues (its central villain is a teenager who's spent the majority of his childhood in a psychiatric institution after murdering his father years earlier), and it was poorly received even back in 1989. 

But mediocrity has never stopped a horror movie from attempting to franchise itself, so it's a little bit surprising that no one never tried to send the murderous Brian Woods (Donovan Leitch) out on more adventures. Ultimately, any sequel attempts were likely held up because "Cutting Class" was released direct-to-video, so it never found a large audience, and it embraced a style of slasher horror that was on its way out by the late '80s.

Disturbing Behavior

Starring a young James Marsden and Katie Holmes just as "Dawson's Creek" was about to make her famous, it's kind of surprising that "Disturbing Behavior" isn't better known. With science-fiction "Stepford Wives" vibes, the little-known 1998 film revolves around a quiet suburban community that takes extreme measures to transform its burnout teenagers into clean-cut, all-American honor students. The solution? A little microchip inserted into the brain that overrides their more rebellious impulses, creating docile little robots, but with the considerable downside of sending them into a murderous rage when their angsty teen hormones cause them to short circuit.

Before "Disturbing Behavior" was even released, it had its issues. The studio chopped it to bits, cutting about 30 minutes from director David Nutter's original version, allegedly changing it so much that Nutter contemplated refusing to be credited for his work on the film. It was likely this post-production experience that made it unappealing for the director to return for a sequel, and with Holmes and Marsden's careers taking off shortly after, it would have been difficult to get them back for a follow-up film even if they had wanted to.

Trick 'r Treat

There are some horror movies that suit the spooky season in general, and then there are others that you really need to watch on Halloween. "Trick 'r Treat" falls firmly into the latter category. With several loosely connected stories told as an anthology, "Trick 'r Treat" unfolds over the course of one Halloween night in small-town America, as the ominous pumpkin-headed Sam (Quinn Lord) watches and punishes those who don't follow the "rules" of Halloween. From a werewolf narrative with Anna Paquin to a delightfully off-kilter black comedy with Dylan Baker putting razor blades in Halloween candy, there's plenty to sink your teeth into as a horror fan. But "Trick 'r Treat" had a torturous release schedule, delayed by nearly two years before it finally hit theaters, which blunted its impact amongst audiences.

Still, "Trick 'r Treat" might be the film on this list that has the most hope of generating a sequel. Although director Michael Dougherty has been saying since 2009 that he wants to make a sequel, he confirmed in October 2023 that although it was not officially greenlit, he had a working draft of the script ready to develop further. Is "Trick 'r Treat 2" finally happening? It'd be good news for creepy little pumpkin kids everywhere!